Wednesday, 28 March 2012

It's all in the Packaging: 20x boost to solar (MIT)

MIT stacks solar panels like pancakes, increases their power output by up to 20x
By Sebastian Anthony

3D solar power cells from MIT
What’s better than one pancake? A whole stack of pancakes! Using the same logic, a team of MIT researchers have stacked a bunch of photovoltaic solar cells together to produce up to 20 times the power output of conventional solar power installations.
Normally I’m the first to drop my jaw in awe at MIT’s latest and greatest innovations, but this one really is a bit of a no-brainer. Basically, photovoltaic cells themselves aren’t all that expensive — according to MIT, they’re only around 35% of the total cost of a solar power installation. The main issue with solar power (and its main cost) is its low energy density, and thus the sheer surface area required to generate a sizable amount of electricity. This is why you need to cover your whole roof with cells to power your light bulbs, and why solar power plants would have to occupy tens of square miles of desert to produce as much power as a nuclear power plant.

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