Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Solar power cheaper than coal: One company says it’s cracked the code

CleanTechnica has an exclusive on a new solar technology that claims to be able to produce power with a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of8¢/kWh. That is mind-boggling, “two-thirds the price of retail electricity and over 3 times cheaper than current solar technology.” If the claim proves to be true (and a lot can happen between prototype and mass manufacturing), it could revolutionize the solar industry.

The company is called V3Solar (formerly Solarphasec) and its product, the Spin Cell, ingeniously solves two big problems facing solar PV.
First, most solar panels are flat, which means they miss most of the sunlight most of the time. They only briefly face direct sunlight, unless expensive tracking systems are added. The Spin Cell is a cone:

V3Solar Spin Cell

The conical shape catches the sun over the course of its entire arc through the sky, along every axis. It’s built-in tracking.
The second problem: Solar panels produce much more energy if sunlight is concentrated by a lens before it hits the solar cell; however, concentrating the light also creates immense amounts of heat, which means that concentrating solar panels (CPV) require expensive, specialized, heat-resistant solar cell materials.
V3Solar spin cellThe Spin Cell concentrates sunlight on plain old (cheap) silicon PV, but keeps it cool by spinningit.
It’s just so damn clever.

Here’s a video that explains:

The V3Solar Spin Cell rotating under the power of the afternoon sun:

Read the full story of Solar power cheaper than coal: One company says it’s cracked the code By David Roberts

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