Cheap Solar Power
There have been many innovations since the development of the first silicon solar cell by Bell Laboratories or the present day AT&T and Labs. For a very long time scientists and futurists have predicted that the sun will be the main source of energy for the world eventually. In recent times this dream is on its way to becoming a reality, as innovations have shown the promise of providing the world with cheap solar power in years to come.
Think about it; when we mine coal or use any other conventional energy source, with regular usage these energy sources exhaust themselves over years. However, the sun’s energy can be harnessed for solar power without worrying about its depletion. There have been spaceships made that use the sun’s energy to propel them in the solar system; however those cost billions of dollars. Let’s look at some innovations that promise cheap solar power.
Covalent Solar has been developed by the engineers from the MIT and has stirred a storm in the solar panel industry. This solar concentrator is dye based and does not need any cooling or tracking systems, which translates to low costs of manufacturing and maintenance. The working is simple; a glass panel is coated with a unique dye concoction that is then exposed to the sunlight. The coated dye transfers this received solar energy to the solar cells located on the edge of the structure. This transfer does not waste much energy since the energy loss is minimal within the dye. Hence the solar cells provide 10-fold solar power that increases in efficiency by 50% when transmitted to the panels. The Covalent Solar is expected to go in mass production soon and is touted as one of the main sources of cheap solar power.
Nano Solar: Time Magazine has called Nano Solar as one of the top inventions of 2008. These are some of the thinnest and the most flexible solar panels and they have negligible manufacturing cost. These panels have a newspaper kind mass production unit unlike the conventional silicon unit since they use the roll and printing process. Hence, you get solar cells that are about 1000 times thinner and produced with 100 times the speed of a conventional panel production. These panels are again one of the best ways to harness cheap solar power.
Cool Earth Solar Balloons: Did you ever think that a solar concentrator could be shaped like a balloon? Even if you never thought about it or even deemed it possible, Cool Earth Solar has done it. Earlier the conventional solar concentrators were large mirrors or metal bodies that helped in focusing the rays of the sun on to the solar cells. These concentrators were basically designed to follow the sun’s movement through out the day. Obviously there was a lot of energy loss and high maintenance costs were involved. Cool Earth Solar has devised an easier options; they coat half the balloon face with a plastic film used in potato chips bags and leave the other half transparent. As a result the balloon works like a concave mirror and helps to focus the sunlight on the solar cell. This cheap solar concentrator generates about 400 times more electricity.
Plant inspired Solar cells
Have you ever wondered how plants make their food with photosynthesis by utilizing the energy of the sun? Well, some scientists have studied this mechanism in detail and developed a great new photovoltaic hybrid device that can generate tons of cheap solar power. This device has Nano components, all of which function like individual molecules in photosynthesis and have their own specific functions. The development of this device is still going on and is in the early stages.
These are just some of the innovations happening in the field of cheap solar power. Soon, there will be a day when all vehicles and energy systems will be running on the sun’s inexhaustible source of energy and the world will be completely pollution free!