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View Diary: To MB with love: spherical solar collectors so sensitive they can generate energy from moonlight (173 comments)

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  •  Too Small (1+ / 0-)
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    I think it's pretty. And it's cool that it tracks the Sun so well, and amplifies to increase efficiency, and even collects a little energy from moonlight.

    But that sphere isn't very big. Its cross section looks like maybe a meter or two across. Spheres don't fit together like rectangular panels, especially not when mounted in a tracker like that. So the total incoming sunlight (or moonlight) isn't going to be much. Not for the price. Not compared to just cheap rectangular panels covering a roof.

    Regular panels get up to about 25% of sunlight into electricity, so the max efficiency increase is about 4x. Tracking adds a max of about 36% over a motionless flat panel. So about 5.5x better performance max. But it also looks like it would lose more than half the sunlight to unfilled area around the moving sphere, even if others were packed in close to it. And it looks at least 3x as expensive as flat panels, especially over a 30 year lifetime maintaining the moving tracker. So it's a loss.

    But it is pretty. Maybe it's good for places that flat panels would ruin aesthetically (though I like the way they look) and get some power out of the deal.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:46:40 PM PST

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