Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Nov 11

Cheap Energy with New Solar Device

Posted in Energy Inventions | Future Technology | Solar Power

Solar Energy Device Researchers and scientists are putting on endless effort to make the sources of energy clean and green. There are many devices in the market that run on solar energy. The alternative energy atmosphere is charged with anticipation and excitement. But till now one of the biggest dampeners in green energy scenario is the prices. Fossil fuels are available cheaply all over the world. But solar, wind, geothermal or biofuels are still expensive and out of reach of commoners.

The University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mirror Lab has paid attention to this particular aspect. They have produced the first prototype of a solar device that will hopefully not be outrageously priced. The device’s inventor Roger Angel’s expectations will ultimately generate electricity from the sun at a price akin to the cheapest fossil fuels. That’s what manufacturer and consumer both want. Every manufacturer aims for profit and all end users want to save money.

Roger Angel’s prototype makes use of mirrors. These mirrors are arranged in such a way that 21 segments form an array in a parabola on a lightweight aluminum frame. This arrangement helps in focusing the sun’s light on a small solar cell. Its first prototype is supposed to be shipped next week to Raytheon Missile Systems. This design could be used to build portable solar generators for battlefield deployment. This fact is reveled by Eric Betterton. He is a UA professor of atmospheric sciences and he is also the principal investigator for the project.

The prototype costs around about $300,000 to engineer and assemble, with its mirrors forged individually in the mirror lab and hand-coated. This project is undertaken by the UA with grants from Science Foundation Arizona. Angel who is the Mirror Lab’s founder and director, said the device uses only about $200 worth of glass and ultimately could be mass-produced for $1,500. It is estimated that at that price, the device would produce energy for $1 a watt. This is as cheap as coal-burning electrical plants.

  • slaps

    If I can buy one for a dollar a watt, that would be excellent. The capacity is reasonable for a house. It sure would look funny on my roof, though.

  • joelsk44039

    Not only would it look funny, it still wouldn’t work when the sun is low on the horizon or during night hours. It also won’t work on cloudy days.

    Solar and wind power will remain non-dispatchable for the indeterminate future. Utilities cannot afford to have more than 12% to 15% of their capacity tied to these technologies, because the spot market replacement costs of power during cloudy, night time, windless or very windy days would bankrupt them.

  • Abdul Munaf

    According to the US Department of Energy, PV systems now represent less than 1% of the world energy production. The developing world, where 44 percent of people live with no electricity, could soon be one of the biggest markets for solar power

    With our soft concentrators solar panels we can offer double energy output compared to any existing technology. Our technology represent the latest advancements in solar module technology, and are rapidly driving the cost of solar electricity to rates comparable with traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources.

    We’ve developed solar panels concentration technology by naturally increasing Earth surface reflection.

  • diamondjane

    Eventually, solar panel pricing will go down. Everything when first introduced, is usually high, when the demand goes up, the price goes down. I look forward to the features of solar.

  • paul

    I live in South Florida down close to the beach. The Sun shines a lot here. I priced a solar panel system for our home and it was around $35,000. It would take a long time for me to recoup that cost. I really hope this technology will be affordable soon.

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