Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jul 20

Colorful Glass Delivers Massive Solar Energy Boost

Posted in Energy Inventions | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power

Colorful Glass Solar Panels Now the extinction of conventional energy sources are not oh so distant future happenings, scientists are working overtime to generate alternative clean energy sources. Researchers all over the world are trying to improve upon the shortcomings of non conventional energy sources. We know that sunlight energy is captured by solar panels and then this energy gets transformed into electricity for our use. Efforts are continuously on to improve the existing solar panels and trap as much solar energy as is possible and minimize the loss.

In the 70s researchers were trying to use colored solar panels to capture maximum sunlight, contain it and ultimately transform it into electricity. But what happened really was loss-absorption-reemission cycle. Once the sunlight is trapped inside, it again can be reabsorbed by another dye molecule on its exit. If more of the sunlight found its way out of the glass panel and lost then naturally the convertible efficiency would be low. Scientists are concerned with sunlight transmitted to the edge of the glass panel. Until now there has been no viable solution to this persistent problem.

Now scholars at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to trap maximum sunlight into solar panels and improve its much needed efficiency and take care of the esthetically inclined consumers who don’t want to see the same glass panel lining every rooftop in the area. This can be achieved by colored dyes mixed glass which can direct sunlight to the edge of the glass in a cost effective and practical way. The MIT researchers are using “solar concentrators” — an improved version over the 70s era. These solar concentrators can grab the solar light and keep it too. The concentrator can send the light at a much longer distance than past models have achieved, shooting the energy straight into solar cells along the glass’s edge. The solar concentrator can produce 10 times more energy than what current systems can provide — and, it can achieve it at a fraction of the price. The MIT team is optimistic that the products could become commercially available within the next three years.

  • mki

    It is not so new invention. I believe in mid 80s when I was in high school, I read in some magazine about clear color plastic that if expose to light the edges glow. They show some decorative plates and cups that could be used in parties or other events.
    The name stack in my head as “LISA” or something like that.

  • Jay Hankins

    I wanted to mention that scale of economics is important. A technology must first develop to a point it can receive funding from a market source like stock markets, private investors or an angel investor then once funded make significant end roads into developing an economic enterprise that is it’s self sustainable. with solar roll to roll production methods seem to be along the lines of what can be utilized to reach massive scale of production necessary to achieve economics of scale. In other world we should be cranking out solar panels by the mile and chopping those down to fit our roofs. we should be incorporating solar into every single sheet of glass that goes into all our buildings. We should be building tracking arrays if there 30% more efficient and much easier to install bore one hole in the ground and cement in a support pole. besides the wiring and controls and these should evolve into a plug in module as well as at the meter should be retro graded to allow easy retro fitting of wires to and from the module. net metering made simple. the services told me half the cost of a solar installation is the installers (that too much)!!

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