The ideal situation is that solar panels are as economical as creating electricity by the traditional fossil fuel methods. Unfortunately this has not yet happened but the signs remain strong that we are heading in the right direction.
As the various solar power technologies continue to develop and more ways are being discovered to generate power from the sun we are drawing closer to parity between solar power and fossil fuels.
One of the favourite pastimes of those in the solar energy materials industry is to develop ways in which the existing technology can be boosted to enhance or magnify the way in which solar power is generated.
One of the latest ideas draws from the way in which a magnifying glass concentrates the sunlight down into a hotter point of light. Anyone who has started a fire by passing sunlight through a magnifying glass will be aware that this method intensifies the heat from the sun to a large degree. A California company called HyperSolar has developed a type of magnifying technology in the form of a magnifying sheet.
This sheet acts like there are millions of tiny magnifying glasses lying on top of the solar panel. Each of these magnifiers intensifies the heat and directs it so that it doesn’t burn the solar panel, which is one of the problems that may be encountered when attempting to intensify heat.
When the bulk of the cost of photovoltaic solar panels comes in the silicon cells, having the capability of creating solar panels that rely on fewer cells and less silicon means that the cost of solar power will be reduced.
The HyperSolar sheets would not be used instead of existing solar panels, they would be used in conjunction with them to help in reducing the cost of manufacturing them. This appears on the surface to be an innovation with lots of potential. Let’s hope it gets past the early stages and helps to make solar energy a far more economical alternative so we can all benefit.