Space Technology Helps Double Efficiency In New Solar Panels | EnergyLink
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Space Technology Helps Double Efficiency In New Solar Panels

solar panels on satellite

Rapid Growth for the Solar Industry

The recent growth in the solar industry is a welcome one. The number of megawatts of renewable energy installed in the U.S. increased by almost 12 times over the last decade. At the same time, prices per watt for renewable energy have been going down rapidly. As of 2018, it cost $2.89 per watt to install renewable energy systems, which is less than half the price it was in 2010.

The solar industry is in a much-needed boom period. Several different advanced technologies have been emerging as of late. Companies like Tesla, Solgami, Sunrun, Insolight, and others are working diligently. Everything from solar-panel car roofs to reflective, energy-generating window blinds and more are emerging. Each technological advancement helps the next in continuously furthering the capabilities of renewable energy.

Insolight is a renewable energy start-up recently founded by three former students of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Recently, Insolight promised to nearly double the amount of energy efficiency produced by standard residential solar panels. While still only an outline, their plan is a truly brilliant one that utilizes a combination of existing technologies to increase the efficiency of solar panels further.

What makes them believe whole-heartedly in such a bold statement? Their technology is out of this world.

Space Technology Doubles Solar Panel Efficiency

Unlike typical solar panels, Insolight’s photovoltaic system utilizes extremely small solar cells that are generally used to power satellites out in space. However, these cells are still costly. So, to circumvent the priciness of using these space-age solar cells, Insolight cleverly constructed a sheet of hexagonal optic lenses to rest on top of the solar cells.

These lenses focus the light collected directly onto each of the solar cells by a staggering factor of 100. Therefore, the solar cells themselves can be spaced out, increasing the total surface area to collect light to generate energy. The lenses even shift by a few millimeters each day to ensure the lenses stay aligned with and adequately focused on the space-grade solar cells.

Average market solar panels yield around 18%. Insolight claims these photovoltaic solar panels will yield over 29%. During the team’s testing, Insolight actually yielded a whopping 36% with these new hybrid solar cells. However, the yield percentage lowered to just over 29% after restructuring the technology for mass consumer use. The Institute of Solar Energy at the Technical University of Madrid confirmed these claims through their own testing of the Insolight system.

Overall, Insolight asserts that they can cut energy bills by 30% with their new panels. They plan on moving forward with production soon, as they are currently in talks with several companies to help mass produce them. Insolight plans on a product launch come 2022.

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