If you’re keen into reading about new technologies, it’s easy to notice developments all around the world taking place by the day, if not by the hour. The renewable energy sector has been no exception – New gadgets and unique ways to harness energy are making the wildest dreams of today become the legitimate possibilities of tomorrow.
Despite most recent technological advances, if you’re familiar with solar energy it’s easy to find articles validating that the greatest vice of the industry is its inability to compete with the costs and efficiencies of energy mainstays like oil, coal, and natural gas.
With that said, V3Solar is claiming to have created a new solar device that will not only compete with big energy, but the levelized costs of energy (LCOE) will be “two-thirds the price of retail electricity and over 3 times cheaper than current solar technology’. This is a “conservative” estimate, as independent consultant Bill Rever confidently puts it, but tests show the new device is achieving 8 cents per kilowatt hour of generation. On a larger scale, if 8 cents per kWh becomes attainable for solar energy, it would silence the pundits who express discontent about the sector receiving a substantial amount of tax breaks and exemptions that currently aid solar companies.
Because it’s dubbed the ‘Spin Cell,’ most can probably guess one part of what makes the new device so special. The rotating motion of the device works to keep it cool, much like a summer breeze hitting our skin to prevent us from overheating. As a result, its performance is impossible for a regular panel to match. In fact, one photovoltaic (PV) cell can handle a concentration of energy equal to 30 suns, improving the efficiency of the PV by 20% over most standard panels. As V3Solar’s informational video says, “we make the photons dance!”
The Spin Cell also has one more trick up its sleeve – it’s not a flat panel. Their report states, “For too long, the world believed solar was flat…[but] using specialized lensing and a rotating, conical shape, the Spin Cell can concentrate the sunlight…with no head degradation.” In other words, a huge advantage the Spin Cell has over its flat counterparts is its “additive effect of sunlight,” or the ability of the sun to hit the panels from infinite angles, creating a multiplier effect that results in better performance. In comparison, most standard panels are limited by their angle, missing out on the time the sun doesn’t directly face it. (Unless the panels have tracking systems, which are very expensive)
Another huge factor in the Spin Cell’s favor is that the sun can ‘hit’ part of the solar cone practically anytime it shines. Its three-dimensional design eliminates idle time when the sun isn’t hitting an angled panel, further augmenting its effectiveness.
Truth be told, they simply look very attractive too; see for yourselves below. Just imagine the aesthetic possibilities of these. Being only a meter across in size, cities could place one atop every street light, making them self-sufficient, for example.
If the performance calculations hold up under real world settings and if they can make the cones fast enough, it appears V3Solar could be on the verge of something unprecedented. “We simply put a new spin on solar to bring light to the world,” V3Solar’s informational video concludes, and as of now that’s a tough point to contend.