There are several aspects of current solar technologies that hold back their efficiency. For one, panels are usually mounted in a fixed position, meaning they are not always directly facing the sun. Some mounting systems use advanced tracking systems adjust their positions with the angle of the sun, but such units tend to be expensive. And heat is another factor that holds back efficiency. Most panels do not have an active cooling system and are therefore prevented from reaching peak efficiency as they heat up in sunlight.
V3 hopes its new design will help to solve both these issues. The V3 Solar Spin Cell uses several existing technologies, but combines them in a unique way to increase its efficiency.
V3 units are cone-shaped modules, unlike most flat solar panels, with PV cells arranged on the surface of the cone. The cones are set up to spin freely when in use. The units sit on top of magnets which allow them to spin with minimal resistance and using very little power. The spinning motion allows the photovoltaic cells on all sides of the cone to absorb photons from the sun, even if there is only sunlight on one side of the unit. This allows the Spin Cells to produce more electricity throughout the day, regardless of the angle of the sun.
And there’s a second advantage spinning design offers. The motion creates a constant breeze which helps to cool the Spin Cells. This self-cooling mechanism allows the cells to reach efficiency levels higher than conventional solar panels.
In fact, V3 Solar claims the efficiency per square meter of its units is 20X greater than conventional flat solar panels. And the company claims the units will not be prohibitively expensive, given the significant increase in efficiency.
Presumably the V3 Cells would be best suited to flat surfaces. But to pack more cells in a small amount of space, the company is offering a racking solution called the Power Pole, which is a pole that holds 10 Spin Cells in a vertically staggered arrangement, so the cells don’t shade each other. Looks sort of like a tree from an alien planet (see image at left).
Hopefully we will see these Spin Cells available for residential and commercial installs soon!