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Combining The 5 Best Solar Technologies

I know there is a lot of red tape and patents that would make this impossible in the near future, but what if we could combine the 5 most effective solar technologies in the world and create a super solar collector that would be able to take care of our energy needs? I know it kinda sounds like Captain Planet, but I don’t think its too far out of reach. A few criteria have been taken into consideration. The super solar cell must be efficient, drive the cost down, and solve the problem of solar power at night. I know its a long shot, but here are my five picks.

1. In terms of the shape of the cell, I think Solyndra has it right in making cylindrical solar cells. They don’t have to be mounted at an angle. They can be mounted flat which saves installation costs and makes them more durable because they will be more wind resistant. They can collect both direct and diffuse light and stay cooler b/c there is space between each solar tube.

nanoantenae solar sheet

2. You had to have figured that nanotechnology would make its way into this idea…so instead of tubes wrapped in the copper-indium-gallium-selenide like the Solyndra solar tubes, they could be wrapped in the nanoantenae solar sheet created by the Idaho National Labs. These solar sheets have up to 80% of the available energy in light as opposed to the ~20% offered right now. It can absorb infrared energy as well which is given off by the sun, absorbed by the earth, and released later. This means it can collect energy at night, and it is flexible, so it can be wrapped on to the tubes.

3. We will then pull from the 12 year old William Yuan’s research into nanotubes and increase the absorbtion of light energy into the ultraviolet range. This will enable our super solar cell to absorb energy in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges which are both able to penetrate cloud cover. No need to worry about that rainy day, our super solar cell will do just fine.

Solyndra solar tubes

4. MIT researchers have come up with a way to combine solar and hydrogen power to store solar energy. It would split and recombine hydrogen and oxygen atoms within the fuel cell. This would help power homes at night when the nanoantenae solar cells are only collecting the radiant infrared light absorbed from the earth. The extra power would be needed at night b/c more lights are turned on and assuming we are all headed toward the electric car…our cars would need to be charged.

5. While our super solar cells are already efficient, they will still produce heat. So in order to increase efficiency once again, we will use technology from PVT Solar. This improves efficiency by focusing on the heat generated by the solar cells and converting into something useful. Underneath the solar tubes another system of tubes would exist to pump the hot air into the home or be used to heat water allowing the converted energy of the system to be used for electrical purposes.

All of these technologies are relatively inexpensive and would make it more affordable to the average person. It should be implemented on a home by home basis rather than be powered from a grid b/c it would prevent blackouts and we should be able to use and produce our own electricity. I don’t know that the government would allow everyone to disconnect from the grid and lose all the tax money that comes from the it but this is possible in the next 10 years. All the technology is available, and most of them should be available to the public in the next few years.

photo credit psy

via nytimes, cleantechnica, presskit

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