New material could radically reduce solar power cost

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The combination of a new material and a low-cost tracking system could actualize the potential of concentrated solar power.

According to Glint Photonics, a startup funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), the new material in question has adaptive optical properties that allows it to capture a greater amount of incoming sunlight. This greatly diminishes the cost of a tracking system that some types of solar power utilize – which in turn halves the cost of solar power.

Glint’s light concentrator is comprised of two parts: a collection of cheap, thin lenses that concentrate sunlight; and a glass sheet whose purpose is to concentrate that light even further – up to 500 times.

The front and back of the sheet are coated with reflective materials. The front is the new, Glint-made adaptive substance. When concentrated light from the series of lenses hits the material, it increases in heat, putting a stop to its reflectivity. This enables the light to penetrate the glass sheet. The other parts of the material stay reflective, which helps to trap said light within the glass. The light bounces around until it makes its way to the edge of the glass, where a mounted solar cell generates electricity.

According to Glint GEO Peter Kozodoy, the device could provide solar power for four cents per kilowatt-hour. Conventional solar panels cost eight cents per kilowatt-hour.

Via [Mashable]

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  • Chris Wilson

    This is hardly a new idea. This was initially invented in Israel a few years ago and was published.