MIT has developed a new solar panel that uses a 3D accordian shape to provide a huge amount of square footage on a small footprint.
The MIT team initially used a computer algorithm to explore an enormous variety of possible configurations, and developed analytic software that can test any given configuration under a whole range of latitudes, seasons and weather. Then, to confirm their model’s predictions, they built and tested three different arrangements of solar cells on the roof of an MIT laboratory building for several weeks.
While the cost of a given amount of energy generated by such 3-D modules exceeds that of ordinary flat panels, the expense is partially balanced by a much higher energy output for a given footprint, as well as much more uniform power output over the course of a day, over the seasons of the year, and in the face of blockage from clouds or shadows.
With easy installation and a modern, yet functional shape, these new solar cells will probably come down in price quickly, and be powering your local street corner, or modern art expo before you know it. Head to the original article for more details.