Holographic Light Collector Improves Solar Panel Efficiency
The Sun's energy is 10,000 times more than what we require to meet the world's energy needs. Solar cells are used for several decades to capture solar energy to produce electricity. They are fixed to a panel and the panel is covered by a protective glass. They work efficiently only when certain colours in the spectrum fall upon it. Some portion of the panel is needed to connect the cells but the shape of the cell makes the remaining panel area insufficient to harness enough sunlight.
As an answer to this, an innovative technique to trap the unused solar energy that falls on a solar panel is developed. Unique holograms are developed to install in the solar panel set, which would increase the rate of solar energy conversion by five percent. Each of these breaks the colors of sunlight and channels them to the solar cells thereby increasing the rate of energy conversion, leading to the reduction in cost and number of panels.
This low cost sustainable design was proposed by PhD student Jianbo Zhao under the guidance of Raymond K. Kostuk, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and optical sciences. The holographic light collector merges a low-cost holographic optical element with a diffuser and the optical element is positioned symmetrically at the center of the photovoltaic module to collect the maximum light. This technique would create a huge impact considering 100s of gigawatts of photovoltaics installed globally. After successfully demonstrating this technique with a low-cost material based on gelatin the chance of using synthetic versions as an alternative is anticipated.
Citation: SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics. "Holograms increase solar energy yield." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210525160839.htm>
- PRIYANKA IYER