Instructables

Magnifying Lens and Solar Panels!

 Would a magnifying glass/lens increase the amount of solar energy to a solar panel/cell?
or would it just block the rays? i'm a bit confused because people haven't done it before and because people put glass (and silicon) in front of solar cells all the time.

framistan4 years ago
Yes that would work to double or triple the light hitting the cell by using either magnifying lenses or reflective mirrors.  If you double the sunlight hitting the cell, this is called TWO SUNS. or 2S.  and 3S is triple the sunlight.   The problem is when solar cells get HOT they become less efficient. And if they get TOO HOT.. their lifespan is greatly reduced or they burn out.  The GOOD news is this heat can be collected and carried away to heat your hot water tank or to heat your house!  But this is a design problem because the solar cell must be kept reasonably cool (not overheated) at all times. so in the summer, you dont need to heat your house, and maybe your watertank is hot enough.  NOW what do you do with the extra heat coming off the THREE SUN solar cell????  
Houdinipeter (author)  framistan4 years ago
 ok thanks. i wonder about easy thermal energy..   The water heating idea definitely contributes to the quest for using a giant fresnel lens for cheap alternate energy, so far i've only thought of steam engines (which are quite expensive) and solar panels.
Using water cooling is an obvious idea I had't thought of before....Anyone offering solar concentrated cells and waterheating in one package ?

Steve
apulido12 years ago
ive heard of a lens made from water and plastic wrap... h20 Lens+ solar panel= more S so ass the water above and cycle it! you could use that water to heat a wall or some how steam which can turn a steam turbine for more electricity?
nmax12 years ago
another application that I have seen for magnifying glass is to actually create heat and make steam - here is how it is done - Fresnel Solar Power – Six Kilowatt System
dadra3 years ago
Water sometimes works as a magnifyer. Doesnt it? You could some how use water.
Re-design4 years ago
Your lens would have to be larger than the solar cell.  Otherwise it's only concentrating the available light into a smaller spot on the cell.  A bit of the cell might produce more power but the rest would produce less and you would end up with less power in the end.

If your cell was 2'x 2' and you used a lens that was 8' x 8' and the focused coverage was 2'x2', then it "might" produce more power.  It depends if the cell can handle the extra heat and if the cell is capable of producing extra power.  Not all of them can.  Some cells are at the max in direct sun light and won't benefit from extra excitement.

Course, I haven't studied this much and I'm just talking off the top of my head and someone who has studied this some will probably come along and correct my omissions/mistakes.

Good luck and don't look directly at the sun.
Houdinipeter (author)  Re-design4 years ago
 yeah i was mainly trying to think of a good way to use a giant fresnel lens for alternate energy. so i think they're be a good theoretical ratio.
smitec084 years ago
This sort of thing is being done, mainly (but not always) with morrors as opposed to lenses. have a read of the wiki entry for more info. there are two main types of this one which concentrates sunlight for the heat and the other for use with photovoltaic cells (found in solar panels). 

Another thing some plastic magnifying glasses may filter out UV light which could depending on the solar cell cause it to operate poorly (see second article)

So in answer to your question yes it would work.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_Photovoltaics#Concentrator_photovoltaics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectric