Introduction: Increasing Solar Cell Efficiency

Picture of Increasing Solar Cell Efficiency

The purpose is not to buy extra stuff, to use recycled materials or lowest cost possible to get MORE POWER!

NRG!!

So this is an example of how much you can gain with a little cardboard and foil.

Simple solar concentrator construction.

Also, its foldable so you can have a lot of power that can be carried around.

Step 1: Cells

Picture of Cells

The purpose is to have the same cells, the same system, but more power.

The first thing is to make sure you have room for the increased area. The finished product takes more room than the cells used to, and will not gather light at very sharp sideways angles, but when it does gather light, it will be up to 50-80% more intensity.

Step 2: Size

Picture of Size

You can adjust the height or width of the cardboard and foil to adjust for certain weather or sun patterns.

More foil is better, so getting more complicated such as parabolic cardboard might help a little more, but flat was great for a large increase anyway.

If you need to be portable, this is great because it folds up, you could make it larger or smaller. Depending on the cells.

If it needs to be weatherproof, using enamel or other waterproofing spray after you finished building works great.

Step 3: Cut

Picture of Cut

The pictures explain it hopefully.

Step 4: Shape and Fold

Picture of Shape and Fold

Using the zip ties in this fashion allows you to adjust the strength and if you leave it a little looser it can be folded back down for storage.

Comments

teaMJPx (author)2014-10-10

Awesome thought man! I'm getting my solar panel in a few days and was already thinking on how to make it more productive. I will definitely try this!

Mjtrinihobby (author)teaMJPx2014-11-19

Hi,

Not to put down the idea of a fellow hobbyist, I would not recommend using solar collectors on photovoltaic cells. The additional heat generated will decrease their efficiency and shorten their service life. This is why the vast majority of photovoltaic installations have oem panels without any sort of solar collector.

My home is solar powered and i personally have spent a significant amount of money on the panels alone and would never risk the damage from that collector idea.

MJ.

ranjeevm (author)Mjtrinihobby2015-02-21

Yes... not recommended at all. You point this contraption directly to the sun anywhere around the tropics or the equator and the solar cell will be fried probably in hours.

chrisayad (author)ranjeevm2015-03-01

If it is in direct sunlight you do not need the concentrators, as it is already in full sun.
You will most likely use this if you are in the shade.

Unless you want maximum efficiency....

If you used a thermal stage you could cool the panels and generate power from the excess heat. Instead of just slapping panels alone up there and being satisfied.

Jack Rodgers (author)2014-10-12

How about heat? Solar cookers use foil and generate a lot of heat.

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-10-04

Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

chrisayad (author)2014-10-04

The total increase in power in full sun is about 30-50%

The total increase in power from indirect sun is 50-80%

You just point it towards a bright spot or window and it will collect a LOT compared to a naked cell.

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