is it feasible to create a solar panel that could harness more of the suns energy than what they can now?
right now, you would need a suitable number of solar panels just to power 1 house & that can take up a lot of real estate. so my question is, is it feasible to create something that absorbs more of the suns energy like a magnet it would suck it up. the point of doing this would be so that we wouldnt need so much space & so many panels just to power 1 home for example.
i hope thats coherent.
- RudydooLv 69 years agoFavorite Answer
Hey Cuyahoga, interesting idea, vectoring photons. I suppose in the day of the first cathode ray tube, lots of people thought the idea of bending electron beams with magnetism was stupid, but here we are today watching the telly. We live in a wind and solar powered home today, has been for about 11 years now. We made plenty of mistakes and learned a great deal along the way. There are two things I've found that are in vast abundance in this field, sunshine, and misinformation. Lots of posts here talk about the enourmous real estate requirements of solar power, but it isn't true. Take an off the shelf panel that has been in production for at least 10 years, like the Kyocera KC-120 model. It produces 120 watts in midday sun at 60 degrees F. It measures about 20 inches wide by 58 inches long, giving it a surface area of about 11 square feet. Like most multicrystal panels, it produces about 10 or 11 watts per square foot. If you had a modest starter home in the United States, say 1500 square feet, but it was 2 story, so it only had a foot print of 750 sf, and only half the roof faced south, about 400 sf, that 400 sf of roof would hold almost 5000 watts of panels. That would produce enough to run the entire home and half the neighbors.
Our home might serve as another example, it is only 1250 sf, but our entire 1.4 kw solar array fits nicely on the roof of our one car carport with a little space to spare. Our panels are about 11 percent efficient. Sun Power makes the most efficient models today, approaching 19 % efficiency, but here is the deal. A 11 % efficient panel that produces 200 watts might cost you $800 USD. A Sun Power 19 % panel that produces 200 watts might cost closer to $1400, but both make the same amount of power. The Sun Power panel just does it with less space. Unless you live in Uptown Manhattan, space is not an issue when powering a home, so why spend so much money on a smaller panel that runs the same refrigerator. Most owners and installers have figured this out already, and you don't see very many Sun Power panels installed today simply because of the cost. I would personally love to see smaller more efficient panels, it would open up new opportunities for solar power, but at present it just costs too much to do much with it. Space is not really an issue. It comes into discussions when people talk of replacing a large coal or nuclear plant with solar, you'll need megawatts of panels, which would take up tons of space, but not as much as all the homes they would be powering. If we just put the panels on the houses, we wouldn't need the nuke plant or the huge solar array, the space would just be woods and pasture instead. In America, it's usually the big solution that gets the most attention because in America, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." I don't recall who said if first, but if fits.
There are other ways to harness more of the suns power to make electricity however, we can do it thermally. Google the phrase, "North African Solar Project," and check out the links to see what the Germans are doing in the Sahara. The concentrators there use the suns heat, not just the photons, to heat oil to hundreds of degrees, which will heat water into steam and run turbines. The array, when it is completed, will run all of Europe. Maybe a little overdone, but it's still a good idea. Take care, RudydooSource(s): Solar Energy International, Solarenergy.org Home Power Magazine, Homepower.com Midwest Renewable Energy Association MREA.ORG
- Anonymous9 years ago
we are near the edge of what is physically possible for solar power. You only get so many photons per area you know...and much of this is lost in entropy.
Solar panels today are over 80% as efficient as what could ever be theoretically possible. No you will never get an easy solution to the land problem.
lol what invisible talker suggests about using a black hole i suppose could be a way to increase the photons per area...but you would get much mroe power by using the tidal forces produced by a black hole than solar power heh...not to mention your panels will get sucked in...and whatever energy they produce wont be able to escape the black hole and power anything outside.
- AranthealLv 79 years ago
No, it's not possible to make solar panels that suck in photons like a magnet.
In current physics, the only way to do that would be to make a near-black-hole-like structure that sucks photons in due to its high gravity. Not only would that be prohibitively expensive and currently technologically impossible, it would destroy its surrounding area.
Edit: idlenesss - My whole point is that increasing the photons-per-area is currently impossible, and that's what the question was about.
- Anonymous9 years ago
If you're asking whether we can make more efficient solar panels, the answer is obviously yes.
Solar panel efficiency has been slowly but surely increasing every year, although the theoretical limit is being approached (but has not yet quite been reached) by crystalline silicon devices.
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- Anonymous9 years ago
Of course,in fact I read somewhere that they are studying butterfly scales or something because they are better than man-made solar cells.Whether or not this book was lying I don't know.