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Thread: Solar panels surface area and efficiency

  1. #1 Solar panels surface area and efficiency 
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    I just intrigued to know whether, for example, if 1sq meter of light was passed through a lens so the same intensity occupied say 5sq meters, which then was incident on 5sq meters of solar panel, would the 5sq meters of panel create more electrical energy than if just the original 1sq meter of light hit 1sq meter of panel?

    Obviously the same amount of light energy is being transferred, but solar panels are very inefficient so having a greater surface area may in theory increase energy yield.

    Thanks

    Will


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  3. #2  
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    I don't see any advantage to that. You would need 5 times as many solar panels to catch the same amount of light. Each square meter of solar panel is only collecting 1/5 as much light so your efficiency is going way down.


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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    No. The Power output of a Solar panel is related to its efficiency times its square area times the irradiance of the light hitting it. Irradiance is measured in Watts per meter≤ If you spread the light over 5 times as much area, you reduce its irradiance by a factor of 5, which means you need five times the area of solar panels to get the same power output.

    All "diluting" the light does is require more solar panel surface area to get the same power output.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    It should also be noted that in some cases they've used lenses to do exactly the opposite, since lenses can be cheaper than solar panels (though that might be changing).
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  6. #5 Surface area 
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    So if power output is proportional to surface area why aren't solar panels curved to increase surface area?
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  7. #6 Re: Surface area 
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    Quote Originally Posted by 28rain
    So if power output is proportional to surface area why aren't solar panels curved to increase surface area?
    Power is proportional to surface area because more surface area collects more light, If you increase the surface area by making it curved, it does not collect more light, so there is no advantage to it.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Lenses are being studied but not in the way you propose. The idea is to apply a film to the front face of the panel that diffracts the incoming sun light to change its angle of incidence on the panel, thus increasing the path length of rays passing through the cell. This has been tested at NREL with a claimed efficiency improvement in the range of 10% although I havenít seen any NREL report confirming this claim.
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