Author Topic: Improving solar panel output  (Read 142 times)

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Offline DaleReid

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Improving solar panel output
« on: August 10, 2020, 08:15:22 AM »
Would it help with the output of a solar panel (some smaller for our devices) to put some reflectors around the panel to increase the brightness and amount of energy falling on the panel rather than the expense of replacing one with a larger panel?  One could get a bigger storage battery for those less-sunny days.

I've seen old movies where people are trying to hasten their tan by lying on the beach with some metalized cardboard things they were holding around their face.  I've certainly felt the heat and squinted my eyes when I've walked in front of a bright aluminum surface, and wonder if the extra energy would be helpful in putting more current out of the panel?

I know the setup would collect leaves, and certainly snow and such,and the placement of the panels would be less than optimal as the sun angle would change and all, but I wonder if this has been tried and worth a bit of experimentation?
Dale
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Offline miraculon

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Re: Improving solar panel output
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2020, 08:26:17 AM »
Either that or a big Fresnel lens..  :shock:
Maybe it would toast the solar panel, though.

Greg H.


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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Improving solar panel output
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2020, 08:53:45 AM »
Greg, well, I thought of that, too.  Remember the experiemental setup in the SW a couple decades ago where steerable mirrors were set up to reflect great quantities of sunlight onto a tower where some way to harvest the heat was set up, not EV panels, but if my feeble brain cells recall, even molten sodium like inside some power plants?

There was a story, perhaps apocryphal, of birds flying along and getting near the focal point and bursting into roast squab in a hurry.

I'm not sure how solar panels are made and if the chemistry/physics behind them mean they are about at their maximum for just incoming solar radiation, or there is a long ways to go if you could get brighter light on it.  I know the 1400 watts/meter/meter is, again if I recall correctly, the incident value at the upper atmosphere.  I wonder if they use different solar panels on spacecraft where higher intensity and a different bandwidth of energy hits them, without atmospheric attenuation.

I have a couple of the little solar panels that are supposed to be used to keep car batteries charged when they are parked for awhile.  I might try to set up a little volt/ammeter test to see what shining a refection from a piece of cardboard wrapped in tinfoil would do.

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