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SOLAR BALLOONS: CoolEarth gets $21 Million in Funding

Posted By Jorge Chapa On March 3, 2008 @ 4:46 am In Environment,Renewable Energy,Solar Power | 7 Comments

Solar Balloons, CoolEarth gets $21 Million in Funding, CoolEarth Solar Balloon technology, solar energy, photovoltaic balloons, CoolEarth solar, COOLearth, solar balloons, clean energy balloons, solar power, photovoltaics, concentrated solar technology, concetrated photovoltaic technology [1]

It’s easy to mistake these buoyant solar panels from CoolEarth [2] for a child’s balloons caught in a power line, but these shiny floating photovoltaic panels are scientist’s latest attempt at getting the highest possible efficiency out of a solar cell with the fewest materials. The Solar Balloon’s light material and bowl-like shape allows for sunlight to be directed to its center without having to track the sun’s movement throughout the day.

The concentrated solar collectors direct the sunlight to a solar panel, regardless of where the sun is in the sky, instead of trying to track the moving sun. The eight foot balloon is divided into two parts, with one half made out of a polished mirror-like material and the other of a transparent polymer. The spherical shape of the balloon ensures that as long as the sun is shining upon it, that sunlight will be concentrated towards the solar cell.

CoolEarth [2] claims that by using this technology, they can get the cost of solar power to a level similar to that of natural gas. The balloons aren’t meant for personal use, as the size makes them unwieldy for most urban uses. The company is exploring locating them around farmland, where the open fields would allow the installation of a large number of them. CoolEarth has just gotten about $21 million in funding so expect to hear more news from them soon.

+ CoolEarth Solar Balloons [2]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/solar-balloons-coolearth-gets-21-million-in-funding/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/03/03/balloons-to-collect-solar-power/

[2] CoolEarth : http://www.coolearthsolar.com/

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