If there's one constant among the vast majority of solar panel designs, it's flatness; while solar panels can be equipped to tilt to follow the sun's path through the course of the day, there are still significant efficiency limitations to this basic design. V3Solar's rather elegant photovoltaic Spin Cell cones aim to address that, and their current prototype was recently third-party verified as capable of generating "over 20 times more electricity than a static flat panel with the same area of photovoltaic cells."
The V3 Spin Cell was developed through collaboration with industrial design team Nectar Design. The company believes that the Spin Cell could be a game-changer in its market. On their website V3 explains that if one places a 20x solar concentration on a flat, static solar panel then “the temperature quickly reaches 260 degrees F, the solder melts within ten seconds, and the PV fails. With the same concentration on the Spin Cell, the temperature never exceeds 95 degrees F.”
The one meter-diameter cones feature a layer of hundreds of triangular photovoltaic cells positioned at an angle of 56 degrees, encased in a “static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator.” The photovoltaic cone spins with the assistance of a “small amount” of its own solar-generated power which feeds a Maglev system, intended to reduce the noise generated by the cones as well as any required maintenance.
While an “array” of V3’s Spin Cell’s can occupy a very small space, relative to conventional flat panels, V3 has also conceived of a “Power Pole,” to support even greater even solar power generation in a small space, the designers explain “This is a pole that holds 10 Spin Cells, or 10KWp, in a footprint of 10 SF. The spin cells are placed with mathematical precision to make sure no Spin Cell shades another. This not only creates significantly great power density, but also removes the concern of floods and mitigates the environmental impact.”
Additionally, V3 hopes that with the dramatically reduced physical footprint of the solar cones, they might be able to “dramatically reduce the [total cost of ownership of solar farms] making more projects economically viable.” See one of the Spin Cones in action here.
Images © V3Solar