Charley Cameron

V3Solar's Spin Cell Cones Could Produce Electricity for the Insanely Low Cost of Eight Cents per kWh

by , 01/28/13

solar power, v3solar, v3 solar, solar cones, spin cell, solar efficiency, solar cost, solar PV cost, renewable energy LCOE

When V3Solar released information about their Spin Cell photovoltaic cones last year, the details already looked remarkably impressive; they have a smaller physical footprint than flat photovoltaic cells and the capacity to generate up to 20 times more energy for the same surface area. Now Clean Technica has estimates for the Levelized Cost of Electricity from these cones, and—if V3Solar’s calculations are correct—the Spin Cell could be truly revolutionary. Citing a “conservative” estimate, V3Solar states that the cones can generate electricity for eight cents per kWh. Not only is that radically cheaper than current averages for solar PV electricity—28 cents per kWh—but it’s two-thirds of the cost of current retail electricity.


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It’s important to note that V3Solar’s Spin Cell is still at the prototype stage, and one has to assume that some calculations will change as the product is refined and enters production. But speaking to Clean Technica, a source at V3 seemed optimistic, to say the least: “We are excited. We think we can go below that [8 cents/kWh], but we want to stay conservative.” Additionally, a third-party solar expert, Bill Rever, has conducted a technical analysis, and his findings support those of V3.

V3Solar explains that “using specialized lensing and a rotating, conical shape, the Spin Cell can concentrate the sunlight 30X onto one sun mono PV with no heat degradation,” which in turn lowers the Total Cost of Ownership and the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE). (For more on the technical specifications of the Spin Cell, see our previous post and V3Solar’s website). The Bill of Materials is somewhat higher—59 cents/Wp—for the Spin Cells due to “the magnets, the power electronics and the form factor,” but these costs are believed to be mitigated by increased production and the very low LCOE.

It all makes for an exciting prospect. The unusual and attractive form of the Spin Cells, combined with an innovative design that promises to massively enhance their efficiency was pretty appealing on its own. Now with the prospect of an LCOE so far below what we’ve seen in solar PV before, we can only assume that industry excitement around the product will grow further. And the excitement is already pretty high; Clean Technica reports that “V3Solar already has over 4 GW of requests for orders. To put that into perspective, the US currently has about 7 GW of installed solar power capacity.”

+ V3Solar

Via Clean Technica

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6 Comments

  1. Wolfgang Beaugrand July 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

    The cost of a residential (installed) 5 KW in the South East (Fla) is ~$3/w. $15.000 – 30% ITC = 10.500. Now you divide the production (PC Watts)for the complete system by the initial cost and you get the price per kWh.

    The production number is depending on the Manufacturers power output guarantees and the cost per kWh varies between 8 cents to 12 cents per kWh and not 28. Unless you are purchasing an installed product for $6/w which just means that you did not compare prices enough.

  2. Keef Wivaneff February 20, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Horseplop!

  3. Nick Thompson February 5, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Out of curiosity, when you say insanely low price of 8 cents, there are a couple things wrong there. It hasn’t been built and tested so its impossible to know the cost yet, and insanely low? For what? Solar? Geothermal, especially with all the advances in lower temperature geotherm is half that cost already built and proven. Interesting design, but not sure about the tech. Would like to see some actual testing and info.

  4. Kenwa d'Arc February 1, 2013 at 8:28 am

    can it see?

  5. Greg Blonder January 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Sadly, this idea is fundamentally flawed. The cone leaves half the solar cells in the shade, and about a third of the cells in the front are tilted away from the sun, so much of the energy glances off. i estimate only 1/6th of the solar cells are active at any one time. True, spinning will cool the cells and increase efficiency a bit, but so would a fan and heat sink on a flat panel. Costs will definitely be higher than dumb flat panels. And flat panels that are adjusted only twice a year to match the summer/winter tilt of the Earth’s axis will blow it away.

  6. bthinker bthinker January 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Must have got the same notice I got today. Read the report. I knew when I first saw V3 that it was finally a solution to solar, so I followed them, even posted on my hope for success(And offered advise they didn’t follow up on, shame shame for them). Nectar design should make this a realization. I see it hitting at least 10-11 cents before production. Still it’s what I plan to use 2 years from now on my bioshelter of the future. :)
    On a side note, today’s been covered in great news for me. Like the universe is coming into sync. I’d really like to see them go into production with their 30x concentrated model, estimate it the best stable course of action. For if a 50x model part ever fails it with fry before you dismount it for repairs. I’d really like to see them pair it with a something beyond common PV, maybe Double or Tripple juction, or even make a much larger model using IBM’s CZTS on the industrial end. Hopefully Nectar weighs all the avenues when searching for a price and material optimization.

    Moderator, If you would, Remove the prior posts I conjoined. Thanks.

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