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.
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.”
Via Clean Technica