Environment

V3Solar puts a new spin on PV efficiency

V3Solar puts a new spin on PV ...
V3Solar has developed a cone-shaped solar energy harvester that is claimed to generate over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics
V3Solar has developed a cone-shaped solar energy harvester that is claimed to generate over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics
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A Spin Cell prototype recently underwent third party testing where it was verified as being capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a static flat panel with the same area of photovoltaic cells
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A Spin Cell prototype recently underwent third party testing where it was verified as being capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a static flat panel with the same area of photovoltaic cells
V3Solar has developed a cone-shaped solar energy harvester that is claimed to generate over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics
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V3Solar has developed a cone-shaped solar energy harvester that is claimed to generate over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics
Up to 17 units can also be erected on a Power Pole, where Spin Cells are vertically and horizontally arranged to avoid negative shadow effects while minimizing the installation's footprint
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Up to 17 units can also be erected on a Power Pole, where Spin Cells are vertically and horizontally arranged to avoid negative shadow effects while minimizing the installation's footprint
The DC produced by the panels runs to the magnets in the base ring, and as these pass magnets in the stator ring AC is produced
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The DC produced by the panels runs to the magnets in the base ring, and as these pass magnets in the stator ring AC is produced
The V3 Spin Cell actually features two cones, one made up of hundreds of triangular PV cells and a static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator comprising a series of interlocking rings and a number of tubular lenses spaced equally around the outside surface
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The V3 Spin Cell actually features two cones, one made up of hundreds of triangular PV cells and a static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator comprising a series of interlocking rings and a number of tubular lenses spaced equally around the outside surface

For the vast majority of those looking to harvest energy from the sun to satisfy domestic or business electricity needs, the photovoltaic world is a static and flat one. Even many large scale solar farms feature row upon row of rigid panels, although there may at least be some movement as the panels follow the path of the sun as it moves across the sky. V3Solar's Spin Cell is a little different. It's claimed to be capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel with the same area of PV cells thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics.

The V3 Spin Cell actually features two cones, one made up of hundreds of triangular PV cells and a static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator comprising a series of interlocking rings and a number of tubular lenses spaced equally around the outside surface. According to V3Solar (previously Solarphasec), the Spin Cell's cone has been set at an angle of 56 percent to enable capture of the sun's light at more angles than flat PV panels, which negates the need for separate tracking systems and also accommodates the different angles of the sun throughout the year.

The DC produced by the panels runs to the magnets in the base ring, and as these pass magnets in the stator ring AC is produced
The DC produced by the panels runs to the magnets in the base ring, and as these pass magnets in the stator ring AC is produced

The lenses concentrate light on the PV cells beneath and by spinning the inner cone, the excessive heat problems often associated with static systems that use lenses or mirrors to focus the light in one area are avoided. The PV layer is continuously cycled in and out of the concentrated light, creating a dynamic shutter and flash rate strobe effect that excites the electrons in what's described as a perfectly timed dance of light.

"Imagine holding your hand steady beneath a magnifying glass," says V3Solar. "The heat would build up to a point of discomfort, even pain. Now imagine moving your hand back and forth below the magnifying glass. You still receive the same light, but very little heat."

V3 SOLAR PROTOTYPE

"The spin is powered by a small amount of electricity that comes from the sun," V3Solar's Chief Marketing Officer Robert Styler told Gizmag. "It only requires one amp because the unit floats on magnets, there is almost no resistance, and the magnets are arranged to push the spin forward. The rate of spin is controlled by electronic feedback loops to maximize production."

"The panels produce DC, which runs to the magnets in the base ring. As these spin past the magnets in the stator ring, AC is produced ... just like a standard generator. It is then conditioned through the power electronics to be grid ready. We can also produce DC with the flick of a switch if that is required."

The V3 Spin Cell actually features two cones, one made up of hundreds of triangular PV cells and a static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator comprising a series of interlocking rings and a number of tubular lenses spaced equally around the outside surface
The V3 Spin Cell actually features two cones, one made up of hundreds of triangular PV cells and a static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator comprising a series of interlocking rings and a number of tubular lenses spaced equally around the outside surface

The company has just announced that a Spin Cell prototype recently underwent third party testing where it was verified as being capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a static flat panel with the same area of photovoltaic cells. The test involved wirelessly connecting the module to data loggers which recorded information on such things as heat, revolution speed, and output.

It was also found that the layer of PV cells never exceeded 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35°C), and determined that the module would perform indefinitely at 20 times concentration. More tests are scheduled to analyze performance at 40, 50 and 75 times light concentration levels.

V3Solar has recently joined forces with Nectar Design to complete the engineering and commercial design of its one meter high and one meter wide Spin Cell module, and has just secured its first licensing agreement to supply 800,000 Spin Cell units for a large solar farm.

Source: V3 Solar

V3Solar has produced the following video explaining its Spin Cell technology:

V3 Solar Cell

36 comments
Udhaya Kumar
That is simply wonderful, Exactly what I had in mind It mimics a Pyramid. If pyramids don't cast shadow then that made one efficient solar power generator. Thumbs up!
christopher
spilling electrons? "power electronics"? transferred to... magnets? It's like someone grabbed every cliche from every bogus power scam ever fabricated, and spun it all into one new scam (pardon my pun). The one number they mention: "one amp because the unit floats on magnets" triggered my "bulsh#tometer"... if it's floating on magnets, it's as near as practicable to frictionless, thus would never need anywhere near a whole amp (which isn't even the right unit of measurement).
Morgan Jones
That's very interesting technology, but what about cost? Solyndra's cylinder shaped PVs were supposed to revolutionize solar and look where they are now. Unless this technology can compete with Chinese panels in terms of cost per watt, I don't see this succeeding.
nutcase
I see daleks. The "spin-cells" are aptly named if you look at their website, which contains a fair bit of spin and not much about price and availability.
yrag
Well I hope they're capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel! Look at how complex they are—that means they're much more expensive to built, set up, maintain AND repair. I'm not suggesting that the technology is not good—maybe it's great—I don't know enough about it, but complexity DOES has some real down sides and costs.
Tysto
This looks like another scheme that creates outrageous power by using outrageous numbers of solar panels in the same footprint. Still, I like the idea of moving the cells past the concentrator; that seems like a viable way to avoid heat build up.
Synchro
Count me in with Christopher: I'm not convinced. Spinning the cone means it's out of the sun 50% of the time. The sun delivers a consistent W/m^2 so in order to get 20x the energy input, you need to be collecting from 20x the area (see http://www.gizmag.com/hypersolar-concentrators-could-boost-solar-panel-light-input/17914/), but on this generator, the concentrator appears to be about the same size as the panels, and covers them, so anywhere it's concentrating the energy to is being taken from elsewhere on the panel, giving a best case of zero gain (unless the cells have higher efficiency at higher input levels). Putting the whole thing under a closed dome seems like a good way of increasing heat build-up rather than reducing it, and the smaller size means it's harder to dissipate it - it's much easier to dissipate the heat from a flat panel. The only way I can see this working is if they have PV cells that are 20x more efficient, but that need concentrators to allow them to perform that well - but having cells that efficient would be a much bigger story than cone shaped widgets. There's some basic physics at work here: there's a certain amount of energy available, and various obstacles to getting at it. What this is suggesting doesn't seem to be in any way touching on the basic premise of shining light on a PV cell and turning as much of that energy into electricity as possible. Current state of the art in PV is discussed here, and suggests a possible efficiency of about 55% for a 400x concentrator: http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/tapping-the-power-of-100-suns
JBar
If you are generating 20 times more energy, but spininng 20 times more solar cells to do it, you gain nothing. Its cute, but it doesnt appear to move solar power forward. What is the installed cost per mean MWatt of generated power?
Pro San Pedro de Atacama
Mantenerse con la debida libertad de elegir tanto la más apropiada tecnología para garantizar energía limpia y eficiente para nuestra sociedad, como la forma más participativa en el modelo de acceso a esta, es una prioridad en todo concepto de administración sostenible. En ello va, empoderar al usuario como beneficiario, dueño, socio capitalista, productor, o una combinación de estas formas, puesto de lo contrario caemos en el paradigma aplastante de siempre: La dominación de mega inversionistas en ausencia de control o complicidad de un estado que no vela por el verdadero bienestar de su ciudadanía. Este es solo un ejemplo... ...aprovecho de soñar un poco más, para todos nosotros.
agulesin
"angle of 56 percent" what? Is that relative to a full circle, or 90 degrees? "a perfectly timed dance of light." what? anyway, let's wait and see when they appear on the market...