solar tracking with kirigami

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solar tracking with kirigami

Postby Logan Savage » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:00 am

Solar tracking increases efficiency of solar panels but is heavy and expensive. In this paper the authors use kirigami to make it cheap and simple. Specifically, an elegant cut pattern is made in thin-film gallium arsenide solar cells, which are then stretched to produce an array of tilted surface elements which can be controlled to within ±1°.

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Re: solar tracking with kirigami

Postby Screw » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:14 pm

Kewl Logan. Thanks.
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Re: solar tracking with kirigami

Postby Alexanders » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:54 am

This looks very cool but I got some questions, hopefully you can shed some lights on. This means a much bigger surface area to install the panels, doesn't it? Is there an actual photo of this design published yet? is the most efficient angle for source 90 degrees or slightly tilted?
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Re: solar tracking with kirigami

Postby phill » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:58 am

Alexanders wrote: This means a much bigger surface area to install the panels, doesn't it? Is there an actual photo of this design published yet? is the most efficient angle for source 90 degrees or slightly tilted?


same as i was wondering about
how much of the extra efficiency goes on extra space to mount it ( watts sq mtr )
how much extra cost per unit to buy ( $ watt )
how much does it shorten the service life

so comparing
Watts per dollar per annum
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiny things i have got
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Re: solar tracking with kirigami

Postby Logan Savage » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:29 am

I should have mentioned that clicking on the image will take you to the full paper, Lamoureux, A. et al. Dynamic kirigami structures for integrated solar tracking. Nat. Commun. 6:8092 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9092 (2015).

There are some photos, but this is a research paper not a sales brochure. The question about service life is a good one. The authors state "By optimizing the cut geometry and thus minimizing stress at the cuts, it is possible to significantly decrease strain fade—for example, in comparable Kapton kirigami trackers where R1=R2=3, 5 and 10, the strain energy was shown to decrease by ~74, ~17 and only ~3%, respectively, over 1,000 cycles. Other substrates with improved mechanical and thermal stabilities (for example, spring steel) are also currently being investigated as more robust materials platforms with longer operational lifetimes."

Another interesting factor is wind. Because the deformation happens in the plane of the panel, the panels can be mounted flush which will reduce wind loading compared to conventional tracking systems which need space to pivot in.
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