Solar concentrator magnifies to increase power output of cells

Santa Barbara, California-based Hypersolar is developing a solar concentrator that magnifies the power of the sun to significantly increase the power output of solar cells.

Unlike current concentrated photovoltaic solutions that require mirrors or lenses and sun-tracking mechanisms, the Hypersolar concentrator will be a thin, flat product that conventional solar manufacturers can place on top of conventional flat solar panels.

The Hypersolar concentrator itself comprises a matrix of small solar concentrators that collect sunlight throughout the day from a range of angles. A solid-state photonics network underneath the micro concentrators transports light from points of collection at the top, to points of concentrated output at the bottom.

Last month, after a year of research and development, the company finally achieved a prototype design that it believes can be refined into a commercial product.

While the company anticipates that the commercial version of the Hypersolar concentrator will be approximately 1cm thick and applied as the top sheet on flat solar panels, the prototype will be a single micro-concentrator module fabricated at a larger size to facilitate testing and validation.

Once the photonic and optical characteristics of the micro-concentrator module are validated and refined, the design will be miniaturised for use in the mass production of the commercial version.

’While this initial prototype is designed to provide 300 per cent light magnification, we are aiming for at least 400 per cent in our final commercial product,’ said Tim Young, chief executive officer of Hypersolar.