Swiss Startup Company Insolight Creates Solar Panels Twice as Efficient as Standard
Image by EPFL/Alain Herzog
Solar panels have increased in popularity for the past years, especially the cost of having them installed in households lowered than the original price. More families are now adapting the use of solar energy to power their homes, even those who have access to the main power source. Using solar panels have several benefits that’s why it has become a hit.
Benefits of Solar Panels
Image from howtomakeasolarpanels.com
An increasing number of households turn to the use of solar panels because of its several benefits. Some of them are the following:
- Lower energy bill or zero electric bill for those who are completely dependent on it
- Environment friendly as no harmful gases are produced during the process of harnessing of power and conversion
- Unlimited energy source, which is the sun
- Increase the value of your home
More Efficient Solar Panels
Solar panels basically work by harnessing energy from the sun and converting it to electricity that can be used in lighting and powering appliances in homes. Depending on the size of the solar panel, it could power a few appliances or it could support the energy needs of the entire home. Typically, the energy that is harnessed by solar panels from the sun is immediately used and any generated energy that is not utilized would be transferred to the grid.
This amount of energy transferred to the grid would either be paid by cash by your energy provider or it would be deducted from the monthly energy bill. There are also homes that rely solely on solar energy that use solar energy banks to store harnessed energy that is not immediately used. Instead of being transferred to the grid, it is saved on these banks for use when the sun is not out.
The energy efficiency of standard solar panels used in many homes is usually 18% to 20%. However, this could now increase and that’s thanks to the innovative minds of the people behind Insolight. This Swiss startup company is backed by the well-known Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) with their lab located at the latter’s Innovation Park.
The smart design of the new solar panels from Insolight allows them to double the efficiency of standard residential solar panels. They have tested and proved in their demonstration that these solar panels could harness 36.4% of sunlight to be used as energy.
Concentrating Solar Power with the Use of Lenses
Image by EPFL/Alain Herzog
Insolight is not the first company to create highly efficient solar panels as in 2014, French researchers at Soitec came up with solar panels that could harness 46% of sunlight. High performance cells were used to make this happen, which are extremely expensive. Due to the cost of these solar panels, they are only used in certain fields like space, but not in households.
What makes Insolight’s solar panels different from this is that their highly efficient solar panels were designed not just to harness more energy from the sun, but to be cost effective so that they can be used in many households. They were created in a way that they would only require the use of a very small super cell, thus minimizing the cost.
You might be asking how this small super cell could harness this much energy? Lenses were used that made sure that light is concentrated on the super cell, making it possible to double the energy it can produce.
It was also designed so that whatever the angle is, it would still be able to generate the same energy from the sun. This is another convenience as there’s no need to find the best spot or angle to maximize the generated energy by the panels. Since only a tiny supercell is used, this means that it can be sold at a reasonable price, which households could afford.
According to the CTO of the company, their solar panels were designed so that they could be easily created in large volumes, making them available for many homes. Their goal is to provide highly efficient solar panels at a competitive price and looks like they are successful in doing this.
An independent lab in Germany, which is part of the Fraunhofer Institute group, validated the claims of Insolight regarding the efficiency of their solar panels.