Famous astronomer determined to make solar power affordable

Dr. Roger Angel, an astronomer, who designed some of the largest telescope mirrors of the world, is now determined to build more efficient solar collectors that are sure to make electricity a cheap commodity. He founded a company in Arizona by the name of REhnu, which claims to reduce the price of a solar power farms down to $1 per watt, by 2020.

Famous astronomer eyes cheap solar power

Presently, most of the solar farms use large panels that are made from low cost photovoltaic cells. These cells can only reach efficiency levels of 10 to 15 percent and that too when they directly face the sun. Although some have achieved a 40 percent level too with the help of multiple layers. But, Angel wants to swap the scenario. He aspires to use mirrors that will focus sunlight onto smaller areas with costly multi layer solar cells.

Cost has been the most important factor that has deterred people in the past from doing the same as Angel. But, REhnu has a solution for this too. They will make the mirrors from thin sheets of cheap glass. Heating will soften the glass sheets and they will be made to slump into a parabolic shape. On cooling they will be coated with reflective metal.

Using this technology, REhnu will build a 20 kilowatt prototype for tracking the sun on a test site in Arizona desert.

Via: Newscientist

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