Photovoltaics (PV) are a versatile and compact route to harness solar power. One critical challenge with current PV is preserving the optimal panel orientation angle with respect to the sun for efficient energy conversion. We experimentally demonstrate a bespoke multi-element lenslet array that allows for an increased power collection over a wide field of view by increasing the effective optical interaction length by up to 13 times specifically at large angles of incidence. This design can potentially be retrofitted onto already deployed amorphous silicon solar panels to yield an increased daily power generation by a factor of 1.36 for solar equivalent illumination. We 3D printed an optical proof of concept multi-element lenslet array to confirm an increase in power density for optical rays incident between 40 and 80 degrees. Our design indicates a novel optical approach that could potentially enable increased efficient solar collection in extreme operating conditions such as on the body of planes or the side of buildings.
- solar power
- multi-element lenslet array
Alsaigh, R. E., Bauer, R., & Lavery, M. P. J. (2020). Multi-element lenslet array for efficient solar collection at extreme angles of incidence. Scientific Reports, 10, . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65437-8