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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    I've seen a couple of articles about a designer called André Broessel with an idea for a large glass ball that focusses sunlight (or even moonlight) onto PV cells to improve their efficiency by 35%.

    It strikes me that his idea might use an enormous amount of energy in the manufacture of the glass spheres, and that, as a 1.5 metre diameter sphere seems to focus down to an area of about 300 x 300 mm, the efficiency gains might be not worth the energy used in the manufacture.

    But I'm no engineer, and I know a lot of you folks are. Would anyone care to have a look and tell me what they think?

    The link to an article is here: http://www.designboom.com/technology/spherical-glass-solar-energy-generator-by-rawlemon/
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2013 edited
    Not sure about it for PV but I believe they use concentrator for solar thermal. example of the plant in Spain
    Jon , who occasional posts here has been doing some DIY experiments in that area .
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2013 edited
    I think that modules are cheap enough now not to have to worry about such things. There is also an upper limit to how much sunlight a panel can take before you start generating thermal energy that is detrimental to the electrical generation.
    There may be some benefits in low light levels, say under 400W/m^2, but another £150 quid panel may be cheaper and easier if you have room.
    I also think that any sort of 'magnifier' is not that brilliant in cloudy conditions (try setting fire to paper with a magnifying glass on a cloudy day)
    Yes - PV cells' output is very sensitive to temperature isn't it? That does sound like another problem. Also, aren't Fresnel lenses meant to have the same light concentrating effect as the equivalent standard lens, only using a small fraction of the materials?

    It all seems a bit doubtful to me!
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