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3D solar panels: Bigger, better and more efficient?

27th Mar 2012

3D is well and truly taking over our lives - 3D cinemas, 3D printing…what could possibly be next?

3D solar panels, that's what.

You may be asking yourself 'aren't solar panels 3D already?' Well to some extent they are, but not in the minds of the boffins who create them.

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been experimenting with the arrangement of solar panels to make them more efficient, which could mean waving goodbye to flat panels and saying hello to 3D models.

You might be more familiar with the flat panels attached to your neighbours' rooftops, which these technology gurus believe might not be working as well as they could be.

After all, if you're going to rely on solar power, you want to be generating as much electricity? as possible - right?

By building cubes and towers out of solar panels, the guys at MIT have improved efficiency by 20 per cent compared to flat models covering the same area.

This was even the case on cloudy days, so if the Australian weather fails to live up to its sunny reputation, these 3D panels will still function.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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