I don’t know if everyone is seeing these glass ball solar collectors all over the internet or if it is just Google recognizing that I want to see stories about renewable energy. But either way I decided to click on the story and see what it was all about. It turns out it is a company called Rawlemon based out of London. They have been working on this product for the last three years. The concept is fairly simple, they use a perfect sphere filled with water to refract sunlight onto a concentrated area. At the point where the sun’s light is most concentrated, they place a photovoltaic cell right in its path. By concentrating the sun’s light, these photovoltaic cells can be up to 70% more efficient than traditional solar panels. It doesn’t hurt that they look pretty impressive too.
It seems like a smart idea to me. I was thinking of something along these lines a few years ago when I was having fun in my backyard burning things with sunlight through a magnifying glass. The Rawlemon innovation is the same concept as concentrating light with a magnifying glass, but the brilliant spherical design allows it to easily track the sun as it moves across the sky. Tracking the sun on a dual access helps increase its efficiency.
In order for this company to gain some publicity and some funding, they have created an Indiegogo campaign where you can buy a little desktop version of their product. Another innovative idea that this company has is to build large scale versions of these solar concentrators and use them as windows in skyscrapers. They would certainly give buildings a modern look, and they could potentially result in net-zero buildings.
One other thought I had about this promising technology is that it probably isn’t very cheap. It seems like in the near future as 3D printing technology improves, people might be able to print large perfect spheres, and then simply fill them with water. The actual solar panels themselves are really small due to the light being concentrated in a small area. If these could be manufactured cheaply, they really have potential to change how we get our power in the future.
If you have any thoughts on how we can use concentrated solar power please let me know in the comments below.
Lead photocredit: https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–gj5bbSZY–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/19cfca75xud9yjpg.jpg
Magnifying Glass Photo Credit: http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000m_8IKJlVsQY/s/860/860/Magnifying-Glass-Sun-Experiment.jpg