Wil Sillen's post

Solar panel trees
By: Teun Schröder
As soon as the temperature of solar panels rises and the surface becomes very warm, the efficiency with which sunlight is converted into electricity decreases. Scientists from Hungary have therefore come up with a new solar panel tree that can handle heat better.
Solar panel trees have existed for some time in many shapes and sizes, but the basic principle is often the same: a thick trunk that reaches several meters high, equipped with a canopy of solar panels. Such a solar tree naturally looks artistic and provides shade, while it requires a relatively small piece of land where the trunk touches the ground. Perhaps the best-known solar trees are in Singapore. Eighteen 'Supertrees' reach about 46 meters into the air.
Innovation from Hungary
For the time being, solar trees have not yet been developed on a large scale because the designs are more complex than standard solar panels on roofs. But that may be changing thanks to a relatively simple design by scientists from the University of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Hungary, which also scores well in terms of efficiency.

Sunflower from solar panels
Anyone who sees the design probably immediately thinks of a sunflower. The prototype consists of an 18-meter-long trunk with a ring of fifteen solar panels of 1.60 meters long. In the middle part of the flower there are another three of the same panels. This arrangement ensures that the system can cool down more, because air flows past the panels.

Standard solar panel
The scientists then wanted to know the difference between the power output of the sunflower and that of a standard solar panel setup. For the test, the results of which were published in this scientific journal, eighteen of the same type of solar panel were mounted on a standard rectangular scaffolding, which we are used to from solar panels on roofs. Both the sunflower and the solar panel were placed facing south at different angles of 20, 30 and 45 degrees in the period from 10 am to 3 pm.

The results show that the temperature of the sunflower was much lower than that of the solar panel. At the 45 degree angle, the surface of the solar tree reached a maximum temperature of 38°C, while the standard flat setup reached almost 50°C. For the solar tree, this resulted in an energy output of 14.5 watts. The standard setup produced almost 12 watts.

Measure temperature
At the flatter angles of 30 degrees, the researchers noted similar results. The flat setup reached over 51 °C and led to a production of 11 watts. The solar tree became a lot less warm at 41 °C and produced almost 14 watts. At an angle of 20 degrees, the solar tree reached a maximum temperature of 34 °C (output 14 watts), while the flat setup got as hot as 44 °C (output 11 watts).

Higher efficiency
“The empirical results show that the temperature of the flat PV module is more than 10 °C higher than that of the solar tree,” the academics write. 'The result is less efficient heat transfer. The efficiency of the solar tree is about 16 to 23 percent higher than the flat module.'

In addition, the scientists emphasize that their sunflower uses 85 percent less land area compared to the flat module. The researchers therefore see particular energy-efficient applications for their sunflower, such as covering parking spaces or shading in agriculture.

  • Abraham Jok Atem

    13 w

    This invention by Dutch Elysian will increase efficiency with which sunlight is converted directly into electricity. Such an invention is satisfactory and must be supported fully

  • Munene Mugambi

    13 w

    This is an innovation that when successful will consume less space while increasing the power converted from the sun. Way to go

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