01 May 2007

Suncube solar appliance

The suncube is a new form of solar panel being developed by Green and Gold Energy in South Australia. Green and Gold like to refer to their suncube as an appliance because it is designed just like a high quality very long service life appliance. If something should fail, the component in the suncube can be replaced without requiring the entire appliance to be replaced. For example if one of the solar cells should fail it can simply be replaced on the roof.

The suncube also uses a combination of solar technologies:
  • triple junction solar cells normally only used in space. These cells are close cousins of the cells used to power the two Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit as well as the International Space Station and 60% of all satellites in orbit. Normal flat panels solar cells normally rate around 15% efficiency, whereas the triple junction solar cells are around 35% efficiency.
  • a fresnel lens is used to capture the light from an area 500 times that of the solar cell and concentrate it onto the triple junction solar cell. This reduces the number of cells required to generate the electricity.
  • and a solar tracker is incorporated to follow the sun.
The suncube is still in development, but if Green and Gold can get the technology and pricing to stack up then the product has a huge worldwide market.