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How Solar Can Provide Peaking Power

A few days ago, my colleague Lisa Stiles-Shell wondered if solar was well positioned to provide peaking power. Through Futurepundit, I found an article concerning some R&D work being done on organic photovoltaics that, "sheds some light" on the subject:
Global Photonic Energy Corporation (GPEC), developer of organic photovoltaic (OPVtm) technology for ultra-low cost high power solar cells, announced that the company's research partners at Princeton University and the University of Southern California (USC) have achieved a new record in an organic solar cell that is responsive to light in the near infrared (NIR) range of the solar spectrum. NIR radiation is invisible to the human eye.


Imagine organic photovoltaics coating windows especially in hot climates. Instead of letting in the infrared frequencies the photovoltaics convert those photons to useful electricity. So instead of heating a building and thereby increasing the demand for air conditioning the photovoltaic coating could keep out heat and turn it into electricity that would power air conditioners.
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Rod Adams said…

The problem with coating windows as solar collectors is that windows are generally oriented in the vertical direction.

The quantity of solar energy available for conversion to electricity, however, depends on the angle at which the sun's rays hits the collector.

The formula is a straightforward function of the sine of the angle of incidence. If the collector is oriented at 90 degrees - perpendicular to the sun - the energy is at its maximum value (sine of 90 equals 1) if the angle is 0 degrees (the plane of the collector pointing directly at the sun) the energy per unit area on the collector is ZERO (sine of 0 degrees).

That is why so much effort is spent in designing and building tracking solar collecting systems that constantly change their orientation to maximize the energy collected and why it is so much cooler in the early morning and late afternoon.

IMHO a "peaking system" has to be available when the peak occurs. There may be occasional times and locations when the electricity use peaks when solar energy is at its maximum, but even a broken watch is right twice per day.
kadidal said…
This is a great new invention, something I have been fantasizing myself.
As for Rod Adam’s comment, it can be used in roof tops coated, window planes can be tilted. And moreover as the sun raises and sets through the day it makes different angles with the window plane and at some stage logically we should be able to tap some energy.
I believe such innovations should continue and should be encouraged with optimism than coming up with criticisms.

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