This is a new solar technology I don’t remember reading or writing about yet. Kyosemi Corporation, an optoelectronics company, has created tiny spherical (or Spheral) solar cells. These micro solar cells are just 1-2 mm across but (or because of that) could have wind-ranging applications.
Of course, first of all, being spherical (not flat), the solar cells can achieve greater efficiencies. Additionally, being so tiny, these solar cells can, theoretically, be integrated into countless consumer electronics.
Kyosemi Corporation has created a handful of products from its unique solar cells. It’s EIPV (Electronics Integrated Photovoltaic) series includes the Sphelar® Array F12, Sphelar® One, Sphelar® Dome, and Sphelar® Mini Dome. Spheral’s see-through solar modules can generate electricity from either side, have a transparency of 50-80%, and can come in carious shapes — from curved surface to pliable sheet.
If you’re interested in learning more about the details of Spheral’s spherical solar cells, a number of scientific papers have been written on them.
Here’s a little more info on how these Spheral solar cells came about, the intro to Kyosemi’s “Development History” page for them:
Few years after launching Kyosemi, Mr. Nakata, CEO and president, got a question on how to make photovoltaic cell more efficient. Reminding of the solar panel which he had developed as a project member of Mitsubishi Electric, he asked himself why solar panels are flat, although the Sun is moving always.
In laboratories, the light source is fixed. However, the sunlight comes from different angles during a day and seasons in the reality. There is not only direct incoming light, but reflected and diffused lights in the ambient. “If the surface of photovoltaic cell is spherical, is this the most efficient way to capture the sunlight?” That’s the first inspiration of Kyosemi’s spherical micro solar cell.
Spherical micro solar cells make sense to me — I imagine they have many possible applications — but what do you think?
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.