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Energy Efficiency

Solar Energy Breakthrough Could Cut Costs By More Than 50%


A US-based company has successfully tested a revolutionary solar panel that is expected to cut the costs of photovoltaic solar power generation by more than 50 per cent, and herald a new era of improved efficiency and lower production costs of solar energy globally.

The panel, known as the Alubond Solar Collector Panel (SCP), was created by American Building Technologies, a subsidiary of the UAE-based multinational group Mulk Holdings. Commenting on the breakthrough, a spokesman for Mulk said, “We hope the success of this project will lead to an upsurge in the development of more solar energy plants, which will not only lessen the strain on existing energy resources, but also severely reduce the pollution levels that are currently witnessed in power generation.”

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Conventional solar troughs used in solar generation are either embedded in heavy glass mirrors, weighing over 12.5 kg per sq m, or single-skin aluminium with a high-reflective laminated film, requiring heavy support structures and numerous riveting that reduces the efficiency of the troughs.

The spokesman said “Alubond SCP is a 3 mm composite weighing approximately 4 kg per sq m with a 92-per-cent reflectivity. The product’s ability to retain a parabolic shape to precise coordinates, and its lightweight features and innovative rivetless joining process, substantially reduces the substructure costs.”

The patented SCPs have already been chosen for a $200 million-plus solar energy generation plant project in New Mexico City. The company hopes that the second phase of the project, scheduled to go ‘live’ in December 2009, will have great implications for the Gulf region and Middle East energy requirements.

Image Credit – markus941 via flickr on a Creative Commons license

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is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.


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