Holograms Increase Solar Panel Energy Yield
Researchers at the University of Arizona recently developed an innovative technique to capture the unused solar energy that illuminates a solar panel. As reported in the Journal of Photonics for Energy (JPE), they created special holograms that can be easily inserted into the solar panel package. Each hologram separates the colors of sunlight and directs them to the solar cells within the solar panel. This method can increase the amount of solar energy converted by the solar panel over the course of a year by about five percent. This will reduce both the cost and the number of solar panels needed to power a home, a city, or a country.
Designed by PhD student Jianbo Zhao, under the supervision of Raymond K. Kostuk, professor of electrical and computer engineering and optical sciences, and in collaboration with fellow PhD student Benjamin Chrysler, the holographic light collector combines a low-cost holographic optical element with a diffuser. The optical element is situated symmetrically at the center of the photovoltaic module to obtain the maximum effective light collection.