According to DiscoverMagazine news, Colgate University physicist Beth Parks described a new way to wring even more energy from a solar panel — a major development for people with no access to reliable power, such as those in developing countries or folks who live off-the-grid. Rather than install the panel in a stationary position, Parks helped come up with a rotating frame that allows the panel to follow the sun as it traverses the sky.
Here’s where that high-tech equipment comes in. Rather than use motorized components, Parks’s solar panel rig moves thanks to the power of gravity, using a bucket of rocks and a bucket of water. The former, a stationary weight, hangs off the west side of the rig. Counterbalancing it, on the east side, is the water — but, this bucket has a leak in it. When it’s heavier, in the morning, it outweighs the rocks, so the solar panel points east, toward the sun. In the evening, after leaking all day, the bucket is lighter than the rocks, so the panel points westward, toward the sun. And in between, Parks got the panel to roughly follow the sun from east to west by controlling the rate of leaking water.
It’s the kind of idea that’s so simple, it really works. Over 20 random days of testing, the bucket-powered solar cell collected 32 percent more energy than a stationary setup nearby. That’s nearly a third more energy, all thanks to a couple of buckets!
It is a major development for people with no access to reliable power, such as those in developing countries or folks who live off-the-grid. ——***—–
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Location: Colgate University
Date: Mar 12, 2019 @ 16:25
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