The use of solar energy has been experiencing some considerable growth in the last few years though compared to conventional markets; it still has a long way to go in terms of overall output. Solar panel design in its earlier days has been subject to ridicule from much of the industry stating that it was very expensive. The goal for most manufacturers and scientists is to establish a more effective and cost efficient mounting systems. According to a report from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there are several functionality requirements to help make the design more efficient.
1. Effective Mounting systems for flat roof systems.
2. Simplifying the design to appeal to mass producers.
3. Implementing better materials compared to heavier steel structures.
4. Better installation procedures.
5. Use of freestanding installation systems to remove additional building costs.
6. Rating systems to conform to the requirements of different municipalities.
To address these unique concerns, it was important to look into possible design alternatives and solutions to ensure that the design corresponds to all possible concerns with optimum efficiency
In modular solar panel
design, the panels are held by the foot and slat. It is a robust and simple design option similar to traditional designs that do not need customization. The cost of such installation could be around $18 per panel. Instead of using molded plastic, plastic composite lumber or wood can be used since it is ideal for outdoor use. Sadly, modular designs cannot withstand strong winds of around 90 mph.
Corners are ideal if the panels are not compatible to each other. The idea is to eliminate the slats and use a device to secure each panel by the corner, allowing the panels to be on the same level to each other. This design also requires neoprene installation in between to prevent the panels from breaking. Since the design covers the corners, less surface area becomes functional. Also, vibrations from the wind can cause the inflexible panels to break all together.
Tilting solar panel designs make the panels more efficient by allowing them to follow the rays of the sun. Though more cost-effective, the panel is capable of capturing more sunlight, and therefore, more reserves. The traditional slats can be implemented by actuators on all corners that can make the panels tilt on one side. Trackers are also implemented to determine the position for that time of day.
Solar panel design can also be in the form of awnings. This is ideal for homes and other structures whose roofs are less ideal for installing solar panels or if the space available is lacking. Installation normally uses composite lumber to brace the panels instead of the standard foot.
In the last few years, more and more innovations for solar panels have occurred. Georgia Tech specialists were able to create a solar panel design that goes beyond traditional flat panels. These new design uses microscopic pieces of glass that add more surface area and trap more light.
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