Green Products Has Found a Low Cost Balloon Shaped Solar Design That Is Highly Efficient

You would not believe what we at Green Products found (and no they are not UFOs). Can you imagine a field planted with silver balloons as far as the eye can see, or a hillside covered with silver balls? It’s not Christo’s latest pop-art install, but rather, a solar farm. This is what Cool Earth out of Livermore, California envisions in the very near future. The solar collection concept is not new, but the concentrator is different from anything seen before on any renewable energy product.

The current installed solar plants use flat-panels. Each panel is heavy, large, easily damaged, and costly to repair. This means the cost to produce a watt of electricity is 5-7 times greater than using natural gas and is not a feasible alternative to fossil fuels. This is no longer true with the Cool Earth solar balloon system.

The silver orbs are made from Mylar, with half the orb covered in a mirror-like material and the other half clear. The material is resistive to the normal outside elements and easily repaired if damaged. Near the top center is the solar cell that converts all the concentrated light to electrical energy. This is truly one of the most unique green products we have seen in the renewable energy sector.

This unique design can concentrate the sunlight so well, it produces 300 to 400 times more power per square inch of solar cells than traditional flat-panel solar systems. By regulating the air pressure inside the balloon, they can focus the concentrated sunlight directly on the photocell. The air regulating system is designed to maintain the proper balloon size as the outside air temperature increases or decreases.

Each balloon is eight feet in diameter and can withstand over 100 mile per hour winds. The balloons are linked together in series, with the initial installation able to produce 10 megawatts, enough to power 3,500 homes during the day.

Like all solar designs, the system will not be used as a base power plant because the energy collected during the day cannot be economically stored for nighttime operations. On the other hand, the system will be an ideal “peaker” power plant to be used during the hot summer months when energy demands are high.

Another of the aspects we find most interesting at Green Products is how the balloons are linked together with wire, wood and sheet metal. We are also impressed at the lack of limitations that are imposed when the systems are installed and how they eliminate the destructive heat that destroys most solar cells. Soon this system will be installed and go online. Check it out.


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Originally posted 2009-07-02 04:28:49.

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