Energy-harvesting textile integrates micro spherical solar cells

December 11, 2012 // By Julien Happich
In cooperation with the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui Prefecture, Japan, Sphelar Power Corporation has successfully prototyped an energy-harvesting textile where spherical solar cells are interweaved.

This result was delivered from an interdisciplinary collaboration between Sphelar Power, which uniquely developed 3-dimensional light capturing Sphelar cells, and the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui Prefecture which serves as innovative R&D hub for local textile industries. First, 1.2mm Sphelar cells are aligned and connected as a thread which is then woven as an energy-generating mat. The photovoltaic modules obtained can be not only flexible, but also expandable just like textile.

One of the benefits of the Sphelar cell is that it can receive sunlight more effectively and more uniformly than conventional flat solar cells. Hence the solar cells are less dependent on the angle of incoming light. Each spherical solar cell designed as a multi-layered bead features two electrodes on opposite sides.

This structure enables 3-dimensional light capture and extends the device's application range, from horizontal installations to integration into curved surfaces and 3-dimensional solar modules.

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