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ECO20 02-21-19 02:56 PM

Mirrors to increase the power of solar panels?
Does anyone use mirrors to increase the power of solar panels?

Piwoslaw 02-22-19 02:08 PM

You should be careful with mirrors - they can easily "fry" your panels.
PV efficiency lowers with temperature, while solar hot water may boil in the panels if the mirrors add energy faster than the pump can move the water.

elhigh 03-18-19 05:09 AM

Not mirrors per se, but my wife recently saw a YouTube video in which the Canadian homeowner stood his ground mount panels straight up in wintertime to take advantage of the strong reflected light from the snow to help compensate for his very northern location.

Bicycle Bob 03-21-19 06:53 PM

It is well to get some extra high-temperature resistance in any ancilliary hardware, but the panels themselves are fine with heat, except for the reduced performance. So, output does not go up linearly with extra light unless you can maintain the temperature. This is not usually too difficult, so I'm surprised it was not used more when sun trackers were cheaper relative to panels.
There is one legend about the DOE getting a notion that it might be nice to have some standard component that would produce both heat and electricity. They shopped this idea around to the energy experts, and several oil companies were persuaded to try meeting the specs. After all the budget was allocated, a little company in Boston pointed out that they had been producing such a device for years. It was just a glazed box to collect hot air, but the sun also hit mylar cones surrounding solar cells.

ham789 03-21-19 07:27 PM


Originally Posted by ECO20 (Post 60631)
Does anyone use mirrors to increase the power of solar panels?

There are numerous issues with this.
To name a few...
The output of a panel is related to something like the cosine of
the angle of incidence. As the sun moves the output changes.
You can keep the angle perpendicular with a two-axis sun tracker.

If you try to use mirrors, how are you gonna arrange them?
How are you gonna track the sun? A small change in incident angle
decreases solar output by a small amount. But a change in the angle incident
on the mirror can cause the energy to miss the panel entirely.
Even a partial miss can decrease output dramatically.

Then there's heat. If you've ever tried to start a fire with a magnifying
glass, you have seen the effects of concentration.

Somebody has to keep the mirrors clean.

Mirrors work great when you have a bunch of them actively tracking
and projecting/focusing the energy on a small boiler high in the air.

ldjessee 03-22-19 09:19 AM

I saw this video a few days ago, which basically agrees with what is said by others. Not really worth it.

YouTube video on using mirrors with solar PV panels.

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