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Borrowed From Old Lighthouses, A Method For Super-Powerful Solar Power

With the help of Fresnel lenses, the setup has the potential to reach 40% efficiency–roughly double that of conventional photovoltaics.

Borrowed From Old Lighthouses, A Method For Super-Powerful Solar Power
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Solar panels are a good source of alternative energy, but you need miles of them to generate enough power for all your heat and electricity needs. Light Farm–a new concept from Milan-based, Iranian-born designers Seyed Taghavi and Mohsen Saleh–promises to double the efficiency of photovoltaics using an arrangement of Fresnel lenses, which are what lighthouses used to use to magnify their lanterns. In addition, these lenses physically track the sun’s movements.

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Taghavi and Saleh combine high-concentration photovoltaic technology
(HCPV), developed by French and international startups, and Fresnel lenses to concentrate the sun’s rays, producing more electric power than conventional installations, which tend to have an efficiency of between 12% and 19%. Instead, the designers install the lenses behind a layer of glass and use a few square centimeters of HCPV for a total efficiency of 50%, with half of the energy transferred to heat sinks for water- and space-heating purposes.

The modular units can be integrated into rooftops of existing structures and function not only as energy gatherers but as light wells for the space below. The project received an honorable mention from the most recent Prix Émile Hermès competition. Click here for more project details.

About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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