Scientists at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) have developed a promising design for spherical solar cells. They started with the concept that such an all-round design, unlike standard flat panels, would be able to collect light from wherever it came. Including diffuse and reflected light without direct rays of the sun.
To reduce the cost of the device, they took as a basis typical panels, in which, using a laser and deep ion etching, grooves were cut in the outer layer of silicon. Next, the panels were carefully bent along the lines of the slots, giving them the appearance of segments of a sphere. This procedure resulted in the destruction of 15% of the light-absorbing surface, but the losses were immediately compensated for - the spherical battery showed a 24% increase in output power when directly illuminated by a lamp simulating the sun.
Then it turned out that as it heats up under illumination, the spherical design removes heat better, which increased its advantages over a flat counterpart by 39%. The best results were shown by experiments with diffused light, without direct illumination of the panels. Depending on the type of reflective surface, such as paper, metal or sand, the efficiency of spherical elements was 60-100% higher than that of flat elements. And it turned out that less dust settles on them.
An additional advantage of spherical structures is the absence of a rotation mechanism, since they do not need to be deployed after the Sun. Also spherical and simply curved solar panels can be used in architecture, as functional and decorative elements of facade decoration. But first, you need to test the new technology in an open area and in different geographic locations.