Innovation That Matters

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Can AI-designed panels revolutionise solar power?

Agriculture & Energy

The novel, light-harvesting design allows panels to absorb maximum sunlight throughout the day

Spotted: Although solar is a great source of abundant power, solar panels are notoriously inefficient in their conversion of the sun’s energy, with the average solar panel only converting around 15-20 per cent of the available solar energy into usable electricity. This is where startup Renkube comes in. 

The India-based company has designed a solar panel that utilises Motion Free Optical Tracking (MFOT) to improve max solar panel energy production by 20 per cent. The technology is designed and driven by artificial intelligence (AI), and is not dissimilar to the sun-tracking ability of a sunflower, which adjusts itself to be directly in the focus of the sun’s rays.  

Traditional, fixed solar panels only operate at optimal capacity at 12pm when the sun is directly overhead. For the rest of the day, they will only be operating at a smaller capacity, reducing energy production. Large-scale solar farms often have tracker-based systems in place, so panels can move and adjust throughout the day. However, these require additional energy and often prove difficult to maintain. 

Renkube, by contrast, has used machine learning algorithms to create a glass that absorbs more light simply due to its specific prism-like geometric design, meaning it can gather more sunlight and redirect it to the solar cells without having to move.

Working with Telangana Agriculture University, Renkube is also pioneering a pilot scheme for farmers wherein solar panels act as a canopy over farmed land underneath. This means farmers don’t lose any farming space on the ground, and can lease out the canopies to solar developers for additional income.

Solar technologies have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Springwise has also spotted these floating offshore solar panels that rest on the water as well as these solar cycle paths in the Netherlands

Written By: Archie Cox  



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