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  • [ January 25, 2013 ]
  • Putting a spin on the solar industry

As a culture that is over-exposed to advertisements, it is hard to trust the sensational, “this will change the world” product claims we hear on a daily basis. But what if this claim is different? What if this product could change the way our world generates and manages power?

With this in mind, meet the Spin Cell, developed by V3Solar. The Spin Cell takes a different approach to solar power as we know it.

V3Solar claims the new Spin Cell can produce power with a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, which was confirmed in a recent technical review.  CleanTechnica offers this for comparison, 8 cents per kWh is two-thirds the price of retail electricity, and over three times cheaper than current solar technology. The Spin Cell is still in prototype stages, but if this cost claim holds true through mass-manufacturing stages, it could have huge impacts on the energy market.

Here is a chart from Lazard on the LCOE of various power sources compared to V3Solar’s Spin Cell:

LCOE comparison values from LAZARD.

But wait, why is the Spin Cell better at power generation than standard solar panels? V3Solar claims that the Spin Cell solves two of the biggest problems with standard solar panels. The first is how the Solar Cell maximizes the amount of sun it can adsorb by shifting from a flat shape to a cone shape. The second is its ability to maximize the sun’s power by concentrating sunlight, without having to use expensive heat-resistant PV cells. The Spin Cell uses low-cost silicon PV, but keeps it cool from the concentrated sunlight with a spinning “fan” around the outside.

Here’s a video from V3Solar on the technology behind the product:

In addition to the technology, the Spin Cell is unique in its small size and attractive look- qualities that encourage distributed generation across many sites in many environments. Currently in the U.S. all installed solar power accounts for 0.5-1 percent of the energy market, but the company said it hopes to capture 3 percent of he U.S. energy market with the Spin Cell. This seems like a lofty goal, but V3Solar reported to CleanTechnica that it already has over 4 GW of requests for orders. For perspective on this goal consider that the U.S. currently has 7 GW of installed solar power.

Regardless of the Spin Cell’s outcome in revolutionizing the energy market, it, and other innovative technologies, bring our society one step closer to transforming the way we use energy. With the rapid advancements in solar technology in past years, a sustainable future may be closer than we often think.

Sources:

V3Solar Spin Cell = 8 Cents/kWh? (CleanTechnica Exclusive), CleanTechnica

Solar power cheaper than cola: One company says it’s cracked the code, Grist

For more information on the Spin Cell and V3Solar, click here.

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