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Photo Friday: Student team doubles the capacity of existing solar arrays

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The integrated circuit design pictured above was designed by Unified Solar, a student lead team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who won the regional price of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition at the MIT Clean Energy Prize at the end of April. The team claims that their design will double the average energy capture for solar arrays with centralized inverters (for less than one-third the cost of current solutions).  These savings are achieved by eliminating the “Christmas tree” or “weakest link” effect where dirty or shaded solar panels reduce the output of other panels in the system.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Unified Solar via US Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan.

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Wayne Williamson 4:17 pm 05/16/2014

    This is very good news, but the title is quite a bit deceiving.
    They’re not really doubling the capacity, but they are making it more resilient. This is very important for residential installations where portions of an array or even a panel maybe in the shade and that degrades the whole array.

    Link to this

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