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13-Year-Old Boy Improves Solar Panel Efficiency 50%

By - Source: Ubergizmo | B 93 comments
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Today's youth will never stop surprising us!

Solar panels have been around for quite some time now, providing a much greener method of generating power. The only problem is that most solar panel arrays aren't exactly the most efficient replacements for electricity due to their need for the perfect positioning and good weather. Luckily for solar panel researchers around the globe, a 13 year old boy figured out a way to increase solar panel efficiency all on his own.

While Aidan Dwyer was on a winter hike in the Catskills, he was amazed by patterns he saw in the trees and realized that these pattern resembled the Fibonacci sequence (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21...etc). After realizing trees grew in that manner in order to be efficient in using sunlight for photosynthesis, he put two and two together and decided to try to apply the same concept to solar panels.

He created a tree-like stand for solar panels and attached them in a Fibonacci-like manner and compared the results with a standard flat solar panel array. His simple creation yielded an incredible 50 percent jump in efficiency between the traditional method and the Fibonacci design. Since then, young Aidan ha already earned himself a provisional U.S. patent and is undoubtedly sought out for by many who are looking to utilize his design. Perhaps now we can expect to see entire groves and forests of solar panel trees in the future. That would be quite a sight to see!

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    nightbreed , August 25, 2011 6:47 PM
    Read that 1 week ago. Someone already proved it wrong...
  • 32 Hide
    Trialsking , August 25, 2011 6:37 PM
    Way to go young man!
  • 31 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , August 25, 2011 6:49 PM
    I would think it has to be false. He's using the same solar panels as the ones already designed. He just arranged them differently and they become more efficient? Makes no sense.
Other Comments
  • 32 Hide
    Trialsking , August 25, 2011 6:37 PM
    Way to go young man!
  • 23 Hide
    mcd023 , August 25, 2011 6:40 PM
    that is really smart! cool!
  • 23 Hide
    doive1231 , August 25, 2011 6:41 PM
    Brilliant. Panels are supposedly only 14% efficient anyhow so this would now make them 21% efficient. Massive boost. Well done.
  • 16 Hide
    scook9 , August 25, 2011 6:41 PM
    This is pretty awesome.....
  • 31 Hide
    burnley14 , August 25, 2011 6:43 PM
    Kids these days have no idea how to properly use their summer breaks anymore.
  • 13 Hide
    bobbyp86 , August 25, 2011 6:45 PM
    Good lad!
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2011 6:46 PM
    hasn't this been proven to be incorrect?
  • 32 Hide
    nightbreed , August 25, 2011 6:47 PM
    Read that 1 week ago. Someone already proved it wrong...
  • 31 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , August 25, 2011 6:49 PM
    I would think it has to be false. He's using the same solar panels as the ones already designed. He just arranged them differently and they become more efficient? Makes no sense.
  • 26 Hide
    tri force , August 25, 2011 6:51 PM
    This is actually incorrect. The young boys findings are based on 10 small static (Non moving solar panels) Compared to his 20 solar panels he has in fixed position in a tree like formation.

    One would assume that if this increased solar efficiency it would produce more than double the amount of energy as there is double the amount of solar panels in his set up.

    Solar panels that follow the direction of the sun will always be better.
  • 1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , August 25, 2011 6:56 PM
    If this really works, this is great. I'm not a fan of solar panels since they're expensive, inefficient and ugly (I'm for nuclear energy), but this is one observant kid. We just talked about Fibonacci sequence with a friend a week ago and it's amazing how nature uses it everywhere. Looks like we can, too.

    Quote:
    I would think it has to be false. He's using the same solar panels as the ones already designed. He just arranged them differently and they become more efficient? Makes no sense.


    Somehow thought the same, too :D  Still, Fibonacci sequence is amazing.
  • 16 Hide
    l23j4l2jjgljwsjsk , August 25, 2011 6:56 PM
    Umm this does not make the panels any more efficient. It cant, the efficiency is baked in at creation, and he didn't create the panels he just arranged them.

    All he could do is collect more light then another method by arranging them so they better face the sun or don't cast shadows on each other. And this method would NOT be more efficient then panels that track the sun. Nor would it be more efficient then using a solar condenser(lens) along with a sun tracker.

    Sure this method might be 50% more efficient then maybe a stationary panel(if arranged with a poor angle), without a condenser...but thats the ONLY way it could be better then anything.
  • 7 Hide
    dimcorner , August 25, 2011 6:57 PM
    Um... I have way more questions about this experiment before I call it awesome...

    I don't see how it's physically possible to out-produce (let alone a 50% gain) a flat panel facing squarely at the sun using the same area worth of panels cut up into pieces and re-arranged in a pattern. The sum should be exactly the same if you use the same exact panel type. The solar radiation landing on the panel area is the same as long as they are pointing at the sun and the efficiency per square inch is the same whether it's 10 square feet or 10 x 1sq ft panels.
  • 4 Hide
    srgess , August 25, 2011 6:58 PM
    would it be more efficent if solar panel would move as same as the sun goes..e
  • -4 Hide
    vayeate , August 25, 2011 6:59 PM
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/why-13-year-olds-solar-power-8216breakthrough-wont-work/8261
  • 8 Hide
    vayeate , August 25, 2011 7:00 PM
    its not gonna work
    check link

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/why-13-year-olds-solar-power-8216breakthrough-wont-work/8261
  • 7 Hide
    DonnieK , August 25, 2011 7:02 PM
    Hey all, if you'd like to read more about why this clever boy's experiment was flawed in its setup and conclusion, read more here:
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/why-13-year-olds-solar-power-8216breakthrough-wont-work/8261

    Summary: he measure voltage rather than power, and used an open circuit with no load on it. An open circuit voltage increase doesn't actually mean more power produced. His design would have a slight advantage in the morning and in the evening, but in mid-day, a conventional point-at-the-sun solar panel setup would overtake any of the early day gains.
  • -5 Hide
    reggieray , August 25, 2011 7:02 PM
    Could look cool, a 20 ft solar tree.
  • -4 Hide
    demonhorde665 , August 25, 2011 7:16 PM
    doive1231Brilliant. Panels are supposedly only 14% efficient anyhow so this would now make them 21% efficient. Massive boost. Well done.

    thats more than well done , it would only take 18% efficency to power a house equiped with a batery storage unit 24-7 on solar paneling . 21% efficency spells doom for the fossil feul industry when solar paneling gets cheaper. and all it woudl take is 1 solar panel "tree" in every yard.
  • 11 Hide
    Diverse , August 25, 2011 7:19 PM
    Was proven false. Step your game up Tomshardware, you're coming late to a lot of shows. No doubt that the kid is still pretty damn smart though.
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