Researchers at MIT have found inspiration in the arrangement of sunflower florets for a more efficient layout of solar panels.
Using what's called a Fermat's spiral, “each sunflower floret is turned at a 'golden angle'--about 137 degrees—with respect to its neighboring floret,” says MIT. “ The numerically optimized layout takes up 20 percent less space than the PS10 layout. What’s more, the spiral pattern reduced shading and blocking and increased total efficiency compared with PS10’s radially staggered configuration.”
A blessing or future developments, this design would reduce the number of heliostats needed at solar plants, which contributes to roughly a third of the direct cost of most CSP plants.
The researchers have a patent on the new technology and have published their results in the journal Solar Energy.
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