Are there additional ways to increase the amount of energy drawn from solar panels?

Many people who own solar panels on their homes tend to want to find ways to increase and maximize their potential of converting more sunlight into energy. One of the questions I came across was stated as followed: “Could you put some type of magnifying glass and set it at the right distance to increase the heat of the sun and give you more energy production from the solar panels?”

To me this sounds like creative thinking with some valid reasoning behind the thought process, but I doubt it works well if at all on ordinary solar panels. Magnifying glasses magnify the intensity of heat in a focused area, but in order to be of beneficial use in solar panels there must be a mechanism to disperse the heat and cool down the system. If the dispersal of heat is not controlled and managed, then it’s likely to cause more damage than good for the solar panels.

This is why it’s highly discouraged to install solar panels on your own without professional consultation. Do it yourself projects are great when it comes to bonding, learning, and saving money in certain cases; however, sometimes when your purpose is to do something ingenious and beneficial, many things can backfire without proper understanding, knowledge, and expertise.

Remember when you were a wee child and you used a magnifying glass to see what would happen to the ants in your backyard under the sun? If you don’t, then ignore me. If you do, then you can certainly relate to my childhood.

These types of discussions usually stem from the desire and urge to do something more with existing installed solar panels or from simple curiosity. I may or may not have the best answer, but what I do know is that any time we have a question in regards to solar panels, it’s always encouraged to find the answers from a reliable resource. In this case, if you call for a free consultation and analysis of your home for solar panels, then the expert professionals can answer any questions that you may pose.

Back to the possibility of utilizing magnifying glasses: a few years ago IBM actually integrated this idea to improve solar energy output.

To achieve this, IBM incorporated a liquid metal thermal cooling system onto ordinary PV cells. The cooling system is comprised of liquid indium and gallium placed between the PV cell and a cooling block. When the panel is exposed to sunlight, the cell transfers the heat to the cooling block, lowering temperatures of more than 1,600 degrees Celsius to just 85 degrees, preventing the panel’s meltdown. The cooling system is what prevents the meltdown of the solar cells.

To clarify, IBM is not really involved in solar panel manufacturing, but they are certainly open to partnering with solar cell manufacturers to demonstrate their technology.

In a nutshell, it’s best to ask these questions to someone with credentials and direct experience in the field so that you can avoid melting your valuable solar panels. Sound good? I sure hope so.