When it comes to designing contemporary structures, standard silicon-based solar panel’s limited adaptability in color, shape, and size often stands as a great turn-off. A concept that has been there for over 30 years now promises to reinvent solar power in a more good-looking and flexible design. A recent research has rediscovered the potential of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) to bring solar-energy generation to homes and offices in a stylish way.
The LSC consists of a plastic plate filled or topped by luminescent molecules that can absorb incident sunlight and re-emit it at longer wavelengths. A fraction of this light is trapped in the plastic plate through total internal reflection, while the emitted light concentrates at the plate edges, where small, efficient PVs for light conversion are placed. Unlike traditional concentrators that require tracking solar motions, the LSC do not need to track the sun and work equally well in both direct sunlight and diffuse environments.
One of the major benefits associated with the LSC is that they can be made thin, meaning reduced weight and greater flexibility. The panels can be easily cut to shape and made in a variety of colors. In order to enhance edge emission, LCs are included to LSC design, which align the fluorescing molecules. Aligning the dyes in a plane enhances edge emission from two edges of a waveguide, thus obtaining 25% more energy than from any single LSC edge using isotropic dyes.