A new Japanese solar power device can generate twice the electricity of current models thanks to moving mirrors that follow the sun throughout the day, according to its developers.
Smart Solar International, a Tokyo start-up that also has an office in California, will start producing the system in Japan in August, hoping it will be adopted in tsunami-hit areas along the northern Pacific coast. Sample sales are set to begin in October, with overseas sales targeting especially Asia and the Middle East set for 2014 or earlier.
The device features a row of aluminum mirror bars that can slowly rotate as the sun moves across the sky and reflect its light back onto a central tube that is packed with high-performance, multi-layered solar cells. Its inventors say the system requires far less silicon — the most expensive component, which is imported mostly from China at the moment — than the conventional larger flat photovoltaic cell panels.