One unique problem with solar panels has been that while the sun moves, the panels stay fixed in place. This results in a loss of consumption every day when the sun moves out of range.
Currently, solar panels can be mounted to mechanized bases that tilt and focus on the sun to help consumption, but these systems are expensive and limited in where builders can install them.
To fix this solar problem and boost efficiency, an artist and engineering team from the University of Michigan took a different look at solar using paper and scissors to start.
The team used a form of Origami to cut solar panels into lattice-like cells that can stretch out like an accordion, allowing it to follow the sun’s path, according to National Geographic.
The cells are made of flexible gallium arsenide strips that are cut into two-dimensional strips. When stretched, the cells pop out to become 3D and are able to track the sun’s radius.
According to the researchers, this new film will boost solar efficiency by 30 percent compared to traditional solar cells while weighing significantly less.
But there is a trade-off. While the efficiency is increased so will the overall size, meaning that the new designs would need to be at least twice as big as today’s panels.
The new design has been completed but further tests still need to be done before it goes to market. This new research demonstrates a growing trend toward higher efficiency solar, which is good news for the future of green building.