Overview of Innovation: Most industry research to date has focused on improving the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells while reducing costs. Less attention has been paid to the possibility of conditioning the solar spectrum falling on the p-n junction which is the basis for electric power generation. With Photonic Solar Conversion (PSC) technology, the focus is on maximizing the portion of photons that reach the band gap of the solar cells for maximum absorption. Rather than creating multi-junction solar cells, which are cost prohibitive because of expensive band-gap engineering, e.g. tandem solar cells, it is possible to condition the photons to match the band gap of photovoltaic solar cells.
Dr. Nishikant Sonwalkar (ScD, MIT) is the inventor of the technology and his current role is CEO and President.
IP Description: SunDensity has applied for two patents for the protection of proposed invention:
- A system and method for the enhancement of solar power using photonic solar conversion.
- A system and method for the development of Nano-optical coating for photonic conditioning of solar spectrum.
The current version of SunDensity’s invention indicates impressive results, improving the efficiency of solar panels with 15% rated efficiency up to 25% efficiency, and generating 20% more energy per panel on a normalized basis. These tests were carried out at the outdoor solar testing facility at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Integration of PSC Panels in the Power2Peer Blockchain Microgrid
PSC coating enables the generation of more power from the same array of solar panels, yielding a more productive solar microgrid. Of course, one issue with the current technology of residential power systems is that the additional power generated goes back to the grid. That’s why Power2Peer is creating a blockchain-enabled adaptive solar microgrid that is not only more resilient, but also allows peer-to-peer trading of power within the community. The technology provides a power system that is resilient, efficient, and transparent. The blockchain-enabled power grid record the generated power in a public ledger, allowing trading of kW using smart contracts, which are secure and allow automated actions to be made via distributed apps.
Unlike any product available today, adaptive solar microgrids comprised of PSC panels offer a revolutionary green technology for local communities and individual consumers, which will allow them to enjoy the practical, financial, and environmental benefits of harnessing the most abundant natural resource available to us—the sun.
As shown in Figure 2A, four microgrids are connected by controller devices using microinverters installed on each panel. The power data from each panel is recorded in a blockchain ledger. The controller connects the PSC solar panel grids to the blockchain platform, and also monitors generation of power from each grid. The blockchain framework records the generated power in a ledger where peer-to-peer trading is conducted via smart contracts between residents of the community. As shown in Figure 2B, in case of failure of one of the four microgrids G1, the controller can sense that the grid is down and route power from other active grids G2, G3 and G4 to the houses connected to the G1 microgrid. This creates a resilient power system that is able to reroute the power and respond to outages caused by natural disasters, extreme weather, and other catastrophic events.
Conclusion: PSC solar sanels integrated with blockchain-enabled adaptive solar microgrids for peer-to-peer energy trading will bring the price of solar power below the current grid price, accelerate payback periods for utility solar power plants, and reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere.