By Roy Carter
There are many challenges that face our ever-increasing demand for energy. The Sun gives us an amazing abundance of power, harnessing it could help propel us into a golden age of civilization. Yet our approach to the typical photovoltaic cells have changed little since the 1800’s and due to the laws of physics, the average 250-watt panel in the peak average of 4 hrs of sunlight only offsets your bill 1kw/hr on average per panel each day.¹
So although having many solar panels can help cut budgets and even help pay for your residential bill (depending on your electric company), there’s still a lot to be desired for many homeowners. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for those who do make the investment and find their panel setup works fine for them. But when you add the government as an intermediary between yourself and your electric company that’s when things start to go astray.
Right now there is a battle of wills in the great solar debate with those in favor showing the cost of new solar farms declining, which could provide an energy revolution. Despite the low cost of fossil fuels, these come with an added environmental cost,² while those on the other side of the fence decry dramatically skyrocketing energy costs:³ 51% increase in Germany during its expansion of wind and solar in 2006-2016; 24% in California; over 100% in Denmark and due to the mismanagement of the Liberal government in Ontario, hydro rates have consistently skyrocketed amidst the 1.1 billion dollar gas plant scandal and over $14 billion (CAD) in overcharges to residents who will never see a rebate from Hydro One in their lifetimes.
There is still hope for solar energy and solar orbs may be a potential solution or perhaps a segue to bring solar power to the average consumer.
How do these crazy contraptions work, you may ask?
By using a globular design, different companies apply everything from water to a glass polymer spherical lens to take the sun’s photons and act like a magnifying glass to focus an intensified beam of light with a dual axis system that takes less energy to adjust for solar positioning than regular flat panels.4
This means we can replace the large and bulky photovoltaic panels with a smaller area because the beam of light can be focussed much more efficiently using a globular lens. The energy harnessed is 30-50% more abundant using this method and there are even companies like Rawlemon who have come up with ideas for solar architecture, walls made out of thousands of miniature solar orbs to make buildings look more appealing and ‘new age’ to potential business owners and homebuyers.5
Yet this year, Andre Broessel, architect, inventor and founder of Rawlemon solar architecture wrote a scathing press release in February criticizing regulatory barriers and inaction from world leaders and meddling from fossil fuel related influences. He has put his projects on hold to pursue political means to get more funding.
Regardless of whether you agree with his decision or believe he’s just another climate warrior idealogue existing on mass subsidization, the objective of getting his products out and readily available to the public has suffered tremendously from this delay. Yet his designs may pave the way for new ideas and paths to ingenuity.
Hopefully, within the next 5-10 years we’ll see more of this interesting innovation, along with numerous new improvements on the cost and carbon footprints in the manufacturing of current photovoltaic cells. It’s not going to be easy but despite humanity’s many flaws, we have a brilliant and unparalleled ability to rise above almost any challenge presented to us. And perhaps we can one day reach a realistic amalgamation of technologies to move confidently into the future.