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Energy Innovations, an Idealab company, is developing solar "concentrators" that use mirrors and lenses to intensify the light and generate more electricity from solar panels. The company's Sunflower product is designed specifically for flat-roof buildings such as warehouses and large stores.
A design of Energy Innovation's concentrator shows how light reflects from mirrors close to the ground and shines on a silicon solar cell above, which is cooled by fans. The design concentrates the light 25 times, cutting down on the amount of expensive silicon needed. The mirrors move to follow the sun.
PARC solar concentrators
Using its research in optics and manufacturing, Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center is partnering with SolFocus to build glass solar concentrators that rotate during the day to face the sun directly. Over the next two years, about 2 megawatts of power generation from this project are slated to be installed and tested.