inflatable pv array
cool earth solar has found a way to dramatically reduce the construction cost of large scale solar projects. essentially they have created inflatable solar concentrators that are so light they can be suspended from a tensegrity (which is, in turn, an incredible light and efficient structure). the overall reduction in weight and the change of materials (from polished aluminum concentrators to inflatable ones) has reduced the amount of expensive heavy steel required for the project. in fact, cool earth solar claims that these large scale arrays will cost almost 400% less than the traditional aluminum collector versions. of course there is a catch; the catch is that the inflatable mirrors are far more breakable and much less efficient that the current models. so as it stands now, this process isn’t yet as cost effective as it sounds. nonetheless, if the efficiency and fragility issues can be worked out this design strategy could prove hugely effective.
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