Stanford researchers have developed a novel non-tracking and low cost solar concentrator - Axially Graded Index LEns: AGILE - that has potential to change the economy of the solar cell industry. The AGILE concentrator enables cost-effective utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) installations by simplifying the design construction installation and most importantly; the maintenance of high-concentration (~1000 suns) concentrated solar PV systems. The basic completely passive AGILEs that the lab simulated and demonstrated in the exploratory phase of this research give a concentration of several suns. In high concentration systems this translates into reduced requirements on design optical components construction quality pointing accuracy and long-term stability. Over the life time of the PV installations this leads to substantial cost savings and allows the facility to operate at maximum efficiency even under sub-optimal conditions. Applications for AGILE include residential passive panel and large scale utility installations. In addition to solar concentration the AGILE’s unique imaging properties also have potential applications in illumination photography and communications.
1) Low cost with simple installation 2) Does not need to track the sun 3) High conversion efficiency 4) Does not require substantial real estate 5) Potential for large scale implementation and hence potential for high impact on reducing green house gas emissions 6) Takes advantage of the fact that the density of electromagnetic radiation modes is proportional to the square of the Refractive Index to create non-tracking solar concentrators