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3D solar panels can produce 20 times more energy

This 3D trend is perhaps getting a bit crazy; movies, consoles, printers. You name it, there is probably a 3D version in the works. But here is one 3D-inspired object that could actually be useful in reality. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed that a 3D solar panel that could produce up to 20 times more energy than the traditional flat panel.

MIT is redefining the shape of solar panels to harvest more energy

Flat solar panels lay flat on surface facing the sun to collect the sun's rays. By making the shape of the panel more tree-like, MIT researchers found they generated more energy. The efficient designs included a cube, a tall cube and a tower. The accordion-styled tower (pictured above) draws in 20 times more energy per square foot.

The three panels were tested in a variety of weather conditions and constantly performed better than its flat paneled cousins. However they may not be the best panel for solar farms as the height of them could easily shade one another, so are best used in an urban environment.

“I think this concept could become an important part of the future of photovoltaics,” said Jeffrey Grossman, one of the project's leaders. The accordion-styled tower works so well because it can absorb energy from all angles; not just one.

Kitguru says: And all this came about thanks to a theory from a 13 year old child, impressive stuff.

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