LIGHT COLLECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD
A light collection systems with at least one light receiving element, such as a window, a photovoltaic element, a heating element, a light guiding element or combinations thereof, and at least one light reflector-deflector element. The light reflecting elements include a front light receiving surface, a rear surface, and a transparent volume, disposed between the front light receiving surface and the rear surface, the transparent layer being of a higher refractive index than of its surrounding. The transparent volume comprises an asymmetric pattern which is configured to at least partially reflect light by internal reflection and direct the light within the element, reflect some light off said front light receiving surface, reflect, deflect and guide light within the light reflector-deflector element; and direct light through the front light receiving surface towards the at least one light receiving element.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to the field of solar energy, and more specifically to methods and apparatus for efficient collection of solar energy.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Solar energy has been used for thousands of years as a heat and light source. In the last few decades, solar heating of water has become popular in a number of countries. In view of the increasing political and financial costs of oil, coupled with the deleterious environmental impacts thereof, many alternative energy sources are being developed. Solar energy may be concentrated and converted into electrical energy and, the electrical energy, in turn may be stored and/or fed into an electric grid.
The concentration of solar light energy provides many useful advantages, such as efficient use of photovoltaic (PV) cells. Conventional optics using focusing lenses, Fresnel lenses or convex mirrors of various shapes with sun-tracking systems are in use in many places. These are sometimes applied in industrial PV solar fields. Systems without sun-tracking are typically non-concentrating or low-concentrating systems.
In solar PV fields, most collecting systems pose shading constraints, which limit the maximal system array positioning density, that is, the positioning of plurality of sub-systems, one relative to the other. Conventional solar PV panels are often installed on flat roofs, but are typically set tilted and arranged in spaced-apart rows.
Fluorescent solar energy collectors, which guide light energy through a side surface of a collector have been proposed. However, such collectors have the disadvantages of low efficiency, stability and cost.
Holographic optical elements have been considered in the past for replacement of conventional lenses for directing light towards photovoltaic cells in solar panel systems.
At high latitudes, such as in Northern Europe, flat and compound parabolic reflectors, for low factor concentration, have been added to solar photovoltaic modules and more commonly to thermal modules (where lighting uniformity constraints are relaxed).
WO20080131561 discloses a solar energy system which uses a light-guide solar panel (LGSP) to trap light inside a dielectric or another transparent panel, which propagates the light to one of the panel edges for harvesting by a solar energy collector, such as a photovoltaic cell. This allows for very thin modules whose thickness is comparable to the height of the solar energy collector. This eliminates eliminating the depth requirements inherent in traditional concentrated photovoltaic solar energy systems.
In WO20090064701, a device comprising a light guiding layer, optically coupled to a photocell is described. A plurality of surface features are formed on one of the surfaces of the light guiding layer. The surface features can comprise facets that are angled with respect to each other. Light incident on the surface of the light guide is redirected by the surface features and guided through the light guide by multiple total internal reflections. The guided light is directed towards a photocell.
WO20090065069 discloses, a display device comprising a light collection film and a photovoltaic device disposed on an edge of the collection film. The collection film has a plurality of light-turning features for redirecting light between the front and rear surface of the collection film and the photovoltaic device. In some embodiments, a light source is also disposed on an edge of the collection film and emits light which is turned by the light-turning features toward the display.
There is still a need to provide efficient solar energy collection systems, which can be economically disposed in a solar field.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of some aspects of the present invention to provide efficient solar energy collection systems and methods.
It is another object of some aspects of the present invention to provide efficient solar energy collection systems, which can be economically disposed in a solar field.
It is another object of some aspects of the present invention to provide a stationary optical element sub-system add-on for enhancing the performance of a stationary PV system comprising flat modules, where the enhancement may be measured by the yearly increase of the amount of light impinging on the PV modules, in comparison with a system without the add-on.
It is appreciated that the cost of such a stationary optical element sub-system add-on may be far less than the value of the added energy production.
Another object of the present invention is to provide the stationary optical element sub-system add-on which may fit conventional PV module installations. Another object is to provide new PV systems designed with the sub-system therein.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a solar PV system having a flat form factor appropriate for building integrated applications, the system having a small area light converter and a large surface optical system (window) for collecting and directing the light towards the converter.
In some embodiments of the present invention, improved methods and apparatus are provided for collection of solar energy.
In other embodiments of the present invention, a method and system is described for improved collection of solar energy.
Some embodiments of the present invention are directed to providing a stationary optical system comprising a light collecting apparatus adapted to combine and mix a) light from at least one light-guiding element; b) light from at least one refection-deflection element; and c) light from at least one reflection element, wherein the light collecting apparatus is disposed to direct the combined light towards at least one light receiving element, thereby increasing the uniformity and efficiency over a large solar light angular range.
Some further embodiments of the present invention are directed to light collection systems comprising at least one light receiving element, selected from the group consisting of: a window, a photovoltaic element, a heating element, a light guiding element and combinations thereof, and at least one light reflector-deflector element, each element comprising a front light receiving surface, a rear surface, and a transparent volume, disposed between the front light receiving surface and the rear surface, the transparent volume being of a higher refractive index than of its surrounding, wherein the transparent volume comprises an asymmetric pattern which is adapted to, is constructed and configured to:
- a) at least partially reflect light by internal reflection and direct the light within the element;
- b) reflect some light off said front light receiving surface;
- c) reflect, deflect and guide light within the light reflector-deflector element; and
- d) direct light through the front light receiving surface towards the at least one light receiving element.
Additionally, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the asymmetric pattern includes at least one of
- i. a difference in the nominal thickness of a first and a second side of the transparent layer;
- ii. a curved pattern formed on at least one of the surfaces;
- iii. a ridged pattern; and
- iv. a prismatic pattern formed on at least one of the surfaces.
Furthermore, according to some embodiments of the present invention, the pattern may be repetitive or non-repetitive.
Moreover, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the angle between the front light receiving surface and a front surface of the reflector-deflector element is in the range between 110 degrees and 150 degrees.
Additionally, according to an embodiment of the present invention, more than one collector elements are arranged in tandem.
Further, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the asymmetry is along one direction and the profile asymmetry is greater than 0.55.
Yet further, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the asymmetry is along one direction and the profile asymmetry is less than 0.45.
Additionally, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the light collection system further includes an additional layer disposed adjacent to the rear surface with an air gap between the layer and the rear surface, the layer being selected from the group consisting of a reflecting layer, a tilted layer and un-tilted layer relative to the front light receiving surface.
Additionally, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the at least one of the surfaces of the reflector-deflector element is coated.
Moreover, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the light collection system further includes a plurality of light reflector-deflector elements.
According to some further embodiments of the present invention, the plurality of light reflector-deflector elements units are arranged in several complementary directions.
Additionally, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the at least one reflector-deflector element is positioned so that its front light receiving surface is distal to a light source, the element being further arranged to reflect light directed at it by light collecting elements, towards the light receiving element.
Furthermore, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the light collecting elements have a reflective side and a deflective-reflective side and are arranged with a tilt with respect to the plane of the reflector-deflector element.
Additionally, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the light collecting elements are adapted to controllably rotate with respect to a plane of the reflector-deflector element.
Moreover, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the at least one reflector-deflector element includes a frame filled with an optical liquid.
According to some further embodiments of the present invention, the optical liquid includes at least one of water, mineral oil, a low chain length optical organic oligomer; an optical polymer and a mixture thereof.
Additionally, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the at least one reflector-deflector element includes a ridged array including at least two types of pairs of surface correlated features.
Furthermore, according to some further embodiments of the present invention, the pairs of surface correlated features include nominal pair surfaces direction at opposite tilts relative to a nominal plane of the ridged array.
Some further embodiments of the present invention are directed to a method of light collection comprising:
- a) receiving light from at least one light source;
- b) collecting light from the at least one light source to form collected light by;
- i. at least partially reflecting the received light by internal reflection and directing the light within at least one light reflector-deflector element;
- ii. reflecting some of the received light off a front face of at least one light reflector-deflector element; and
- iii. reflecting, deflecting and guiding the received light within the at least one reflector-deflector element; and
- c) directing at least part of the collected light to at least one light receiving element.
The present invention will be more fully understood from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments thereof, taken together with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will now be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments with reference to the following illustrative figures so that it may be more fully understood.
With specific reference now to the figures in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice.
In the drawings:
In all the figures similar reference numerals identify similar parts.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
In the detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that these are specific embodiments and that the present invention may be practiced also in different ways that embody the characterizing features of the invention as described and claimed herein.
Reference is now made to
A converter 130 may be attached to the element bottom surface 116 or separated by an air gap. The converter 130 may be extended beyond the exit side 116 of the collector 110 to capture some of the reflected-deflected light, as indicated by the dashed extension 130A. The converter may be a standard photovoltaic solar module, a photovoltaic cell array tailored in size to the side of the collector and having heat sink attached thereto, a thermo-voltaic unit such as a heat pipe or (in spite of its name) a window, a light guide or, in general, another optical element to further direct the light.
Solar light direction is indicated by rays R1 and R2, schematically representing different solar elevations and azimuths (solar azimuth not shown). Angular incidence angles, A, are measured from the normal 103 to the front surface while solar angles are in reference to a horizontal surface.
Collector 110 acts on impinging light by several mechanisms, at small angular incidence angles (represented by ray R1) by diverting it towards a light receiving surface (a converter) 130, 130A, and on light impinging at large angular incidence angles (represented by ray R2) also by coupling the light into light guiding, to further direct the light towards a converter through an output coupler (emitting side which is the bottom side 116).
In all cases some of the light is reflected off the incidence surface 104. As is well known, reflection off surfaces (Fresnel reflection) is significant; few percent of the incident light impinges at small angles of incidence and a larger percent at much larger angles of incidence (close to grazing angles). In this embodiment and in the following embodiments, a significant portion of this reflected light (especially at large angles of incidence) is also directed towards converter 130, 130A.
The system can be positioned standing, half-standing or lying down. The light converter 130 (indicated by vertical lines) is, according to some embodiments, a photovoltaic element.
Side surfaces 112 may be reflective so as to direct the light towards a specific side, for example, a mirror with an air gap may be joined to surface 112.
Incidence surface 104 and back surface 108 may be coated with a coating with a (complex) refractive index, different from the refractive index of the volume of the element 110 and/or may be covered with a protective coating; controlling absorption at and reflection-off the surfaces and/or reducing dirt adhesion or even actively reducing it, (e.g. fluorinated polymer or Titanium oxide coatings) and/or improving durability.
Considering the interaction of the light with the basic unit few notes are made regarding the tradeoffs between the different forms of coupling light into and out of light guiding in a collector.
A light guide having a structure such as prismatic features or holographic/diffractive volumetric grating (at least at one of the surfaces) for coupling the light into light guiding instead of or in addition to having a wedged surface suffers from inherent losses of the guided light as the light interacts with such features at each pass through them.
For light guiding, the wedged collector 110 is optically superior to prior art systems because it can handle a large spectral range with low losses, at relatively low complexity. A system that does not direct these losses towards an energy converter, is inferior in this aspect, but may use these losses for other purposes such as lighting or display. However, controllably directing the light out of light guiding towards a specific direction requires an additional effort.
Reference is now made to
As is seen in
A number of elements 24 may be arranged one above the other and at some tilt relative to the deflecting and light guiding element 22. Elements 24 may be arranged to minimize inter-shading and losses and actively tilted and moved by an actuator 29 (e.g. rotated) according to light direction so as to maximize directing by element 22 towards the converter 130. As light guiding substantially has a threshold, it is not very sensitive to the exact angle of the light directed at the element 22 and therefore is convenient to use it as a main light collection (directing) mechanism. Elements 24 may be rotated to maximize collection efficiency and to preferably select certain collection paths. Even if the elements 24 are actively rotated, the complete system 200 can be arranged within a protected stationary frame, protecting it from the ambient (e.g. humidity, dust, hail and/or temperature changes), thereby increasing system reliability.
Elements 24 are wedged elements, having a reflective rear surface 26, which may be double sided; i.e. reflecting light coming from the front side 23 through the wedge or light impinging on the back side 26. The advantage of such elements compared to the use of conventional mirror can be explained by considering the use of reflection, without deflection, e.g. by replacing elements 24 with flat mirrors and considering directing small angle light towards element 22 at angles that result in light guiding. Achieving this requires a large tilt (typically more than 25° with respect to the plane on the collector) of the (simple) reflector (the 24 substitute) and consequently may cause some of the light to be obscured by the reflective elements themselves. Using wedged reflectors (and reflection-deflection) enables reaching a large reflection-deflection of the light and increases the angular range of light that can be directed towards element 22 at angles that lead to light guiding at much lower tilt of the elements 22 and consequently much lower mutual obscuration losses.
It should be noted that elements 24 have characteristics similar to element 22 serving as secondary (and non-stationary) collectors which direct the light to a collector (instead of directing it at a converter), the different naming of elements 24 (as reflecting elements) serving mainly to identify their main function and add clarity.
In an embodiment, the wedge angle of element 22 is in the range 3°-7° and the wedge angle of element 24 is in the range 8°-12°. Light impinging at the surfaces of 22 at angle larger than approximately 65° is coupled into light guiding. Light passing through 22 and plane at angles of around 25° to 40° and approaching elements 24 which are (i) having the transparent face 23 facing element 22 (ii) approximately parallel to the wedge 22 nominal is impinging at the front face 23 and is reflected towards front face 104 at angles that lead to light guiding or are close to it.
Rays impinging at large angles (e.g. larger than 45° from the normal of the front surface 104) on wedged elements 24, passing through surface 23 may suffer total internal reflection within and may be not appropriately directed towards element 22. Using double sided reflective surfaces 26 enables the use of further rotation of the elements 24 so that the reflecting interface 26 is directed and used without having light passing through the prism-like section. This enables reflection of large angled rays at low tilt angle of the wedged elements 24.
The converter 130 may be extended in the direction of the elements 24. This enables directing the light by elements 24 (generally towards element 22) at angles larger than required for light-guiding coupling (closer to being parallel to the plane of the light guiding element) resulting in less efficient coupling of the back-reflected light into the light guide and larger complementing components that are either reflected from surface 104 or non-intersecting with it, both components subsequently impinging on the extended cell array 130.
The system may be packaged, with wedge 22 serving as the light interface and elements 24 and their rotation mechanism and controller 28, 29 being protected within a box allowing for a simple and lightweight internal tracking sub-system (not shown) without the need to actuate the whole system as is required in conventional solar concentrating system. The ‘boxed’ system can be installed in a similar way to the way in which conventional flat solar panels are installed.
In a conventional arrangement at a location such as a flat roof (far from the equator, e.g. at latitude 35°), an array of conventional flat modules is set with the modules facing south (north in the southern hemisphere) and tilted, typically at about 30°-50°. To prevent shading, there is an empty space between each row of modules. Such arrangement is economically more efficient then flat (horizontally) tiling of the same area with more modules, each used at a lower capacity (compared to its maximal power production capacity). The spaced rows arrangement leaves spaces between rows which, at certain hours during a day, are illuminated by the sun but the light impinging there is not collected and converted.
Reference is now made to
In an alternative embodiment, an array of PV modules is arranged on a tilted roof which is, in general, facing the sun (facing south in the northern hemisphere) and an array of collectors is added and set on an oppositely tilted and previously unexploited adjacent roof, not necessarily at the same level or tilt, directing light from the previously unexploited roof towards a conventionally exploited roof (or a similar arrangement) increases the throughput of the conventional system.
A pattern (not shown) formed at the emitting edge of the light guide 116 may be used to increase the output coupling efficiency and/or to control the output light angular range in either directions (lateral and transversal) of the emitting side and/or to homogenize light so as to direct it more efficiently towards the photovoltaic modules next to the collector. The conditioning of the output coupling side can be achieved for example by control of the tilt of the collector, of the angle of the emitting side (relative to the wedge nominal plane), by forming a reflective near the emitting side and/or by forming a pattern e.g. of appropriate prism like facets, sinusoidal or lenticular like surfaces. Optionally, V-like prismatic features or round lenticular like lenslets may be formed (in either transverse or lateral direction). Alternatively, features which resemble pyramids projecting off the surface of the emitting side may be used.
The directed and homogenized light is the light either reflected off the front (proximal) face 104, reflected by the back (distal) face 108 or reflecting layer coupled thereto (not shown), and emitted off the front facet, or guided and emitted from light guide out-coupling surfaces 116.
Selection of the wedge angle and the material of the collector takes into account the effective wedge angle experienced by light impinging at different time of the day and the year; as the wedge axis may be laying (flat or tilted) along a north-south direction, light at morning or evening would experience a much smaller effective wedge. Typically wedge angle is in the range of 2° to 20°, more typically around 10°.
The collector may have a convex front surface pattern. The surface is designed taking into account, inter alia, the solar position throughout the day and the year, wedge thickness and collector tilt. The surface structure works via several mechanisms to control the angular range of the distribution of the light going out of the surfaces of the collector, towards the cell array. Other more complex surfaces such as semi-parabolic may be used in conjunction with the wedge light guiding feature of the collector to improve its efficiency.
Embodiments in accordance with some of the objectives, comprising stationary add-ons collectors and conventional modules at different arrangements are now described.
In one embodiment of the present invention, exemplified in
For the wedged element and for light impinging at it, once the light is internally reflected (coupled into light guiding), the interaction of the surfaces of the guiding wedge with the guided rays increases the angles of guided rays so that the probability of guiding, even if the surfaces are non-perfect increases, and also does increase the distance between impingements at the interfaces.
In general more than one collector element may be arranged in tandem; having a second element front surface adjacent to the rear surface of a first element, thereby enabling the directing and guiding of light that was not efficiently directed by a single element. The elements in tandem may be different one from the other and may be parallel or (slightly) tilted one to the next.
The converter and the collector can be arranged at distance one from the other, thereby standard solar modules may be used as converters whereas the collectors act as improvement or ‘add-on’ boosters.
Reference is now made to
In one embodiment portrayed in
In general, collector units may be arranged in several complementary directions wherein at different times of the day or year different sets of collectors work with higher efficiency to direct the light onto the converter.
Reference is now made to
The collector, in its application to solar systems, may comprise a transparent volume made of any material fit for exposure to ambient conditions for the times typical for solar installations; glass, acryl and polycarbonate are typical examples. However, production of large monolithic wedged collectors of controlled optical quality may become an issue in terms of the required amount of material, and the production resources (time, work and machinery).
An inner frame 120 is depicted with openings allowing flow of an optical liquid. The optical liquid may be filled into the collector through sealable opening 124. The optical liquid is preferably transparent in the spectral range appropriate for the photovoltaic cell spectral response range; water, glycerol, propylene glycol, mineral oil, organic oligomers or (organic) polymers such as acrylic oligomers, or mixtures thereof are optional examples. The optical liquid is preferably having a high refractive index and may also comprise additives that would enhance its performance over a long time period. The reflector used at the rear surface 108 may be inserted within the frame relaxing the assembly constrains (for example in this case the back plate does not need to be transparent). Alternatively, the reflector may form a layer on the back plate or be separated from the back polymer surface by an air gap. Liquid flow within the light guide as a result of heat gradients may enable better temperature control by heat convection. The plates comprising the frame may be bent to form a mechanically stronger structure and improve the collection efficiency.
The collectors described herein, such as collectors 110, 500 may be of dimensions 1-2 meters in length and of similar widths.
Incorporating (or allowing) into the system some optical imperfections in terms of distortion of the light path such as slight refractive index variability (within the volume of the element), surface deformation or controlled scattering may positively affect system performance as it may positively affect light distribution at the converter.
In an alternative embodiment a thin optical element (compared to the wedged element) is used.
Reference is made to
Rays R61 and R62 portray that the light directing is non-imaging and that it is more appropriate to consider the lenslet like pattern in terms of non-imaging properties. It may be convenient in some cases to consider the curved structure as a wedge with a varying wedge angle.
An additional layer 1010 may optionally be added below the rear surface of element 1000 to handle light that has not been reflected (by internal reflection) at the rear surface of element 1000. Layer 1010 may be a reflective surface (e.g. a coated glass mirror) or having a white pattern, a bump pattern or a fine groove pattern enabling refection or diffuse reflection of the passing light towards the lenslet array and towards the receiving (converter) element. Alternatively, layer 1010 may be an additional element similar to element 1000. Layer 1010 may be separated from element 1000 by spacers 1050 to form an air gap of controlled size.
The asymmetric lenslet pattern having one plane of reflection symmetry may be characterized by a measure of the asymmetry. In specific embodiments, the profile asymmetry is larger than 0.55 or smaller than 0.45, and preferably larger than 0.6 or smaller than 0.4, and more preferably larger than 0.7 or smaller than 0.3, whereas the profile asymmetry is measured by the ratio between subsequent distances of minima and maxima at the lenslet surface profile along a line parallel to the plane of symmetry, the ratio calculated according to d(xmini,xmaxi)/d(xmaxi,xmaxi+1), whereas d(y,z) denotes the distance between points y and z, xmaxi(xmaxi) denotes the maximum (or minimum) location in the i-th repeating unit in the pattern. If the minimum or maximum are a set of more than one point, e.g. in case the minimum is flat and parallel to the nominal surface of the element, then the minimum or maximum points are defined as the middle point(s) of the relevant section(s) of the cross section of the lenslet profile (that is the middle between the first minimum (or maximum) point and the last minimum (or maximum) point in the respective section of the profile of the elementary unit). A more general asymmetry of the collector would bear if the collector is set in asymmetry with respect to solar position and motion through out the year, e.g. partially facing east or west.
In one embodiment, converters 130 are PV panels and are facing south (typically denoted by orientation of 180°) at tilt angles between 25° and 50°, and collectors 1200 of similar area (and few mm thick) are oppositely positioned facing north tilted at angles between 30° and 50°. Depending on the latitude and the time of year, the sun at noon may be at elevation angles similar to the tilt of the collector and the solar light's cross section with the face of the collector would be very small. It is appreciated that for such collector arrangements the collection of radiation directed from large azimuth angles (east and west) has a significant effect on the collection efficiency.
In an embodiment, the pattern is a lenticular like pattern forming a curved profile only in one direction. In an alternative embodiment the pattern at, at least one of the surfaces of the element 1000 is convex or prismatic or carrying a repetitive convex pattern a second direction, thereby increasing the collection efficiency of light directed from large azimuth angles. In an embodiment this pattern is symmetric, providing one plane of reflection symmetry. In an additional embodiment, the basic “lenslet” unit curvature is involving a more complex relation between the curvature in the first and the second directions.
As is disclosed in the embodiments of the present invention, light guiding is combined with the use of features for directing the light out of the collector towards the converter. This is instead of prior art systems using only light guiding in a transparent layer. These features for controlled leakage (coupling the light out of light guiding) may be for example prismatic features, curved surfaces, bumps or white regions. The features are used not only to couple the light in or out of transparent layer but also to direct it towards the converter.
Referring again to
Optionally, element 1000 may be protected by cover plate and/or supported on a transparent plate forming a mechanically stiffer structure. The transparent plates and/or the reflecting surface may comprise additional features such as diffusers or lenticular arrays and the system may be slightly bent for improved mechanical and/or optical performance. The addition of surfaces implies additional Fresnel reflections which may be used to control the light profile at the converter.
The references cited herein teach many principles that are applicable to the present invention. Therefore the full contents of these publications are incorporated by reference herein where appropriate for teachings of additional or alternative details, features and/or technical background.
It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details set forth in the description contained herein or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that various modifications and changes can be applied to the embodiments of the invention as hereinbefore described without departing from its scope, defined in and by the appended claims.
1. A solar light collection and conversion system further comprising:
- a light collector including at least a front face, a back face, and side faces, a top face and a bottom face, wherein the top side face is substantially thinner than the bottom face;
- a light converter attached to the proximate to the bottom surface, the light converter extending beyond the bottom face of the light collector and is configured to capture reflected-deflected light from front surface; and
- wherein the light converter is selected from a group of convertors consisting of a photovoltaic solar module, a photovoltaic cell array, a thermo-voltaic unit, a window, a light guide and, another optical element to further direct the light.
2. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the side faces, the top face and the bottom face are reflective faces.
3. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the light converter is separated from the bottom face by an air gap.
4. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the front face and back face comprise a coating having a refractive index different from the refractive index of the light collector volume.
5. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the front face and the back face of the light collector comprise a protective coating controlling absorption and reflection-off the faces and reducing dirt adhesion and wherein the protective coating is one of a group of coatings consisting of a fluorinated polymer and Titanium oxide coating.
6. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the light collector is configured (a) to divert solar light impinging on the light collector at small angles towards a light receiving surface of the light converter and (b) to couple the solar light impinging on the light collector at large angular incidence angles into a light guide to further direct the light towards a converter through an output face.
7. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the side faces are configured to direct incident light towards a mirror with an air gap.
8. The solar light collection and conversion system according to claim 1, wherein the system is positioned in at least one of a plurality of positions consisting of a standing, half-standing or lying down position.
9. A solar collector system comprising:
- a light guiding wedged element having a front surface and a back surface;
- a light reflecting element serving to direct the light towards the light guiding wedged element; and
- a light converter; and
- wherein the light reflecting element is configured to direct solar light guided by the light guiding wedged element through the volume of the light guiding wedged element by light guiding, by reflection off the front surface and by reflection-deflection off the back surface.
10. The solar collector system according to claim 9, wherein, the light reflecting element also directs at least some of the light straight towards converter.
11. The solar collector system according to claim 9, wherein a plurality of the light reflecting elements are arranged one above the other and at some tilt relative to the light guiding element and wherein the light reflecting elements are arranged to minimize inter-shading and losses and wherein an actuator is adapted to tilt and move the light reflecting elements.
International Classification: G02B 5/08 (20060101); G02B 7/183 (20060101);