Inventive Research, a Division of S. R. Widows Company, Inc., of Indiana, has patented a way to generate AC power directly from a solar panel. Why is this so important? It makes it possible to simply hook the solar panels directly into the power grid without the need for expensive DC to AC power conversion equipment. This invention, when commercialized, will make the cost of solar power more practical and affordable.
We’ve heard about the promise of cheap solar energy now for decades. You’d think by now that at least in the world’s sunniest areas all the cities would be supplementing their power with clean renewable solar power. Sadly this is not the case.
Here’s the problem. Solar panels today produce DC power which has to be converted to AC to be used by by most homes and businesses. The price of solar panels combined with the price of inverters, phase synchronizers, installation and maintenance has made the price of solar prohibitive. Add to that the loss of power from the different components used in the DC to AC conversion process and it becomes even more unattractive. But what if there was a better way?
Nearly a century ago a battle between two of America’s most influential inventors decided the power we use today. Thomas Edison’s inventions generated and utilized DC power and Nikola Tesla’s inventions used his newly discovered AC power. Tesla’s AC eventually won out because it could be transfered over long distances more efficiently.
Jason Oliver, lead inventor for Inventive Research is not the typical researcher; he’s an automotive master mechanic from Indiana who more than a decade ago developed a passion for the inventions of Tesla. He looked for clues from how power is generated today to come up with their newest invention, the AC generating solar panel.
Today AC power is produced for the power grid by AC generators. The generators are powered by mechanical energy provided by water turbines (hydro-electric) or steam turbines powered from coal, natural gas or nuclear fuel. The mechanical energy rotates the coils of the generator in a magnetic field to produce voltage. Because the conductor coil of the generator flips direction during rotation in the magnetic field the resulting voltage produced is sinusoidal or AC.
Inventive Research replicated this sinusoidal voltage by mechanically manipulating alternate banks of solar cells to turn off and on. They spent many years years developing this technology. They call it the AC Solar Generator. It’s so simple and practical you won’t believe it hasn’t been done before, but it hasn’t. Inventive Research and their attorneys did an exhaustive patent search to make sure of that.
The process Inventive Research used to do this is simple but pure genius in its application. Jason arranged modified standard solar cells into a circular pattern mounted on a base.
Half of the cells are wired in one circuit and half in another circuit.
Mounted above the solar cells is a spinning disk powered by a DC electric motor. The DC motor gets its power from four small DC solar cells mounted in the corners of the base. The disk has portals cut into it allowing light to pass through to every other solar cell below it. As the disk spins each of the banks of solar cells is alternately exposed to light and alternately produce power. When the portal is half way between the two cells the voltage cancels and drops to zero. The resulting voltage is sinusoidal or AC. It can even be configured to produce three phase AC power.
The prototype is meant only to show the concept in practical use and is not the most efficient way the technology could be applied. Given the right manufacturing technology the solar cells could be made in the shape of a pie wedge. When arranged in a circle next to each other they could generate power from the entire area under the rotating disk and not just a portion of the area as shown in the prototype. The optimum size might be about the same size as a compact disk. These small units could be combined to form a full solar panel as shown in this animation.
Not only did they figure out how to generate AC power, Inventive Research also developed and patented a sensing technology to match the phase of the power from the panels to the phase of the power grid.
Combining the phase matching with the alternating current generation is what allows the AC solar generator to create AC power without the losses and cost associated with the AC to DC power conversion process.
Other benfits include:
• Generates free energy from the sun
• Non-polluting energy reduces emissions: Has no direct impact on the environment
• It’s easily scalable
• Grid-Tie systems allow you to sell excess electricity back to the utility
• Can be installed and operated anywhere including areas of difficult access and remote locations
• Helps get us off dependence on foreign oil
• PV cells make no noise and give off no exhaust
This is truly a transforming technology. The AC solar generator has the potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels tremendously if you just imagine them installed photovoltaic solar power centers around the country generating supplemental power for the grid.
Inventive Research is expecting to receive the final patents later this year. If you are interested in licensing or purchasing the patents for this technology you can contact Stan Widows at Inventive Research a division of S.R. Widows Co. Inc. at 800-357-6290.