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Title:
MULTIPLANAR HIGH-EFFICIENCY SOLAR PANEL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/003150
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Multiplanar high-efficiency solar panel designs are disclosed that greatly reduce the issues of shading without requiring mechanical tracking. In one embodiment, a solar panel is configured having the general shape of a rectangular accordion. The solar panel includes a plurality of subpanels having a plurality light receiving areas. A general plane of each light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas intersects a general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 30 degrees and 60 degrees. The solar panel may also include a power inverter electrically coupled with the plurality of subpanels. Each subpanel of the plurality of subpanels may include a plurality of photovoltaic cells.

Inventors:
VAN STEEN, Matthew, Joseph (US)
Application Number:
US2020/040285
Publication Date:
January 07, 2021
Filing Date:
June 30, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AEGIS POWER SYSTEMS, INC. (US)
International Classes:
H01L31/042; H01L31/0236
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EVANS, Gregory, M. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed:

1. A solar panel configured to have a rectangular accordion structure, the solar panel comprising:

a plurality of subpanels having a plurality of light receiving areas, wherein a general plane of each light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas intersects a general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 30 degrees and 60 degrees; and

a power inverter electrically coupled with the plurality of subpanels.

2. The solar panel of claim 1, wherein each subpanel of the plurality of subpanels comprises a plurality of photovoltaic cells.

3. The solar panel of claim 2, wherein the plurality of photovoltaic cells are electrically coupled in series.

4. The solar panel of claim 3, wherein the plurality of subpanels are electrically coupled in series with the power inverter.

5. The solar panel of claim 3, wherein the plurality of subpanels are electrically coupled in series with the power inverter.

6. The solar panel of claim 2, wherein the plurality of photovoltaic cells are electrically coupled in parallel.

7. The solar panel of claim 6, wherein the plurality of subpanels are electrically coupled in series with the power inverter.

8. The solar panel of claim 6, wherein the plurality of subpanels are electrically coupled in series with the power inverter.

9. The solar panel of claim 2, wherein each photovoltaic cell of the plurality of photovoltaic cells is configured to produce approximated 0.5 volts direct current (DC) in direct sunlight.

10. The solar panel of claim 1, wherein the solar panel is further configured to have an output power to input power efficiency greater than 20%.

11. A solar panel configured to have a rectangular accordion structure, the solar panel comprising:

a first port;

a second port;

a first plurality of subpanels having a first plurality of light receiving areas; and a second plurality of subpanels having a second plurality of light receiving areas; wherein:

the first port is electrically coupled with the first plurality of subpanels and the second plurality of subpanels;

the second port is electrically coupled with the first plurality of subpanels and the second plurality of subpanels;

the first port and the second port are configured to be electrically coupled with an external power inverter;

the first plurality of subpanels is positioned on the rectangular accordion structure such that a general plane of each light receiving area is approximately parallel to an adjacent light receiving area of the first plurality of light receiving areas;

the second plurality of subpanels is positioned on the rectangular accordion structure such that a general plane of each light receiving area is approximately parallel to an adjacent light receiving area of the second plurality of light receiving areas; and a general plane of each light receiving area of the first plurality of light receiving areas intersects a general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the second plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 30 degrees and 60 degrees.

12. The solar panel of claim 11, wherein each subpanel of the first plurality of subpanels comprises a first plurality of photovoltaic cells and each subpanel of the second plurality of subpanels comprises a second plurality of photovoltaic cells.

13. The solar panel of claim 12, wherein each photovoltaic cell of the first plurality of photovoltaic cells are electrically coupled in series.

14. The solar panel of claim 13, wherein each photovoltaic cell of the first plurality of photovoltaic cells are electrically coupled in series.

15. The solar panel of claim 14, wherein each subpanel of the second plurality of subpanels are electrically coupled in parallel.

16. The solar panel of claim 15, wherein each subpanel of the second plurality of subpanels are electrically coupled in parallel.

17. The solar panel of claim 16, wherein the first plurality of subpanels is electrically coupled in parallel with the second plurality of subpanels.

18. The solar panel of claim 11, wherein the general plane of each light receiving area of the first plurality of light receiving areas intersects the general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the second plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 40 degrees and 50 degrees.

19. The solar panel of claim 11, wherein the solar panel is further configured to have an output power to input power efficiency greater than 20%.

20. The solar panel of claim 11, wherein the solar panel is further configured to have an output power to input power efficiency of approximately 25%.

Description:
TITLE

MULTIPLANAR HIGH-EFFICIENCY SOLAR PANEL

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/869,061 filed on July 1, 2019, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates generally to solar panels, and more specifically, to solar panels having multiplanar light receiving areas.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays suffer from several issues that limit the overall power production capability. These limitations occur at both the solar panel level and at the completed solar array level.

[0004] Currently manufactured solar panels only average around 18% efficiency. Higher efficiency panels have been created in lab environments. These higher efficiency panels can be very expensive to manufacture and when manufactured are typically only used for space applications that can justify the cost. Solar panels have the lowest efficiency of all the components in a solar array and therefore have the greatest potential for improvement. Solar panel efficiency also dictates the overall cost and size of the array required to produce a given amount of power.

[0005] The direct current (DC) output voltage of a single solar panel is not at a high enough potential to operate most grid-tied or stand-alone alternating current (AC) inverters. Therefore, solar panels are usually connected in series (i.e. strings) to increase the DC output voltage to an acceptable level that can be used for the inverter. However, these strings of solar panels are very susceptible to shading. Since a string is connected in series, if any one solar panel becomes even partially shaded, the total power output of the entire string is reduced. In certain applications, studies have shown that a 10% system shading can result in a loss of 50% of total system power. Bypass diodes, on the solar panels, help to mitigate some shading effects but they are not very effective as they cause maximum power point tracking (MPPT) mismatch losses and can cause low voltage loss (LVL). Calculating the proper string configuration for a solar array can be a complicated and multi-variable process wherein the results greatly affect the size, cost, final array power production, and overall payback time. As such improved solar panels are needed that solve the aforementioned problems.

SUMMARY

[0006] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

[0007] Improved solar panels having multiplanar high-efficiency designs are disclosed herein that greatly reduce the issues of shading without requiring mechanical tracking. In one embodiment, a solar panel is configured having the general shape of a rectangular accordion. The solar panel includes a plurality of subpanels having a plurality light receiving areas. A general plane of each light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas intersects a general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 30 degrees and 60 degrees. The angle between the two planes may be generally calculated as an angle between their surface normals. The solar panel also includes a power inverter electrically coupled with the plurality of subpanels. Each subpanel of the plurality of subpanels may include a plurality of photovoltaic cells. [0008] In some embodiments, each plurality of photovoltaic cells may be electrically coupled in series. The plurality of subpanels may be electrically coupled in series and/or in parallel with the power inverter. In other embodiments, each plurality of photovoltaic cells may be electrically coupled in parallel. In this scenario, the plurality of subpanels may also be electrically coupled in series and/or in parallel with the power inverter.

[0009] In some embodiments, the general plane of each light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas intersects the general plane of the adjacent light receiving area of the plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 40 degrees and 50 degrees.

[0010] In some embodiments, the solar panel may be further configured to have an output power to input power efficiency greater than 20%. The rectangular accordion structure may have rectangular dimensions of approximately 36 inches by 72 inches. Each photovoltaic cell of the plurality of photovoltaic cells may be configured to produce approximately 0.5 volts direct current (DC) in direct sunlight.

[0011] In another embodiment, a solar panel is configured having the general shape of a rectangular accordion. The solar panel includes a first port and a second port that are configured to be electrically coupled with an external power inverter. The solar panel also includes a first plurality of subpanels having a first plurality of light receiving areas, and a second plurality of subpanels having a second plurality of light receiving areas. The first port is electrically coupled with the first plurality of subpanels and the second plurality of subpanels. The second port is also electrically coupled with the first plurality of subpanels and the second plurality of subpanels. The first plurality of subpanels is positioned on the rectangular accordion structure such that a general plane of each light receiving area is approximately parallel to an adjacent light receiving area of the first plurality of light receiving areas. The second plurality of subpanels is positioned on the rectangular accordion structure such that a general plane of each light receiving area is approximately parallel to an adjacent light receiving area of the second plurality of light receiving areas. A general plane of each light receiving area of the first plurality of light receiving areas intersects a general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the second plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 30 degrees and 60 degrees.

[0012] In some embodiments, each subpanel of the first plurality of subpanels may include a first plurality of photovoltaic cells and each subpanel of the second plurality of subpanels may include a second plurality of photovoltaic cells. Each photovoltaic cell of the first plurality of photovoltaic cells may be electrically coupled in series and each photovoltaic cell of the second plurality of photovoltaic cells may be electrically coupled in series. Each subpanel of the first plurality of subpanels may be electrically coupled in parallel and each subpanel of the second plurality of subpanels may be electrically coupled in parallel. The first plurality of subpanels may be electrically coupled in parallel with the second plurality of subpanels.

[0013] In some embodiments, the general plane of each light receiving area of the first plurality of light receiving areas may intersect the general plane of an adjacent light receiving area of the second plurality of light receiving areas at an angle between 40 degrees and 50 degrees.

[0014] In some embodiments, the solar panel may be further configured to have an output power to input power efficiency greater than 20%. The solar panel may be further configured to have an output power greater than 300 watts and an output voltage greater than 350 volts direct current (DC). In certain embodiments, the output power to input power efficiency may be approximately 25%.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The present embodiments are illustrated by way of example and are not intended to be limited by the figures of the accompanying drawings. In the drawings:

[0016] FIG. 1 depicts a diagram illustrating a solar panel incorporating a three- dimensional (3D) sawtooth mounted solar cell array having the general shape of a rectangular accordion in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. [0017] FIG. 2 depicts a diagram illustrating a typical flat solar panel (as known in the art) mounted in a stationary mount having a limited peak sun window in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0018] FIG. 3 depicts a diagram of two side views of a 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array illustrating the full 90 degree range of a peak sun window in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0019] FIG. 4 depicts a diagram illustrating reflected light harvesting with a 0 degree incidence angle on a 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0020] FIG. 5 depicts a diagram illustrating reflected light harvesting with a 30 degree incidence angle on the 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array of FIG. 4 in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0021] FIG. 6 depicts a diagram illustrating a solar panel array in a series wired configuration in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0022] FIG. 7 depicts a diagram illustrating a solar panel array in a parallel wired configuration in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0023] FIG. 8 depicts a diagram illustrating a 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel including 36 rows at 40 photovoltaic (PV) cells per row and configured to provide 20.4 volts direct current (VDC) per row in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0024] FIG. 9 depicts a diagram illustrating one embodiment of the 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel of FIG. 8 and configured to provide approximately 367.2 VDC in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0025] FIG. 10 depicts a diagram illustrating another embodiment of the 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel of FIG. 8 and also configured to provide approximately 367.2 VDC in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] The presently disclosed subject matter is described with specificity to meet statutory requirements. However, the description itself is not intended to limit the scope of this patent. Rather, the inventors have contemplated that the claimed invention might also be embodied in other ways, to include different steps or elements similar to the ones described in this document, in conjunction with other present or future technologies. Moreover, although the term“step” may be used herein to connote different aspects of methods employed, the term should not be interpreted as implying any particular order among or between various steps herein disclosed unless and except when the order of individual steps is explicitly described.

[0027] The following description and drawings are illustrative and are not to be construed as limiting. Numerous specific details are described to provide a thorough understanding of the disclosure. However, in certain instances, well-known or conventional details are not described in order to avoid obscuring the description. References to“one embodiment” or“an embodiment” in the present disclosure can be, but not necessarily are, references to the same embodiment and such references mean at least one of the embodiments.

[0028] Reference in this specification to“one embodiment” or“an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the disclosure. The appearances of the phrase“in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments mutually exclusive of other embodiments. Moreover, various features are described which may be exhibited by some embodiments and not by others. Similarly, various requirements are described, which may be requirements for some embodiments but not for other embodiments.

[0029] The terms used in this specification generally have their ordinary meanings in the art, within the context of the disclosure, and in the specific context where each term is used. Certain terms that are used to describe the disclosure are discussed below, or elsewhere in the specification, to provide additional guidance to the practitioner regarding the description of the disclosure. For convenience, certain terms may be highlighted, for example using italics and/or quotation marks. The use of highlighting has no influence on the scope and meaning of a term; the scope and meaning of a term are the same, in the same context, whether or not it is highlighted. It will be appreciated that same thing can be said in more than one way.

[0030] Consequently, alternative language and synonyms may be used for any one or more of the terms discussed herein, nor is any special significance to be placed upon whether or not a term is elaborated or discussed herein. Synonyms for certain terms are provided. A recital of one or more synonyms does not exclude the use of other synonyms. The use of examples anywhere in this specification, including examples of any terms discussed herein, is illustrative only and is not intended to further limit the scope and meaning of the disclosure or of any exemplified term. Likewise, the disclosure is not limited to various embodiments given in this specification.

[0031] Without intent to limit the scope of the disclosure, examples of instruments, apparatus, methods and their related results according to the embodiments of the present disclosure are given below. Note that titles or subtitles may be used in the examples for convenience of a reader, which in no way should limit the scope of the disclosure. Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this disclosure pertains. In the case of conflict, the present document, including definitions, will control.

[0032] In general, this disclosure relates to high-efficiency solar panels having multiplanar light receiving areas. These solar panels utilize currently available silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells to address each of the aforementioned limitations, but may also incorporate other photovoltaic cells as available.

[0033] FIG. 1 depicts a diagram 100 illustrating a solar panel incorporating a three- dimensional (3D) sawtooth mounted solar cell array having the general shape of a rectangular accordion. The 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array gives a greater photovoltaic (PV) surface area and allows more solar energy to be harvested. As such, the overall efficiency is greater than that of existing panels. The 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array also increases the peak sun hours, by harvesting more energy during early-morning and late-aftemoon times than compared to existing planar solar panels. This improved harvesting negates the need for deploying expensive tracking systems. The 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array is designed to mount using existing solar panel racks and mounts.

[0034] The 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array also incorporates a high voltage direct current (DC) output that is matched to the input range of the inverter. This removes the requirement to place the array’s panels in series strings to boost the overall voltage. All solar panels are connected in parallel to the power inverter. This makes the final array configuration much simpler and removes the requirement to perform complex solar cell string calculations. This configuration also reduces the partial shading effects to a single panel and not an entire string. Therefore, there is no need for micro-inverters and/or additional DC-DC panel power inverters. Transmission losses (i.e. I 2 R losses) are also minimized due to the higher DC panel voltage. This 3D sawtooth mounting structure minimizes and/or overcomes each of the previous issues and achieves a higher panel efficiency and overall solar array power production. This reduces the overall solar array footprint and further reduces the cost of solar energy production.

[0035] Solar panel efficiency is measured in watts per meter squared (W/m 2 ). Solar panel efficiency equals output power divided by input power. Solar irradiance is defined as the output of light energy from the entire disk of the sun, measured at the earth. Solar irradiance may be estimated at 1000 W/m 2 (i.e. input power) for typical calculations.

[0036] Regardless of size, individual solar cells produce about 0.5 volts direct current (DC) each. The size of the solar cell dictates how much current the solar cell can produce. Current manufacturing processes typically use six-inch solar cells and use either 60 or 72 cells per panel. Therefore, the average DC output of a solar panel is approximately 30 to 40 volts DC. This scenario provides for three options of connecting to a power inverter.

[0037] The first option is to create a series“string” of panels to achieve a voltage level high enough to match the power inverter’s input requirements. Disadvantages to this option include susceptibility to shading issues, system transmission losses due to operating at lower voltage and higher currents (i.e. I 2 R losses), and array power production may not be optimized due to string calculation errors.

[0038] The second option includes using an individual DC-DC optimizer. Basically a DC-to-DC module is connected to each panel to boost the output to a voltage level acceptable by the power inverter. Disadvantages to this option include higher costs, more components, more complexity, and reduced efficiency due to the additional DC-DC module.

[0039] The third option uses micro-inverters. Basically a small DC-to-AC inverter mounted at each panel converts the DC to AC (e.g. approximately 240 VAC). Disadvantages to this option again include higher costs (e.g. approximately $154 more per panel), system transmission loses due to only transmitting power at 240 VAC, more components, and more complexity.

[0040] A multiplanar high-efficiency 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array currently disclosed uses smaller solar cells and creates a solar panel that outputs high voltage DC. For example, a 350 W panel would produce 360 volts direct current (VDC) at 0.972 A. This eliminates the need for local DC-to-DC or DC-to-AC power inverters and minimizes transmission losses, since all panels would be operating at approximately 360 VDC at lower currents. This also eliminates the need to connect panels in series“strings” and minimize the effects of shading to a single panel and not a whole string. All solar panels are connected in parallel and then connected to the inverter. Any shading that occurred on a single panel would not have any effect on the other non-shaded panels.

[0041] A typical mono solar cell (i.e. PV cell) is 36 square inches (i.e. 6 x 6 inches) and produces approximately 4.1 W (i.e. 0.51 VDC at 8.04 A). This correlates to a power density of approximately 0.1139 watts per square inch of solar cell. Reducing the same solar cell material into a two square inch area (i.e. 1.414 x 1.414 inches) allows for 18 solar cells that each provide 0.2278 W (i.e. 0.51 VDC at 0.4467 A). Connecting these smaller solar cells in series provides 4.1 W (i.e. 9.18 VDC @ 0.4467 A). Basically the same amount of PV square area is used with the same amount of power output, but now is configured for a higher voltage output and subsequently lower current (i.e. minimizing I 2 R losses).

[0042] When specifying performance of a solar panel, efficiency of the solar panel is typically normalized over one square meter. Most all commercially available solar panels are rated at standard test conditions (STC) and assume 1000 W of available solar irradiance per square meter. With the disclosed multiplanar high-efficiency solar panel with the smaller cells arranged in a sawtooth 3D patterned baseplate, both the number of solar cells per square meter are increased as well as the total light receiving area due to the rectangular accordion structure.

[0043] A standard 72 solar cell solar panel has dimensions of 36 inches by 72 inches yielding 1.672 m 2 . Using 72 of the 6 inch by 6 inch (0.51 VDC at 8.04 A = 4.1 W) solar cells in a flat configuration, produces 295.2 W of output power with an overall panel efficiency of approximately 17.6%.

[0044] A 3D sawtooth solar panel of the same dimensions (36 inches by 72 inches) has 1.414 times more solar cells in the width direction = 50.94 inches x 72 inches = 2.364 m 2 of solar cells in the same 1.672 m 2 footprint. The 3D sawtooth solar panel produces 41.4% more output power than the standard flat panel configuration (i.e. 417.4 W) yielding an overall panel efficiency of 24.96%. The 3D sawtooth solar panel is possible since a crystalline solar cell is capable of producing the majority of its power with off-axis sunlight (i.e. due to the rectangular accordion structure).

[0045] FIG. 2 depicts a diagram 200 illustrating a typical flat solar panel mounted in a stationary mount having a limited peak sun window. Maximum power production occurs when the incidence angle is 0 degrees. A solar cell can still produce 90 to 95% of its power even at a 45 degree incidence angle to the sun. Therefore, the sun must rise in the sky until it is at a 45 degree angle to the panel’s face to begin significant power production. This means that the maximum power collection for a flat panel occurs in a 90 degree sun arc window during the day. Most geographic areas only have three to five hours of peak sun available per day. As such, the majority of the early morning or late afternoon sunlight is not captured by the flat panel, unless a tracking method is employed to orient the panel face perpendicular to the sun.

[0046] FIG. 3 depicts a diagram 300 of two side views of a 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array illustrating the full 90 degree range of a peak sun window in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. In the 3D sawtooth panel of diagram 300, there are 18 PV strips (i.e. sub panels) facing the left at a 45 degree angle and 18 PV strips (i.e. subpanels) facing the right on an angle of approximately 45 degrees.

[0047] This 3D sawtooth design both expands the useable peak solar hours and also maximizes power production when the sunlight is perpendicular to the solar panel’s face. The solar cells are at a 45 degree angle, which allows them to collect maximum solar energy as the sun rises and sets. During the morning hours, one half of the panel produces power at a rate close to 95%. Subsequently, during the late afternoon the other half of the panel is producing power at a similar rate of 95%. This design allows the panel to collect solar radiation, well beyond the capabilities of a fixed mount flat panel.

[0048] FIG. 4 depicts a diagram 400 illustrating reflected light harvesting with 0 degree incidence angle on a 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array. FIG. 5 depicts a diagram 500 illustrating reflected light harvesting with a 30 degree incidence angle on the 3D sawtooth mounted solar cell array of FIG. 4. In a standard flat solar panel configuration, all of the solar energy reflected off the surface is lost energy. Depending on the type of glass and applied coatings, the lost solar radiation may be as high as 10% of the available solar radiation due to reflection. Because of the sawtooth geometry (i.e. rectangular accordion structure), the 3D sawtooth panel is able to collect a large portion of this previously“lost” solar radiation as depicted in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5. Maximum light harvesting for the 3D sawtooth panel occurs throughout the full 90 degree range of a peak sun window. As such, the total power that the 3D sawtooth panel produces in a given day is also increased.

[0049] The 3D sawtooth solar panel is also configured to provide an output voltage of 360 VDC while maximizing the panel dimensions. The 18 strips (in one direction) are configured to output 20.4 V (40 cells) and are connected in series to provide approximately 367.2 VDC at 0.4467 A. The other 18 strips are wired in the same manner and also produce approximately 367.2 VDC at 0.4467 A. Both sets of 18 strips are then electrically coupled in parallel together. This serial/parallel configuration minimizes the effect of shading, reduces power transmission losses, and increases the panel efficiency. During early morning or late evening sun conditions, the solar cells that are angled towards the sun and generating the most power. Since all of the PV cells facing the other direction are in a parallel bank, their increased resistance does not affect the power production of the generating PV cells.

[0050] FIG. 6 depicts a diagram 600 illustrating a solar panel array in a series wired configuration. Within a standard solar array, the solar panels are configured in strings (i.e. electrically coupled in series) to boost the overall array voltage to a level that is acceptable for the power inverter operation. If each panel produces 38 VDC, then panels are required in a series configuration to achieve a 380 VDC input for the power inverter. In this configuration, all of the current for the solar array must pass through each panel. If any panel gets shaded it will adversely affect the power production of the entire string. This is a major design flaw of existing solar panel arrays.

[0051] FIG. 7 depicts a diagram 700 illustrating a solar panel array in a parallel wired configuration. Utilizing a high voltage solar panel such as the 3D sawtooth solar panel in a parallel wired configuration avoids the partial shading issue of the series wired configuration of FIG. 6. Each 3D sawtooth solar panel produces an output voltage high enough to be connected directly to the inverter power (i.e. approximately 367 VDC) and they are subsequently connected in parallel to each other and then to the power inverter. If any given 3D sawtooth solar panel gets shaded, there is little to no effect on the other 3D sawtooth solar panels. This limits the effects of shading to a single panel. This dramatic reduction in shading losses results in a higher overall solar array power production. This also makes the design of solar panel arrays easier as there is no need to do string calculations. Additionally, more capacity can be added at any time by connecting another 3D sawtooth solar panel in parallel to the power inverter. In the standard solar panel array system, additional capacity can only be added in strings of solar panels. [0052] FIG. 8 depicts a diagram illustrating a 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel including 36 rows having 40 PV cells per row to be used in at least two different wiring configurations depicted in FIG. 9 and FIG. 10. Each PV cell is configured to provide approximately 0.51 VDC. Half of the rows (i.e. 18) slant east, and the other half of the rows (i.e. 18) slant west when installed and further illustrated in the side view of FIG. 8. Adjacent rows slant opposite directions and are approximately perpendicular to each other. PV cells of each row are electrically connected in series and are configured to provide approximately 20.4 volts direct current (VDC) per row. Each PV cell has approximately 1.414 inches by 1.414 inches of surface area. When positioned 45 degrees to the overall solar panel plane, each cell has a rectangular footprint of approximately 1.000 by 1.414 inches. As such, the 3D sawtooth mounted solar array has an overall rectangular footprint of approximately 36.00 inches by 56.56 inches.

[0053] FIG. 9 depicts a diagram 900 illustrating one embodiment of the 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel of FIG. 8 and configured to provide approximately 367.2 VDC. The wiring in this embodiment is such that each west facing row is wired in parallel with its adjacent east facing row to form 18 coplanar rows. As such each coplanar row is configured to provide approximately 20.4 VDC and capture light from east and west directions. The 18 coplanar rows are wired in series to achieve the overall 367.2 VDC output for the 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel,

[0054] FIG. 10 depicts a diagram 900 illustrating another embodiment of the 3D sawtooth mounted solar array panel of FIG. 8 and configured to provide approximately 367.2 VDC. The wiring in this embodiment is such that all west facing rows are wired in a first series arrangement to provide approximately 347.2 VDC. All west facing rows are also wired in a second series arrangement to also provide approximately 347.2 VDC. The first series arrangement and the second series arrangement are wired in parallel such that light is captured from east and west directions.

[0055] As disclosed in the embodiments of FIG. 8, FIG. 9, and FIG. 10; the 3D sawtooth solar panel overall dimensions are approximately 36.00 inches by 56.56 inches yielding approximately 1.313 m 2 of rectangular surface area. Light receiving area (i.e. overall solar cell area) is increased to 50.94 inches by 56.56 inches yielding 1.859 m 2 of solar cell area with 328.2 W of output power (i.e. 367 VDC at 0.8934 A) and a 24.9% power efficiency rating. A flat panel configuration would only produce 230 W at a 17.6% power efficiency. The effect of the 3D structure yields a 41.4% efficiency improvement over a standard flat solar panel configuration. This improvement is due to the rectangular accordion structure and applies to many types of individual solar cells. The high voltage DC output of the 3D sawtooth solar panel allows for direct connection to the power inverter and without the need for configuring strings of solar panels. Additional power production gains are realized due to reflected light harvesting, improved shading performance, and reduced system losses.

[0056] While the embodiments have been described in connection with the preferred embodiments of the various figures, it is to be understood that other similar embodiments may be used or modifications and additions may be made to the described embodiment for performing the same function without deviating therefrom. Therefore, the disclosed embodiments should not be limited to any single embodiment, but rather should be construed in breadth and scope in accordance with the appended claims.