The goal of this project is to prove the feasibility of thin film solar cells installed on aerostat type structures for harnessing solar energy. We aim to explore and optimize a number of possible aerostat geometries and sizes, lifting gases and solar cell arrangements, in order to discover the best configurations for a sellable product.
We would like to build and test two units. One with an installed solar cell surface area in the range of 5000-10000 square meters, aimed to serve the industrial energy markets and be further used for large solar installations. Another test unit would be in the solar cell installed range of 50-100 square meters, and aim at the residential and commercial markets.
Possible lifting gases to be explored in the order of decreasing cost are Helium, Hydrogen, Methane, and Ammonia. Obviously certain hazards are to be considered for the last three. Air as the cheapest alternative can also be considered if the unit is to be installed at ground level and does not require lifting.
For the aerostat envelope construction and materials we will be working with reputed suppliers with a proven track record in the area, who will provide with the best optimized solution to meet our goals. Aerostat technology is already old and tested, and the aim is to find the most cost effective and reliable solution four our needs. Also details like holding the structures in place will also be worked out.
The thin solar films will be either of the CdTe type or the CIGS type and our engineering team will work with the suppliers to figure out the best way to install the films on the aerostat structure.
Electrical systems will be designed and sized according to the installed capacity of the units
At the end of the project we aim to have fully functional systems that will deliver electricity into the grid for option number one and independently power a home for option number two.