In cooperation with the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui Prefecture (Japan), Sphelar Power Corporation has prototyped an energy-harvesting fabric with interwoven spherical solar cells. The novel solar cells, dubbed ‘Sphelar cells’, can collect sunlight more effectively and more uniformly than conventional flat solar cells because they are less sensitive to the angle of incidence of the light.
Each spherical solar cell consists of a multi-layer bead with a pair of electrodes on opposite sides. This structure enables omnidirectional light capture and expands the cells’ range of use from horizontal installations to integration into curved surfaces and three-dimensional solar modules.
In the production process, Sphelar cells measuring 1.2 mm in diameter are aligned and joined to form a thread, which is then woven into an energy harvesting mat. The photovoltaic modules made in this manner are both flexible and stretchable, just like ordinary fabrics.
In this collaborative development project, Sphelar Power contributed the unique 3D light capturing Sphelar cells, while the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui Prefecture liaised with the local textile industry in its role as an innovative R&D hub.