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Solar & Alternative Energy

Roger Angel: A New Job for Telescopes: Making Solar Electricity

Roger Angel presents a system based on work in astronomy using optical and mechanical elements to develop concentrating photovoltaic systems. A plenary talk from SPIE Optics + Photonics 2012.

24 August 2012, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201208.12

Roger Angel has developed concepts and technology for some of the most powerful astronomical telescopes, including the Large Binocular Telescope and the planned Giant Magellan Telescope.

In this plenary session at SPIE Optics + Photonics, he discusses novel ways to harvest solar energy by focusing sunlight onto small but powerful photovoltaic cells, and also onto thermal receivers to heat liquid to be stored for night-time generation. Both approaches are designed to use mass-produced, self-supporting glass mirrors. In combination they promise around-the-clock solar electricity at a cost competitive with fossil fuel generation.

Angel is Regents Professor of Astronomy and Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, where he directs the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. He is also the founder and CEO of REhnu LLC, a company that is commercializing a new technology for concentrating solar. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society. His work in developing the new generation of large astronomical telescopes was recognized by a MacArthur fellowship and the 2010 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics.