Giant glass balls might be the future of solar power

[Credit: Rawlemon via DesignBoom]

Solar power has become increasingly commonplace in everyday life, showing up in everything from space stations to home power generators. The only thing that has not changed over the years is the way we collect that energy: Most solar power generators today still use flat photovoltaic panels to collect the Sun's rays.

Barcelona-based architect André Broessel at design firm Rawlemon has created a spherical glass solar energy generator called the Beta.torics (β.torics) system that makes all those old-school solar panels look hideous by comparison. As spotted by Adafruit Industries, this solar energy system uses a spherical ball lens filled with water to concentrate the sun’s rays into a beam of solar energy.

[Credit: Rawlemon via DesignBoom]

Aside from looking really cool, these solar spheres could be even more efficient than our current solar panels. Rawlemon claims that their simple optical system is able to "concentrate sunlight up to 10,000 times" its original strength. And, according to DesignBoom, the ball lens is 35 percent more efficient than the traditional “dual-axis” (motorized) solar panels. What is even cooler is the fact that β.torics can actually generate energy from moonlight.

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