Teen wows experts with innovative solar panel array
Alternative energy community amazed by Aidan Dwyer, 13, who came up with notion of arranging solar panels in shape of tree branches to maximize sunlight collection
01.16.12, 09:25 / Israel Environment
Aidan Dwyer, a 13-year-old boy from New York, has become the toast of the alternative energy community, after coming up with an inspirational way to enhance solar panels’ reception – arranging them in the shape of tree branches.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Dwyer came up with the idea of arranging solar panels in the shape of trees. After studying the mathematical relationship of the arrangement of leaves and branches on trees and the Fibonacci Sequence – which starts with the numbers 0 and 1, followed by the sum of the prior two numbers in the sequence – he realized that Fibonacci numbers can be found in many plants and flowers in nature.
He then conducted several photovoltaic array experiments comparing his design to standard solar panel arrays, and found it was 20%-30% more efficient in collecting sunlight.
According to the report, the design “used the greatest number of PV panels within the least amount of physical space, making his concept a truly practical and efficient design.”
Innovation aside, Dwyer’s calculation were disproved after experts reviewed them more carefully and discovered he measured volts instead of the watts, but that has not stopped the alternative energy community from hailing his original thought process and experiments.
He was also awarded the 2011 Young Naturalist Award by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and has filed a provisional patent application for his research on collecting solar energy.