rawlemon solar

How Rawlemon Solar Architecture Hopes to Change the Solar Game

Rachel Lark - December 21, 2023

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The solar industry has evolved over the last decade. Prices have dropped, technologies have advanced, and people have adopted solar panels and accessories worldwide. However, despite progress, efficiency lags while conventional panels remain unsightly. Rawlemon Solar Architecture — a Barcelona-based startup — has plans to change the solar game forever with a spherical glass solar energy generator.

All developments in renewable technologies are exciting — but Rawlemon’s mesmerizing orb design takes the cake. Let’s learn more about the company’s efforts to provide advanced solar solutions and how it addresses some of solar’s most prominent challenges.

The Race Toward Renewables

If you ever needed a sign fossil fuels are on the way out, here it is. Despite its growing population and increasing energy demand, India did not fund any new coal plants in 2021. Yet, financing for renewable projects was up by 39% year-over-year.

The clean energy movement is supported by the global initiative to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. In 2022, renewable energy investments skyrocketed to $495 billion — up from $423 billion in 2021. 

Although all facets of renewables have garnered interest, the wind and solar industries account for most global investments. In fact, the photovoltaic (PV) solar market recently reached $300 billion, while wind energy accounted for $140 billion last year.

Clean energy technologies are especially booming. Electric vehicles surpassed 10% of the market share for newly manufactured cars worldwide in 2022. Meanwhile, the U.S. sold more heat pumps than gas furnaces for the first time last year. 

Then there’s solar — experts predict newly installed solar capacity will reach a record-breaking 270 gigawatts (GW) globally by the end of 2023. By 2032, the world can expect solar to accelerate to 330 GW annually.

A focus on EV adoption and energy storage will significantly propel solar investments. Ramped-up EV production will demand more efficient charging infrastructure without putting additional pressure on the grid. As such, there are numerous opportunities for solar projects to help drive the EV market — literally.

Rawlemon Solar Architecture Improving Efficiency

André Broessel founded Rawlemon Solar Architecture in 2011, intending to create the most efficient solar technology the world had ever seen. The company spent eight years developing the device with 46.6% overall equipment efficiency. Today, Rawlemon reports 57% efficiency over conventional solar panels.  

Broessel — a German architect — felt inspired to create the PV sphere known as Beta.ray 1.00 after watching his daughter play with glass marbles. This newly patented solar technology is one of a kind, capable of delivering high-performance solar energy to various environments, structures, and systems.

The spherical glass solar energy generator resolves a problem with lagging clean energy infrastructure and high capital investments. The potential for it to deliver stable electricity to buildings, EVs, and more should not be overlooked.

How it Works

The Beta.ray 1.00 uses a ball lens filled with water to concentrate diffused sunlight. The water amplifies the sun’s rays by over 10,000 times, allowing the small solar panels at the bottom of the sphere to garner and store more energy than otherwise possible.

The prototype uses similar optical elements like lenses and mirrors to reflect light. However, according to Broessel, the ball lens is significantly better than traditional solar panels. This is because it has only one focal point to transmit light, ensuring the equipment uses far less material while generating more power. 

Unlike conventional solar panels in today’s marketplace, the Beta.ray 1.00 can also concentrate moonlight — although this specification requires further development. Nevertheless, the ball lens lights up at night into a high-powered lamp using LEDs. The technology also works off the grid and can augment building energy consumption. 

PV Sphere Applications

Rawlemon’s PV sphere technology has several applications for harvesting sun power and distributing electricity. These uses include energy-generating windows, automated power generators and hybrid power plants. Miniature versions of the transparent sphere can also power much smaller devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

However, the PV solar spheres will be best utilized to deliver clean electricity to EV charging stations and build efficiency. Also, by installing them into walls and windows, you can eliminate the need to install rooftop solar panels.

Rawlemon Solar Delivering Solutions to Solar Pitfalls

Rawlemon Solar Architecture’s solar solution comes at a time when these renewable technologies are demonstrating various shortcomings. For one thing, public opinion says solar panels are not the most attractive and can ruin the aesthetics of your home.

From a more technical perspective, conventional solar panels only have between 15% and 20% efficiency — relatively low to support global demand for clean electricity. Likewise, they do not harness sunlight as much on a cloudy day as in direct sunlight, nor do they absorb light at night. 

Solar panels work best at 77° Fahrenheit but have a range of 59° F to 95° F. Under direct sunlight, solar panels could reach 149° F. That means people who live in sweltering climates with excessive heat waves could lose 10% to 25% of their panels’ efficiency over time.

Another barrier to more widespread solar adoption is the land requirements. Utility-scale solar panel technologies take up 5 to 10 acres per megawatt of electricity capacity. Engineers and solar installers must clear-cut the land to make room for solar farms, posing a risk to biodiversity. 

Rawlemon seeks to address all of these issues. Obviously, Broessel has made strides in harvesting moonlight with his PV sphere. However, another goal is to achieve concentrated energy using less space — preventing further environmental degradation.

The PV sphere is also made of transparent glass, allowing it to work more efficiently in scorching temperatures. Per Rawlemon’s motto, “The future isn’t green, it’s transparent.” With the transparency, though, comes a beautiful, crystalline orb design far better looking than the solar technologies we’ve grown accustomed to.

Powering Greatness With the Latest Solar Technology

Whether Rawlemon Solar Architecture holds the key to the most advanced solar transformation of our time is yet to be determined. Several projects are underway to boost the optimal efficiency of today’s renewable technologies. However, André Broessel’s spherical glass solar energy generator could be just what the world needs to move even further away from fossil fuels. 

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About the author

Rachel Lark

Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.