Pyron Pioneers Solar Concentrators that Swim with the Fishes

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Pyron Solar Inc. (Pyron) is a San Diego company that develops and makes solar concentrators.

Pyron and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) recently announced that SDG&E is building a demonstration project to test Pyron’s patented concentrated solar power system.  The system uses shallow pools of water as a passive cooling system for high efficiency solar cells.

Pyron’s U.S. Patent No. 7,299,632 (‘632 Patent) is entitled “Solar electricity generator” and is directed to a solar electrical generator comprising a concentrator, a homogenizer and a photovoltaic (PV) cell.  The concentrator concentrates solar rays onto an entrance surface of the homogenizer, which is in turn attached to a PV cell.

The concentrators are positioned in troughs (1) that sit in bodies of water (5).  The water (5) acts as a passive coolant to disperse the heat generated by the PV cells.   

In addition, buoyancy torque created by pumping the water (5) between ballast compartment (8) and ballast compartment (9) and pressure differentials between the compartments pivots the troughs (1) to keep the lenses (2) aimed directly at the sun.

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The lenses (2) concentrate solar rays (3) at focal spot (4).  According to the ‘632 Patent, the highly concentrated “pencil” of solar rays (3) then enter homogenizer (43) and are evenly distributed onto PV cell (4’) by loss-free total internal reflection.

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According to the ‘632 Patent, this system makes better use of solar farm real estate by covering 87% of the set-aside land.  Pyron’s also touts the greater power production and reliability of its passive coolant design, noting that it protects the equipment from exposure to extreme wind. 

Pyron plans to stock the pools of water with fish to prevent mosquito infestation, leading Matter Network to speculate that “perhaps the fish farms of the future will double as solar energy collectors.”

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.