Renkube's innovative technology allows for optical solar panel tracking without movement

Team Digit | Published on 09 Mar 2021
Renkube's innovative technology allows for optical solar panel tracking without movement

Renkube Private Limited, one of the Startups associated with the Nexus Startup hub has come up with an innovative solution that allows for optical tracking of solar panels, without having to use servos and motors to keep the panels aligned to the Sun. Instead of flat solar panels, Renkube creates panels with its patented technology, that use a series of grooves to guide the photons to the solar cells, resulting in a 20 percent rise in electricity generation, while at the same time having no moving parts. We spoke to Renkube to better understand their innovation.  

Digit: Could you elaborate on the process of motion-free optical tracking of solar panels? Does it improve the efficacy of solar panels?
Renkube:
 Rekube has designed an innovative glass for solar panels that is capable of optically tracking the sunlight. The unique patent pending design of the glass can capture more sunlight in the morning and evening when the panels do not generate peak power and thereby we improve the efficiency of the solar panels.
The panel with Renkube glass once it is deployed has no moving parts and hence no maintenance overhead.
As we use stationary optical element i.e glass to track sunlight we call this Motion Free Optical Tracking solution.

Digit: Is there a reduction in maintenance costs by adopting the solar panels with this technology? If so, how?
Renkube:
Renkube panels are installed just like regular solar panels and similarly, there is no additional maintenance for Renkube panel other than regular solar panel cleaning.

Digit: How have you tweaked the solar panels to incorporate no moving parts? 
Renkube:
Today's solar panels have  a flat glass. We replace this with our Renkube glass which has inbuilt "Light Deflector Units" to redirect more sunlight to the solar cells  underneath. The Light deflector units have patented grooves which are designed by complex topology optimisation algorithm, total internal reflection and Our unique glass design can capture more sunlight irrespective of the movement of the sun in the sky for all 365 days and for all geographies.

Digit: What is the environmental impact of using solar panels, especially the ones made with the Renkube technology?
Renkube:
As Renkube panels produce 20% additional energy, we can further reduce the carbon footprint. When compared to traditional solar panels we further reduce carbon  emission additionally by 10 Mega tonnes (lifetime saving in 1 GW). This is equivalent to planting 150 M trees additionally.

Digit: How much more expensive are these solar panels in comparison to standard ones. If they are more expensive, does the higher cost get balanced out over the usage period?
Renkube:
Renkube panels have a 10% increase in capital cost that is inclusive of the price of the special glass and the project cost.  But an end consumer using our panels will  get their ROI in 3 years as opposed to the existing 4 years period for solar. A residential user using Renkube panels also continues to earn 20% more revenue year on year (as compared to traditional solar panels).

Digit: When are the initial rollouts happening?
Renkube:
We have planned to execute pilots with solar installers from early next year (2021).

Digit: Could you elaborate on how your experience has been with the Nexus Startup Hub?
Renkube:
Nexus has been one of the best incubation programs. At the start, the 8 week intensive schedule seemed unnerving. But each and every session organised by Nexus Startup Hub had a meaningful impact and purpose. Startup Nexus Hub quickly adapted to the Covid situation and did a commendable job in holding their 1st virtual cohort.  The program quality, delivery, and discipline was simply superb. Erik and team have truly gifted the art of ensuring participation of every member in the cohort. The cohort of 15 startups is of the right size so that Nexus Startup Hub team can keep everyone inclusive during the virtual sessions and also give personalized feedback and mentoring. 

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IndiaProject Renkube Nexus Startups Solar
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