Focus on a few solar questions

by Garfield Marks

May I ask a stupid question or two or three?

I hear a lot about solar panels, solar power, solar heating, and passive solar heating.

Solar panels produce electricity and could charge batteries for later use or to keep batteries charged. Electric cars and buses run on batteries that get recharged when they are plugged in. Why do we not see solar panels on electric cars and buses? You plug them in to power supplies that are coal generated to charge up batteries. Would the solar panels on the cars and buses lessen the time and power requirements? A bus can be 40 feet long and over 8 feet wide, offering a large roof area for solar panels.

We talk about solar panels being less efficient in the cold, under snow and ice. Why not incorporate passive solar heating to keep your solar panels warm, and ice and snow free?

Could we put a magnifying glass or lens in front of a solar panel to increase light intensity?

What about a mirror behind the solar panel? How about a parabolic mirror?

What is that, you ask?

A parabolic mirror is a curved mirror, like a satellite dish.

We have all seen satellite dishes being used for tv signals focused on receiver, so why not use a polished satellite dish to focus sunlight on a solar receiver, possibly a solar panel or a solar sphere? Like the TV dishes, they started huge and got smaller and more efficient.

Could we not place a magnifying glass in front, and also incorporate passive solar heating for year round use? Could we not use a portion of the power created to ensure optimal aiming?

Solar panels are getting more powerful, more efficient and less expensive. Instead of spending billions on big projects could we not focus on smaller ones?

These may be stupid questions, but I just had to ask. Thank you.

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