Lightweight solar cells track the sun, providing 40 percent more energy than fixed cells

University of Michigan engineers have developed an innovative array of solar cells that can capture up to 40 percent more energy than conventional fixed solar cells. The trick: borrowing from kirigami (the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting), the solar cells are aimed at different angles, allowing for part of the array to be always perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. “The design takes what a large tracking solar panel does and condenses it into something that is essentially flat,” said Aaron Lamoureux, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering and first author on the open-access paper in Nature Communications. Residential rooftops would need significant reinforcing to support the weight of conventional costly sun-tracking systems, he said.”