A revolution for sun panels can begin not in flat panels but in 3D shapes:
The Sun sends some 87 Petawatts of power our way and converting some small fraction of this into usable power is one of the key battlefronts in the fight to free the world from its addiction to oil.A team from MIT simulated the performance of various shapes and tested several of these on the roof of a building at MIT. Their results indicate that 3D structures can increase the amount of energy that can be generated by a given footprint by as much as 20 times. These structures can also double the number of useful peak hours of generation and reduce seasonal variation to boot.There are two effects at work. The 3D structure can pick up light when the Sun is at lower angles and internal reflections within the structure help increase the amount of captured light.