A Kyoto-based company, Kyosemi, has created a spherical solar cell design. The “Sphelar” is a matrix of tiny, spherical-shaped solar cells, about 1mm in diameter. The spheres are designed to absorb sunlight at any angle, and therefore do not require motorization for tracking the sun. Because of their geometry, Sphelar cells even optimize the use of reflected and indirect light, and have been shown to convert energy with close to 20% efficiency — beyond most flat photovoltaic technologies.
Sphelar is produced using a unique process whereby melted silicon is subjected to free fall, and spheres are formed naturally by the microgravity conditions, so there is hardly any waste of raw materials at all.
Its flexible disposition also makes Sphelar appropriate for applications at a variety of scales, including mobile electronic devices.