13-Year-Old Boy Creates New and Innovative Solar Panel Array

Aidan Dwyer, a 13-year-old boy from New York, has created a concept to arrange solar panels to collect light, using the Fibonacci Sequence. Dwyer credits trees as his inspiration behind his design. He came up with the idea while on a winter hiking trip, when after observing the trees, Dwyer thought of the idea of placing solar panels at the end of tree branches, noticing that trees collect sunlight by reaching up towards the sky.

After studying the mathematical relationship of the arrangement of leaves and branches on trees and the Fibonacci Sequence, Dwyer decided to utilize the Fibonacci Sequence in his own concept. The Fibonacci Sequence starts with the numbers 0 and 1, followed by the sum of the prior two numbers in the sequence. The Fibonacci Pattern can be found in many expressions of plants and flowers in nature. For instance, daisies usually have 34, 55, or 89 petals – the 9th, 10th, and 11th Fibonacci numbers.

After designing his concept into a photovoltaic array, Dwyer conducted experiments comparing his design to standard solar panel arrays and found that his Fibonacci tree design was more efficient in collecting sunlight. Dwyer’s design is reportedly 20 to 30 percent more efficient than the standard design involving solar panels. Furthermore, Dwyer’s design used the greatest number of PV panels within the least amount of physical space, making his concept a truly practical and efficient design.

Aidan was given a provisional patent for his idea by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He was also awarded the 2011 Young Naturalist Award by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

Photo credit: inhabitat.com/13-year-old-makes-solar-power-breakthrough-by-harnessing-the-fibonacci-sequence/

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