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Really fascinating & potentially very useful. Not the first time that a technology we deem to be modern is much older but not developed for a variety of reasons often to do with predatory commerce.

Given that the main use of solar panels for many years was for spacecraft you can see why efficiency was so prized. Now that the efficiency of powered devices is so much better its less of an issue. It would certainly be worthwhile to develop a technology demonstrator of the "Cove" cells. Quite a prize to be had.



Very interesting. What are the material constraints of this approach particularly around the supplies of zinc and antimony?

Lars R Knudsen


A very interesting article.

I have two questions: Has no one tried to make a proto type in recent years?

As far as I know antimony is a relatively limited resource with China as the major producer. Is there any material which can substitute antimony? (even if this will lower efficiency)



Absolutely fascinating, thank you Kris!

Best wishes


 M. L. Munn


Thanks again for another interesting article

I think we are missing something by not taking advantage of magnifying/concentrating the power of the sun

“Heliac Solar Tracker

Built. Tested. Proven

Our technology is as efficient as any solar heat solution. With 1.5 MW installed and operating for E.On in Denmark, Heliac is ushering a new era of heat production through paradigm shifting performance and economics.”


Eugene Lisovsky


My name is Eugene Lisovsky.
Inspired by your magazine, I built a home router + web server that runs only on solar power. Thank you for your inspiration.
Once the system was up and running, I thought about the problem of the difficulty of building solar panels outside large factories. So this material is very timely.

 Ed Martiszus


I build and use solar ovens from recycled materials for 30 years, that are about 100% recyclable. I make my own thermopane to use to insulate and be more efficient Cook food, melt wax for candles, sterilize water. There may be a way to make a solar oven photoelectric and thermoelectric and trickle charge a battery then charge phones and radios in town or in remote areas.

 Carlos Neves



I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article How to Build a Low-tech Solar Panel?. I sometimes dream of self-suficient communities thriving; somewhere inside these imaginary communities, there'll always be the manufacturing (with pairs of actual manus) of solar panels and batteries. Can a small-scale organization of people really produce the electricity they need and use in their daily lives?

My request is as follows: could a video, or a visual manual be produced, that details the whole process step-by-step of the production of, say, one Schottky diode solar cell?

(Perhaps one directed graph with all the steps as nodes; with, ideally, as-short-as-possible videos demonstrating the execution of each step)

Please, do not be angry or anything like that. Even though I make such request, I'm not sure whether I myself would ever put it in practice; even if you handed me such manual. I also understand that such undertaking costs time, energy, and money. If you do do it though, please broadcast it in public.

Thank you.



Hello Kris!

First, I want to say I love your website and articles! Fantastic resource, and asking all the right questions. My background is in Aerospace Engineering, but your latest article about George Cove's solar panel is EXTREMELY fascinating. I'm learning a ton about that side of engineering just so I can understand his invention. You wouldn't be able to send me a copy of the files/email Philip sent you in 2019 for my own personal research/education? If not, I totally understand, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

Keep up the great work!




Hi Kris.

Enjoyed the article and I look forward to more. If those documents are available, I would like to get a copy.

Thank you



Hi! I've sent a link to this article to a colleague of mine, and he responded with a very interesting idea for a sustainable design.

What if we used a Rankine-cycle steam turbine, and used sunlight directly as a heat source? The efficiency and mechanical complication would probably suffer, but it doesn't need any special materials other than the pump.



Dear Sir,

This material Zn4Sb3 didnt have aplication in 1910 so it was dirt cheap. Today it is six time cheaper than gold (for hobby quantity). I think it is not economic viable option for today. But idea itself if any similiar but today cheap material could be obtain on the market make lot of sense. Best Regards! Jack

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