Ordinary solar panels stay in one place, so they can’t capture the maximum amount of sunlight as the sun moves through the day and through the seasons. They also don’t work after the sun goes down. But a new design from Barcelona-based architect André Broessel could take care of both problems; his spherical glass solar energy generator tracks sunlight, and can even gain energy at night by concentrating sunlight reflected off the moon.

Solar trackers aren’t new, but most are “dual-axis” designs that must be mounted on the ground. Broessel’s spherical design can be mounted on rooftops and walls. While most solar trackers can improve efficiency significantly, tests have shown the spherical solar generators can go increase efficiency as much as 35 percent.

The design features a water-filled glass ball that concentrates light onto solar PV cells inside. By powerfully concentrating light, it’s able to generate electricity even when skies are cloudy or dark. The system can be built in many different configurations, including smaller spheres arranged in groups, or very large single spheres. With water shining inside, the solar spheres are both effective and beautiful.

Right now, the devices are just prototypes. There is no word on when these may be on the market, but we eagerly await seeing the artistic design grace cityscapes.

Images by Rawlemon