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Solar Cells That Work All Day

April 17, 2007

Georgia Tech Research Institute researchers have developed solar cells designed to operate at relatively high efficiencies during much of the day.

Its surface consists of hundreds of thousands of 100-micrometer-high towers that catch light at many angles.

A first application is powering spacecraft and satellites, which could benefit from solar cells that don’t require a failure-prone mechanical means of moving the orientation of the cell to keep it… read more

Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over

March 17, 2015

Parabolic trough mirrors used for steam generation in concentrated solar power plants (credit: NOAA)

Carnegie Science researchers have found that the amount of energy that could be generated from solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure in California would exceed the state’s demand by up to five times.

“Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact,” according to Carnegie’s Rebecca R. Hernandez (now at… read more

Solar distributed generation system prices to fall by 15% to 30% by 2020

January 23, 2014

Falling module prices have helped to bring down the cost of solar installations, but now balance of system (BOS) components like racking and mounting are key targets of cost reduction, as distributed generation system prices fall by between 15% and 30% by 2020 depending on geography, according to Lux Research.

Along with continuing module efficiency improvements, these advances willread more

Solar for Dark Climates

July 8, 2009

A system developed by Cool Energy that produces heat and electricity from the sun could help make solar energy competitive with conventional sources of energy in relatively dark and cold climates.

The system combines a conventional solar water heater with a new Stirling-engine-based generator. In cool months, the solar heater provides hot water and space heating. In warmer months, excess heat is used to drive the Stirling engine and… read more

‘Solar funnel’ concentrates solar energy 100 times

September 13, 2010

This filament containing about 30 million carbon nanotubes absorbs energy from the sun as photons and then re-emits photons of lower energy, creating the fluorescence seen here. The red regions indicate highest energy intensity, and green and blue are lower intensity. (Geraldine Paulus)

Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.

Solar cells are usually grouped in large arrays, often on rooftops, because each cell can generate only a limited amount of power. However, not every… read more

Solar Industry: No Breakthroughs Needed

August 3, 2009

Incremental advances have made transformational technologies unnecessary, challenging the federal government’s new investments in research into “transformational” solar technologies that represent radical departures from existing crystalline-silicon or thin-film technologies, which will take decades to come to market, industry experts say.

Solar Map: More Than 30 Utility-Scale Solar Plants in the U.S.

August 29, 2008

A Google map shows more than 30 utility-scale solar power plants one megawatt or larger in various stages of development in the U.S.

Solar Market Reaches $100 Billion In 2013

October 2, 2008

Solar is poised for continued impressive growth, with new installations primed to increase nearly five-fold from 2008 to 2013. Starting in 2009, however, supply will exceed demand, leading to price decreases.

According to the new report from Lux Research entitled “Solar State of the Market Q3 2008: The Rocky Road to $100 Billion,” this change will transform the solar industry, creating a market where sales grow dramatically,… read more

Solar paint is inefficient but simple to make

January 4, 2012


Notre Dame researchers have developed a simple, cheap alternative to traditional solar cells: solar paint, IEEE Spectrum Energywise reports.

The paint, made with semiconducting nanoparticles, achieved a one percent conversion rate when tested using artificial sunlight. This is far behind other solar technologies — which fall in the 10 to 15 percent range, generally — but the ease of manufacturing and use are clear advantages.

Ref.:… read more

Solar Panel Drops to $1 per Watt: Is this a Milestone or the Bottom for Silicon-Based Panels?

March 2, 2009

A solar power milestone was reached last week when First Solar Inc brought its manufacturing costs for cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panels down to $1 per watt, eclipsing silicon panels, which are still in the $3 range.

The company estimates that it needs to get manufacturing costs down to $0.65 to $0.70 per watt and other installation costs down to $1 a watt to reach grid parity — goals… read more

Solar plane takes off for 24-hour test flight

July 7, 2010


Solar Impulse, an experimental solar-powered plane whose Swiss makers hope to one day circle the globe using only energy collected from the sun took off for its first 24-hour test flight Wednesday. If successful, the next step will be an Atlantic crossing.

Pilot Andre Borschberg took the plane to an altitude of 27,900 feet (8,500 meters).

Photos:read more

Solar Power at Half the Cost

May 11, 2007

A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in the next few years.

Solar power could provide 10% of US energy: report

March 11, 2010

The U.S. could source 10 percent of its electricity from solar power by 2030, up from just 0.1 percent in 2008, according to a report produced by the independent environmental group Environment America.

Solar power game-changer: ‘Near perfect’ absorption of sunlight, from all angles

November 4, 2008

A new nanoengineered anti-reflective coating developed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers
boosts the amount of sunlight captured by solar panels (from 67 to 96 percent) and allows them to absorb the entire spectrum of sunlight from any angle, regardless of the sun’s position in the sky.

It could help to overcome two major hurdles blocking the progress and wider use of solar power.

Solar power much cheaper to produce than most analysts realize, study finds

December 13, 2011

The public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar photovoltaic energy, according to a study conducted at Queen’s University. The real cost in 2011 is under $1 per watt for solar panels purchased in bulk on the global market, he says.

“Many analysts project a higher cost for solar photovoltaic energy because they don’t consider recent technological advancements and price reductions,”… read more

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