For the smart buildings of the future.
Living solar cells could power medical or environmental sensors. They’re fully biodegradable too.
Sounds like a lot, but by comparison with other infrastructure, it’s far from being intimidating. ‘Let’s get to work!’
Solar energy is definitely in fashion nowadays.
Another confirmation that solar energy is moving fast.
Elon Musk has shown plenty of times in the past that he’s not afraid to go a bit outside the box – or even a bit more.
Ikea made it much easier for British people to green their homes – for a while. Then, after the government reduced subsidies for renewable energy, the company quietly stopped selling the panels, and now they’ve resumed them again. Why Ikea selling solar panels matters When Ikea starts selling something, it’s safe to say it’s become mainstream. Initially, the company said that the
Making the most of that California sun.
On the desk of Seokheun “Sean” Choi sits a 3×3 array that at first glance looks like a lemon squeezer. It is, in fact, a solar panel but not like any you’ve seen or heard about before. Instead of using semiconductors like silicon crystals to convert sunlight into electricity, the array employs a complex system that nurtures cyanobacteria — beings whose metabolism create free electrons which can be harnessed.
Sunny states like California, Texas and Florida topped the list of states where rooftop solar could generate the most energy.
Citizens were against installing a solar farm because it would suck all the energy from the sun — so plants will die.
A possible game changer – 120 country alliance spearheaded by India and supported by France has been announced, with the purpose of promoting solar energy in developing countries. Many developing countries enjoy sun-rich areas, but they lack the technology and financial capabilities to make full use of that potential. With that in mind, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi said that the
There’s an inherent flaw in solar cells: the metal wiring that’s quintessential to harnessing the electrons reflects the incoming light, acting like a mirror. Now, must people would brush off this issue and leave it like that. It’s a necessary trade off. But a team at Stanford University devised an elegant chemical technique that basically hides the wiring with silicon, away from the light while preserving energy harnessing. Metal wires cover 5 to 10 percent of a solar cell’s surface. Now, in the same area more light can be absorbed, hence more electricity generated which jumps the efficiency. Of course, this also means cheaper solar panels — if only the chemical technique is covered by the recurring costs of increased efficiency.
No kidding, Stanford researchers actually showed it’s possible to cool solar panels by applying a special coating that reflects some of the heat back into space. The coating, called a photonic crystal cooling system, is transparent. This allows the light to reach the PV cells so these can generate energy, but – crucially – some of the heat is reflected back in space. It’s so good that the researchers showed their PV panels can even stay below ambient temperature, which is incredible by itself. If you know a thing or two about solar panels, then you’ll remember their efficiency is directly related to temperature. The cooler a panel is, the more of the sun’s energy it can convert into electricity. And we’re talking about a mere coating, which shouldn’t be too difficult to scale. Bit by bit, you if you multiply the extra efficiency by millions of panels you end up with a huge useful energy gain. This may be a game changer.
An innovative concentrated solar power design called the “Solar Sunflower” was recently demonstrated by Swiss researchers at Airlight Energy and IBM Research in Zurich. The energy generator concentrates 5,000 suns onto a semiconductor chip to generate both electricity and heat at 80% efficiency. This meas roughly 60 times more power generated over the same surface area than a typical roof-mounted solar panel – granted, the parabolic dish array, which is quite big, isn’t included. The electricity and hot water generated by one single Solar Sunflower can meet the needs of a couple homes.
Most people have an outdated belief that solar energy is too expensive. For most people living in the United States, this isn’t true for some time and Google just released a new project to make a point of this. Called Project Sunroof, the tool uses extensive satellite imagery from Google Maps and superimposes sunlight energy flux data over them.
Using solar energy to meet your power demands does not only make you more environmentally friendly, it may actually save you money.
Only six months ago, a 230-foot strip of road was covered in solar panels in the Netherlands. Since then, some 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy were produced or enough to power one Dutch home for a whole year. These news came as a surprise even to the developers of SolaRoad, as the project has been dubbed.
We’ve written several times that scientists have managed to develop colored glass usable as a solar panel; of course, the glass won’t absorb as much energy as traditional, black panels, but it’s still something – and it’s pleasant to the eye as well. Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel had an interesting take on how to use the technology, developing this beautiful stained glass window which generates electrical current by absorbing sunlight.
The UK boasts 650,000 solar installations across homes, offices, schools, churches, warehouses, farms, police stations, train stations and even a bridge. It’s been one of the fastest growing solar markets in Europe. At the end of 2013, there were 2.8GW of solar power arrays installed, but by the end of 2014 this figure climbed to 5GW or nearly double in only 12 months. However, drastic and discriminatory changes in renewable subsidies to come in effect in May of this year are expected to collapse solar development to 1% of its current level.