Solar Energy News

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Updated: 28 min 22 sec ago

New kind of 'tandem' solar cell: Two types of photovoltaic material combined to make a cell that harnesses more sunlight

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:08am
Researchers have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun's energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say. The new cell uses a layer of silicon -- which forms the basis for most of today's solar panels -- but adds a semi-transparent layer of a material called perovskite, which can absorb higher-energy particles of light. Unlike an earlier "tandem" solar cell reported by members of the same team earlier this year -- in which the two layers were physically stacked, but each had its own separate electrical connections -- the new version has both layers connected together as a single device that needs only one control circuit.

Discovery could yield more efficient portable electronics, solar cells

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 3:21pm
A team of chemists has set the stage for more efficient and sturdier portable electronic devices and possibly a new generation of solar cells based on organic materials.

Airships: The future of aviation?

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 6:57am
Researchers have completed a three year investigation into stratospheric passenger airships as part of a multi-national engineering project designed to provide a future sustainable air transport network.

Towards 'printed' organic solar cells and LEDs

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 9:08am
Flexible optoelectronic devices that can be produced roll-to-roll -- much like newspapers are printed -- are a highly promising path to cheaper devices such as solar cells and LED lighting panels. Scientists have now created prototype flexible solar cell modules as well as novel silver-based transparent electrodes that outperform currently used materials.

A new method for making perovskite solar cells

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:56pm
Researchers have come up with a new way of making thin perovskite films for solar cells. The method forms perovskite crystals at room temperature, which could be helpful in mass production settings. The technique is especially well suited to make ultra-thin, semitransparent films, which could be used in photovoltaic windows.

Scientists move closer to 'two for one deal' on solar cell efficiency

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:54pm
The underlying mechanism behind an enigmatic process called 'singlet exciton fission,' which could enable the development of significantly more powerful solar cells, has been identified by scientists in a new study.

Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:51pm
In the face of global climate change, increasing the use of renewable energy resources is one of the most urgent challenges facing the world. New work finds 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.

Uncovering the secrets of super solar power perovskites

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 11:12am
In a scant five years of development, hybrid perovskite solar cells have attained power conversion efficiencies that took decades to achieve with the top-performing conventional materials, but scientists have lacked a clear understanding of the precise goings on at the molecular level. New findings help fill that void.

Solar cells: Increased pressure creates a happy union

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 1:25pm
By tailoring the interface between the two sections of a solar cell, researchers have produced a high-performance solar cell from the abundant and cheap materials of copper (II) oxide and silicon.

New approach combines biomass conversion, solar energy conversion

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 11:30am
A new approach to combine solar energy conversion and biomass conversion has been presented by researchers. These are two important research areas for renewable energy, they say.

The global energy challenge: One billion people have no access to electricity

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 8:26am
More than one billion people world-wide have no access to electricity to cook food or light their homes, despite the technology being in place. A study on options for getting more electrical access has taken place in Bangladesh.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a more effective carbon capture method

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:03am
Trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and various industries could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future. But current materials that can collect CO2 -- from smokestacks, for example -- have low capacities or require very high temperatures to work. Scientists are making progress toward a more efficient alternative that could help make carbon capture less energy intensive.

Solar cells to get growth boost, price cut

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 7:52am
Researchers have found that growing a type of film used to manufacture solar cells in ambient air gives it a growth boost. The finding could make manufacturing solar cells significantly cheaper.

Researchers discover new material to produce clean energy

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:17pm
Researchers have created a new thermoelectric material, intended to generate electric power from waste heat -- from a vehicle tailpipe, for example, or an industrial smokestack -- with greater efficiency and higher output power than currently available materials.

First in-depth look at solar project completion timelines

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:39pm
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has gathered and analyzed data for more than 30,000 solar photovoltaic installations across the United States to better understand how interconnection regulations align with actual project completion timelines. The findings indicate that interconnection process delays are common, and can range from several days to months. Streamlining the application review and final authorization processes can ultimately benefit utilities and solar consumers by reducing the time and cost associated with going solar.

Advancing solar power in Hawaii

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:39pm
Inverter load rejection overvoltage tests have proven so successful in Hawaii that a testing partner, Hawaiian Electric Companies, has proposed to double its hosting capacity for solar energy.

Blend of polymers could one day make solar power lighter, cheaper and more efficient

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:52am
Scientists are reporting advances on how to one day make solar cells stronger, lighter, more flexible and less expensive when compared with the current silicon or germanium technology on the market.

Supersonic electrons could produce future solar fuel

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 9:17am
Researchers have taken a step closer to producing solar fuel using artificial photosynthesis. In a new study, they have successfully tracked the electrons’ rapid transit through a light-converting molecule.

Energy use in buildings: Innovative, lower cost sensors and controls yield better energy efficiency

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 2:48pm
Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Studies indicate that advanced sensors and controls have the potential to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by 20-30 percent.

Magnetic nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:43am
Magnetic nanoparticles can increase the performance of solar cells made from polymers -- provided the mix is right. Adding about one per cent of such nanoparticles by weight makes the solar cells more efficient, according to new findings.