Solar Energy News

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Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 2:09pm
Treating cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar cell materials with cadmium-chloride improves their efficiency, but researchers have not fully understood why.

Major advances in dye sensitized solar cells

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 11:07am
Two groups of researchers have recently advanced the field of solar cells with a cheaper and efficient replacement for platinum and better synthesis of zinc oxide. Working on dye-sensitized solar cells -- researchers in Malaysia have achieved an efficiency of 1.12%, at a fraction of the cost compared to those used by platinum devices.

Quantum simulators developed to study inaccessible physical systems

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 10:33am
Quantum simulators recreate the behavior on a microscopic scale of biological and quantum systems and even of particles moving at the speed of light. The exact knowledge of these systems will lead to applications ranging from more efficient photovoltaic cells to more specific drugs. Researchers are working on the design of several of these quantum simulators so they can study the dynamics of complex physical systems.

Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 9:00am
In the quest to make sun power more competitive, researchers are designing ultrathin solar cells that cut material costs. At the same time they're keeping these thin cells efficient by sculpting their surfaces with photovoltaic nanostructures that behave like a molecular hall of mirrors.

Higher solar-cell efficiency achieved with zinc-oxide coating

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 7:45am
Researchers have achieved 14-percent efficiency in a 9-millimeter-square solar cell made of gallium arsenide. It is the highest efficiency rating for a solar cell that size and made with that material.

An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 4:20pm
Researchers in Japan have discovered a new photocatalyst, Sn3O4, which facilitates the production of hydrogen fuel from water, using sunlight as an energy source.

Scientists achieve first direct observations of excitons in motion

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 8:08am
A quasiparticle called an exciton -- responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits -- has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed. Now scientists have achieved that feat, imaging excitons' motions directly. This could enable research leading to significant advances in electronics, they say, as well as a better understanding of natural energy-transfer processes, such as photosynthesis.

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells in the future

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 8:04am
Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of “MatHero”. The new project aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time.

Scientists come up with method of reducing solar panel glare

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 7:44am
The glare from solar farms could be a thing of the past, thanks to new research. Researchers have developed a multi-layer anti-reflection coating for glass surfaces, which reduces the sun's reflection from photovoltaic panels while at the same time improving their efficiency. It is applied using the same technology as that used for depositing anti-reflection coatings on eye glasses.

House windows that double as solar panels? Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:38am
A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work. Scientists have demonstrated that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 9:29am
Changes at the atom level in nanowires offer vast possibilities for improvement of solar cells and LED light. Researchers have discovered that by tuning a small strain on single nanowires they can become more effective in LEDs and solar cells. 

Passive houses save lots of energy

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 8:17am
Housing is the easiest sector to change if we are to reach the climate targets, experts say. Norwegian research shows the housing sector today represents about one-third of the country's energy consumption, or about 35 terawatt hours out of a total of 112 terawatt hours. As a result, it is indirectly one of largest contributors to Norway's greenhouse gas emissions.

Win-win situation: Growing crops on photovoltaic farms

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 1:39pm
A new model for solar farms that 'co-locates' crops and solar panels could result in a harvest of valuable biofuel plants along with solar energy. This co-location approach could prove especially useful in sunny, arid regions such as the southwestern United States where water is scarce, researchers said.

Tiny step edges, big step for surface science

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 8:39am
New experiments can explain the behavior of electrons at tiny step edges on titanium oxide surfaces. This is important for solar cell technology and novel, more effective catalysts.

Future computers that are normally off

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:19am
Researchers have broadly envisioned the future of spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory (STT-MRAM), and they have now described how it will radically alter computer architectures and consumer electronics.

Organic solar cells more efficient with molecules face-to-face

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 9:14am
New research reveals that energy is transferred more efficiently inside of complex, three-dimensional organic solar cells when the donor molecules align face-on, rather than edge-on, relative to the acceptor.

New findings to help extend high efficiency solar cells' lifetime

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 8:05am
Scientists have made a surprising discovery about the degradation of solar cells that could help pave the way to creating a longer lifetime for these cells.  Key factors for creating cost-efficient solar cells to compete with conventional energy sources like fossil fuels include fabrication cost, efficiency and lifetime of the cells. 

Energy breakthrough uses sun to create solar energy materials

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 12:23pm
Researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce the solar energy materials that make this possible. This breakthrough could make the sun almost a 'one-stop shop' that produces both the materials for solar devices and the eternal energy to power them.

Tiny crystals to boost solar

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 9:00am
A new approach to studying solar panel absorber materials has been developed. The technique could accelerate the development of non-toxic and readily available alternatives to current absorbers in thin film based solar cells.

Nanosheets and nanowires

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 9:29am
Researchers have found a convenient way to selectively prepare germanium sulfide nanostructures, including nanosheets and nanowires, that are more active than their bulk counterparts. Germanium monosulfide, GeS, is emerging as one of the most important "IV-VI" semiconductor materials with potential in opto-electronics applications for telecommunications and computing, and as an absorber of light for use in solar energy conversion. One important property is its much lower toxicity and environmental impact when compared to other semiconductors made with cadmium, lead and mercury.