Solar Energy News

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Solar Energy Information. Read the latest news and techniques for efficient solar photovoltaic power, new solar energy systems and more.
Updated: 7 hours 29 min ago

Scientists discover material that can be solar cell by day, light panel by night

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 8:02am
Scientists have developed a next-generation solar cell material which can also emit light, in addition to converting light to electricity. This solar cell is developed from Perovskite, a promising material that could hold the key to creating high-efficiency, inexpensive solar cells. The new cells not only glow when electricity passes through them, but they can also be customised to emit different colors.

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 1:08pm
Researchers have found that the wind industry can easily afford the energetic cost of building batteries and other grid-scale storage technologies. However, for the solar industry, scientists found that more work is needed to make grid-scale storage energetically sustainable.

Nanotube composites greatly increase efficiency of next generation of solar cells

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 8:33am
Carbon nanotubes are becoming increasingly attractive for photovoltaic solar cells as a replacement to silicon. Researchers have discovered that controlled placement of the carbon nanotubes into nano-structures produces a huge boost in electronic performance.

Self-powered wireless light detectors

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 8:25am
A low-power photodetection system can harness enough energy to power an autonomous sensor and monitoring network.

Solar policy pathways for U.S. states examined

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 1:15pm
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published a report that aligns solar policy and market success with state demographics. By organizing the 48 contiguous states into four peer groups based on shared non-policy characteristics, the research team was able to contextualize the impact of various solar policies on photovoltaic installations.

Two-dimensional material shows promise for optoelectronics: LEDs, photovoltaic cells, and light detectors

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 10:17am
Team creates LEDs, photovoltaic cells, and light detectors using novel one-molecule-thick material. Researchers have used a novel material that's just a few atoms thick to create devices that can harness or emit light. This proof-of-concept could lead to ultrathin, lightweight, and flexible photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and other optoelectronic devices, they say.

Atomically thin, flexible, semi-transparent solar cells created

Sun, 03/09/2014 - 2:05pm
A lot of research has been done on graphene recently -- carbon flakes, consisting of only one layer of atoms. As it turns out, there are other materials too which exhibit remarkable properties if they are arranged in a single layer. One of them is tungsten diselenide, which could be used for photovoltaics. Ultrathin layers made of Tungsten and Selenium have now been created; experiments show that they may be used as flexible, semi-transparent solar cells.

Promising news for producing fuels through artificial photosynthesis

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 1:36pm
There's promising news from the front on efforts to produce fuels through artificial photosynthesis. A new study shows that nearly 90 percent of the electrons generated by a hybrid material designed to store solar energy in hydrogen are being stored in the target hydrogen molecules.

Smart grid for electric vehicle fleet

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 8:46am
Being able to charge up to 30 electric cars at once requires some ingenious energy management. Researchers are incorporating a mix of renewables into the design of a smart grid for Germany’s largest charging station.

Transparent, color solar cells fuse energy, beauty

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 1:00pm
Colorful, see-through solar cells could one day be used to make stained-glass windows, decorations and even shades that turn the sun's energy into electricity.

Solar power: Making it less expensive and more efficient

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 9:50am
Researchers are reporting early results on a way to make solar-powered panels in lights, calculators and roofs lighter, less expensive, more flexible (therefore less breakable) and more efficient.

Artificial photosynthesis: Key intermediate steps in artificial photosynthesis reaction identified

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 9:50am
The first direct, temporally resolved observations of intermediate steps in water oxidation using cobalt oxide, an Earth-abundant solid catalyst, revealed kinetic bottlenecks whose elimination would help boost the efficiency of artificial photosynthesis systems.

A new renewable energy source? Device captures energy from Earth's infrared emissions to outer space

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 3:40pm
When the sun sets on a remote desert outpost and solar panels shut down, what energy source will provide power through the night? A battery, perhaps, or an old diesel generator? Perhaps something strange and new. Scientists now envision a device that would harvest energy from Earth's infrared emissions into outer space. Heated by the sun, our planet is warm compared to the frigid vacuum beyond. Thanks to recent technological advances, the researchers say, that heat imbalance could soon be transformed into direct-current (DC) power, taking advantage of a vast and untapped energy source.

Superabsorbing design may lower manufacturing cost of thin film solar cells

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 11:08am
Researchers have developed a 'superabsorbing' design that may significantly improve the light absorption efficiency of thin film solar cells and drive down manufacturing costs.

New, inexpensive production materials boost promise of hydrogen fuel

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 6:45pm
Generating electricity is not the only way to turn sunlight into energy we can use on demand. The sun can also drive reactions to create chemical fuels, such as hydrogen, that can in turn power cars, trucks and trains. Scientists have now combined cheap, oxide-based materials to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases using solar energy with a solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 1.7 percent, the highest reported for any oxide-based photoelectrode system.

Solar-induced hybrid fuel cell produces electricity directly from biomass

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:00am
Researchers have developed a new type of low-temperature fuel cell that directly converts biomass to electricity with assistance from a catalyst activated by solar or thermal energy.

Nanoelectronics key to advances in renewable energy

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 3:14pm
An electrical engineer explains why advances in nanoelectronics will shape the future of renewable energy technologies.

Energy harvesting takes wing in merger of engineering and biology

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 2:21pm
A bird flapping its wings or a fish’s deep dive may be pictures of nature in action, but in their elegant simplicity scientists see the complex challenges of merging technology with a biological system. The motion of animals could power small devices that allow biologists to collect information about behavior that eludes them under the limitations of current technology.

Light-induced degradation in amorphous silicon thin film solar cells

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 12:24pm
Researchers have taken a leap forward towards a deeper understanding of an undesired effect in thin film solar cells based on amorphous silicon -- one that has puzzled the scientific community for the last 40 years. The researchers were able to demonstrate that tiny voids within the silicon network are partly responsible for reducing solar cell efficiency by some 10 to 15 percent as soon as you start using them.

Concentrating solar power: Similar values in two technologies

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 9:33am
Parabolic troughs and dry-cooled towers deliver similar value for concentrating solar power plants, despite different solar profiles, a new report has found.