Solar Energy News

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A third industrial revolution for Norway

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 9:41am
Norway's wealth and prosperity over the last four decades has been built on oil, but a futurist and social and economic thinker, says it's time for the country to change. The Third Industrial Revolution is coming, and Norway needs to abandon fossil fuels and move towards a greener future that relies on renewable energy, shared transport and ultra-efficient housing, he says.

Quest for efficiency in thermoelectric nanowires

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 9:21pm
Reseachers have developed a single electroforming technique that tailored key factors to better thermoelectric performance: crystal orientation, crystal size and alloy uniformity.

Pinholes are pitfalls for high performance solar cells

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 8:15am
The most popular next-generation solar cells under development may have a problem – the top layer is full of tiny pinholes, researchers have found.

Crystal light: New family of light-converting materials points to cheaper, more efficient solar power and LEDs

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 5:03pm
Engineers have shone new light on an emerging family of solar-absorbing materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar panels and LEDs. The materials, called perovskites, are particularly good at absorbing visible light, but had never been thoroughly studied in their purest form: as perfect single crystals. Using a new technique, researchers grew large, pure perovskite crystals and studied how electrons move through the material as light is converted to electricity.

New technique for growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 3:16pm
Researchers have revealed a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals. The researchers fabricated planar solar cells from pervoskite materials with large crystalline grains that had efficiencies approaching 18%.

Solar chip monitors windows

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 9:42am
A new kind of radio chip is intended to warn when windows are left open. This way, you can avoid having the heat go out the window on cold days. The sensor also detects break-in attempts early on. The key: This maintenance-free chip powers up with energy supplied by solar power.

Demystifying nanocrystal solar cells

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 12:54pm
Researchers have developed a comprehensive model to explain how electrons flow inside new types of solar cells made of tiny crystals. The model allows for a better understanding of such cells and may help to increase their efficiency.

Economic trade-offs of owning versus leasing a solar photovoltaic system

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 11:10am
Two new reports examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. Analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.

Carbon nanoballs can greatly contribute to sustainable energy supply

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:01am
Researchers have discovered that the insulation plastic used in high-voltage cables can withstand a 26 per cent higher voltage if nanometer-sized carbon balls are added. This could result in enormous efficiency gains in the power grids of the future, which are needed to achieve a sustainable energy system. The renewable energy sources of tomorrow will often be found far away from the end user. Wind turbines, for example, are most effective when placed out at sea. Solar energy will have the greatest impact on the European energy system if focus is on transport of solar power from North Africa and Southern Europe to Northern Europe.

Do green roofs, solar panels work well together?

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 9:59am
A new study examines whether solar electricity panels and green roofs can work well in tandem. With ongoing urbanization, which reduces the variety of species found in cities, green roofs can increase biological diversity, and also provide insulation, bringing energy benefits to building owners who will save money on heating and cooling, authors say.

Calculating the future of solar-fuel refineries

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 11:07am
A team of engineers has developed a new tool to help engineers better gauge the overall yield, efficiency and costs associated with scaling solar-fuel production processes up into large-scale refineries.

New technique helps probe performance of organic solar cell materials

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 11:07am
Researchers have developed a technique for determining the role that a material's structure has on the efficiency of organic solar cells, which are candidates for low-cost, next generation solar power. The researchers used the technique to determine that materials with a highly organized structure at the nanoscale are not more efficient at creating free electrons than poorly organized structures -- a finding which will guide future research and development efforts.

New technique for producing cheaper solar energy suggested by research

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 11:07am
Pioneering new research could pave the way for solar energy to be converted into household electricity more cheaply than ever before. The global PV market has experienced rapid growth in recent years due to renewable energy targets and CO2 emission controls.

Decorative and flexible solar panels become part of interior design and the appearance of objects

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:45am
Scientists have developed and utilized a mass production method based on printing technologies allowing the manufacturing of decorative, organic solar panels. Design freedom improves the range of applications of the panels on the surfaces of interior and exterior building spaces. Researchers are also studying the feasibility of printing technology in the mass production of solar panels made from inorganic perovskite materials. The new mass production method enables to create interior design elements from organic solar panels (OPV, organic photovoltaics) harvesting energy from interior lighting or sunlight for various small devices and sensors that gather information from the environment. The panels can, for example, be placed on windows and walls and on machines, devices and advertisement billboards.

First public lighting system that runs on solar and wind energy

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 8:58am
Scientists have developed the first autonomous industrialized public lighting system that works with solar and wind energy.

Making waves with lasers could enhance solar cell efficiency

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 8:45am
Laser processing produces deep ripples in silicon over a wide area — something that could enhance solar cell efficiency.

Perovskites provide big boost to silicon solar cells

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 4:35pm
Stacking perovskites onto a conventional silicon solar cell dramatically improves the overall efficiency of the cell, according to a new study.

Improved solar panels and printed electronics on the horizon with new material discovery

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 10:32am
New and improved solar panels could result from the discovery of a new liquid crystal material, making printable organic solar cells better performing.

Solar cell polymers with multiplied electrical output

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 1:39pm
Scientists paired up photovoltaic polymers that produce two units of electricity per unit of light instead of the usual one on a single molecular polymer chain. Having the two charges on the same molecule means the light-absorbing, energy-producing materials work efficiently when dissolved in liquids, which opens the way for a wide range of industrial scale manufacturing processes, including "printing" solar-energy-producing material like ink.

Flexible methane production from electricity and bio-mass

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 4:55am
Interlinkage of the power and gas grids is planned to make electricity supply sustainable and robust in the future. Fluctuating amounts of wind and solar power, for instance, might be stored in the form of the chemical energy carrier methane. Now researchers have now proved that this is technically feasible.