Solar Energy News

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Updated: 9 min 1 sec ago

Butterflies heat up the field of solar research

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 6:02am
The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown. By mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent, scientists say.

Lobster-eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:07am
A group of scientists have described developing and launching their imager, which centers on "Lobster-Eye optics," as well as its capabilities and future applications in space exploration.

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light into electricity

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 5:02pm
Solar energy could be made cheaper if solar cells could be coaxed to generate more power. A huge gain in this direction has been made by a team of chemists that has found an ingenious way to make solar energy conversion more efficient. The researchers combined inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules to 'upconvert' photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum.

Changing the Color of Light

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 5:15pm
Researchers have developed a method that could improve medical imaging and cancer treatments and increase the efficiency of commercial solar cells by 25 to 30 percent.

New finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 9:10am
Although the domestic solar-energy industry grew by 34 percent in 2014, fundamental technical breakthroughs are needed if the U.S. is to meet its national goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. New research could make it easier for engineers to harness the power of light-capturing nanomaterials to boost the efficiency and reduce the costs of photovoltaic solar cells.

Smart building monitoring to respond to all climate conditions

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 7:11am
A grid of sensors embedded into an innovative building insulation activates specific façade components to optimise energy savings while improving aesthetics.

Perovskite solar technology shows quick energy returns

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 12:33pm
In the solar power research community, a new class of materials called perovskites is causing quite a buzz, as scientists search for technology that has a better 'energy payback time' than the silicon-based solar panels currently dominating the market. Now, a new study reports that perovskite modules are better than any commercially available solar technology when products are compared on the basis of energy payback time.

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 9:49am
Researchers have developed a very promising prototype of a new solar celll. The material gallium phosphide enables their solar cell to produce the clean fuel hydrogen gas from liquid water. Processing the gallium phosphide in the form of very small nanowires is novel and helps to boost the yield by a factor of ten. And does so using ten thousand times less precious material.

Unique material created for the next generation solar cells

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 8:21am
Researchers have developed material which offers much cheaper alternative to the one which is currently being used in hybrid solar cells. The efficiency of the semi-conductors created by the team of chemists has been confirmed.

Plantations of nanorods on carpets of graphene capture the Sun's energy

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 11:24am
The Sun can be a better chemist, thanks to zinc oxide nanorod arrays grown on a graphene substrate and 'decorated' with dots of cadmium sulphide. In the presence of solar radiation, this combination of zero and one-dimensional semiconductor structures with two-dimensional graphene is a great catalyst for many chemical reactions.

Are fuel cells environmentally friendly? Not always

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 10:33am
Fuel cells are regarded as the technology of the future for both cars and household heating systems. As a result, they have a key role to play in the switch to renewable energies. But are fuel cells always more environmentally friendly? An international team of scientists performed a series of calculations and reached a conclusion: It depends on the fuel.

Is the energy system really ready for sustainable energy?

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 7:30am
New research into sustainable energy systems focuses on integrating renewable and nuclear power plants into the electrical grid – a topic high on the agenda for scholars, industry and policy makers.

Nanoscale light-emitting device has big profile

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 3:14pm
Engineers have created a nanoscale device that can emit light as powerfully as an object 10,000 times its size. It's an advance that could have huge implications for everything from photography to solar power.

The quantum physics of artificial light harvesting

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 10:33am
Plants and bacteria make use of sunlight with remarkably high efficiency: nine out of ten absorbed light particles are being put to use in an ordinary bacterium. For years, it has been a pressing question of modern research whether or not effects from quantum physics are responsible for this outstanding performance of natural light harvesters. Scientists have now examined these quantum effects in an artificial model system.

Discovery of a 'heat-storage ceramic'

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 8:57am
Researchers have discovered a new type of material which stores heat energy for a prolonged period, which they have termed a "heat storage ceramic." This new material can be used as heat storage material for solar heat energy generation systems or efficient use of industrial heat waste, enabling recycling of heat energy, since the material releases the stored heat energy on demand by application of weak pressure.

New design could dramatically boost efficiency of low-cost solar panels

Sun, 07/12/2015 - 7:40pm
A new material design could make low-cost solar panels far more efficient by greatly enhancing their ability to collect the sun’s energy and release it as electricity.

Depletion, enrichment of chlorine in perovskites observed

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 10:34am
X-ray spectroscopy at BESSY II reveals inhomogenous distribution of chlorine in a special class of perovskite materials. The discovery could help to enhance efficiencies of perovskite thin film solar cells by controlled processing to optimize the chlorine distribution.

Future deployment of distributed solar hinges on electricity rate design

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 8:33am
Future distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment levels are highly sensitive to retail electricity rate design, according to a newly released report. The study also explores the feedback effects between retail electricity rates and PV deployment, and suggests that increased solar deployment can lead to changes in PV compensation levels that either accelerate or dampen further deployment.

Testing heats up at solar tower with high temperature falling particle receiver

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 11:09am
Researchers are working to lower the cost of solar energy systems and improve efficiencies in a big way, thanks to a system of small particles. Falling particle receiver technology is expected to further advance the state-of-the art in concentrating solar power tower systems capable of generating up to 100 megawatts of electricity.

Switzerland's transition away from nuclear power

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 9:20am
Switzerland has a long history of trying to be as self-sufficient and energy independent as possible. Although its energy supply system has served it well in the past, the country is now looking to turn away from its reliance on nuclear power and seeks to compensate for the energy lost from hydropower as a result of climate change.