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: 19 hours 32 min ago

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.

Flat-pack lens boosts solar power: Fresnel lens concentrates solar without bulk

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 10:19am
Micro-machining could be used to create almost flat, Fresnel lenses, that boost the electrical efficiency of solar panels, according to new research.

Smart grids to help optimize utilization of power grids

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 8:31am
Germany's power grids are not yet well prepared for the current consequences of the country's Energiewende, wide fluctuations in the supply of electricity from renewable sources, which conflict with patterns of demand. Smart grids that manage electricity demand at the local -- microgrid -- level may help to reduce the transmission of electricity over long distances to balance regional over- and undersupply. In the GreenCom project, international partners from industry and research develop and evaluate such a "Smart Energy Management System".

New understanding could result in more efficient organic solar cells

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 3:50pm
The goal of making cheap organic solar cells may have gotten a little more approachable with a new understanding of the basic science of charge separation presented in a new paper. The research suggests design rules for making more efficient solar cells in the future.

Anti-soiling coating keeps solar reflectors clean and efficient

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 4:46pm
Scientists are developing a low-cost, transparent, anti-soiling coating for solar reflectors to optimize energy efficiency while lowering operating and maintenance costs and avoiding negative environmental impacts.

New theory may lead to more efficient solar cells

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 7:56am
A new theoretical model may hold the key to methods for developing better materials for solar cells. Researchers say the model could lead to new solar cell materials made from improved blends of semiconducting polymers and fullerenes.

One step closer to low cost solar cells

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 9:29am
The dwindling resources for conventional energy sources make renewable energy an exciting and increasingly important avenue of research. However, even seemingly new and green forms of energy production, like silicon-based solar cells, are not as cost effective as they could be. Scientists are now investigating solar cells based on organic materials that have electrodes both flexible and transparent, enabling the fabrication of these solar cells at a low cost.

One good tern deserves another: Low-power, remote monitoring of island birds cuts bills

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:11am
A new report reveals details of an energy-efficient system for monitoring wild birds that reduces power consumption without significantly compromising image quality.

Understanding the functioning of a new type of solar cell

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 11:34am
Scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which novel, revolutionary solar cells based on lead iodide perovskite light-absorbing semiconductor transfer electrons along their surface. The finding shows these devices constitute a new type of solar cells and open the way to the design of photovoltaic converters with improved efficiency.

Solar-power device would use heat to enhance efficiency

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 2:24pm
A new approach to harvesting solar energy could improve efficiency by using sunlight to heat a high-temperature material whose infrared radiation would then be collected by a conventional photovoltaic cell. This technique could also make it easier to store the energy for later use, the researchers say.

Researchers harness sun's energy during day for use at night

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:42am
Solar energy has long been used as a clean alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil, but it could only be harnessed during the day when the sun's rays were strongest. Now researchers have built a system that converts the sun's energy not into electricity but hydrogen fuel and stores it for later use, allowing us to power our devices long after the sun goes down.

Scientists develop a more efficient and economical solar cell based on graphene and perovskite

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 9:08am
Scientists have created and characterized a photovoltaic device based on a combination of titanium oxide and graphene as charge collector and perovskite as sunlight absorber. The device is manufactured at low temperatures and has a high efficiency.

An improved, cost-effective catalyst for water-splitting devices

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 8:12am
Scientists have created a simple and scalable technique for greatly improving water splitting as a source of clean energy.

Synthetic natural gas from excess electricity

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 9:45am
"Power to gas" is a key concept when it comes to storing alternative energy. This process converts short-term excess electricity from photovoltaic systems and wind turbines into hydrogen. Combined with the greenhouse gas CO2, renewable hydrogen can be used to produce methane, which can be stored and distributed in the natural gas network. Researchers have now succeeded in further optimizing this process.

Simple, cheap way to increase solar cell efficiency

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 8:45pm
Researchers have found an easy way to modify the molecular structure of a polymer commonly used in solar cells. Their modification can increase solar cell efficiency by more than 30 percent.