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Photovoltaic

BioCasa 82, by Italian firm Rosario Picciotto Architects (Photo: Marco Zanta)

There are very few LEED Platinum homes around – the green building standard's highest rating – and this scarcity becomes even more pronounced once you leave the US. Italian home BioCasa 82 boasts bragging rights for being the first private residence in Europe to achieve LEED Platinum, and as you'd expect, it's a very energy-efficient home, deriving 55 percent of all required energy from renewable sources.  Read More

Researchers at Princeton University have converted CO2 into formic acid by using an electr...

Rising atmospheric CO2 levels can generally be tackled in three ways: developing alternative energy sources with lower emissions; carbon capture and storage (CCS); and capturing carbon and repurposing it. Researchers at Princeton University are claiming to have developed a technique that ticks two of these three boxes by using solar power to convert CO2 into formic acid.  Read More

A new type of quantum dot could lead to cheaper solar cells and better satellite communica...

Researchers at the University of Toronto have manufactured and tested a new type of colloidal quantum dots (CQD), that, unlike previous attempts, doesn't lose performance as they keep in contact with oxygen. The development could lead to much cheaper or even spray-on solar cells, as well as better LEDs, lasers and weather satellites.  Read More

A diagram illustrating the principle behind the new hybrid energy transfer system (Image: ...

Artificially replicating the biological process of photosynthesis is a goal being sought on many fronts, and it promises to one day improve light-to-energy efficiencies of solar collection well beyond what's possible with photovoltaic cells. One of the first steps is to imitate the mechanisms at work in the transfer of energy from reception through to output. To this end, Scientists have recently experimented with a combination of biological and photonic quantum mechanical states to form new half-light half-matter particle, called the “polariton.” It could help realize fully synthetic systems by mimicking the energy transport systems of biological photosynthesis.  Read More

Solar cells created from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots (Photo: Chia-Hao Chuang, Depart...

Flexible, inexpensive, large-area, lightweight solar cells are difficult to produce as they require an inert atmosphere and high temperatures, and they often degrade in a short time after exposure to air. Researchers at MIT, however, have used a new method to craft solar cells from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots in a process that promises to avoid these problems, and at room temperature. At the same time, they have also set a new record of nine percent for the most efficient quantum-dot solar cells produced to date.  Read More

Arrays of stacked multi-junction cells achieving ultra high efficiencies were produced usi...

The ultimate goal of solar cell technology is to be able to generate electricity at costs lower than sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear. Key to this is continuing improvements in conversion efficiency, and with the development of the first four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell produced using a micro transfer printing process, researchers have taken another step towards this goal by achieving efficiencies of up to 43.9 percent, with the possibility of exceeding 50 percent in the near future.  Read More

Scott and Julie Brusaw relax on the new parking lot

About 8 years ago, an electrical engineer and his counselor wife started throwing around an idea to replace asphalt on highways and byways throughout the US with electricity-producing solar panels that were tough enough to be driven upon. The idea blossomed into a project, where the panels featured built-in LEDs that could "paint the road" with markings and warnings, and could be heated to prevent snow and ice build up. The US Federal Highway Administration paid for the couple to produce a working prototype, which they did, and then again to expand the concept into an operational parking lot setup. As the latter contract comes to an end, the Solar Roadways project has released photos of the (almost) completed installation at its Idaho electronics lab. Now the team is dipping into crowd-funding waters with a campaign to raise funds for the move into commercial production.  Read More

The Tag Heuer uses light for power

In 2008, Tag Heuer introduced its first mobile phone, the US$6,200 Meridiist. Well, as if a luxury phone made by a company usually associated with premium watches isn't eyebrow-raising enough, the just-announced Meridiist Infinite offers a little something extra: a built-in photovoltaic panel that keeps it powered up and charging as long as there's light.  Read More

The installation on Jaguar Land Rover's new plant in South Staffordshire is the largest ro...

The rooftops of automotive manufacturing plants have proven fertile ground for solar arrays with Audi, Ferrari and Renault installing extensive fields of solar panels at their respective facilities. Now Jaguar Land Rover has got on board with the largest rooftop solar panel array in the UK sprouting from its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in South Staffordshire.  Read More

Panasonic's Power Supply Container is a self-contained solar power plant designed for deve...

In an effort to bring reliable electricity supplies to emerging regions and remote island communities, Panasonic has developed an expandable, portable, self-contained photovoltaic system. The "Power Supply Container" comes equipped with 12 of Panasonic's HIT240 solar modules on the roof and generates approximately 3 kW of electricity, with 24 lead-acid batteries capable of storing 17.2 kWh of energy used to store excess electricity.  Read More

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