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Photovoltaic

— Architecture

BioCasa 82 boasts bragging rights as Europe's first LEED Platinum home

By - July 22, 2014 8 Pictures
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
— Environment

Solar-powered electrochemical cell used to produce formic acid from CO2

By - July 2, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Science

Hybrid energy system mimics processes in photosynthesis

By - May 30, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Science

New record efficiency for quantum-dot photovoltaics

By - May 27, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Electronics

Four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell hits 43.9 percent efficiency

By - April 30, 2014 3 Pictures
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
— Environment

Solar Roadways installs energy harvesting parking lot

By - April 24, 2014 11 Pictures
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
— Mobile Technology

Tag Heuer's Meridiist Infinite phone offers "infinite" power via a solar panel

By - April 8, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Good Thinking

Panasonic's Power Supply Container: A solar power plant in a box

By - March 25, 2014 5 Pictures
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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