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Photovoltaic

The TURANOR PlanetSolar cruises past Tahiti

Solar technology has evolved beyond just your grandpa's big, bulky photovoltaic panels on the roof. Advances in flexible, hyper-efficient and nano-scale materials of late has made it possible for solar cells to begin popping up in all kinds of shapes and places you might not expect. Here's a quick rundown of some surprising spots where solar technology dwells – be sure to flip through the gallery to get a full grasp on the scale of the increasingly solar-powered landscape.  Read More

The SOAK concept is the subject of a Kickstarter campaign

Shipping containers have been used to revolutionize housing, and have also given rise to wacky ideas like an extreme sports theme park. Thanks to a new concept dubbed SOAK, we can add sustainable bathhouse to the growing list of potential uses for the durable metal boxes.  Read More

The noise of urban environments may help boost the efficiency of solar cells (Image: Shutt...

Increasing the efficiency of a hybrid solar cell simply by placing it near a source of ambient noise or vibration would be a boon for photovoltaics in urban areas, in the military, or on machinery or transportation. Hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells are already a tempting option over silicon because of their lower cost, but they suffer from their own drawbacks of efficiency. However, new research demonstrates that the piezoelectric qualities of the cells' inorganic layer can be used to boost the overall efficiency of hybrid systems, which is promising for wherever sound and sun are together.  Read More

A new design for a semi-transparent plastic solar cell may be an important step toward the...

Researchers at the non-profit Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have created a new design for an organic solar cell that retains good efficiency while being flexible, thin, and almost completely transparent. Put together, these characteristics may make the cells an ideal candidate for building-integrated photovoltaics.  Read More

LEAPrus 3912 was constructed for the North Caucasus Mountain Club, and opened for business...

Italian architectural firm LEAPfactory has constructed a new energy-efficient hotel on the southern glacier of Mount Elbrus, in Russia's Caucasus mountain range. Generally considered the highest peak in Europe, Mount Elbrus has a summit of 5,642 m (18,510 ft). The hotel in question is located 3,912 m (12,834 ft) above sea level, hence its name: LEAPrus 3912.  Read More

The university's first-of-its-kind Solar Walk (Photo: The George Washington University)

We typically see photovoltaic panels up on roofs, as they're broad, open surfaces that receive a lot of sunlight. You know what else spends a lot of time in the scorching sun, though? Sidewalks. With that in mind, a team at Washington DC's The George Washington University has created what is claimed to be "the first walkable solar-paneled pathway in the world."  Read More

A new finding suggests that single graphene sheets retain their outstanding conductive pro...

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) have found that graphene retains its remarkable electrical conductive properties even when it is in close contact with materials like glass and silicon. It could be a key discovery for the development of better thin-film solar cells.  Read More

PhotoFlow is a two-in-one concept design that combines solar power generation with rainwat...

In many countries around the world the supply of electricity and clean water is often sporadic and of poor quality. Consulting and design company NOS is looking to address this problem with PhotoFlow, a two-in-one concept design that combines solar power generation with water collection and storage.  Read More

Thin films of gallium arsenide appear to reduce energy loss in stacked solar cells

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new system for strengthening the connections between stacked solar cells which could improve the overall efficiency of concentrated photovoltaic technology and reduce the cost of solar energy production. The hardened connections could theoretically enable these cells to operate at concentrations of up to 70,000 suns while minimizing wasted energy.  Read More

The Illawarra Flame house was created by students from the University of Wollongong

A group of students from the University of Wollongong took a typical Australian "fibro house," and retrofitted it with technology which includes solar panels, climate control, and an energy monitoring system. The end result, dubbed Illawarra Flame, is a net-zero home which offers a potential starting point for transforming many similar properties into low-energy dwellings.  Read More

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