Photokina 2014 highlights

Photovoltaic

Gizmag reviews the Window and Port Solar Chargers from XD Design

This time last year, we covered an interesting new solar charger that sought to avoid troublesome shadows from window frames, potted plants and household ornaments by sticking to the glass of the window itself. The Window Solar Charger from XD Design has now been joined by a new, slightly less capacious sibling called the Port Solar Charger, and I've been given the chance to take both for a test drive.  Read More

(Image: Viteos)

Swiss energy company Viteos has announced that it is to build three floating solar arrays on Lake Neuchâtel. Viteos will work with tech company and "energy enabler" Nolaris to build the 25-m (82-ft) diameter islands, each with 100 photovoltaic panels.  Read More

Schematic diagram of a multi-junction solar cell formed from materials lattice-matched to ...

The current world record for triple-junction solar cell efficiency is 44 percent, but a collaboration between the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the Imperial College of London, and MicroLink Devices Inc. has led to a multi-junction photovoltaic cell design that could break the 50 percent conversion efficiency barrier under concentrated solar illumination.  Read More

A hands-on review of the Solar Sunflower from XD Design

In February of this year, we covered the release of the nifty solar Window Charger from XD Modo (now XD Design) that maximizes available sunlight by sticking to a window with a removable silicone patch. Now, Gizmag has spent a little time with the company's latest sun-soaking gadget charger ... the cute-as-a-button Solar Sunflower.  Read More

Pierre Cardin's proposed high-rise complex (Image: Palais Lumiere)

Fashion designer Pierre Cardin has proposed a controversial high-rise complex to be built in Venice – a UNESCO World Heritage city that also has a long and distinguished history of innovative architecture. Dubbed Palais Lumiere or "Light Palace" due to its abundance of transparent walls, the design was conceived by the 90 year old Cardin with the help of architect nephew Rodrigo Basilicati has been approved by the Mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni.  Read More

A cross-sectional image of the new silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilitie...

Imagine forgetting to plug in your smartphone, but then not worrying because your clothes could charge it for you. It sounds surreal, but it may one day be reality. An international team of scientists and engineers led by John Badding, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, have developed a silicon-based optical fiber that acts like a solar cell and offers the promise of fabric that can generate electricity from light.  Read More

The electree+ harvests solar energy through 27 amorphous-silicon square solar panels

Sitting somewhere between the "solar trees" erected on parking garages at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) and the nanotrees developed on the same campus, the electree+ is a sculptural bonsai tree with 27 solar cells for "leaves." The tree's branches can be adjusted to catch the rays just right, and its internal battery will store enough electricity to charge an iPhone5 nine times over, a Galaxy S3 seven times, or an iPad 2 twice.  Read More

Amonix solar panels break through the 33-percent efficiency barrier

Embattled photovoltaic solar power manufacturer Amonix announced on Tuesday that it has broken the solar module efficiency record, becoming the first manufacturer to convert more than a third of incoming light energy into electricity – a goal once branded "one third of a sun" in a Department of Energy initiative. The Amonix module clocked an efficiency rating of 33.5 percent.  Read More

V3Solar has developed a cone-shaped solar energy harvester that is claimed to generate ove...

For the vast majority of those looking to harvest energy from the sun to satisfy domestic or business electricity needs, the photovoltaic world is a static and flat one. Even many large scale solar farms feature row upon row of rigid panels, although there may at least be some movement as the panels follow the path of the sun as it moves across the sky. V3Solar's Spin Cell is a little different. It's claimed to be capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel with the same area of PV cells thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics.  Read More

The front and west side of completed Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility that will b...

The opening of a suburban house doesn’t usually warrant a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but a new house constructed in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is special. Built for the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the typical-looking suburban home is designed to provide researchers with a place to test various high-efficiency and alternative energy systems, materials and designs. As a result, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF), as it is known, is expected, over the course of a year, to generate as much energy as a family of four living in it would consume in that period.  Read More

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