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Photovoltaic

A new technique allows photovoltaic solar cells to be produced using any semiconductor (Ph...

Despite their ability to generate clean, green electricity, solar panels aren't as commonplace as the could be. The main sticking point, of course, is price. Due to their need for relatively expensive semiconductor materials, conventional solar cells don't yet have a price-efficiency combination that can compete with other sources of electricity. Now Profs. Alex Zettl and Feng Wang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed seriously unconventional solar cell technology that allows virtually any semiconductor material to be used to create photovoltaic cells.  Read More

Workers install a solar array in Tokelau, an island nation that will be powered with renew...

Adopting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is a great way to reduce emissions and produce energy locally. In places like remote Pacific islands, however, those benefits are potentially a key to independence. For that reason Tokelau, a 10 sq. km. (3.86 sq. mi) island nation that lies around 500 km (311 mi) north of Samoa and which is a territory of New Zealand, is about to ditch diesel as a source of electricity and switch to solar power.  Read More

MIT doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay has designed a new chip capable of harvesting en...

The problem with depending on one source of power in the drive toward the battery-free operation of small biomedical devices, remote sensors and out-of-the-way gauges is that if the source is intermittent, not strong enough or runs out altogether, the device can stop working. A small MIT research team has developed a low-power chip design capable of simultaneously drawing power from photovoltaic, thermoelectric, and piezoelectric energy sources. The design also features novel dual-path architecture that allows it to run from either onboard energy storage or direct from its multiple power sources.  Read More

A dish-shaped mirror focuses sunlight onto a glass ball, which distributes it evenly onto ...

Borrowing technology from sophisticated telescope mirrors as well as high-efficiency solar cells used for space exploration, a group of students and researchers at the University of Arizona are putting the final touches on a novel power plant that promises to generate renewable energy twice as efficiently as standard solar panel technology with highly competitive costs and a very small environmental impact.  Read More

Ontario's Green Sun Rising has launched the Solar Bench, a picnic bench and table topped b...

Ontario's Green Sun Rising has launched a Solar Bench that provides some welcome relief from the heat of the sun for mobile device users, while also offering to keep batteries topped up via flexible solar panels installed on the roof.  Read More

Two-faced solar cells boost yields by up to 50 percent

Israeli photovoltaics developer bSolar has developed a double-sided solar cell it claims can boost the energy yields of solar panels by up to 50 percent when installed vertically, or by between 10 and 30 percent in more typical installations. The "bifacial" cells rely on a back surface field (BSF) of boron rather than aluminum, which bSolar claims not only allows for an open rear face but also increases the efficiency at the front of the solar panel.  Read More

The JPods concept centers around a four to six seat electric vehicle suspended beneath an ...

Autonomous vehicles and personal transportation pods featured quite heavily in our recent round-up of the Top Ten railways of the future, and the JPods concept from Bill James has both. At the center of the scheme is a driverless, on-demand electric four to six seat vehicle suspended beneath an overhead rail structure, which is topped with photovoltaic panels. A user would let the JPod know the desired location via a touchscreen interface and the vehicle's networked computer system would determine the best route and motor there without further input from the passenger.  Read More

The EnerPlex solar charger for iPhone 4/4S incorporates a thin, flexible CIGS PV module fr...

In comparison to some of the bulkier solar panel-packing iPhone cases we’ve seen, such as the AQUA TEK S and Solar Surge, the EnerPlex charger is positively Kate Moss-like. Made by Colorado-based Ascent Solar using its ultra light, thin and flexible solar panels, the EnerPlex for iPhone 4/4S adds just 72 g (2.53 oz) to the weight of the phone while providing the ability to top up the battery from the sun’s rays.  Read More

Soitec has announced the completion of Italy's largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) pla...

Soitec, a specialist in semiconductor materials for the electronic and energy industries, announced that it has completed the construction and grid connection of Italy’s largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant. The announcement was made in the context of the Intersolar Europe Trade Show in Munich, which took place this week (June 11-15). The 1.17 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar farm, located in Belpasso in Sicily, will power 300 homes and is expected to prevent the emission of more than 125 tons (113 tonnes) of carbon dioxide per year.  Read More

Scientists have successfully used gallium indium phosphide solar cells to generate electri...

Although solar cells are proving indispensable for powering things such as electronic sensors on dry land, sensors located underwater have typically had to rely on batteries, or electricity piped in from photovoltaic panels situated above the surface. That could be changing, however, as scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have recently developed functioning underwater solar cells.  Read More

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