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Photovoltaic

Solar power may provide a clean, abundant source of energy, but we know the sun's rays are capable of much, much more. Aside from generating electricity, we've seen solar energy harnessed to produce drinkable water as well, so why not combine the two processes into one system? That's what IBM and its collaborators are hoping to do with an affordable High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that uses cooling technology from supercomputers to harvest solar energy more efficiently and produce purified water at the same time. Read More

BMW’s sustainable mobility-focused sub-brand BMW i has announced it is to join forces with German photovoltaic firm SOLARWATT GmbH, in a bid to supply consumer-friendly solar-powered carport and rooftop charging systems to future i3 and i8 owners. Read More

After looking into the pros and cons of nine methods of electricity production (including coal, geothermal, biomass, and solar), a group of 9 and 10 year-olds from Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina decided that their classroom should be powered using only energy from the sun. They hit Kickstarter at the beginning of this month with a modest funding goal of just US$800 to help finance the installation of a small PV panel array – a target that was smashed in less than a day. Read More
Though the increasingly competent cameras in smartphones are making the digital compact all-but obsolete, there is still a healthy market for novelties like the Digi Cam and Digital Harinezumi 2++. Another decidedly lo-fi cutie from the same product stable is the Sun and Cloud "self-generating" pocket camera. Its battery can be juiced up via USB, but the palm-sized snapper offers users greener charging options in the shape of a PV panel on top and a hand crank on the side. Read More
Italian architectural firm Traverso-Vighy and the Department of Physics at the University of Padua have teamed up to create an innovative zero-energy home dubbed “Tvzeb.” Located in the woodlands a few kilometers from the historic center of Vicenza, the home combines the use of recycled materials, geothermal and solar energy generation, LED lighting and wall and roof insulation made from 40,000 recycled plastic bottles. Read More
Created by U.S. architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa, the recently completed Green Dot Animo Leadership High School in Inglewood, Los Angeles, wears its green heart very much on its sleeve. The new public school for 500 students is characterized by a large south facing façade covered with 650 solar panels, which not only help shield the building from the sun but also capture an estimated 75 percent of the energy needed to power the school. Read More
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

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

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
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
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