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Photovoltaic

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

Budapest University students have created an innovative solar-powered prefab home for the ...

On the eve of the opening of the European Solar Decathlon, a team from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics is ready to present its innovative solar-powered prefab home, which produces twice the amount of energy than it consumes. The Solar Decathlon Europe is an international competition among universities which promotes research in the development of energy-effective and light-structured residential buildings that only use solar energy. This year the prestigious competition is being hosted in Madrid, Spain and will see a selection of university entries from across Europe, including Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, The United Kingdom and Romania, and four more from China, Japan, Brazil and Egypt.  Read More

Scientists have developed new nanocrystals that allow solar panels to generate both electr...

At first glance, photovoltaic solar panels are brilliant. They’re self-contained, need no fuel and so long as the sun is shining, they make lots of lovely electricity. The trouble is, they’re expensive to make, batteries are poor storage systems for cloudy days, and the panels have a very short service life. Now, Dr. Mikhail Zamkov of Ohio's Bowling Green State University and his team have used synthetic nanocrystals to make solar panels more durable as well as capable of producing hydrogen gas.  Read More

South Dakota's Peppermint Energy has launched a Kickstarter funding campaign to help take ...

It took Deep Thought (the supercomputer from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) seven and a half million years to calculate that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything was 42. South Dakota's Peppermint Energy is hoping that it won't take quite that long to bring its personal, portable solar energy device named The Forty2 into production. The company has turned to crowd-funding portal Kickstarter to help it take the all-in-one power unit from working prototype to its first limited production run and beyond.  Read More

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