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Dow Solar is rolling out its new POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles in northern California and cent...

Installing photovoltaic panels is certainly the most common method of generating solar power on a rooftop, and in fact many people might think it’s the only method. There is, however, an alternative – photovoltaic shingles. It makes sense, when you think about it ... why install weatherproof shingles and solar panels separately, if you could get one thing that combined both? Although there aren’t many manufacturers offering such products just yet, this month Dow Solar made its POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles available to consumers in northern California and central Texas.  Read More

The record-breaking Alta Devices solar cell (Photo: Joe Foster, Alta Devices)

When you think of a solar cell, you probably think of something designed to absorb as much sunlight as possible. What you probably don't think of is something that is also capable of emitting light. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what a new prototype device designed more like an LED does, and it recently set an efficiency record for flat-plate single junction solar cells.  Read More

University of Sydney researchers have developed a “photochemical upconversion” technique t...

While the overall efficiency of conventional silicon solar cells has continued to improve in recent years, the technology faces a natural theoretical limit at around 33%. This is because the laws of physics prevent the cells from absorbing photons below a certain energy level, meaning that this low-energy light cannot be converted into electricity is simply lost. Now researchers have found a way join two energy-poor red photons to form a single energy-rich yellow photon, allowing the harvesting of this part of the spectrum currently unused by single p-n junction crystalline silicon solar cells, and potentially enabling a record-breaking efficiency of 40%.  Read More

Two small-scale versions of three-dimensional photovoltaic arrays that were tested by MIT ...

While we’ve looked at the development of solar cell technologies that employ nanoscale 3D structures to trap light and increase the amount of solar energy absorbed, MIT researchers have now used 3D on the macro scale to achieve power output that is up to 20 times greater than traditional fixed flat solar panels with the same base area. The approach developed by the researchers involves extending the solar cells upwards in a three-dimensional tower or cube configuration to enable them to better capture the sun's rays when it is lower on the horizon.  Read More

A researcher from Adelaide's Flinders University has developed a prototype solar cell that...

Imagine if every window of the 828-meter (2,717-foot) high Burj Khalifa in Dubai was capable of generating electricity just like a PV panel. That's the promise of solar window technology like the RSi and Sphelar cells systems. Rather than using costly silicon for window-based collection of solar energy, Dr Mark Bissett proposes using a very thin layer of carbon nanotubes instead.  Read More

Solar3D will examine the potential for its 3D solar cells to be used in solar roof tiles -...

Home owners looking to embrace solar but concerned about the effect slabs of solar panels will have on the look of their house may soon have an option that blends the old with the new. California-based company Solar3D has announced it is conducting a study to explore the potential for integrating its solar cells directly into roof tiles. While conventional solar cells aren’t really suitable for roof tiles due to their fixed orientation, Solar3D believes its 3D solar cell technology could make such a product feasible.  Read More

Twin Creeks Technologies' Hyperion process is claimed to be able to produce crystalline si...

Boosting solar cell efficiency is seen as a key factor in making them more practical, but there is another way of looking at the matter ... if the price of those cells were lowered, we could generate more power simply by using more of them. That’s where Mississippi-based Twin Creeks Technologies comes into the picture. The company has developed a method of making crystalline silicon wafers which it says could reduce the cost of solar cell production by half.  Read More

Scientists have set a new record for thin-film solar cell efficiency, using 'bumpy' silver...

Researchers from Australia's Swinburne University of Technology have announced the development of the world's most efficient broadband nanoplasmonic solar cells. The scientists improved the performance of existing thin-film cells by incorporating nucleated or "bumpy" gold and silver nanoparticles. By doing so, they were able to boost the cells' absolute efficiency up to 8.1 percent.  Read More

A scanning electron microscope image of a single layer of the nanocrystalline-silicon nano...

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “whispering gallery” is a round room designed in such a way that sound is carried around its perimeter – this allows a person standing on one side to hear words whispered by a person on the other. Now, scientists from Stanford University have developed a new type of photovoltaic material, that essentially does for sunlight what whispering galleries do for sound. Not only does the material have a structure that circulates light entering it, but it could also result in cheaper, less fragile, and less angle-sensitive solar panels.  Read More

Schematic of MIT's Photosystem-I solar energy harvesting chip

Research scientist Andreas Mershin has a dream to bring inexpensive solar power to the masses, especially those in developing countries. After years of research, he and his team at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, along with University of Tennessee biochemist Barry Bruce, have worked out a process that extracts functional photosynthetic molecules from common yard and agricultural waste. If all goes well, in a few years it should be possible to gather up a pile of grass clippings, mix it with a blend of cheap chemicals, paint it on your roof and begin producing electricity. Talk about redefining green power plants!  Read More

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