Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Solar Power

The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Pho...

Shipping container-based buildings can suffer – indeed, usually do suffer – from significant insulation issues. But Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (A4AC) recently built a community center and school in Malawi from shipping containers that aims to mitigate this with an open design. The firm also installed rainwater harvesting and solar power to allow the school to operate off-grid.  Read More

Over a three-year period, the team will conduct testing to ascertain how much energy the S...

The world's first solar bike path is set to open in the Netherlands next Wednesday. The SolaRoad will run through Amsterdam's northern suburb of Krommenie and will feature concrete slabs embedded with solar panels to convert energy from the sun into electricity for the grid.  Read More

A new coating material developed by UCSD researchers could help make concentrated solar po...

The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat.  Read More

The white solar panel provides architects with more flexibility in using solar power syste...

Solar panels are seen as a way of making buildings greener and more sustainable, as well as making them less dependent on the grid for power. The problem is that the blue/black panels stick out like sore thumbs and end up exiled to rooftops. With the goal of making solar panels aesthetically invisible, the Swiss private, nonprofit technology company CSEM has developed what it bills as the world's first white solar modules – designed to blend into buildings instead of sitting on the roof.  Read More

Aerial Power's SolarBrush aimed at reducing the maintenance costs of a solar field by 70 p...

To maintain their effectiveness, solar panels need to be kept clean, but this can be a labor-intensive and costly process. Aerial Power is the latest to seek an automated solution – the London-based startup is developing brush-carrying drones that skim along the solar arrays and wipe their surfaces clean.  Read More

Sologic has recently installed its first eTree in the Ramat Hanadiv nature park, Israel

Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees. Wi-Fi and electricity, on the other hand, sometimes do. The eTree, created by Israeli renewables firm Sologic, is a public space intervention aimed at provide a place to rest, connect to the internet and recharge devices.  Read More

The prototype device utilizes paraffin contained within thin aluminum plates

Although solar panels are active while the sun is shining, they typically don't do much once the sun goes down. This is why some systems incorporate water tanks. The water is heated during the day via the panels, then that stored thermal energy (heat) is used to warm the home at night. While the tanks are effective, they also take up a lot of space, making them difficult to fit into peoples' homes. A newly-developed device, however, stores just as much heat in half the space – using paraffin instead of water.  Read More

Equipped with an array of multi-junction photovoltaic chips, each of the IBM 'sunflowers' ...

Looking rather like a 10-meter (33 ft) tall sunflower, IBM's High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system concentrates the sun’s radiation over 2,000 times on a single point and then transforms 80 percent of that into usable energy. Using a number of liquid-cooled microchannel receivers, each equipped with an array of multi-junction photovoltaic chips, each HCPVT can produce enough power, water, and cooling to supply several homes.  Read More

Solarbox aims to provides a quick and free smartphone battery top up

Though many manufacturers put a lot of emphasis on how their smartphones offer "all-day battery life,” having your handset pass out on you is still a fairly common problem. London-based project Solarbox aims to help keep mobile phone users mobile by re-purposing the iconic red phone boxes for use as free, solar-powered quick charging stations.  Read More

Facebook hopes to begin testing its solar-powered UAVs in 2015, with the ultimate aim of d...

There was an understandable amount of skepticism when Amazon announced its grand plans for delivery drones last year. But if the last twelve months are any indication, Jeff Bezos and his fellow tech heavyweights are actually kinda serious about the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. Speaking at the Social Good Summit in New York on Monday, engineering director at Facebook Connectivity Lab, Yael Maguire, has further detailed the company's vision of internet-carrying drones, with plans to begin testing in 2015.  Read More

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