Solar Power


Giant wave-riding platform design puts solar power out to sea

Sea-based wind farms are becoming a common sight in many parts of the world, but why not floating solar power stations? Engineers at the Vienna University of Technology foresee a future where platforms 100 m long and covered with solar panels float on even heavy seas thanks to a new floatation system called Heliofloat. Still under development, Heliofloat uses flexible, open-bottom floats that are capable of standing up to rough seas that would destroy such a platform sitting on conventional tanks.Read More


Solar Impulse 2 breaks records by reaching California

Last night, Solar Impulse 2 completed the Pacific Ocean crossing leg of its round-the-world flight. According to the Solar Impulse organization, the aircraft with founder and chairman Bertrand Piccard at the controls touched down in a night landing at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California on April 23 at 11:44 pm PDT after a flight time of 62 hours and 29 minutes from Kalaeloa Airport, Hawaii.Read More

Caribbean’s largest solar array goes online

A 33.4 MW photovoltaic solar array in the Dominican Republic has gone live this week. The installation at the Monte Plata solar facility is claimed to be the largest in the Caribbean and a planned second phase of the project is expected to take it to a capacity of 67 MW.Read More

Good Thinking

Solar-powered "Sterile Box" targets hospital infections in developing countries

One of the risks of undergoing a surgical procedure is getting an on-site infection, which leads to longer periods in hospital and even death, especially when bacteria is resistant to current drugs. In developing countries the problem is bigger as hospitals often lack staple sterilization instruments such as an autoclave. In order to tackle this issue, a team of Rice University students and their mentors are developing a solar-powered sterilization unit that could be a life-saver in regions with little or no access to this type of equipment.Read More


Thinnest, lightest, solar cells ever created outperform their bulky glass brethren

Using gossamer-like layers of flexible polymers, researchers at MIT have created the thinnest and lightest solar cells ever made. Just one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair, and capable of producing up to 6 watts of power per gram, these cells are so thin and light that they can be supported on the surface of a soap bubble without breaking it. With such impressive credentials, the prototype cells have the potential to add solar power to everything from paper-based electronics through to all manner of mobile devices and exceptionally lightweight wearables. Read More


High-temperature photovoltaics and electrochemical cell combine to advance solar power

Despite continual improvements in efficiency, silicon-based solar cells are hampered by the fact that they only deliver power when the sun is shining and that their efficiency falls off markedly at temperatures over 100° C (212° F). To address these limitations, scientists at TU Wien in Vienna have combined perovskite-based solar cells that work at high temperatures with an electrochemical cell that allows the energy from ultraviolet light to be stored chemically.Read More


Hyperions "vertical village" slated for India

Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut continues to refine his distinctive style of futuristic sustainable architecture with Hyperions. The cluster of connected timber towers – or "vertical village" – features more sustainable design than you can shake a stick at and, according to the architect, is due to be constructed by 2022 near New Delhi, India.Read More


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