Brilliant ideas usually don’t need years of hard labor, or at least so it happens most of the time. For example, by implementing a switching trick to a DC to AC current converter used in solar panels, Heribert Schmidt, an electrical engineer (with a doctorate), from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems has managed to halve inverter losses, bringing the efficiency to 98 percent.
There are towns in the UK which dream of sustaining themselves out of their own production of electricity. Wadebridge in Cornwall is one of them: 10 solar systems installed, 100 more to go! The town has already begun the 2015 race, meaning 15,000 MWh each year. If they manage that, then they become eligible for feed-in tariffs: profitable contracts that buy the clean energy and add it up to the grid at a good price.
Besides being very pricey, solar power plants simply discourage by the fact that the sun is not always there when you need it: what happens if you need to switch on the light in your kitchen to drink water at 2 A.M. in the morning? Or on a cloudy day, for that matter?… Thanks to SolarReserve and the Obama administration funding it you may never have to go through that.
The Japanese who will want to build up a new home will probably be forced to install solar panels on their rooftops. Naoto Kan, the Japanese Prime Minister, is about to announce this intention at the G8 summit in Deauville, France.
Both solar cells and plants process sunlight one way or the other, but there’s a catch: one of them is more efficient. Guided by common sense, we’d say that the plants’ billions of years of “experience” in capturing and storing energy will win. Is it so?
The breakthrough comes from the chemical engineer Patrick Pinhero at the University of Missouri, who claims his solar panels are way better than those on the market now: up to 90% more efficiency.
Right now I’m propped to a tree, writing this article, at the margins of an enchanting forest, with birdies singing everywhere. My laptop’s battery is nearing its low percentage, and I’d really need some power source. I’d use Samsung’s solar powered laptop, or at least the one they’re planning to release in the not-so-distant future.
Tibet may be the home of a world spiritual leader, but it isn’t all about spirituality: the Chinese autonomous region has been using solar energy since the 80’s and has a solar potential of about 3,000 hours of solar radiation per year. Its annual input of 9 MW of energy secures 13% of China’s total production.
By growing layers of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on a semiconductor surface, researchers from the ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â°cole polytechnique fÃƒÆ’©dÃƒÆ’©rale de Lausanne (EPFL) have managed to create solar cells that can ultimately extract hydrogen from water under the direct action of sunlight, just like leaves do their natural photosynthesis.
2010 saw the surge of Italy’s interest for investing in the solar market, so much so that it drove the country to rank second on the new installations scale. Worries that government incentives were about to stop this year led consumers into frenzy. A prolongation of the program until June 2011 will make Italy own an impressive 7 GW of solar power attached to the grid.
Whether we are talking about a commercial, institutional or industrial facility, what is required from a solar air heater is, of course, to produce heat and also a quick return on its investment. Lubi, created by Enerconcept Technologies, is the most efficient solar air heater on the market.
As you may already know, solar panels are great, but they have one big drawback: if as little as one shadow covers one of the cells, the entire power output slumps. Not to mention that if one of the cells themselves brakes down, the whole system crashes. To hear of such sensitivity in a technology of the future is rather disappointing, but TenKsolar can take up the challenge and solve these issues.
A new material that could one day change the efficiency of thermal solar panels has been invented by MIT and Boston College researchers, with collaborators from GMZ Energy. The thermoelectric device is at least eight times more efficient than what’s currently available in labs.
Several large data centers have opted for solar roofs this April, in an attempt to reduce their internal electricity consumption. It seems logical that they should do so, given the kind of roofs that they have. What so far didn’t really make economic sense, right now seems to be the right thing to do.
Jun Xu and his team from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have just created a three-dimensional “nanocone-based solar cell platform,” which is able to increase the light conversion efficiency by almost 80 percent by eliminating the issue of poor charge transport due to bulk material defects.
Infrared light makes up the most part of the light spectrum, but the glitch in today’s solar panels is that they can’t really harvest it for direct electricity generation, because of the long wavelengths involved. Thus, a standard solar panel misses about 75% of the incoming energy, and some of them, concentrated solar cells, need cooling to prevent damage to the silicon substrate that favors the energy conversion.