Solar Energy News

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Updated: 14 hours 35 min ago

New class of nanoparticle brings cheaper, lighter solar cells outdoors

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 10:33am
A new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle that outshines the current state of the art has been developed and tested by researchers. This new form of solid, stable light-sensitive nanoparticles, called colloidal quantum dots, could lead to cheaper and more flexible solar cells, as well as better gas sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and more.

Enhancing safety of domestic solar power storage

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 8:22am
Lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems have already demonstrated efficiency and reliability in commercial electric vehicles. These high standards now also have to be transferred to battery-based storage systems for private photovoltaics facilities.

Breakthrough in energy storage: Electrical cables that can store energy

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 9:17am
Nanotechnology scientists have developed a way to both transmit and store electricity in a single lightweight copper wire. Sounds like science fiction, but it may become a reality thanks to breakthrough technology. So far electrical cables are used only to transmit electricity. However, nanotechnology scientists have developed a way to both transmit and store electricity in a single lightweight copper wire.

First real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion in an organic solar cell

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 11:44am
Scientists have reported the first real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion process in an organic solar cell. Researchers show that the quantum-mechanical, wavelike nature of electrons and their coupling to the nuclei is of fundamental importance for the charge transfer in an organic photovoltaic device.

Novel laser system mimics sunlight to test solar cell efficiency

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 11:44am
A laser-based instrument that generates artificial sunlight to help test solar cell properties, and find ways to boost their efficiency, has been developed by researchers. The novel system simulates sunlight well across a broad spectrum of visible to infrared light. More flexible than conventional solar simulators such as xenon arc-lamps or light-emitting diodes, the laser instrument can be focused down to a small beam spot -- with resolution approaching the theoretical limit -- and shaped to match any desired spectral profile.

Quantum mechanisms of organic devices for alternative solar panels are revealed

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 11:17am
Silicon panel-based technology requires a very costly, contaminating manufacturing process, while organic photovoltaic devices have been positioned as one of the most attractive alternatives as a source of solar energy. This is the first time the quantum mechanisms that trigger the photovoltaic function of these devices have been deciphered.

Solar panel manufacturing is greener in Europe than China, study says

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 2:41pm
Solar panels made in China have a higher overall carbon footprint and are likely to use substantially more energy during manufacturing than those made in Europe, said a new study. The team performed a type of systematic evaluation called life cycle analysis to come up with these hard data. Life cycle analysis tallies up all the energy used to make a product -- energy to mine raw materials, fuel to transport the materials and products, electricity to power the processing factory, and so forth.

Hybrid energy transfer system mimics process responsible for photosynthesis

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 11:41am
Scientists have developed a new hybrid energy transfer system, which mimics the processes responsible for photosynthesis. From photosynthesis to respiration, the processes of light absorption and its transfer into energy represent elementary and essential reactions that occur in any biological living system. In a new study, researchers demonstrate an alternate non-radiative, intermolecular energy transfer that exploits the intermediating role of light confined in an optical cavity.

More sustainable thermosolar plants thanks to hybridization with biomethane

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 7:55am
The integration of biomethane in concentrating solar thermal power plants would facilitate the commercial introduction of concentrating solar power (CSP) technology in the energy market, reducing both financial and environmental costs. Researchers are studying the integration process of biomethane.

Outdoor lighting using wind-solar hybrid renewable energy sources

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 7:47pm
As an outcome from the continuous hybrid renewable energy research, an innovative outdoor lighting system powered by a shroud-augmented wind turbine and a solar panel was installed in the Kuala Lumpur campus of University of Malaya (UM).

Microsatellites: Making light work of orbit and attitude control

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 8:45am
Microsatellites have to be very light – every gram counts. The same applies to the gyroscopes used to sense the satellite’s orientation when in orbit. A novel prototype is seven times lighter and significantly smaller than earlier systems.

Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites, largest point source pollution in U.S.

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 9:05am
Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from two coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners area of northwest New Mexico, the largest point source of pollution in America, were measured remotely. The study is the first to show that space-based techniques can successfully verify international regulations on fossil energy emissions.

Planting the 'seeds' of solar technology in the home

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 8:49am
In an effort to better understand what persuades people to buy photovoltaic (PV) systems for their homes, researchers are gathering data on consumer motivations that can feed sophisticated computer models and thus lead to greater use of solar energy.

Solar energy prospects are bright for Scotland, experts say

Mon, 05/19/2014 - 10:01am
Installing state-of-the-art solar panels on a quarter of a million roofs could meet one-sixth of Scotland's electricity demands, experts say. Scientists say the strategy could ease the plight of one in three Scottish households, which currently struggle to provide themselves with adequate heat and hot water. Researchers, business leaders and public sector experts have contributed to a report which sets out how Scotland could benefit from solar power.

Control methane now, greenhouse gas expert warns

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 3:52pm
As the shale gas boom continues, the atmosphere receives more methane, adding to Earth’s greenhouse gas problem. A greenhouse gas expert and ecology and environmental biology professor fears that we may not be many years away from an environmental tipping point – and disaster. “Society needs to wean itself from the addiction to fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” he said. “But to replace some fossil fuels – coal, oil – with another, like natural gas, will not suffice as an approach to take on global warming. Rather, we should embrace the technologies of the 21st century and convert our energy systems to ones that rely on wind, solar and water power.”