Solar Energy News

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Updated: 1 min 38 sec ago

Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 12:19pm
Scientists have developed a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of the energy trickling into it, even at the extremely low power levels characteristic of tiny solar cells. Previous experimental ultralow-power converters had efficiencies of only 40 or 50 percent.

Russia's renewable energy policy: Profitable for investors

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 6:29am
In 2013, Russia implemented an incentive system for renewable energy sources that is based on the wholesale electricity capacity mechanism. It is intended to increase the share of renewable energy in the country's energy production. New researchers demonstrates that the incentive system can make renewable energy investments in wind, solar and small-scale hydro power profitable for investors. However, in order to be profitable the investments must be within the scope of the full Russian support scheme.

Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 9:36am
Chemists have developed a major improvement to capture and retain energy from sunlight, where the stored energy can last dramatically longer than current solar technology allows -- up to several weeks, instead of the microseconds found in today's rooftop solar panels.

First solar cell made of highly ordered molecular frameworks

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 7:44am
Researchers have developed a material suited for photovoltaics. For the first time, a functioning organic solar cell consisting of a single component has been produced on the basis of metal-organic framework compounds (MOFs). The material is highly elastic and might also be used for the flexible coating of clothes and deformable components.

Highest certified efficiency for perovskite solar cells measuring over one square centimetre

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 2:05pm
Researchers have achieved a 15% energy conversion efficiency in perovskite solar cells for the first time in the world, as officially recognized by an international public test center.

Benchmarking electrocatalysts for solar water-splitting devices

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 8:34am
Efficiently turning sunlight into storable fuels requires catalysts that convert a maximum amount of solar energy into fuel. A lack of standardized analytic conditions and methods has made objectively comparing catalysts challenging. Scientists standardized measurement techniques to allow a quantitative, objective evaluation of such catalysts.

Hematite 're-growth' smoothes rough edges for clean energy harvest

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 6:23am
By smoothing the surface of hematite, a team of researchers achieved the first 'unassisted' water splitting using the abundant rust-like mineral and silicon to capture and store solar energy within hydrogen gas.

New methane bioreactor produces environmentally friendly energy, mitigates climate change

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 6:19am
A new methane bioreactor boosts environmentally friendly energy to the markets. The reactor stores renewable energy and produces synthetic biomethane with good efficiency. The new technology can help in achieving a carbon-neutral society, developers report.

How to convert US to 100 percent renewable energy

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 8:30am
It's technically possible for each state to replace fossil fuel energy with entirely clean, renewable energy, experts say. A new report is the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

Stable perovskite solar cells developed through structural simplification

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 7:17am
Perovskite solar cells are promising low-cost and highly-efficient next-generation solar cells. Now a research team has successfully developed perovskite solar cells with good reproducibility and stability as well as exhibiting ideal semiconducting properties.

Getting rid of pinholes in solar cells

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 12:04pm
Researchers have learned how to eliminate pesky pinholes in perovskite solar cells. The pinholes in the top layer of the solar cell, known as the hole transport layer, were identified as a key cause for the quick degradation of perovskite solar cells. Researchers around the world are investigating the potential of perovskite, a humanmade organic-inorganic hybrid material, as an alternative to silicon-based solar cells.

Solar power: Finding safe and efficient home storage systems

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 6:55am
How do I find the right storage system for my application? This question is asked by many potential buyers. Battery storage systems available on the market differ considerably in terms of safety, price, performance, and, hence, economic efficiency. New research shows how efficient batteries should be designed and provide information on the reliable assessment of the performance of storage systems.

Fine-tuned molecular orientation is key to more efficient polymer solar cells

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 11:03am
Polymer solar cells are a hot area of research due to both their strong future potential and the significant challenges they pose. It is believed that thanks to lower production costs, they could become a viable alternative to conventional solar cells with silicon substrates when they achieve a power conversion efficiency--a measure that indicates how much electricity they can generate from a given amount of sunlight--of between 10 and 15 percent. Now, using carefully designed materials and an "inverted" architecture, a team of scientists has achieved efficiency of 10 percent, bringing these cells close to the threshold of commercial viability. 

American energy use up slightly, carbon emissions almost unchanged

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 11:28am
Americans' energy use continued to grow slowly in 2014, fueled by increases in the use of natural gas, wind and solar, according to the most recent energy flow charts.

Nanobionics supercharge photosynthesis

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:33am
A new process has been developed for spontaneously incorporating and assembling carbon nanotubes and oxygen-scavenging nanoparticles into chloroplasts, the part of plant cells that conduct photosynthesis. Incorporation enhanced electron flow associated with photosynthesis. When these nanocomposites were incorporated into leaf chloroplasts of living plants, the electron flow associated with photosynthesis was enhanced by 30%.

Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1%

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:14am
Researchers have obtained the record-breaking efficiency of 22.1 percent efficiency on nanostructured silicon solar cells. An almost 4 percent absolute increase to their previous record was achieved by applying a thin passivating film on the nanostructures and by integrating all metal contacts on the back side of the cell.