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News:2010:Solar

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Solar News

For most recent solar news, go to News:Solar


2010

  • Solar > PV > R&D >
    Solar powered microchips put batteries in the shade - In a new, more efficient approach to solar powered microelectronics, researchers in China have produced a microchip which directly integrates photovoltaic cells. What sets this device apart is that high-efficiency solar cells are placed straight onto the electronics, producing self-sufficient, low-power devices which are highly suitable for industrial serial production and can even operate indoors. (GizMag; December 30, 2010)
  • Solar > Infrared >
    New solar cells could even work at night - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory say they've developed a new kind of solar cell that can generate energy even at night. The key is the ability to harvest infrared radiation as well as visible light. Almost half of the available energy in the spectrum of solar radiation resides in the infrared band, and infrared is re-emitted as heat by the Earth's surface after the sun has gone down. (UPI; December 20, 2010)
  • Solar Hydrogen / Algae >
    OriginOil Achieves Hydrogen Production Comparable To Photovoltaics - OriginOil intends the Hydrogen Harvester to be deployed as an additional system output in algae production settings, approaching an efficiency of 12 percent when exposed to the sun. An advantage is that algae stores up energy during the day and will continue to generate hydrogen throughout the night. (Biofuel Daily; November 11, 2010)
  • Solar > PV >
    Boeing to mass-produce record-breaking 39.2 percent efficiency solar cell - Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab is bringing multi-junction solar cell efficiencies seen in the lab into mass production with the announcement of its C3MJ+ solar cells which boast an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent. Boeing hopes to transfer its satellite success to the terrestrial solar cell market with these new high-efficiency solar cells that are expected to be available beginning in January. (GizMag; November 24, 2010)
  • Solar > PV / Concentrated >
    Solergy Launches Next-Gen CPV With Record-Breaking Efficiency - Solergy's CPV systems featuring an all-glass optical concentrating lens - the world's first. The all-glass optics, high-precision tracking and optimized basic energy unit ensure that Solergy's system consistently produces more energy than any other PV or CPV product in existence. (Solar Daily; Nov. 17, 2010)
  • Oil >
    300 Years of Fossil-Fueled Addiction in Five Minutes - Fossil fuels have powered human growth and ingenuity for centuries. Now that we're reaching the end of cheap and abundant oil and coal supplies, we're in for an exciting ride. While there's a real risk that we'll fall off a cliff, there's still time to control our transition to a post-carbon future. (YouTube / PostCarbonInstitute; Nov. 8, 2010)
  • Solar / Storage / Thermal >
    Thermo-Chemical Solar Energy could be efficient and indefinitely storable - Researchers at MIT are working on a new process in thermo-chemical solar energy that uses a molecular structure reconfiguration to capture energy from the sun, potentially storing it forever. A molecule of fulvalene diruthenium changes its configuration when it absorbs heat, and later releases heat when it snaps back to its original shape. (MIT News; Oct. 26, 2010)
  • Solar > Largest >
    South Africa Unveils Plans For World’s Largest 5GW Solar Field - South Africa just unveiled their very own large-scale solar project – a 5GW solar field. The massive project would see solar panels installed across the Northern Cape province, which is one of the sunniest regions in the world. The $29.25 billion project could potentially generate a tenth of the country’s energy needs. The first 1 GW is expected to be done by the end of 2010. (Inhabitat; Oct. 28, 2010)
  • Solar > Space-Based >
    Massive Lunar Solar Power Tower Beams Energy to Earth - This massive astral power tower just won the 2010 Moon Capital International Design Challenge. Designed by Bryna Anderson, a graduate student from Columbia University, the concept is based on American physicist Dr. David Criswell’s proposal for a Lunar Solar Power System. It works by collecting energy on the lunar surface using photovoltaic converters and then transmitting it to Earth via microwave generators. (Inhabitat; Oct. 26, 2010)
  • Solar > Applications > Roadways >
    Photovoltaic Paving Tiles Coming Soon a Sidewalk Near You - Onyx Solar recently teamed up with Butech to launch a new line of photovoltaic paving stones made from ceramic and glass. The streamlined solar stones are manufactured using a process that produces less CO2 and uses less energy than traditional pavement, making this energy-generating material even better for reducing the environmental impact of building projects. (Inhabitat; Oct. 2, 2010)
  • Featured: Events > 2010 >
    Next Gen Expo -- turning a lemon to lemonade - Though a great idea (new media for rising generation), the execution of this event was juvenile, though not a complete waste of time. Highlights included Howard Bloom, Space Solar, domestic-spy-cam-disabling lasers, and a screening of a film about Wall Street criminality. (PESN; Oct. 22, 2010)
  • Magnets > Vulnerabilities >
    China Lowers the Boom on Rare Earths - Monday, China embargoed exports of rare earth elements to the United States. Rare earths are integral to most all cutting edge technologies including renewable energy systems (e.g. magnet motors), and China controls 93-97% of the world supply. "Whenever you have a shortage of raw materials in the world, it historically has led to war." (5 Min. Forecast; Oct. 20, 2010)
  • Solar > Concentrated >
    ZenithSolar Creates Solar Generator with Incredible 72% Efficiency - Israel-based energy company ZenithSolar has broken records with its 3rd generation CHP solar energy generator (Solar Z20) that combines heat and power systems to create an incredible 72% solar conversion efficiency by using a “semi-parabolic optical mirror for collecting solar energy” to power the local community’s electric and hot water use. (Inhabitat; Oct. 20, 2010)
  • Solar > PV >
    Solar school dedicated - We offer our congratulations to our associate, Jim Dunn, who's hard work has finally materialized in a 100 kW photovoltaic system at Bancroft School in Massechussets. Dunn serves as president of Future Solar Systems of Millbury, which designed, installed and secured investors for the project, will save the school about $8,000 to $10,000 annually in energy costs. (Telegraph; MA; USA; Oct. 9, 2010)
  • Solar > Space-Based > Solar Sails >
    Solar Winds Could Provide 100 Billion Times Earth’s Energy Needs - Researchers from Washington State University have published a paper in the International Journal of Astrobiology stating that energy from solar winds could replace conventional forms of renewable energy produced on Earth such as solar, wind and biofuel power; theorizing that a giant solar sail 5,220 miles (8,400 km) wide, designed to harness solar winds, could generate 1 billion gigawatts. (Inhabitat; Oct. 5, 2010)
  • Solar > PV > Largest >
    Worlds Largest Solar Plant Now In Ontario, Canada - Canada may not be the first place you would guess to have the world’s largest photovoltaic facility. However, the Canadian firm Enbridge Inc. and Arizona-based First Solar Inc.'s 80-megawatt Sarnia Solar Project is now the largest operational PV plant in the world. With 1.3 million modules spread over 950 acres of land, the project has the potential to supply the energy needs of up to 12,800 households. (Inhabitat: Oct. 1, 2010)
  • OS / DIY: Solar >
    Solar tracking circuit - Developed as an open source project, this inexpensive device accurately tracks the position of the sun and can be applied to a wide range of solar tracking devices. It uses GaP LEDs as sensors which feed a comparator chip which in turn drives transistors providing simple bi-directional motor control. The device has been used on solar PV, solar cookers, solar concentrators and more. (GreenWatts)
  • Solar > Overviews >
    Here Comes the Sun - Here's a great documentary by a Dutch public service TV station, VPRO, about how the sun could easily provide the planet with sufficient energy, if only we are willing to change and to invest in harvesting that solar energy. "This documentary will leave you feeling totally refreshed and recharged. Show's how fear is striking the hearts of oil producers already." -- Andrew Lee (YouTube / VPRO Backlight; Oct. 21, 2008)
  • Nanotech / Biomimetics / Solar >
    Plant-Mimicking Solar Cells Can Self-Assemble - Scientists at MIT have created a breakthrough solution to one of the biggest problems facing solar cells by mimicking the world's best harvesters of solar energy: plants. Over time, sunlight breaks down the materials in solar cells, leading to a gradual degradation of devices aiming to harvest the energy in that light. Plants don't have this problem. (EcoGeek; Sept. 7, 2010)
  • Solar > Dye / BioElectricity > Algae >
    Solar Cells Made From Bioluminescent Jellyfish; Algaelectricity - Swedish researchers have devised a way to turn the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from bioluminescent jellyfish into solar cells. The GFP-powered cells work like dye-sensitized solar cells, but don't require expensive materials such as titanium dioxide. Also, a look at biophotovoltaic devices based on algae and photosynthetic bacteria. (New Scientist; Sept. 7, 2010)
  • Solar > PV >
    New Stick-on Solar Panels Make Installations a Snap - Global Solar unveiled a new type of flexible solar module that builders can stick directly on the roof, rather than constructing racks to hold heavy glass-covered cells. The modules won’t cost less than traditional arrays, at least initially, but they make it easier to include solar power at the time of construction and, without the racks, can cover a greater portion of the roof and provide more power. (Inhabitat; Aug. 31, 2010)
  • Solar > Tools >
    Self-Cleaning Technology from Mars Can Keep Terrestrial Solar Panels Dust Free - In a report at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), scientists described how a self-cleaning coating on the surface of solar cells, based on technology developed for space missions to Mars, could increase the efficiency of producing electricity from sunlight and reduce maintenance costs for large-scale solar installations as well as residential panels. (Solar Daily; Aug. 24, 2010)
  • Solar > PV > R&D >
    PETE Process adds thermal gain to photovoltaics - Stanford engineers have come up with a new solar energy conversion process that can potentially double the efficiency of solar cells by harvesting the wasted heat energy and keeping up and utilizing the high temperatures which are reached during conversion in a process that is called ‘photon enhanced thermionic emission’ (PETE). (Alt Energy News; August 24, 2010)
  • Solar > PV > Residential >
    User-Installed Panel Kit Aims to Slow Meter - Clarion Technologies aims to introduce a product next Spring that plugs into a regular outlet as its means of helping supply the home power needs. As a reasonable 'getting your feet wet' approach, the three-panel system, costing around $800, mounted as an awning or on top of a roof, will produce up to 600 Watts which are fed into the home through a microinverter. (CNet; August 16, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Solar > Thin Film >
    Transparent Solar Spray Transforms Windows Into Watts - Norwegian Company EnSol AS has developed a remarkable new spray-on solar film that allows windows to generate solar power without clouding the view. The material consists of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix that can be easily sprayed on. And the cells don’t just work on glass — they can be used on the rest of the house, too! (Inhabitat; Aug. 10, 2010)
  • Feature DIY: Emergency Preparedness / Solar > PV >
    Super cheap DIY solar cells for the common man - Could it be that Solar cells have gotten cheaper than 40 cents per watt if your a DIY guy? Or is that because they are 'seconds' with a lot of downsides that outweigh the advantages of just buying completed units? eBay pioneer seller, Fred480V, says the cells in his 1kW are not seconds but are the best available from Schott Solar. (PESN; Aug. 11, 2010) (Comment)
  • Feature: > Solar / Lighting >
    Solar Lighting Directory - Here's a compilation of links that we've put in our news over the years, now on one page. If you know of a technology or company that should be listed there, feel free to add it. This is a publicly editable site, after all. (PESWiki; Aug. 5, 2010)
  • Solar > Applications > Freeways >
    Solar Roadways Prototyping Video - The Solar Roadways project is working to pave roads with solar panels that you can drive on. Co-founder Scott Brusaw has made some major steps forward since our first visit back in 2007, so we visited him again earlier this year for an exclusive update on the project, including the first ever video recorded of the Solar Roadways prototype! (ConsciousMedianNetwork; June 18, 2010)
  • Solar > R&D >
    Fly Eyes Used For Solar Cells - Researchers took corneas from blow flies, fixed them on a glass substrate, added a polymer to protect the shape and then coated nine-eye arrays in nickel within a vacuum chamber. The result was a master template that retained those useful nanoscale features and can be used to make solar cells. (Discovery; July 28, 2010)
  • Biomimicry >
    Design Inspiration from Nature – Biomimicry for a Better Planet - From buildings and bridges to materials and medicine – examining the design of nature has aided in the development of almost every aspect of our lives, and most of us – often without realizing – benefit from these inspired revelations several times a day. A overview, including energy applications. (Inhabitat; July 16, 2010)
  • Solar > Concentrated > PV >
    Truly Amazing Advanced Solar Cell from Israel - Prof David Faiman of Zenith Solar says: "When we collect the light, instead of using a huge area of solar cells, we use an equal area of cheap glass mirrors and they are curved in such a way as to concentrate the light onto a very small solar cell, the size of just one cell, and in this way you concentrate the light a thousand times and you can get a thousand times more power out of a small cell." (iPlanet Energy News; Apr. 26, 2010)
  • Solar > Solar Hydrogen / Photosynthesis Imitation >
    Breakthrough in using sunlight to split water - A team of MIT researchers has managed to mimic the photosynthetic process in plants by engineering M13, a simple and harmless virus, to help splitting water into its two atomic components - hydrogen and oxygen - using sunlight. The virus acts as the chlorophyl by capturing light, then transfers the energy down its length, acting like a wire. (GizMag; Apr. 16, 2010)
  • Conventional Renewable Energy >
    Ten PowerPoint Slides That Shook the Earth - If you attend enough cleantech events or are pitched by enough startups, you start to see the same few PowerPoint slides over and over again. Here is a collection of the best or at least the most notorious and historically significant slides in our industry. (GreenTechMedia; July 8, 2010)
  • Solar / Trends >
    Solar's Great Leap Forward - Suntech CEO Zhengrong Shi made China a powerhouse in photovoltaic technology--and became a billionaire in the process. His next ambition: to make solar power as cheap as conventional electricity. (MIT Technology Review; July/Aug 2010)
  • Solar > PV >
    Harnessing Solar Power in a Condo - To get around the homeowners' association, Jack Lee merely places a solar panel in the window of his condo, and gets enough sunlight to power all the devices in his bachelor's pad. And he can pull from the battery of his hybrid car if he needs to; so he never hooks up to the grid power available in his sockets. (CBS News; Oct. 3, 2007)
  • Solar > PV / Hydrogen > Solar Hydrogen >
    Jack Nicholson's 1978 Hydrogen Car - Step back in time to when solar panels were new and needed to be explained as part of a presentation on how the energy of sunlight could be used to generate electricity to electrolyze water to generate hydrogen which could run a car, using a metal catalyst to stabilize the storage of hydrogen. (GreenEnergyTV; 9/9/9)
  • Solar > Space-Based / Flight > Propulsion >
    First solar powered spacecraft successfully launched - Today, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun (IKAROS) craft. IKAROS is a space yacht that gathers energy for propulsion from sunlight pressure (photons) by means of a square membrane measuring 20 meters (65.6 ft) diagonally. (GizMag; May 21, 2010)
  • Solar > R&D >
    "Light Pipes" Boost Organic Solar Efficiency - Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have developed a way to more than double the performance of organic solar cells by adding a layer of upright optical fibers that act as sunlight traps. "It's the same thing as taking a flat device and pointing it directly at the sun all day long." (MIT Technology Review; May 12, 2010)
  • Solar > Dye >
    MIT researchers print solar cell on paper - Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a technique in which paper is coated with organic semiconductor material using a process similar to an inkjet printer, which could lower the cost and weight of solar panels. Still in the research phase, they are years from being commercialized. (CNET; May 5, 2010)
  • Solar > PV / Emergency Preparedness > EMP >
    Can solar panels withstand an EMP attack? - Forum responses: Most panels have bypass diodes fitted to the discrete series arrays within the panel. Panels are not normally just a mass of cells. With EMP exposure the inverter is the biggest concern since the PN junction of a microchip/fet/transistor is much much smaller than a PN wafer of a PV panel... (EnergyMatters; May 03, 2010)
  • EVs / Solar > Paint >
    Renault Solar Paint Car - An environmentally friendly design car of the Renault combines electric power and renewable energy from solar energy through nano solar paint on car. Renault 2010 Sand Jumper uses next-gen renewable energy technology and recycled, recyclable ecological materials. (Alt Energy News; Apr. 27, 2010)
  • Solar > PV >
    PV Cell Prototype Generates Electricity from IR and UV Light - Scientists at the Kyoto Institute of Technology are developing a way to create a photovoltaic cell that can capture visible, infrared and ultraviolet light of the sun via a nitride semiconductor added with transition metals as a photoelectric conversion material. (Alt Energy News; April 26, 2010)
  • Solar > PV >
    Carbon-based Solar Cells - Graphene is a single sheet of carbon, one atom thick, which has potential to be utilized as an effective, less toxic and cheaper than other alternatives for solar cells. Chemists at Indiana University Bloomington are trying to develop non-sticky graphene sheets that are stable. (Alt Energy News; April 19, 2010)
  • Top 100: Solar > PV / Concentrated > SES >
    Stirling Energy Systems and Boeing cooperate on solar - Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and the Boeing Company are cooperating to complete the commercialisation and deployment of Boeing’s high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar power technology. SES will have exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and deploy Boeing’s XR700 HCPV solar technology, which will be aimed at smaller scale projects of 50MW and below. (Renewable Energy Focus; Apr. 6, 2010)
  • Pollution / Recycling / Solar >
    Solar’s Dirty Little Secret - "Green" solar panels can have their dirty side in terms of disposal and manufacturing. A report by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition ranks solar manufacturers on environmental health and safety, and urges solar companies to start investing in recycling efforts. (GreenTechMedia; March 23, 2010) (See Citizens at Risk, a 15-minute film about the dangerous electronics recyler industry in India.)
  • Top 100: Solar > Concentrated > SHEC >
    Higher Temperature Solar Thermal from SHEC - SHEC claims a concentration level of 5,000 to 22,000 suns with a "new counterintuitive and elegant design that uses no exotic materials." SHEC also claims a dramatic improvement in the power distribution curve, delivering five times as much energy over a 24-hour block of time. (GreenTechMedia; March 22, 2010)
  • Trends / Solar >
    Utility-Scale Solar Soaring in U.S. - There are over 100 utility-scale solar projects in the U.S. totaling 17,000 MW now in the planning stage. 75 percent of Americans, across the political spectrum, support utility-scale solar on public lands. (GreenTechMedia; March 18, 2010)
  • Solar > PV > Largest >
    Scaling Up Solar Power - Applied Materials has developed the equipment to produce extremely large photo­voltaic panels in order to lower the price of solar power in two ways. The equipment for manufacturing thin-film solar cells operates more efficiently when the panels are bigger. And larger modules need less hardware and labor to wire them together and support them. (MIT Technology Review; Mar/Apr 2010)
  • Plastic / Solar > PV >
    Low-cost, more efficient solar cells mostly plastic - By growing arrays of silicon wires in a polymer substrate, researchers at Caltech have demonstrated what they say are flexible solar cells that absorb up to 96 percent of incident light and harvest over 90 percent quantum efficiency, compared with 25 percent for the best silicon solar cells. The wires are made up of 98 percent plastic, potentially lowering the cost of photovoltaics by using just 1/50th the amount of semiconductor material used today. (EETimes; Feb. 18, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Solar > R&D >
    Scientists turn light into electrical current using a golden nanoscale system - Material scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have demonstrated the transduction of optical radiation to electrical current in a molecular circuit. The system, an array of nano-sized molecules of gold, respond to electromagnetic waves by creating surface plasmons that induce and project electrical current across molecules, similar to that of photovoltaic solar cells. (PhysOrg; February 12, 2010 )
  • Solar > PV >
    Millimeter-scale, energy-harvesting sensor could operate almost perpetually - Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a solar-powered sensor system that is just nine cubic millimeters in size. It is 1,000 times smaller than comparable commercial counterparts and can harvest energy from its surroundings to operate nearly perpetually. Applications include medical device implant power, remote sensors. (GizMag; Feb. 9, 2010)
  • Featured: Solar > Applications / Building >
    Walipini Underground Greenhouses - The Walipini utilizes nature’s resources to provide a warm, stable, well-lit environment for year-round vegetable production. Locating the growing area 6’- 8’ underground and capturing and storing daytime solar radiation in the soil and water barrels are the most important principles in building a successful Walipini. (PESWiki; Jan. 14, 2010)
  • Solar > Applications >
    SOLAR EAR: Affordable Sun-Powered Hearing Aids - Solar Ear, a Brazilian company, creates low-cost hearing aids that get their juice from solar-powered batteries, seriously cut back on battery waste, while being more affordable than traditional hearing aids. Two AA batteries are recharged by solar power; and the AA batteries recharge the hearing aid batteries. (Inhabitat; Jan. 6, 2009)


2009

2006 - 2008

See News:2006-2008:Solar - going back in time

See also

SOLAR GENERAL:

SOLAR MODALITIES:

SOLAR INFRASTRUCTURE

SOLAR APPLICATIONS:

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