TAG: Photovoltaic cells

How Do Solar Panels Work?

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You’ve undoubtedly asked yourself this question many a time over the years, and simply forgot to Google it when you got home. No worries–we’ve got you covered. A short piece on “How It’s Made” on the Discovery channel explained in simple terms how we use solar panels to convert sunlight into energy. Check it: Solar power companies used to be a novelty a few decades ago, with many scoffers and naysayers for entrepreneurial spirits to deal with on their quest to introduce the future to us. Nowadays, these companies are nearly a dime-a-dozen here in the U.S., especially in the… read more

Weird Solar Science

Weird Solar Science

A few years back a sort of strange solar nanotechnology was being tossed about. A new kind of way to use solar cells that doesn’t involve a regular panel display was being looked at to recharge batteries. Researchers at Shanghai, China’s Donghua University and a company in Potsdam, Germany called the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, examined how to power up batteries inside implanted objects with photovoltaic cells. They found that this can actually be done by concentrating a specialized infrared laser beam through the skin. By implementing uncommon upconverting nanophosphors from the earth that can soak in… read more

Would You Wear Your Charger?

Would You Wear Your Charger?

Will solar fashions ever become mainstream? That is the question many designers are playing with. Though there are becoming many available options for solar gear, clothing  that incorporates portable, wearable charging by way of the sun hasn’t taken off as readily as real world equipment pieces. Many style inclined are trying to find the balance between function and fashion, but are they succeeding? One example of a presumably practical concept is the solar necktie and jacket. A concept model for the tie was developed by researchers at Iowa State University. The necktie design was made by adhering small solar panels with special… read more

New Class of Solar Cell Hits Efficiency Record

New Class of Solar Cell Achieves Efficiency Breakthrough

A new type of solar cell, perovskite cells, from the tech startup Oxford PV, has just hit a new efficiency record of 15.4%, bringing them one step closer to a low-cost and efficient solution that can be integrated into glass building facades. The latest iteration of the company’s flat junction perovskite solar cells is a “significant step forward” in the company’s work to scale up the technology and eventually commercialize it. “Our plan was to continuously optimise our perovskite solar cells towards a goal of more than 20% efficiency but these results are ahead of expectations. I see no reason… read more

Fluorescent Dye Increases Solar Cell Efficiency by 38%

Solar panel

The more recent innovation in polymer solar cells adds a layer of a fluorescent organic dye, squaraine, to boost the amount of light that gets absorbed by the cells, increasing their power conversion efficiency by 38%. Researchers at Yale used polymer solar cells for their project, which have the advantage of being relatively low-cost, but also notoriously inefficient, due their inability to effectively transmit electrons from the cells. However, by adding a layer of squaraine to Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based heterojunction polymer solar cells, the researchers found that the cells could not only absorb a wider spectrum of light,… read more

MIT Solar Breakthrough Could Boost PV Efficiency by 25%

Photovoltaic Panels

A breakthrough at the labs of researchers at MIT may give a huge boost to photovoltaic panel technology by increasing their efficiency by as much as 25%. A current theory of the limit to the efficiency of solar cells, known as the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, states that for a single optimized semiconductor junction, the conversion efficiency can never go beyond 34%. But this latest discovery might retire that theory, as the new system is said to be able to double the amount of electrons produced for each photon that hits the cells. “In a standard photovoltaic (PV) cell, each photon… read more

Community Development

River Garden Apartments, Louisana

There are communities and neighborhoods all across the country attempting to solve energy and environmental dilemmas, and some are managing to be very successful in their efforts. Ranging from “green roofs”, roofs with foliage and gardens on top to diminish energy and heat absorption, or from communal energy pools which people can buy into a reap the benefits, there is an increasing trend in large-scale residential energy projects. As a result of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, a rundown low-income housing project has been the focus of several government agencies working to revitalize it through sustainable and renewable technologies. Formerly… read more