TAG: Solar energy

Texas A&M Building World’s Largest Solar Energy Test Facility

Texas A&M Building World's Largest Solar Energy Test Facility

What’s being billed as the world’s largest solar energy testing facility is being planned for central Texas, with a $600 million Center for Solar Energy on 800 acres in Bell County. The Center for Solar Energy (CSE) will not only allow for testing and demonstration of commercial-scale solar, and act as a solar technology incubator, but will also produce enough power to supply the entire campus at Texas A&M University – Central Texas (TAMU-CT). The CSE, which will be built out in stages as funding is raised, will eventually be a 50MW solar power plant integrating the “largest assortment of… read more

New Solar Technology Goes Beyond The Panel

New Solar Technology Goes Beyond The Panel

Solar energy gadgets are all the rage, but a new solar product is in the house. Or on the house, or the car – and possibly on fabrics, among other things. One company based in France is setting the solar bar a bit higher. Sunpartner Group, an award winning, sustainably minded business is looking into a way to integrate solar power in everyday items and structures. Their innovative brainchild called Wysips®, which stands for ‘what you see is photovoltaic surface’- is a solar technology in development that is certain to weave its way into future designs. Extensive research on how… read more

New Solar Cell Design Generates and Stores Energy

LA Launches Largest Rooftop Solar Tariff Program in U.S.

Solar PV panels are great at generating clean, renewable electricity from the sun’s rays, but one major drawback for them is that without an additional system to store that energy and release it on demand, they are only as useful as the reliability of the grid they are connected to. But a breakthrough at the University of Wisconsin may begin to change the way we design and implement solar panels, with a new solar cell design that can not only generate electricity, but can also store it for later use. The new technology is an offshoot of a project working… read more

Solar Energy Scholarships Available for US Veterans, Active Duty Personnel

Solar Energy Training Scholarships for US Veterans and Active Duty Personnel

To grow a new clean energy economy, it’s going to take plenty of skilled renewable energy professionals, from designers and developers to installers and operators, and one organization is making strides toward training both active U.S. military personnel and veterans for futures in solar energy. For those who qualify, scholarships covering 100% of the tuition costs are available from Solar Energy International (SEI) toward their online PV101 course, which is the first course in the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program. “We believe in the opportunities that renewable energy can afford our country, such as energy independence and sustainable use of… read more

Power-Generating Fabric

Power Generating Fabric

While traditionally used to protect humans from harsh climate conditions, clothes embedded with smart fibers can additionally alleviate stresses placed on the environment by humans. Fibers can be considered ‘smart’ if their reaction to the conditions they are subject to are powerful enough to harvest energy. Primary examples of smart fibers include photovoltaic and piezoelectric fibers. Photovoltaic fibers draw on solar energy, making them suitable in applications that receive plenty of exposure to sunlight. Piezoelectric fibers are stimulated by mechanical strain and vibration, the reaction to which is strong enough to generate energy. As piezoelectric materials portray the piezoelectric effect,… read more

Solar Panels May Someday be Applied as Easily as Paint


Most of us would love to have solar power feeding energy into our homes and cars and gadgets, but two big issues arise when we begin to entertain those ideas: The high price of photovoltaic panels keeps them out of reach of many household budgets, and the difficulty of mounting flat rigid panels on curved or uneven surfaces (especially those that may flex or move during use) is not an easy thing to overcome. However, in the next couple of years, we may start to see photovoltaic technology becoming as easy to apply as paint, thanks to work currently being… read more

Holographic Foil Solar Cell Uses Less Silicon, Has Double the Performance


A new solar cell module technology that integrates a holographic foil with a silicon cell is said to reach up to 28% efficiency, effectively doubling the current industry average of 17%, while only needing a fraction of the silicon necessary in current PV technology. The crucial piece in this new discovery is the use of a holographic foil for concentrating the desirable wavelengths of light by a factor of 20 to 30 times, which reduces the need for silicon in its construction by over 90%. Instead of placing a concentrating device, such as a Fresnel lens, out in front of… read more

New Discovery Dramatically Increases Efficiency of Low Grade Silicon

solar pv panels

A recent discovery from engineers at University of New South Wales (UNSW) could reduce the cost of solar panels by improving the quality of low-grade silicon. Silicon is an incredible material that has enabled the development of the flourishing solar panel industry, but it’s also quite expensive, which consequently keeps the price of panels high. If solar cells could be made with lower quality silicon, it could quite possibly bring the costs down enough to see wider adoption of solar energy, and this latest innovation might be just what’s needed to make that happen. A team of solar engineers at… read more

Build a Solar Heating Panel with Soda Cans

soda can solar heater

If you’ve got good sun exposure on one side of your house, you can take advantage of free heat from the sun with this DIY solar heating panel, which uses old soda cans to collect and transfer the sun’s energy into your house. Sometimes, low-tech solar devices are much better than high-tech ones for home use, as they not only tend to be cheaper to make, but will also last much longer before any repairs or maintenance are necessary. And even better, they can be built in part from repurposed or recycled components, which is something you don’t see very… read more

IBM’s High-Efficiency Solar Device Provides Electricity and Potable Water


Thanks to a $2.4 million, three-year grant from the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation, the research and development of an affordable, highly-efficient photovoltaic system that also provides air conditioning and potable water is in the works. The project’s aim is to build an economical version of their High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system, which is said to be able to concentrate solar energy by a factor of 2000, while converting 80% of the incoming radiation into usable energy. The HCPVT system uses a large parabolic dish filled with mirrored facets that reflect the sun’s rays onto hundreds of tiny… read more