Research articles

MIT, Stanford researchers develop new kind of tandem solar cell

MIT, Stanford researchers develop new kind of tandem solar cell

Researchers at MIT and Stanford University have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say. The

Researchers use nanotechnology to increase solar power efficiency

Researchers at UT are working to improve the efficiency of solar panels, which could lead to lower energy costs in Texas, according to Brian Korgel, chemical engineering professor. Korgel spoke at the UT Energy Symposium on Thursday about increasing access to solar and nanotechnology in Texas. Korgel’s team is replacing silicon slabs in solar panels

graphene: a solar breakthrough?

Graphene Could Double Electricity Generated From Solar

The amount of sunlight that hits the Earth every 40 minutes is enough to meet global energy demands for an entire year. The trick, of course, is harnessing it and converting it into useful electricity. A new study has revealed that tweaking graphene allows it to generate two electrons for every photon of light it receives. This

should solar panels face south?

You’re Doing it Wrong! Your Rooftop Solar Panels Aren’t Facing the Right Way

Rootop solar power is a booming business in the United States. It’s getting easier and easier to do financially and technologically. But the least technological aspect of the process, physically putting panels on a roof, may need to be rethought according to Opower, a utility data specialist. Its findings not only show that rooftop solar might

Selling Solar Homes

Homebuyers pay more for solar PV homes, says Berkeley Lab report

A multi-institutional research team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, universities, and appraisers found that home buyers consistently have been willing to pay more for homes with host-owned solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems —averaging about $4 per watt of PV installed—across

Chip-Making Tools Could Cut Solar Power Costs

Soitec, a French manufacturing company, says it has used techniques designed for making microprocessors to produce solar cells with a record-setting efficiency of 46 percent, converting more than twice as much sunlight into electricity as conventional cells. Although the cells are more complicated to produce, using established manufacturing techniques promises to keep production costs down.

perovskite solar PV

Will New Technologies Give Critical Boost to Solar Power?

Promising new technologies, including more efficient photovoltaic cells that can harvest energy across the light spectrum, have the potential to dramatically increase solar power generation in the next two decades. But major hurdles remain. Today, despite recent progress, solar power accounts for about one percent of the world’s energy mix. Yet the International Energy Agency

Engineer Reimagines Solar Energy With Stick-On Panels

Editor’s Note: Xiaolin Zheng is one of National Geographic’s 2014 Emerging Explorers, part of a program that honors tomorrow’s visionaries—those making discoveries, making a difference, and inspiring people to care about the planet. The catalyst for Xiaolin Zheng’s groundbreaking work in solar energy began with an offhand comment her father made years ago at her parents’

google NRG

The Strange Thing About Google’s Decision To Stop Renewable Energy Research

Two senior Google engineers have written a confusing article explaining what they learned after Google stopped its advanced research and development effort into renewable energy technologies in 2011. The answer they offer — that their effort was not on track to deliver renewable R&D breakthroughs that by themselves would reverse climate change — has always been obvious and thus

Soitec-Fraunhofer ISE multi-junction CPV cell hits world record 46% conversion efficiency

A Soitec multi-junction solar cell for use in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems has become the company’s latest cell to reach a world record for conversion efficiency at 46%, according to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (Fraunhofer ISE). The Germany-headquartered research institute once again collaborated with Soitec on the new cell, along with CEA-Leti, a division

SolarCity installation

Why More Solar Panels Should Be Facing West, Not South

For years, homeowners who bought solar panels were advised to mount them on the roof facing south. That captures the most solar energy over the course of the day, which benefits the homeowner, but does so at hours that are not so helpful for the utility and the grid as a whole. Mount them to

cheaper solar power

Solar-Power System Is Easy to Install, and Therefore Much Cheaper

Ordinarily, installing and connecting a new array of rooftop solar panels takes days, weeks, or even months because the hardware is complex and various permits are needed. Yesterday, on a frigid day in Charlestown, Massachusetts, researchers completed the process in about an hour. Homeowners can install the system themselves, by gluing it to a rooftop.

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