Blog Archives

Solar Cells from Trees?

March 29, 2013
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Solar Cells from Trees?

We’ve been hearing about cellulose as an energy producer in biofuels, but new research suggests the plant material could play a role in producing solar cells that would be a whole lot more green than conventional substrates materials.

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Global Solar Market Posts Slow Growth

February 23, 2013
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Global Solar Market Posts Slow Growth

What the ...? Data from NPD Solarbuzz shows demand growth in 2012 failed to crack double figures for the first time in a decade.

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“Greenest Office Building” Uses Daylight Dimming, Aggressive Plug Load Reduction

February 8, 2013
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“Greenest Office Building” Uses Daylight Dimming, Aggressive Plug Load Reduction

Editor’s note: This article is reposted from Earth Techling. Author is Randy Wood. When you’re billed as the “World’s Greenest Office Building” for more than a year before you’ve finished construction, you’d better make a big entrance. The Seattle-based environmental organization known as The Bullitt Foundation has taken up the challenge by announcing that...

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Closing the Solar Efficiency Gap

January 30, 2013
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Closing the Solar Efficiency Gap

The U.S. Department of Energy’s solar-power initiative is offering up to $12 million in new research funding aimed at closing the gap between today’s solar cell efficiencies and the “Shockley-Queisser Limit,” which says that typical single-junction photovoltaics can convert no more than 33.7 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity.

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‘Home Labs’ Will House Energy Experiments

December 21, 2011
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‘Home Labs’ Will House Energy Experiments

They may look identical on the outside, but the two  manufactured homes on the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) property in Richland, Washington are very different inside. One of the homes is being used to test a myriad of energy-efficient home applications, while the other will serve as the baseline representing energy usage. PNNL bought...

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SolarStrong Project Gets New Life

November 30, 2011
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SolarStrong Project Gets New Life

Of all the different loan guarantees that came and went during the U.S. Department of Energy’s last minute funding spree, one that seemed the most promising would have helped out with the installation of rooftop systems on privatized military family residences and other privatized buildings on U.S. military bases. Called SolarStrong, it unfortunately was not approved...

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Phone App for Solar Installers

November 15, 2011
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Phone App for Solar Installers

The orientation and sunlight exposure of a solar panel can have a significant effect on its power production. Common tools of the trade used by solar installers to find the optimal orientation for a solar array can be very expensive and cumbersome to carry up onto a roof. However, SunFinder, a new smartphone app can...

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Organic PV for Consumer Electronics?

November 10, 2011
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Organic PV for Consumer Electronics?

New breakthroughs in solar photovoltaic technology could make low-cost solar cells available in an array of consumer electronic equipment. So says Molecular Solar, a company spun from the University of Warwick, after demonstrating a record voltage for organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells. Researchers from the company have, for the first time, created cells with open-circuit voltages...

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Nano Boost for Thin-film PV

October 31, 2011
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Nano Boost for Thin-film PV

Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) cells made from amorphous silicon are low-cost, low-profile and suitable for many solar power applications. There’s been a barrier to the widespread use of thin-film PV technology, however: its low power-conversion efficiency compared to crystalline silicon cells. In cases where roof space is limited, for example, it is simply cost-effective for...

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Best Performing Solar Module?

October 25, 2011
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Best Performing Solar Module?

Perhaps nowhere is the build-a-better-mousetrap principle more alluring than in the solar power sector, where Silevo, a company that’s been plotting for four years, has now joined the fun, unveiling its strategy for making “the industry’s best performance-to-cost ratio” solar modules. Silevo believes the world will beat a path to its doorstep because of...

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