Solar panel innovation (part one): quantum dots and solar windows

quantum dots

Quantum dots embedded in plastic film can capture sunlight and make windows into cheap solar panels. Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Both ends of solar panel innovation are covered in this and next week’s solar rants readers. These courtesy of heads ups provided by our very own Finn Peacock and SolarQuotes reader and follower Sad Clownfish.

By both ends I mean solar power from the impossibly small to the…well stratospheric.

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Do Hanover Solar HS250P Panels meet their own specifications?

moment of truth

The tension is killing me!

A mate of mine in the solar industry has a theory: that many  solar panels sold in Australia do not meet the specifications printed on their labels. His belief comes from the fact that he has personally tested a whole heap of imported panels and has not yet found one that meets its power tolerance spec!

My hunch is that many of the cheaper ‘Tier 3′  panels on the market may not meet their power tolerance specs, but I’ll be very surprised if the more expensive Tier 1 panels don’t.

For those who don’t know, the power tolerance gives you a tolerance for the actual power output of the panel, compared to its nameplate rating. Basically, if a panel that is rated as 250W has a power tolerance of +/- 5% then the manufacturer is guaranteeing that the actual power will be above 237.5W and under 262.5W. [Continue reading…]

Uncertainty in Australian solar policy rears its ugly head

depressed businessman

One recurring, if unfortunate, theme of these pages has been the constant spectre of uncertainty in Australian solar policy. We’ve ranted before about why Australia should be led by more forward thinking pollies in both Canberra and the state capitals but bugger it, when you’re onto a good thing, why not continue? So here goes, […]

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Has Finn got it hopelessly wrong on thin film solar?

finn in Dunce's cap

The world record for thin film solar cell efficiency recently announced by First Solar (17 percent thank you very much) has got the solar movers and shakers sitting up and taking notice. Even our very own Finn Peacock was seen nodding his head sagely at the news over his solar-powered coffee last week. Long a […]

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How Americans are getting their butts handed to them with long-term solar leasing. And what Aussies are doing differently to come out ahead.

usa and aussie flags

It seems the suits perched in the top floor offices on Wall-Street are finally taking notice of renewable solar energy.  And that could spell bad news for American consumers. American energy firms like SolarCity, a growing solar-energy giant based out of California, have been offering long-term, relatively affordable leasing arrangements to consumers for years; either […]

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Will the states call the shots in solar power policy?

the states of Australia

The sweep of Coalition victories throughout the land has been abated with the narrow victory of the incumbent Weatherill government in South Australia but what does this mean for solar power policy? As the always perceptive Giles Parkinson points out in his regular column for RenewEconomy, there is now some push back from state politicians […]

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Big Clive throws weight behind 20 percent renewable energy target. Or does he?

clive palmer

Well the big solar news this week was provided by a Big Man. Big Clive to be precise. Yes finally the message of sustainability, affordability and keeping the environment for future generations was played out through the mainstream media. More precisely through Big Clive Palmer’s endorsement of his W.A. Senate PUP candidate’s ringing praise for […]

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New research shows most power bills are more than halved with solar.

solar infographic

Recent research by the Australian Solar Council shows that the average Aussie that has installed solar has seen an average 65% reduction in their power bills. And to pre-empt a gazillion comments – yes – this is achievable with a crappy Feed-In -Tariff too!   They have produced a great infographic which sums up most […]

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Is crowdfunding solar power the future financing model?

a crowd in front of solar panels

  Will crowdfunding solar replace more traditional methods of funding solar energy readers? At the time of writing we appear to be headed for a clean sweep of conservative governments across Australia (with the exception of the outpost of ACT). Though it is possible that the relatively progressive Weatherill government may retain government in South […]

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ANU and Trina Solar Panels smash solar efficiency targets.

a solar cell

With the start of the NRL (AFL just around the corner), the Spring cycling classics in Europe and as women’s and men’s football and others reach the pointy end of their respective seasons, its a case of too much teamwork is barely enough for your correspondent. However a more important form of teamwork was announced […]

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