Solar will be the world’s most popular power source by 2050

big red hand pointing down

Down, down, solar panel prices are going down! 

When someone of the stature of Martin Green says the cost of solar PV technology will halve again by the next decade, you sit up and take notice. Even more so when he says solar will be the world’s most popular energy source by 2050.

For the University of New South Wales’ Prof. Martin Green is considered one of the world’s leading PV researchers. His department’s technological breakthroughs in silicon cell efficiency have not only given us the solar panels we know today but also put Australian PV research at the centre of world PV technology.

“The costs of solar will halve again by 2025 is my prediction,” he told a conference in Sydney on Wednesday. “We are at 60 cents per watt manufacturing now but we will get down to 30 cents per watt some time before 2025.”

[Read more…]

Electricity Doesn’t Grow on Trees… Until Now

Sologic, a company based in Israel, has developed a series of solar panels in a tree branch formation with the aim of providing public areas with a place to recharge devices and surf the web using free solar energy. The aim of the eTree is to provide green energy and shade whilst providing a environmental awareness and a sense of community. Check out pictures and a full article on the eTree here: Sologic Unveils the First Ever Life-Sized eTree Charging Station

LG Solar Jumps On The Microinverter Bandwagon with new AC module

LG Electronics USA displayed their new LG X ACe Module monocrystalline AC solar panel series last week at the Solar Power International Expo. LG’s newest solar power products are lighter weight, maximize AC-power output, and allow more flexibility for installation. For a full article on this, read here:: LG’s New AC Solar Module Demonstrated at SPI

LDK Solar Bankruptcy. Who will be next?

LDK solar logo

Can LDK drag itself out of Bankruptcy?

Another large solar panel manufacturer appears to be in serious financial trouble. Bloomberg is reporting that LDK Solar, the world’s largest producer of wafers by capacity, has put it’s US operations into bankruptcy with over a billion dollars of debt. [Read more…]

MIT discovers how to make cheap solar panels from old car batteries

What do we do with gazillions of old, toxic car batteries? Simple. Turn them into cheap solar panels!

What do we do with gazillions of old, toxic car batteries? Simple. Turn them into cheap solar panels of course!

Cheap solar panels made from old car batteries?

Yup! That is the latest clean energy recycling breakthrough from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). And the verdict at SQHQ is “GENIUS!”.

[Read more…]

Are They Really Tier 1 Solar Panels? Six Questions You Must Ask.

tier 1 solar panel

Some solar companies are claiming that their Tier 3 panels are really Tier 1. How can you identify real Tier 1 Solar panels?

For many years now I’ve been banging on about “Tier 1 Solar Panels”. My recommendation has always been that you should spend a few hundred dollars more for Tier 1 panels, so that you can massively reduce the risk of having crappy solar panels on your roof. [Read more…]

Are those cheap solar panels grey imports?

solar panels in a box

If you’ve been offered really cheap solar panels, please check that they are not grey imports.

Recently, a number of people have asked me about parallel or ‘grey’ imports of solar panels.

Parallel imports are defined as products (in our case, solar panels) that are imported unofficially by someone other than the manufacturer or their official Australian distributors.

Interestingly, in this day and age with so much online and internet based trade, the lines on this issue have become a little blurred. Some manufacturers will supply you directly with their product, but the majority do not. Most panel manufacturers have carefully developed formal partnerships in place with Australian companies who distribute their panels and provide technical and warranty support for those panels.

Why is parallel importing a problem? [Read more…]

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.

Let me explain. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Has Finn got it hopelessly wrong on thin film solar?

finn in dunce's hat

Should we let him out of the dunce’s corner?

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 supporter of crystalline solar panels over thin film solar the recent advancements have got Finn thinking he may have been too harsh in the past. For an insight into where Finn’s mind was at on the subject a few years ago, read this hard-hitting 29/12/2011 article.

But has our Finn been completely won over by the world record solar cell efficiency of thin film? Or is it a case of “let’s see shall we?” Never one to miss out on a good, developing solar story with an Aussie twist, your correspondent caught up with Finn at the virtual SQHQ water cooler. With notebook and biro in hand the following interview with Finn was recorded. [Read more…]