Perovskite: the Bond villain at the head of the new solar cell revolution

blofeld and soolar panel

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a pussy and some solar panels, yesterday.

One of the great enjoyments in writing this blog is the opportunity it gives me to bring you news about the latest innovation in solar energy. From breakthroughs in solar cell technology to improvements in solar lifestyle, to the latest progress in solar farms, advancements in the research labs, universities and science organisations never seem to end.

However this week sees not a new discovery but the return of an old SolarQuotes favourite: perovskite. More specifically the role it will play in the future of photovoltaics and solar energy generation.

Favourite? Well yes, for two reasons. We’ve written before on the potential game changing aspects of perovskite in solar cell technology and — just as importantly — because the mineral sounds so much like it escaped from a James Bond film. [Read more…]

ARENA: the government renewable energy agency that refuses to go away

ARENA - the gift that keeps on giving.

ARENA – the gift that keeps on giving.

Remember ARENA? The plucky Australian Renewable Energy Agency that has helped many renewable energy ventures and research with seed funding and other support? The ongoing benefits of ARENA include not only financial support but also because their involvement has helped pave the way for research and development in partnership with the private sector.

Wait. Ongoing? Didn’t ARENA get axed by the feds in their anti-renewables Budget cuts zeal a while back?

Well no. At least not yet. For ARENA, to quote an oft-used phrase, is the gift that keeps on giving.

Though the agency has, as you’ve probably heard, been axed by the federal government as part of its thinly-disguised ideological campaign against renewables, it still refuses to roll over and die. [Read more…]

Selling Solar By Making It Look Good!

Last week, CSEM debuted the world’s first white solar modules with the promise of solar panels in any colour you wish. This new product has great potential to increase the deployment of solar. Why is that? Because it’ll look good.

While it may sound petty, many have been hesitant to switch to solar power because the modules stick out like a sore thumb on buildings. Now that CSEM has developed solar panels that will blend into a building’s structure with no visible cells or connections, architects can install solar panels into their design without having to compromise the aesthetic of their project.

Check out their video here (and marvel at how many coffees the voiceover guy must have had – gee he sounds excited!):

To read more about this story, click the article here:: White Solar Modules the Next Thing in Building Integrated PV?

New Discovery Converts 90% of Captured Light Into Heat

An engineering team in San Diego, California has developed a new nano-particle material that can absorb and convert 90% of the light it captures into heat. Not only can this material make for efficient solar thermal power, it can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius. Read more here: New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat

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

Solar lighting: Mandarin 2 adds style to practicality

The Victorian Premier’s Design Awards are currently being judged. Not your usual port of call for this correspondent I hear you say but bear with me readers! That’s because one of the many excellent designs under consideration is the Mandarin 2 solar-charged light which is flying the flag for solar lighting under the category “product design”.

Described on the Design Awards site as a “simple” design that “works” under the toughest of conditions, the Mandarin 2, as its name implies, offers a robust solar lighting alternative to more expensive and polluting energy sources such as kerosene. The handheld solar charged light is described as durable and reliable and ticks that important box for SQ readers — powered by renewable source — solar. [Read more…]

Royal nod of approval as solar energy shines at Chelsea Flower Show

Chel_19_05_2013_1181_Trailfinders_LW

The winning entry. Credit RHS.

As regular readers would know, it is this column’s opinion that nothing beats a win over the Brits in an international comp. Now things haven’t gone so well in recent years with proud Aussies being forced to surrender the Ashes and we don’t want to talk about the Olympics! [Read more…]

Kenya’s micro solar lamp revolution lights up the nation

a solar panel on a Kenyan roof

A typical residential solar system in Kenya! flickr: jbarrie

One of your correspondent’s favourite pastimes at the end of a furiously scribbling day is to relax by listening to podcasts from around the world. Whether it be catching up with the latest world news or getting the dirt on the latest papal conspiracy/financial meltdown/political affray, you can find me in my comfy armchair during the late afternoon plugged in to the world. Never a dull moment I always say! Of course podcasts are also a great research tool and solar energy radio shows are always at the top of my subscription list. [Read more…]

Using social media to sell solar

liking solar on social media

We ‘like’ solar!

Solar fans who spend a lot of time on Facebook may have noticed how the number of pages with a solar energy theme have mushroomed over the past year or so. Whatever the concerns that may exist over Facebook’s looseness with personal security, and apparent inability to conduct a well-organised IPO, solar companies and other renewable organisations obviously feel it provides an excellent platform to promote the game changing qualities of renewable energy.

[Read more…]

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