The Solar Spectrum And Why “UV Solar Panels” Are A Con Job

rainbow power company

We are getting reports of people paying through the nose for 5kW of “UV Solar Panels” from fast talking salespeople. Paying more for “UV Panels” is about as sensible as buying rainbow powered panels from a leprechaun.

The sun is a very large, naturally occurring, fusion reactor in the sky.

It constantly releases a vast amount of energy.  Even by the standards of sky fusion reactors it’s pretty powerful and outshines at least 90% of the stars out there. [Read more…]

What is a PERC Solar Panel?

perc solar panel

34 years after it was invented ‘PERC’ is now a big deal in solar panel technology. But what the hell is it?

Solar panel manufacturers crave efficiency.  I’m not talking about the labour efficiencies they receive from building new production lines that are robot-heavy and people-light, although they like those too. [Read more…]

The race is on as Panasonic snatches lead as most efficient solar panel

panasonic most efficient panel

Panasonic snatch the title for most efficient panel from Sunpower.

Well that didn’t take long! No sooner had we published our article on SunPower grabbing the unofficial prize of most efficient solar panel for commercial use, than Japanese manufacturer Panasonic surprises with a late sprint to the line.

The Japanese manufacturer has now jumped into the lead in the solar conversion Premier League with not one but two records. The new record, which was verified by the Japanese government-funded National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, is an eye-catching photovoltaic module conversion efficiency of 23.8 percent. This leaves SunPower’s previous record in the dust by a full percentage point. [Read more…]

New “dipping technique” improves the humidity performance of perovskite solar cells

perovskite structure

Another breakthrough on the road to cheap, efficient perovskite solar cells

A combined Australian and Chinese team has developed a water-resistant perovskite solar cell using a specially-designed dipping technique. The new technology will dramatically boost the humidity tolerance of the cells, the lack of which was previously considered a stumbling block to commercialisation. [Read more…]

New Year kicks off more solar cell efficiency gains

30% badge on a solar panel

30% solar cell efficiency is on the way. That would mean a 50% reduction in the cost of solar. Hooray!

Will 2016 see the beginning of the end for fossil fuels in the wake of the rise and rise of green energy? Many commentators are saying this is the case and if solar cell efficiency gains are any indication, they have a good case. [Read more…]

Up and away: high altitude solar balloons ready for take off

solar ballons

A solar ballon concept. Picture: E. Jullien/pixscience

High altitude solar balloons deployed where clouds won’t interfere with their output may be the stuff of science fiction. But are they? At least one reputable research house thinks this is where solar panels should be, saving space used for solar farms for much needed agricultural land. All while more than doubling solar conversion efficiency. [Read more…]

Pane relief on its way with transparent solar cell technology

stacked uPVC windows

Is this what solar panel warehouses will look like in the future?

Completely transparent windows that generate solar power have been a goal for researchers for many decades. Previous attempts at transparent solar cell technology have achieved only partial success with the windows left with a decided tinted effect and the resulting office/room space.

This is not the ideal working conditions for offices, unless of course you work in a discotheque!

However now a team of researchers at Michigan State University have resolved that problem by unveiling their unique transparent solar cell technology, which creates energy from the sun when placed over a window or glass surface. [Read more…]

Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks to improve solar cell efficiency?

Image credit: //harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Cloak_of_Invisibility

Image credit: //harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Cloak_of_Invisibility

In a development that will bring a smile to the faces of Harry Potter fans, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) announced this week the success of using invisibility cloaks to improve solar cell efficiency.

While the technology sounds very J. K. Rowling, the benefits of invisibility cloaks for solar cell efficiency — or at least technology that acts very much like invisibility cloaks — are very real. [Read more…]

China puts faith in large-scale concentrating solar power as world watches

solar tower

A solar tower – similar to one of the 6 to be built in the Gobi desert

China was in the renewable energy news again this week though this time it wasn’t about the latest in solar panel technology or trade disputes. For the big (read huge) story was Chinese regional media reporting the start of construction of the country’s first large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plant.

To be carved out of 2550 hectares of the Gobi desert, the plant will use two 135 MW solar thermal plants in its first phase, with enough thermal energy storage to power half a million (!) homes in Qinghai Province.  [Read more…]

Plants and Meatballs inspire breakthrough in solar storage technology

meatballs and solar panels

What have meatballs and pasta got to do with solar storage? Read on to find out…

Recent breakthroughs have seen battery storage at the forefront of renewable technology news. Glitzy, much-heralded pressers in the past month or so have delivered announcements that have shaken the energy sector, giving us a hint that living free of fossil fuels may be commercially viable in the not-too-distant future.

However with less fanfare, scientists from UCLA have been working at their own version of solar storage technology, one based on ancient technology (and meatballs) which may have an even more far reaching effect than battery storage. [Read more…]