How Do Solar Panels & Solar Energy Work?

Have you ever wondered how sunlight can travel 93 million miles from the Sun to the Earth, and still have enough oomph in reserve to burn your light bulbs? That, in a nutshell, is the miracle of solar energy. As for how solar panels work, that’s a little harder to fit in a nutshell but if you think of yourself as a kind of walking, talking vessel for solar energy, it’s a little easier to understand the science behind the…

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Energy Dept. To President Donald Trump: I’m Not Dead Yet!

Originally published on CleanTechnicaby Tina Casey If you gotta go, you might as well go out with a bang. That seems to be the message from the US Department of Energy to the Trump Administration. In a smack to the face of Trump’s campaign promise to bring coal job back, the agency has just announced a new round of $30 million in funding for technologies that will make it easier for grid operators around the country to pull more solar…

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US Rooftop Solar Slugfest Heating Up In Nevada With SolarCity-Tesla Angle

Over the past several years, Nevada has become one of the leading US states for new rooftop solar installations, but it looks like things have come to a screeching halt. Rooftop solar fans in Nevada got a huge honking lump of coal in their Christmas stockings just last Tuesday, when the state’s Public Utilities Commission voted to increase the charges — and lower the compensation — for rooftop solar installations. How The Nevada PUC Stole Christmas How bad is the…

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Solar Faces Off Against Nuclear Power’s Latest White Elephant

Opponents of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, England, got something to cheer about last summer, when questions over funding brought a halt to preliminary work at the site. The delay gave solar energy advocates an opportunity to assemble more evidence that Hinkley C would result in a colossal shock for UK ratepayers compared to alternative sources. Though the project lumbered back to life last fall thanks to a massive investment by China, solar may have…

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Solar Jobs From A Veteran’s Point Of View

Veterans and solar jobs make a perfect match, and to underscore that point in honor of Veterans Day, the leading US solar installer SolarCity has produced a video spotlighting a SolarCity Senior Inspections Coordinator and former US Army sniper, Frank Sandoval. In the video, Sandoval makes a great case for the restorative power of work with a purpose, and solar jobs in particular. The SolarCity YouTube video tells a compelling story, but it’s not the whole story. CleanTechnica got the…

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1,000 New Solar Jobs For US Military Veterans

In advance of Veterans Day, the non-profit solar installer GRID Alternatives has announced a hookup with Wells Fargo to kick off “Troops to Solar,” a three-year program aimed at training more than 1,000 military veterans for jobs in the burgeoning solar industry. The program will also train service men and women who are still on active duty, which will help foster a seamless transition to employment once they return to civilian life. So…it doesn’t seem like those 35 permanent jobs…

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New Solar Cell Efficiency Record Breaks 21% Barrier

A new solar cell efficiency record has been set by China’s Trina Solar Limited, which announced that its new p-type multi-crystalline silicon solar cell has achieved a solar conversion efficiency of 21.25 percent according to the results of third-party testing. Greater efficiency does not necessarily translate into lower costs, but the manufacturing method is based on Trina’s existing technology and the company anticipates that its new solar cell will provide an extra push to the steep downward trend for the…

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Next-Gen Energy Storage Aims At Concentrating Solar Power Plants

Energy storage is the key to making concentrating solar power plants an economical, reliable alternative to coal for electricity generation, and the US is determined to lead the field into new levels of efficiency. In the latest development, the Energy Department’s SunShot initiative is behind a new energy storage system based on chemical bonds that transfer heat as they store and release energy. If R&D on the new system progresses, the result will be an energy storage system with greater…

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Perovskite Solar Cells Rule, Clean Power Plan Lawsuits Drool

We were just talking about the accelerated pace of R&D for perovskite solar cells, and along comes the University of California, Los Angeles, with another contribution to the perovskite pot. Put that in the context of the lawsuits sprouting up against President Obama’s new Clean Power Plan, and you have yet another instance of the fossil fuel lobby waging battle in a war that’s already been lost. That’s because perovskite is a cheap, easily manufactured material that has the potential…

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Hot-Carrier Perovskite Solar Cells Could Bounce to 66% Efficiency

Perovskite solar cells have been getting a lot of attention for their potential to reach new heights of efficiency and new lows of cost. In the latest development, our friends over at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have revealed a critical “bottleneck” in perovskite solar conversion that has huge implications for third-generation, super-efficient, hot-carrier solar cells. Hot-Carrier Solar Cells For those of you new to the topic of hot-carrier solar cells, you can get the lowdown in plain language from…

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