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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Giant UFOs Are Stealing Solar Power From The Sun

If you check your calendar today, you might be excused if you thought today is April Fool’s Day after reading this story. Almost as hard as the election of Donald Trump is to believe, this report from the lunatic fringe is even more difficult to give credence to. The UFO hunter known as Streetcap1 on YouTube is putting forth the theory that giant UFOs are draining solar energy from the sun. The proof, Streetcap1 says, is a line of “plasma”…

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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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A (Relatively) Gigantic Perovskite Solar Cell Breakthrough

We’ve been spilling a lot of ink over perovskite solar cells recently, and here comes Brown University with yet another breakthrough. Along with researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Brown team has figured out a way to grow larger perovskite solar cells while keeping the conversion efficiency at a fairly high level. (h/t James Wimberley) The Promise Of Perovskites Solar researchers are all over perovskites, a class of synthetic crystals that mimic the unique structure of naturally occurring…

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12 Solar Facts You Should Know

Lists are always fun, so here are 12 solar facts to put in your notebook so you can share the important stuff with anyone who’s interested. I have divided this list of facts into four categories that might help you to better keep track of things. But before you start this list of 12 solar facts, how about a quick trip to the classroom that might help bring all readers up to speed? Here’s a short book list: Understanding Our Sun…

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New green thin film solar cells use non-toxic solvents

As the saying goes, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. You can’t generate usable energy without some form of impact, whether it’s fossil fuels or renewables, and the Volkswagen “clean diesel” scandal provides ample evidence that technology solutions for fossil fuels are reaching their limit. In contrast, a new “green” thin-film solar cell study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US demonstrates that solar energy has ample wiggle room to earn its clean cred. What’s Not…

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Fraunhofer ISE Develops New Solar Reference Cell

The world’s largest solar research institute, Fraunhofer ISE, has designed a new solar reference cell built to improve the quality of cell measurements. Build according to the international standards of the World PV Scale (WPVS), Fraunhofer ISE’s new reference cell will allow test laboratories and cell and module manufacturers to significantly improve the quality of their measurements for the calibration of different types of solar cells. The new reference cell incorporates a new cell type based on negative, conductive silicon material. Furthermore,…

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