Alternative Energy

Solar Power News

The latest solar power news from our solar energy and photovoltaic news sources.

Nov 26, 2015

Solar Energy

Africa’s fastest solar power project was built in one year

Nov 25, 2015: Rwanda, perhaps best known as a tiny war-torn nation in the middle of Africa, has garnered the attention of clean energy advocates around the globe for constructing the fastest solar power project on the continent. The solar farm, situated in the famous green hills 37 miles east of the capital, Kigali, has a capacity of 8.5 megawatts (MW), That’s enough energy to power nearly 1,400 homes in the United States. For a rural nation like Rwanda, the same amount of energy has a much broader impact....

Storing solar energy underground for a cloudy day

Nov 24, 2015: A common criticism of a total transition to wind, water and solar power is that the US electrical grid can't affordably store enough standby electricity to keep the system stable. Now a researcher proposes an underground solution to that problem.

Copenhagen is building the craziest bike lane… ever

Nov 20, 2015: Copenhagen is known for its bike-friendly culture, but the Copenhagen Gate project is going to take bike lanes to a whole new level - literally. Work is finally set to start on Steve Holl Architect’s skyscrapers in Copenhagen, which will consist of two skyscrapers joined by a bike lane 213 feet in the air. The architect announced that construction could finally begin as early as 2016 and, once completed, the skyscrapers will act as a gate into the city with a bike lane/pedestrian bridge that will...

Off-grid healthcare housing is powered entirely by solar in Burundi

Nov 20, 2015: Braverman created the self-sufficient Village Health Works Staffing Housing project as part of a wider masterplan created in collaboration with the local community. Constructed from locally produced bricks and concrete framing, the 6,000-square-foot dormitory combines East African building vernacular with innovative off-grid strategies. “Currently rebuilding after many years of horrific civil strive, the villagers hope that this housing will create a model for the sustainable future of both the...

The Story Pod is a tiny little lending library that glows like a lantern at night

Nov 19, 2015: The adorable Story Pod is part lending library, part reading nook, part public art piece and completely adorable. Tucked in a Toronto suburb, the wood-clad box provides local residents with a place to exchange books or read the latest page-turner. At night, the pod can be closed up into an 8-foot square box that glows from within, providing not only security for the library, but a brilliant solar-powered landmark that complements the nearby Main street and riverside trail. The designers created...

The world’s first solar-powered bike path is generating more energy than expected

Nov 17, 2015: Over 9800 kWh of energy was generated from trails of space that, until now, had been collecting no energy at all. The implications for sidewalks, paths, and road systems everywhere is mind-boggling. While rooftop solar panels are, at this time, cheaper to construct and can generate more power than their grounded cousins, SolaRoad designers are convinced that embedding these systems into our existing infrastructure is the way to go. They estimate that the pioneer solar bike path will pay for itself...

Increased potential for perovskites as a material for solar cells

Nov 17, 2015: Scientists have demonstrated a way to significantly increase the efficiency of perovskite solar cells by reducing the amount of energy lost to heat.

Dominion Acquires Solar Energy Project on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Nov 17, 2015: RICHMOND, VA--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Dominion Energy, today announced the acquisition of an 80-megawatt solar facility in Virginia from project developer Community Energy, Inc.  Construction on one of the largest announced solar facilities in the mid-Atlantic region is expected to begin later in 2015. The facility would enter service in fall 2016. Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East is located in Accomack…

SolarWorld Solar Panels Enable U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to Harness Renewable Energy

Nov 17, 2015: HILLSBORO, OR.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for nearly 40 years, announced today that the company has supplied two projects totaling 2.6 megawatts-peak (MW) of American-made solar panels for facilities of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Efficient Energy of Tennessee (EETN) was the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the…

Green-roofed Villa K offers amazing valley views with a minimal environment footprint

Nov 16, 2015: Stretching east to west, the 248-square-meter house is divided into two main areas: the living areas and bedrooms on the south side; and the entrance, six-car garage, mechanical rooms, pantry, and hunting rooms tucked into the slope on the north end. The south-facing areas are clad in floor-to-ceiling glazing that opens the home up to stunning valley views and pull large amounts of daylight and warmth into the building. A U-shaped outdoor terrace wraps around the south end and is interrupted by a...

Marvelous modular retreat goes off-grid in untamed Tasmania

Nov 13, 2015: Located southeast of Hobart on a 19-acre north-facing site, the Premaydena House is protected from the strong winds from the Great Southern Ocean by a dense eucalyptus forest to the south but is left exposed to cold and salty northeasterly winds. To protect the home against the harsh winds, Vasiljevich enclosed the home in a ‘box inside a box’ system, in which red and orange galvanized metal panels shield an inner verandah and the internal modular units enclosed in wood. The sliding panels and...

High durability, efficiency of 1 cm2 size perovskite solar cells

Nov 13, 2015: A research group has improved the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of perovskite solar cells to over 16% while employing cells that were greater than 1 cm2. The high efficiency cells also passed the durability test (exposure to AM 1.5G 100 mW/cm2 sunlight for 1,000 hours), which is considered to be a basic criterion for practical use. These achievements were made by replacing the conventional organic materials with inorganic materials as the electron and hole extraction layers of the solar cells.

Team of appraisers across six states find home buyers will pay premium for solar homes

Nov 12, 2015: Photovoltaics added value to homes in six markets, according to a new report. They engaged a team of seven appraisers from across the six states to determine the value that solar photovoltaic systems added to single-family homes using the industry-standard paired-sales valuation technique, which compares recent sales of comparable homes to estimate the premium buyers would pay for PV.

Clean energy accounted for nearly half of all new power last year

Nov 12, 2015: As if you needed any further proof that clean energy has fossil fuels on the run, a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows renewable energy accounted for nearly half of all new power plants built in 2014. The Guardian reports that the IEA stated this factoid represents a “clear sign that an energy transition is underway” on planet Earth. According to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 report, the milestone also means that green energy is the second-largest electricity...

Taiwan will soon be home to world’s largest dual-axis solar power tracker station

Nov 11, 2015: A Taiwan food facility will soon be home to a major piece of solar power technology, when the world’s largest rooftop dual-axis solar tracker power station is installed on its building. The 840 kilowatts of energy produced by the project, located in Pingtung County, Taiwan, comes from Big Sun Energy’s iPV dual-axis solar trackers that maximize energy production while resisting extreme weather conditions like the typhoons that regularly pummel the country. The project is financed by Chailease...

Couple turns a 40-foot-tall fire lookout into a spectacular off-grid home

Nov 7, 2015: Though they’ve spotted fires from their lofty home before, Tompkins and Colley aren’t, and have never been, park rangers. The couple, which used to live in a large 1,400-square-foot Dallas home, learned about the . Forest Service’s fire outlooks in a book they stumbled upon several years ago. Intrigued, they began renting several decommissioned fire outlooks—most have been torn down and replaced by satellites—as weekend getaways. Finally, in 2010, they built their own fire outlook...

Germany is on track to get a third of its electricity from renewable resources this year

Nov 6, 2015: The country of Germany has reached some impressive landmarks when it comes to its use of alternative, renewable energy sources this year. The record for most energy from renewable sources in one day was reached on July 25th of this year when the nation achieved 78% of its use from environmentally sound methods. Projections for the whole year estimate that a third of their electricity will come from solar, wind, and other sustainable sources, making the country quite a role model in a time when we...

This small modern home in Tel Aviv boasts big eco-friendly features

Nov 5, 2015: Dan and Hila Israelevitz of Israelevitz Architects were called upon to tackle a challenging project for an active family of five. The mission: create a unique, eco-friendly home that could sit on a relatively small, square lot. It’s not a stretch to say that the architects achieved that goal in spades. The pair used creative shapes and materials to make the small space appear larger than its footprint, connecting interior and exterior spaces with glass and light. The first floor of the living space...

Solar vehicle charging at home

Nov 4, 2015: Owners of home photovoltaic systems will soon be able to make their households even more sustainable, because PV power is also suitable for charging personal electronic vehicles. A home energy management system recently created incorporates electric vehicles into the household energy network and creates charging itineraries.

New low-cost battery could help store renewable energy

Nov 4, 2015: Wind and solar energy projects are growing at a respectable clip. But storing electric power for days when the air is still or when the sun goes down remains a challenge, largely due to cost. Now researchers are developing a new battery that could bring the price of storage to more affordable levels. Their new battery uses low-cost materials -- sodium and magnesium.

Storage advance may boost solar thermal energy potential

Nov 3, 2015: Engineers have identified a new approach for the storage of concentrated solar thermal energy, to reduce its cost and make it more practical for wider use.

Iconic ICEHOTEL to offer stunning solar-powered ice suites year round

Nov 2, 2015: Located in Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, the traditional ICEHOTEL is constructed every year by artists who transform ice and snow from the Torne River into art sculptures and architecture. The designers at PinPin Studio, responsible for some of our favorite themed ICEHOTEL suites, developed renderings for the new sustainable addition. The permanent 1,200-square-meter structure will include a bar, art gallery, and at least 20 suites. Related: Unleash Your Inner Monster...

Making green fuels, no fossils required

Nov 2, 2015: Converting solar or wind into carbon-based 'fossil' fuels might seem anything but green, but when you start with carbon dioxide -- which can be dragged out of the air -- it's as green as it gets. The technology that makes it economically feasible isn't available yet, but a recently published paper presents nice step forward in the effort to not just sequester carbon dioxide, but turn it into a useful fuel that is part of a carbon-neutral future.

Semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene electrodes

Nov 2, 2015: A researcher has developed the first-ever made semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene as electrode. With simple processing techniques, solar cells with high power conversion efficiencies can be fabricated at low cost.

Solar Cells; High-quality perovskite materials developed capable of utilizing long-wavelength sunlight

Nov 2, 2015: Scientists have developed the world’s first method to fabricate high-quality perovskite materials capable of utilizing long-wavelength sunlight of 800 nm or longer. Compared to conventional methods, this method enables the creation of perovskite materials that have a 40-nm wider optical absorption spectrum, a high short-circuit current and high open-circuit voltage. Thus, this method is regarded as a new approach to enhance the efficiency of perovskite solar cells.

New concepts emerge for generating clean, inexpensive fuel from water

Oct 30, 2015: An inexpensive method for generating clean fuel is the modern-day equivalent of the philosopher's stone. One compelling idea is to use solar energy to split water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen and then harvest the hydrogen for use as fuel. But splitting water efficiently turns out to be not so easy.

Exploiting renewable energy while allowing for protecting biodiversity

Oct 29, 2015: Global expansion of bioenergy possesses serious threats to biodiversity, whereas solar energy could have potential for power provision with limited impacts on biodiversity, say experts.

Foldable Wide Path Camper is a whole different kind of bike trailer

Oct 25, 2015: Modern nomads and nature lovers will fall in love with the Wide Path Camper for its eco-friendly concept and small size, but those in worse shape than Tour de France cyclists may experience trouble trying to get this baby up a hill. This creates a limited…

Cooling the air with sunlight

Oct 23, 2015: A firm has developed an evaporative cooler that has an integrated photovoltaic system isolated from the electrical network, which enables to refresh an area of ??approximately 200 square meters.

MHU is a solar-powered mobile shelter for migrant workers

Oct 22, 2015: In the developing world, many economic sectors have migrant workers. This poses a problem for housing solutions. The traditional approach towards housing (for migrant workers) results in either renting (lower well-being factor) or paying off a property in an area not necessarily wanted. Although most employees would want to own their housing they either can’t afford it or don’t want it near their place of work (as they have a home away from work). The current housing solutions are extremely...

Shining more light on solar panels

Oct 22, 2015: A better understanding of how light reflects off different surfaces has improved action movies, videogames and now solar panels. Researchers have found a way to get more sun to shine on the panels and crank up the output by 30 percent or more.

Nokero releases world’s “most efficient” portable solar light for under $20

Oct 21, 2015: Clean lighting company Nokero is so proud of its newest solar device they have called it the “world’s most efficient light.” The N233 model just might fit the bill, seeing as it is incredibly affordable, lightweight, and can keep a charge up to 15 hours at a time. Outdoorsmen will rejoice at the light’s durability, making it a necessity for hikers and campers and all their late-night lighting needs. Nokero (referring to “no kerosene”)...

Synthetic batteries for the energy revolution

Oct 21, 2015: A team of researchers made a decisive step towards a redox-flow battery which is simple to handle, safe and economical at the same time: They developed a system on the basis of organic polymers and a harmless saline solution. The new redox-flow battery can withstand up to 10,000 charging cycles without losing a crucial amount of capacity.

Hurricane-resistant SURE HOUSE wins the 2015 Solar Decathlon

Oct 19, 2015: The Solar Decathlon is hosted by the US Department of Energy and gives students from around the world the chance to showcase their talents by designing a solar-powered home that represents the future of sustainability. The winning home is the one the best captures the perfect mixture of efficiency, affordability and innovative design. + Inhabitat Solar Decathlon Coverage…

Architecture student builds a tiny solar-powered cabin from recycled materials

Oct 19, 2015: "Aurora Cabin" is a small forest hideout perfect for those looking for a mini-adventure. Designed and built by a local architecture student, the tiny cozy cabin was created as a contemplative retreat in the aurora forest of Northern Norway. The cabin was crafted from recycled materials supplemented with local timber, and features a solar panel strong enough to power a laptop and lighting. The interior is configurable and can be adapted to facilitate different needs.

Solvents save steps in solar cell manufacturing

Oct 19, 2015: Advances in ultrathin films have made solar panels and semiconductor devices more efficient and less costly, and researchers say they've found a way to manufacture the films more easily, too.

Green Building in Cold Climates: Inhabitat Interview with Bernat and Kate of Maison Durable Portneuf

Oct 19, 2015: We've seen many examples of how well green buildings can work in temperate and warm climates, but what about the harsher conditions that can lash homes in rural Quebec? Inhabitat recently had the opportunity to interview Bernat Ferragut and Kate Alvo of Maison…

Scientists demonstrate how to improve ultrathin CIGSe solar cells by nanoparticles

Oct 16, 2015: CIGSe solar cells are made of a thin chalcopyrite layer consisting of copper, indium, gallium and selenium and can reach high efficiencies. Since indium is becoming scarce and expensive, it is interesting to reduce the active CIGSe layer, which however decreases the efficiency quite strongly. Now, scientists have produced high quality ultrathin CIGSe layers and increased their efficiency by an array of tiny nanoparticles between the back contact and the active layer.

Quantum physics meets genetic engineering

Oct 15, 2015: A team of researchers has used engineered viruses to provide quantum-based enhancement of energy transport. The work points the way toward inexpensive and efficient solar cells or light-driven catalysis.

What’s Blooming in Stuyvesant Cove Park: Fall Edition

Oct 15, 2015: It’s hard to believe that summer is well and truly over and fall is upon us! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to enjoy native flowers blooming in Stuyvesant Cove Park! And if you’d like to help us put the Park to bed……

Teachers! Check Out the New Green Design Lab Website

Oct 15, 2015: The Solar One Education team is excited to launch our new, enhanced website,! The new website is easy to navigate and offers new features for registering for our Professional Development Workshops, the Green Design Lab Energy Challenge, and a host of resources for our……

8 amazing homes that are 100% powered by the sun

Oct 14, 2015: Solar-powered homes are no longer reserved for the rich. There’s no clearer proof of the future in affordable and attractive solar housing than on the grounds of Irvine, California, where the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon is currently heating up. The collegiate competition features 14 student teams who have designed, built, and operated over a dozen amazing houses 100% powered by the sun. We’ve rounded up eight of our favorites from the competition—keep reading to get a...

Silver: The promising electrode winner for low-cost perovskite solar cells

Oct 14, 2015: Researchers have identified a contributing factor to short lifetime in perovskite solar cells with silver electrodes. Currently, the most common electrode material in perovskite solar cells is gold, which is extremely expensive. The low-cost alternative to gold is silver, around 65 times cheaper.

Breakthrough for iron based dyes can lead to cheaper and environmentally friendly solar energy applications

Oct 13, 2015: Researchers have found a new way to capture energy from sunlight – by using molecules that contain iron. The hope is to develop efficient and environmentally friendly solar energy applications.

Low-cost wafers for solar cells

Oct 9, 2015: Silicon wafers are the heart of solar cells. However, manufacturing them is not cheap. Over 50 percent of the pure silicon used is machined into dust. A new manufacturing technique puts an end to these material losses, with raw material savings of 50 percent along with an 80 percent reduction in energy costs.

Breakthrough to the development of energy-saving devices for the next generation

Oct 7, 2015: Researchers have succeeded in visualizing changes in defect density on the surface of GaN through the laser terahertz emission microscope (LTEM) which measures THz waves generated by laser emission. The discovery shows that LTEM is useful as a new method for evaluating the quality of wide-gap semiconductors and it is also expected that LTEM will bring a breakthrough in the development of next-generation optical devices, super high frequency devices, and energy devices.

SkyPower Announces 500 MW of Solar Energy Projects in Panama

Oct 7, 2015: NEW YORK, NY --(eSolarEnergyNews)--During the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, SkyPower, the world's largest developer and owner of utility-scale solar projects, made a historic announcement with President Juan Carlos Varela, unveiling its plans to build 500 MW of utility-scale solar energy over the next five years in Panama, representing an investment of US $1 billion. In…

Enphase Energy Unveils Its Home Energy Solution in Australia and New Zealand

Oct 7, 2015: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Enphase Energy, a global energy technology company, today announced that Australia and New Zealand are the first markets worldwide to receive the Enphase® Home Energy Solution, an integrated solution combining solar generation, energy control, and energy storage. The award-winning Enphase technology is an advanced energy solution that delivers a high…

'Greener' way to assemble materials for solar applications

Oct 5, 2015: The efficiency of solar cells depends on precise engineering of polymers that assemble into films 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Today, formation of that polymer assembly requires solvents that can harm the environment, but scientists have found a 'greener' way to control the assembly of photovoltaic polymers in water using a surfactant -- a detergent-like molecule -- as a template.

Efficiency from larger perovskite solar cells improved

Oct 5, 2015: Perovskite solar cells are cheaper to make than traditional silicon cells and their electricity conversion efficiency is improving rapidly. To be commercially viable, perovskite cells need to scale up from lab size. Researchers report a method for making perovskite cells larger while maintaining efficiency.