Alternative Energy

Solar Power News

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

May 05, 2016

Solar Energy

Come to NYC Wildflower Day at Solar One on Saturday May 14!

May 3, 2016: Native Plants Are Where It’s At! Saturday May 14, 11-2pm at Stuyvesant Cove Park For many years Stuyvesant Cove Park has participated in Wildflower Week, a citywide event celebrating the natural areas and native plants of New York City. Last year we had many kid-friendly activities. We……

Standard Solar Installs Largest Rooftop Array in Virginia

May 3, 2016: ROCKVILLE, MD--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Standard Solar has completed the installation of a 1 MW (dc) rooftop solar array at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, Va. Installation of largest single rooftop solar array in Virginia completed The 3,200-panel array’s output will exceed 1,330 MWh/year and will offset 918 metric tons of carbon (the equivalent of one year’s electricity use for 200…

Maharashtra Nature Park in India is getting a green, pedestrian-friendly update

May 2, 2016: The design includes enlarged paths to allow sufficient circulation and a series of circular resting area where people can stop and enjoy the surrounding without disturbing the delicate ecosystem. A small area situated in the north side of the park will be dedicated to the urban development of the new connector of BKK. This Area will be provided with multifunctional sports fields for the Dharavi community. All the park’s lighting of the MNP will be powered by solar energy. Related: MenoMenoPiu...

At last: Non-toxic and cheap thin-film solar cells for 'zero-energy' buildings

Apr 28, 2016: 'Zero-energy' buildings -- which generate as much power as they consume -- are now much closer after engineers have achieved the world's highest efficiency using flexible solar cells that are non-toxic and cheap to make.

Americans used less energy in 2015, but more wind, solar, and geothermal power

Apr 27, 2016: A look back on the year 2015 shows how Americans have used less energy overall than prior years, yet the popularity of renewable power continues to grow. It may only be a matter of time before the scales tip far enough that our dependence on coal, oil, and natural gas is a thing of the past. Each year the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory releases energy flow charts which reflect the previous year’s energy use and consumption. Measured in British Thermal Units, or quads, the...

New tech could keep solar panels afloat on the ocean – even during storms

Apr 27, 2016: One barrier for scaling up solar power is space. Large amounts of land are necessary for panels or solar collectors like parabolic troughs. Many have explored placing solar panels on the ocean to generate renewable energy without costing humans too much land, yet there are obvious problems with this vast but precarious space. Weather could damage floating solar panels, rendering time and investment useless. So engineers at TU Wien developed the Heliofloat, a creative solution to choppy waves and...

Egypt to build massive $3.5 billion suite of solar power plants

Apr 27, 2016: In Egypt, plans are coming together for a slew of solar power generating plants worth around $3.5 billion. The project is a partnership between international companies, and will reportedly add two gigawatts (GW) of electricity for the nation, as well as boost employment and increase revenue. The plans have been in the works for years but this is the first time the true size and scope of the project have been revealed. This announcement builds on the memorandum of understanding (MoU)...

Nanotube semiconductors well-suited for PV systems

Apr 26, 2016: Researchers have discovered single-walled carbon nanotube semiconductors could be favorable for photovoltaic systems because they can potentially convert sunlight to electricity or fuels without losing much energy.

INFOGRAPHIC: How short-term energy is killing our planet

Apr 26, 2016: Fossil fuels currently drive around 90% of energy production levels. Latest figures suggest that our most plentiful resource, coal, has a maximum lifespan of 250 years, with oil and natural gas due to deplete much quicker. The processes in which we a…

Could off-grid electricity systems accelerate energy access?

Apr 26, 2016: Small off-grid electricity systems are growing rapidly in South Asia. A new study provides the first assessment of how these systems are impacting communities in the region.

Off-grid UFO home is completely powered by wind, water and sun

Apr 25, 2016: in a floating house and [move] slowly around the world." With 322 square feet of space, the sleek flying saucer-shaped home includes a main floor kitchen and living area, and lower level bathroom and bedroom. Large windows will offer stellar panoramic underwater views. Related: UFO Hotel Room: The Newest Suite at the Treehotel is Shaped Like a Flying Saucer! Solar, wind, and water power propel the capsule so it functions entirely off the grid. A hydrojet on the bottom of the UFO transports...

Flipping a chemical switch helps perovskite solar cells beat the heat

Apr 25, 2016: A simple chemical conversion could be another step toward making cheap, efficient and stable perovskite solar cells.

The light stuff: A brand-new way to produce electron spin currents

Apr 25, 2016: Scientists have demonstrated using non-polarized light to produce in a metal what's called a spin voltage -- a unit of power produced from the quantum spinning of an individual electron.

IKEA starts solar panel sales in UK stores

Apr 25, 2016: IKEA is making it easy for homeowners to go green yet again. UK stores have teamed up with solar company Solarcentury to start Solar Shops in UK IKEA stores, offering rooftop solar panels. The initiative will launch in three IKEA stores and online before rolling out to the rest of stores during the summer. Based on IKEA's research, one third of homeowners in the UK want solar panels installed on their home, and 60 percent are motivated by reduced electric bills. According to IKEA,...

7 ways to keep food cool without a refrigerator

Apr 23, 2016: Spring and summer see more of us outside, shaking off the cobwebs of winter as we enjoy the fresh air. Soup and stew are replaced by picnics and barbecues, and we often find ourselves craving cool food. These seven innovations take the ice bucket to a new level. Ranging from crazy concepts to DIY projects you can do in the backyard, here are seven unique ideas for how to keep food chilly without refrigeration. MittiCool Refrigerator uses clay and evaporation The MittiCool was originally designed...

Mickey Mouse-shaped solar farm powers Walt Disney World in Florida

Apr 23, 2016: Solar Farm that Powers Walt Disney World Looks Like Mickey Mouse A Mickey Mouse shaped solar farm has officially started powering Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Located near Epcot, this solar farm has been waiting to be switched on for a long time now. On Tuesday, April 12, the solar farm was switched on with representatives from Disney World, Duke Energy, and Reedy Creek Improvement District all attending. In attendance were Angie Renner, Disney's environmental...

Solar-powered civic center in Australia repurposes over 80% of its original building materials

Apr 22, 2016: Since the Hindmarsh Shire Council Offices is located in a relatively remote rural location exposed to extreme temperature conditions, the building’s thermal performance was a high-priority design focus. To minimize heating and cooling costs, the building was constructed with an earth pipe heat exchange system and underfloor ventilation plenums to draw in fresh air that’s then cooled, or warmed, naturally by the earth and then distributed through the floor grills to maintain comfortable indoor...

This off-grid coffee trailer might be coming to an event near you

Apr 21, 2016: Meet Mike & Tabi. For years they’ve had a dream of owning a local coffee shop. Mike began working as a barista & Tabi as a stylist in the film world. After drinking too many mediocre (at best) cups of coffee on set they saw the need to bring these two worlds together. They purchased a vintage camper with the hope to turn it into a mobile coffee business -named KIN- that will bring great coffee to all kinds of events. The camper currently resides in Brooklyn, Ny where they have completed...

San Francisco approves measure to require solar panels on new buildings

Apr 21, 2016: The city of San Francisco voted to approve a measure that will require the installation of solar panels on all new buildings of 10 stories or fewer. With climate change at the forefront of the discussion, the city’s board voted unanimously to set the rule and make the tech hub the largest U.S. city to require solar panels on new construction. The move is intended to help the city reach its ambitious goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. As a hotspot for tech...

INFOGRAPHIC: Incredible solar-powered inventions

Apr 19, 2016: When you think solar, you probably think about those humble rooftop panels that suck up the sun to keep home and business lights on, right? But solar is being used in some incredibly creative places that you may not have realized. There's the Solar Impulse airplane, which is hoping to change aviation, and solar roadways, which could change... everything. But there are less flashy things out there, too - like solar camera straps and solar wheelchairs. Check out the following infographic to see some...

The Bardessono is Napa Valley’s Newest Eco Resort and Spa

Apr 19, 2016: The Bardessono eco-resort is Napa Valley's newest luxury hotel, and it looks to be quite the sustainable gem. The inn and spa took care not to disrupt the area’s natural habitat while including a host of green building strategies including rammed earth walls,…

Americans used less energy in 2015 according to analysis

Apr 19, 2016: Americans used less energy overall in 2015 than the previous year, according to the most recent energy flow charts. Among the results, residential natural gas consumption fell by 0.5 quads in 2015 due to a mild winter. Commercial and industrial uses of energy saw much smaller decreases.

Cheap, efficient and flexible solar cells: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Apr 19, 2016: Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a new breakthrough. This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

From lighting screens to lighting homes

Apr 18, 2016: To cut down on the environmental waste and provide storage for rural communities, researchers have proposed a model for recycling unspent lithium ion batteries into energy storage units for solar-powered LED lamps.

Glowing nanomaterial to drive new generation of solar cells

Apr 18, 2016: Physicists have discovered radical new properties in a nanomaterial which opens new possibilities for highly efficient thermophotovoltaic cells, which could one day harvest heat in the dark and turn it into electricity. The research team has demonstrated a new artificial material, or metamaterial, that glows in an unusual way when heated.

Sweden’s first round Passive House boasts an innovative solar-powered balcony

Apr 15, 2016: Clad in sustainable Kebony and orange panels, Villa Circuitus exudes a warm ambience that belies its smart design. Its round shape minimizes the surfaces exposed to the outside air, which, combined with high-performance custom windows that retain twice as much heat as standards windows, helps to minimize heat loss. As a result, less energy is required to keep the home warm in winter. Interior air temperatures are also kept stable with a heat exchanger that circulates air in a two-phase process -...

Artificial moth eyes enhance silicon solar cells

Apr 15, 2016: Mimicking the texture found on the surfaces of the eyes of moths, scientists have produced nanotextured designs across silicon-based solar cells. The texturing significantly enhanced the light-harvesting and, hence, overall performance of the solar cells.

Solar Impulse 2 is ready to take to the skies again

Apr 15, 2016: As planned, the record-breaking solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 is ready to launch and continue its flight around the globe. After weathering the winter in Hawaii and receiving upgrades, the plane is once again ready to travel longer distances. Pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard will announce tomorrow when the Solar Impulse 2 will soar to North America, dependent on weather conditions. Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii last July with overheated batteries; after replacing...

Faraday Future breaks ground on $1B electric car factory outside Las Vegas

Apr 15, 2016: Earlier this year, at CES, mysterious startup Faraday Future unveiled a downright unbelievable Batmobile-like concept car that brought all the automotive aficionados to the yard. But the company doesn’t even have a manufacturing plant, yet. That could change in as little as two years, as fast-moving FF broke ground this week on the massive $1 billion factory they have been talking about for months. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw0oQ8tgrVY Faraday Future livestreamed its groundbreaking...

Blu Homes launches 16 new prefab home designs, including new tiny homes

Apr 14, 2016: Inhabitat has been covering Blu Homes ever since it was a newcomer on the prefab scene in 2008. We’ve watched their designs develop and evolve, as they moved operations from the East Coast to the West coast, acquiring modular “Modern Cabana” in as little as four years since their launch, and establishing themselves both as an industry staple and the team behind the now iconic Breezehouse. As a dynamic force in the prefabricated green building industry, Blu has consistently been pushing the...

Regency Centers Completes Major Solar Panel Installation in California

Apr 13, 2016: JACKSONVILLE, FL.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Regency Centers,  a national owner, operator, and developer of grocery-anchored shopping centers, in partnership with SoCore Energy and several of its retail partners, is announcing the installation of over 750 KW of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems at Persimmon Place in Dublin, CA and East Washington Place in Petaluma, CA. Combined, the systems include…

Smart Solar Lighting Takes off First in Rural Africa

Apr 13, 2016: CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Azuri has today announced HomeSmart™, a self-learning capability for its solar home systems. While conventional solar home systems work well in sunny conditions, they often shut off early on cloudy days because they run out of power. HomeSmart uses learning technology to monitor both climatic conditions and historical customer usage patterns to ensure a…

Riddle of missing efficiency in zinc oxide-based dye-sensitised solar cells solved

Apr 13, 2016: To convert solar energy into electricity or solar fuels, you need specialized systems of materials such as those consisting of organic and inorganic thin films. Processes at the junction of these films play a decisive role in converting the solar energy. Now a team of researchers has used ultra-short laser pulses and observed for the first time directly how boundary states form between the organic dye molecules and a zinc-oxide semiconductor layer, temporarily trapping the charge carriers.

New graphene solar panels turn rain into clean energy

Apr 13, 2016: Solar power has the potential to generate about 40 per cent of America's energy, yet the technology still has limitations. One is weather. Clouds and rain diminish solar cell efficiency, a problem for cities more overcast than sunny. However, a team of four Chinese scientists recently released new research that could completely alter the way we generate solar power. What if rain could power solar cells as well as sun? That's the question the Chinese scientists solved. Graphene is the...

The tiny solar-powered hemp home with a green roof

Apr 12, 2016: "Tiny+ does not require the burning of any fossil fuels even in the cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers of the Northeast," according to the GreenBuilt team, which is based in New York's Hudson Valley. "Designed to provide superb indoor air quality, superior comfort, and unmatched resilience, it will be the first modular HempHome to meet the stringent healthy building and energy efficiency standards of The Passive House Institute and the Living Building Challenge." Related: Nation's first...

Perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells with the world's highest power conversion efficiency

Apr 12, 2016: Scientists in Hong Kong report they have successfully developed perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells with the world's highest power conversion efficiency of 25.5%.

Clean energy generated using bacteria-powered solar panel

Apr 11, 2016: For the first time ever, researchers have connected nine biological-solar (bio-solar) cells into a bio-solar panel. Then they continuously produced electricity from the panel and generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells - 5.59 microwatts.

How halogen atoms compete to grow 'winning' perovskites

Apr 6, 2016: Researchers have found a potential path to further improve solar cell efficiency by understanding the competition among halogen atoms during the synthesis of sunlight-absorbing crystals.

So long lithium, hello bacteria batteries?

Apr 6, 2016: As renewable energy sources grow, so does the demand for new ways to store the resulting energy at low-cost and in environmentally friendly ways. Now scientists report a first-of-its-kind development toward that goal: a rechargeable battery driven by bacteria.

Scientists improve perovskite solar-cell absorbers by giving them a squeeze

Apr 6, 2016: Solar cells made of perovskites have shown great promise in recent years. Now scientists have found that applying pressure can change the properties of these inexpensive materials and how they respond to light.

Graphene layer could allow solar cells to generate power when it rains

Apr 6, 2016: Graphene layer could allow solar cells to generate power when it rains.

Scientists pinpoint solar cell manufacturing process

Apr 5, 2016: Scientists have been able to pinpoint for the first time what happens during a key manufacturing process of silicon solar cells. The paste used in the manufacturing of the solar cells contains silver powder, glass frit, and an organic binder. Researchers are looking for an alternative because silver is costly and lead oxide in the glass frit can harm the environment.

Rooftop solar energy could provide almost 40 percent of US electricity

Apr 5, 2016: Analysts have used detailed light detection and ranging data for 128 cities nationwide, along with improved data analysis methods and simulation tools, to update its estimate of total US technical potential for rooftop photovoltaic systems. The analysis reveals a technical potential of 1,118 gigawatts of capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours of annual energy generation, equivalent to 39 percent of the nation's electricity sales.

First Solar, Silicon Ranch Build on Strategic Partnership

Apr 5, 2016: TEMPE, AZ & NASHVILLE, TN.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--First Solar and a subsidiary of Silicon Ranch Corporation have entered into a framework agreement for 231.6 Megawatts (MW) DC of First Solar’s advanced technology thin film modules for use in Silicon Ranch projects to be constructed in 2017 and early 2018.This agreement builds on previous agreements for more than 180MW DC of modules used in Silicon…

Catching more of the sun

Apr 4, 2016: Combining quantum dots and organic molecules can enable solar cells to capture more of the sun’s light, researchers report. Light from the sun is our most abundant source of renewable energy, and learning how best to harvest this radiation is key for the world's future power needs. The scientists have discovered that the efficiency of solar cells can be boosted by combining inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules.

X-rays reveal how a solar cell gets its silver stripes

Apr 1, 2016: The silver electrical contacts that carry electricity out of about 90 percent of the solar modules on the market are also one of their most expensive parts. Now scientists have used X-rays to observe exactly how those contacts form during manufacturing.

Best ways to reduce energy consumption

Mar 31, 2016: Scientists study the most efficient way to conserve energy in hot and cold weather.

Heat and light get larger at the nanoscale

Mar 31, 2016: Researchers have demonstrated that heat transfer can be made 100 times stronger than has been predicted, simply by bringing two objects extremely close -- at nanoscale distances -- without touching. The team used custom-made ultra-high precision micro-mechanical displacement controllers to achieve heat transfer using light at the largest magnitude reported to date between two parallel objects.

Silicon profits from a dose of iron

Mar 30, 2016: A streamlined procedure for assembling the active components of photovoltaic devices from inexpensive metals could boost their economic prospects, report scientists.

'Community solar' systems may add savings to local, cooperative energy projects

Mar 30, 2016: Part of the future of solar energy, especially for residential use, may be small'community-based' systems in which neighbors join together in the construction and use of solar systems to optimize the energy produced in their neighborhood -- and share in the benefits. Increases of 5-10 percent in the energy produced are possible, say experts.