Engineering

Laser-powered-drones may beat endurance hurdles

Hmm. Drones that can be recharged by a laser. So how long could they fly before having to land? How about "never mind"? We can look forward to seeing this idea in action. New Scientist had a story on September 3 that the ...

Energy & Green Tech

New efficiency record for organic photovoltaic cells

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China has established a new efficiency record for organic photovoltaic cells. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their approach ...

Robotics

The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off

Insect-sized flying robots could help with time-consuming tasks like surveying crop growth on large farms or sniffing out gas leaks. These robots soar by fluttering tiny wings because they are too small to use propellers, ...

Engineering

Smart windows could combine solar panels and TVs too

Imagine standing in front of a wall of windows, surveying the view. You hear someone enter the room behind you. You turn. "Welcome," you say. "Here is the video I wanted to show you." At the press of a button, the view vanishes ...

Energy & Green Tech

UK to unveil largest floating solar array in the world

Workers with Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy are set to unveil the largest floating solar array in the world, later this month. The five year project was commissioned by Thames Water and the electricity produced ...

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Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.

Solar photovoltaics is growing rapidly, albeit from a small base, to a total global capacity of 40,000 MW at the end of 2010. More than 100 countries use solar PV. Some 24 GW of solar is projected in November 2011 to be installed in that year, pushing up worldwide capacity to roughly 64 GW. Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or built into the roof or walls of a building (building-integrated photovoltaics).

Driven by advances in technology and increases in manufacturing scale and sophistication, the cost of photovoltaics has declined steadily since the first solar cells were manufactured. Net metering and financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity, have supported solar PV installations in many countries.

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