Energy & Green Tech

What if half of Switzerland's rooftops produced electricity?

Researchers at EPFL are assessing Switzerland's solar power potential. Their results show that photovoltaic panels could be installed on more than half of the country's 9.6 million rooftops. The resulting power would meet ...

Engineering

Anti-solar cells: A photovoltaic cell that works at night

What if solar cells worked at night? That's no joke, according to Jeremy Munday, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis. In fact, a specially designed photovoltaic cell could generate ...

Energy & Green Tech

A communal energy hub

The amount of energy produced by renewable sources ebbs and flows. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM has found a smart work-around for these fluctuations. Its scientists developed an innovative energy ...

Energy & Green Tech

A flaky option boosts organic solar cells

An inexpensive material, made from tungsten disulfide flakes just a few atoms thick, has helped to improve the performance of organic solar cells1. The discovery by KAUST researchers could be an important step toward bringing ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

A new type of hybrid colloidal quantum dot/organic solar cells

Solution-processed semiconductors, including materials such as perovskites and quantum dots (i.e., small particles of matter in the quantum size regime), are substances with a conductivity ranging between that of insulators ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

New efficiency world record for organic solar modules

A research team from Nuremberg and Erlangen has set a new record for the power conversion efficiency of organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules. The scientists designed an OPV module with an efficiency of 12.6 percent over an ...

Energy & Green Tech

Distributed solar prices fall annually by 5% to 7%

The latest edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab's) annual Tracking the Sun report finds that prices for distributed solar power systems continued to fall in 2018, that industry practices continued ...

Energy & Green Tech

Novel solar cells arrive at International Space Station for testing

Five different types of solar cells fabricated by research teams at the Georgia Institute of Technology have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) to be tested for their power conversion rate and ability to operate ...

Energy & Green Tech

Lighting the path to renewable energy

Solar power offers a promising, renewable alternative to fossil fuels. But solar power production is complicated and influenced by ever-changing factors like cloud coverage, the time of day, and even dust particles in the ...

Energy & Green Tech

How to have an all-renewable electric grid

The main solution to climate change is well known—stop burning fossil fuels. How to do this is more complicated, but as a scholar who does energy modeling, I and others see the outlines of a post-fossil-fuel future: We ...

Energy & Green Tech

Photovoltaic power from textiles

Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight! With the help of new textile-based solar cells developed by Fraunhofer researchers, semitrailers could soon be producing the electricity needed to power cooling ...

Energy & Green Tech

Powering devices—with a desk lamp?

Batteries power most of our devices, and even some cars. But researchers now report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces a step toward running electronic devices in homes and offices on the light coming from lamps scattered ...

Energy & Green Tech

New residential solar panels deliver record-breaking efficiency

The solar panels developed by startup Insolight boast an impressive 29 percent yield – a record for the retail market. These systems, which have now been standardized for mass production, contain lenses that focus sunlight ...

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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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