Energy & Green Tech

Improving solar cell efficiency with a bucket of water

Looking at your cell phone, you realize the battery is low, which means you have to make another long walk into town to pay money to charge the device. By the time you get home, it's getting dark. You light the kerosene lamp ...

Energy & Green Tech

Experiments show dramatic increase in solar cell output

In any conventional silicon-based solar cell, there is an absolute limit on overall efficiency, based partly on the fact that each photon of light can only knock loose a single electron, even if that photon carried twice ...

Energy & Green Tech

Explaining the plummeting cost of solar power

The dramatic drop in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, which has fallen by 99 percent over the last four decades, is often touted as a major success story for renewable energy technology. But one question has never ...

Energy & Green Tech

Perovskite solar cells hit new world efficiency record

They're flexible, cheap to produce and simple to make - which is why perovskites are the hottest new material in solar cell design. And now, engineers at Australia's University of New South Wales in Sydney have smashed the ...

Energy & Green Tech

Scientists pioneer a new way to turn sunlight into fuel

The quest to find new ways to harness solar power has taken a step forward after researchers successfully split water into hydrogen and oxygen by altering the photosynthetic machinery in plants.

Energy & Green Tech

Energy tower for producing electricity set for Arizona

Solar Wind Energy Tower (SWET) with a focus on "solar wind downdraft tower" structures for producing electricity last month announced it got the green light from San Luis, Arizona, to develop such a tower in the city, which ...

Energy & Green Tech

An effective and low-cost solution for storing solar energy

How can we store solar energy for period when the sun doesn't shine? One solution is to convert it into hydrogen through water electrolysis. The idea is to use the electrical current produced by a solar panel to 'split' water ...

Energy & Green Tech

Dual-layer solar cell sets record for efficiently generating power

Materials scientists from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have developed a highly efficient thin-film solar cell that generates more energy from sunlight than typical solar panels, thanks to its double-layer design.

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Solar energy

Solar energy is the radiant light and heat from the Sun that has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation along with secondary solar resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass account for most of the available renewable energy on Earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.

Solar power provides electrical generation by means of heat engines or photovoltaics. Once converted, its uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, hot water, thermal energy for cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors (with electrical or mechanical equipment) to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA