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

What does it take to make a better battery?

Cambridge researchers are working to solve one of technology's biggest puzzles: how to build next-generation batteries that could power a green revolution.

Energy & Green Tech

A new way to measure solar panel degradation

Despite many benefits and relative popularity as a renewable energy source, eventually, the sun does set on even the best solar panels. Over time, solar cells face damage from weather, temperature changes, soiling, and UV ...

Consumer & Gadgets

Matrix has PowerWatch 2 running on light and body heat

Forgive the Matrix PowerWatch 2 suggestion if it sounds like aggressive marketing: this is not jargon; this is a powerwatch. The watch uses solar and heat to power its varied functions, from health and fitness monitoring ...

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

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 power

Solar power is the result of converting sunlight into electricity. Sunlight can be converted directly into electricity using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly with concentrating solar power (CSP), which normally focuses the sun's energy to boil water which is then used to provide power. The largest solar power plants, like the 354 MW SEGS, are concentrating solar thermal plants, but recently multi-megawatt photovoltaic plants have been built. Completed in 2008, the 46 MW Moura photovoltaic power station in Portugal and the 40 MW Waldpolenz Solar Park in Germany are characteristic of the trend toward larger photovoltaic power stations. Much larger ones are proposed, such as the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm, and the 600 MW Rancho Cielo Solar Farm.

Solar power is a predictably intermittent energy source, meaning that whilst solar power is not available at all times, we can predict with a very good degree of accuracy when it will and will not be available. Some technologies, such as solar thermal concentrators with an element of thermal storage, have the potential to eliminate the intermittency of solar power, by storing spare solar power in the form of heat; and using this heat overnight or during periods that solar power is not available to produce electricity. This technology has the potential to make solar power "dispatchable", as the heat source can be used to generate electricity at will. Solar power installations are normally supplemented by storage or another energy source, for example with wind power and hydropower.

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