Thin-Film Solar Cell Approaches Efficiency Record

A Copper Zinc Tin Selenide (CZTSe) solar cell technology has achieved an efficiency of 9.7% and an open-circuit voltage of 0.41 volts, a bit less than the 0.5 volts that most silicon-based solar cells achieve. (Solar cells are generally connected in series, which multiplies their voltage by the number of cells in the series connection.) The new solar cell technology is based on thin-film CZTS solar cells which were developed due to the abundance as well as the low cost (relatively…

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Extraordinary Solar Light Now Available for Off-Grid Victims of Energy Poverty

This is a low-priced ($39.00) and sustainable light that some 25 percent of the world’s population – living off the grid – needs. Why? So dangerous kerosene lamps can be relegated to museums only. The following mission statement comes from WakaWaka designers and manufacturer of what the company contends is the “most efficient solar lamp in the world.” The solar-powered light can provide 16 hours of light from a single day of sunlight.

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Sustainable Innovations: Cranfield Experts Help Develop Solar Cooker

The development of sustainable tools that utilize renewable energy is critical as we advance into the 21st century. We still need to meet the challenges of providing clean energy. Read the following story from Cranfield University about a solar stove developed by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad. A solar cooker able to harness the sun’s energy to cook food and purify water has been developed by Cranfield University and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad. The cooker will significantly improve…

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Enphase Energy Announces New Commercial Solar Initiative in Europe

“Commercial solar projects are becoming more widespread in Europe. In France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland and United Kingdom, small commercial systems up to 100kW represent a fast-growing, addressable market for our microinverters,” said Olivier Jacques, Managing Director for Enphase Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Enphase offers installers and users a technology solution with a modular architecture, integrated intelligence, lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and increased project profitability.”

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Prefab Marvel from NRJA: DOM(E)

The building has an self-supporting internal structure made from laminated timber with metal mounts, 200mm insulation and a 9mm fiber concrete slab covered with liquid rubber as exterior finish. On the inside the structure is covered with birch plywood which gives an impression of a warm, homely atmosphere. Both frame and filling for the dome are prefabricated and assembled on-site. The perimeter of the house is covered with pre-prepared foundation insulation. The dome utilizes its shape to provide natural ventilation.

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GLOBAL GREEN USA ANNOUNCES COMMITMENT AT CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE TO BRING SOLAR POWER TO COMMUNITIES DEVASTATED BY HURRICANE SANDY

Speaking to a global audience at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting, Global Green USA today announced its Commitment to Action to implement its catalytic ‘Solar For Sandy’ program, which will equip five or more community facilities serving low income residents in New York and New Jersey neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy with grid-tied, back-up solar energy systems. Global Green’s first, full-scale ‘Solar for Sandy’ project installation will take place this Fall in Red Hook, NY, in collaboration with IKEA, the world’s largest home furnishings retailer.

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MIT Map Assesses Cambridge Rooftop Power Potential

Kudos to the people at MIT who created this interactive map showing property owners in the city how much electricity can be generated from their rooftops. ASSESSING A CITY’S SOLAR POWER POTENTIAL A New Tool from SA+P’s Building Technology Program SA+P researchers have developed a new interactive map to show a city’s property owners how much electricity can be produced on their rooftops from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, how the financial investment will pay off and how much pollution will be reduced. The new tool shows that if…

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Photovoltaics Evolution: Organic Polymers Show Sunny Promise

We get excited when we hear news of new discoveries pertaining to the evolution of solar technologies. A new version of solar cell has been created in the labs at Rice and Penn State. Read the press announcement below.     Rice, Penn State labs lay groundwork for block copolymer solar cells A new version of solar cells created by laboratories at Rice and Pennsylvania State universities could open the door to research on a new class of solar energy…

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El Presidio Real de Santa Barbara

A Journey through the Natural Building Techniques: Adobe

The word adobe comes from the Arabic word al-tob, which means “the brick” and from Coptic tube, which also means “brick”. A brick is precisely what adobe is, a sun-dried brick of clay-soil and sand, with fiber added in some instances as well. These fibers, which add tensile strength, are usually straw, hair, or even horse manure. Yes, I said horse manure! Building with adobe is one of the oldest building techniques in the world, and some of the world’s oldest standing buildings were constructed with adobe.

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Solaria Corporation Expands into China Solar Market

Solaria has built many large-scale solar power plants in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Solaria’s current projects in China include several megawatt-size solar power plants under construction in the Qinghai province and Inner Mongolia. One project under development is for CECEP Solar Technology Co., Ltd., China’s largest solar power plant investor and operator.

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Letters & Links from Students

The following note comes from Layla Russell, who works with young students interested in solar energy. When I asked Layla to describe the nature of the links she and her students had sent, she wrote, “I think the best way to describe how they found them useful would be that they all incorporate something either explaining Solar energy or describing positives future generations can take from it.  During working on the project, the first step was to learn about what Solar…

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Masdar Launches Africa’s Largest Solar PV Plant

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, today launched an US$31.99 million utility-scale, 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant is located in the capital city of Nouakchott and is the largest solar PV plant in Africa. The new facility accounts for 10 percent of Mauritania’s energy capacity and will displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

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