Cleaner and greener cities with integrated transparent solar cells

High power conversion of new solar cells that are thin, flexible, and transparent makes them ideal for a wealth of new applications Imagine buildings in which the windows allow the sun’s light to enter, and at the same time capture the energy from the sun needed to meet all their energy needs. In this seemingly futuristic scenario, the windows become productive solar cells that help us decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and advance towards a greener and cleaner environment.…

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Spray-On Solar Cells At A Lower Cost

Relatively inexpensive, easy-to-manufacture, nanoparticle-based solar cells can be created with materials that are abundantly common throughout the Earth’s crust, according to new work from researchers at the University of Alberta. The new nanoparticle-based solar cells — which could be mass-manufactured using simple methods, such as roll-to-roll printing or spray-coating — are possible thanks to a new type of nanoparticle designed by the researchers. The researchers think that the new design/discovery — which according to them has been several years in…

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Stained Glass Windows Capture Solar Energy

No, I’m not talking about letting sunlight into the room. These windows actually generate electricity! They are being installed in the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatechewan, and they are connected to the local electricity grid. Solar panels are usually connected to the local electricity grid to supply the grid with electricity using net metering. It is done by solar panel owners to offset their energy usage. In this case, it powers the Cathedral, and leftover power is…

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Transparent Solar Film — Efficiency Of Novel Solar Cell Doubled By Researchers At UCLA

A novel, transparent, two-layer solar film — possessing an impressive solar conversion efficiency of 7.3% — has been created by researchers at the University of California–Los Angeles. The solar film can be placed on windows, buildings, sunroofs, electronics displays, etc; harvesting energy while still at the same time allowing light to pass through and visibility/transparency to be maintained. The new solar film is essentially an improved form of the “breakthrough photovoltaic cell design” that the same researchers unveiled last year…

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New Record Efficiency For Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

A new efficiency record for dye-sensitized solar cells has been achieved by researchers at EPFL in Switzerland — the new record of 15% has now been achieved thanks to a new fabrication process created by the researchers. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are a very promising type of solar cell — largely as a result of their relatively low cost, transparency, and relatively high power conversion efficiencies under cloudy and artificial light conditions. Until this new breakthrough, though, they had fallen…

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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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New Blind Mimics Tree Leaves and Stores Energy

Imagine coming home from a long day at work on a summers’ day. You left that morning and ensured the blinds were down so you didn’t come home to a roasting-oven. You walk in the door and the sun is down outside, but inside, there’s a warm gentle light. Welcome to a house with the Liteon Eco Leaf blind installed. Replacing traditional blinds the Eco Leaf includes solar cells made into the fabric that recharge during the day while doing…

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