Scientists Set New Solar Cell Efficiency World Record with Tandem Solar Cells at Nearly 30%

By CJ Robles[email protected] 

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Researchers are now close to reaching their long-term target of over 30% solar cell efficiency for the perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell category. At 29.15%, it surpassed the current solar cell efficiency world record of 28%.

According to a press statement from Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB), the HZB development team led by Bernd Stannowski and Steve Albrecht already received official certification for the recent value from the CalLab of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

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World’s First Never Charge Solar Electric Vehicle Aptera Goes Live – Again


By Elena Gorgan

Aptera Motors is making a massive comeback after more than one decade of struggling as a startup, following up on the promise made one year ago. The first pre-orders for the Aptera sEV (solar electric vehicle), the world’s first never charge three-wheeler with record-breaking range, are now live.

Aptera Motors has been around since 2008 and has started on this comeback journeyexactly one year ago, with new plans for the reborn solar-powered vehicle. Aptera is not a car, but a three-wheeler, which could be classified as a motorcycle or an autocycle). It features solar panels on the roof and a battery pack as a backup, for those who plan on using it for more than just the daily commute. 

It has a futuristic design, it’s nimble and comparatively small, but the makers promise it’s spacious enough for two adults and a trunk-load of cargo, reliable and safe in case of an impact, and also very fast. It sounds like your dream vehicle (albeit a three-wheeler) has arrived – and it’s open for pre-orders. 

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These solar panels don’t need the sun to produce energy

BY NATE BERG

Cloudy days pose a real problem for solar panels. But a new innovation can convert UV light to energy—even if the sun isn’t shining.

When it comes to renewable energy, solar panels are great. Their efficiency has improved and their costs have dropped to the point where it would be feasible to move every U.S. home to solar power and save money in the process.

But then the clouds roll in. The intermittency of the skies has been one of the major challenges for this otherwise valuable renewable energy source. Though we can’t control cloud cover, a new invention has found a way to work around the inconsistency of solar energy by harvesting unseen ultraviolet light that’s present no matter the weather. It could soon be turning the windows and walls of buildings into a rich new source of electricity.

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Tesla expanding into solar microgrids and virtual power plants

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Elon Musk says he expects Tesla’s energy business will one day be equal to or exceed its automotive business. That day may be some time in the future but the company is clearly expanding its solar and battery operations rapidly, both for grid scale and residential applications.

Last week, Michael Snyder, Tesla’s director of engineering and construction for energy projects posted on Linked In, “If you like solving problems at the nexus of power systems interactions, protection coordination, system and product level controls, and DERs (Powerpacks, Megapacks, solar, and generators), check out the link below for a microgrid-focused product engineer. We have 120+ operational microgrids around the world with high impact to a variety of communities/customers. This is a unique and rewarding role.” That post was followed by a link to apply for a position with Tesla Energy.

According to E&E News, a microgrid is a cluster of energy generators — whether diesel or solar or wind powered — that serves nearby users such as a building or a campus. That cluster “islands” and keeps the lights on even if the regular grid around it blacks out, something that is happening more frequently because of severe storms, wildfires and floods associated with a warming climate. “If you look at the performance of the U.S. grid, it just gets worse and worse and worse,” says Peter Asmus, who studies microgrids as a research director at Guidehouse Insights.

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We are approaching the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history

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We are approaching the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history

 In the next 10 years, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors—information, energy, food, transportation, and materials—that underpin our global economy. We need to make sure the disruption benefits everyone.

Suppose we told you that solutions to the world’s most intractable problems are possible in the next decade. Poverty. Inequality. Climate change. You’d probably say impossible, preposterous, unthinkable. We’ve heard that about our predictions before. But we have been proven right.

Now, we are predicting the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history and with it, a moment civilization has never encountered before. In the next 10 years, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors—information, energy, food, transportation, and materials—that underpin our global economy, and with them every major industry in the world today. Costs will fall by 10 times or more, while production processes become an order of magnitude (10x) more efficient, using 90% fewer natural resources and producing 10 times to 100 times less waste.

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Transforming homes into power stations – how Sweden is disrupting energy production

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  • 54% of Sweden’s power comes from renewables and this energy is increasingly local.
  • Smart grids are switching Swedish homes from energy consumers to power-making ‘prosumers.’
  • Local ‘district heating’ plants use excess heat to warm the majority of Swedish homes.
  • Sweden tops the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transitions Index

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

As well as targeting 100% renewable electricity production by 2040, the country is transforming homes into highly efficient ‘prosumers’ – buildings which both produce and consume the vast majority of their own energy.

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New solar-powered truck bed cover captures the sun

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Solar power integration for pickup trucks just became more innovative.

 Worksport™, the manufacturer of tonneau covers and accessories for trucks, has debuted TerraVis™, a platform for versatile and cost-effective pickup truck solar power. The system combines the tonneau covers with a solar generation and energy storage system.

Solar panels built into the cover will collect the sun’s rays and store energy in multiple battery banks. The stored energy can be used to provide power to an electric motor or removed and used remotely.

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Nikola Tesla’s vision of wireless power transmission is alive with Kiwi startup Emrod

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Its technology is supposed to be cheaper, safer, and more eco-friendly than wired power

History lesson: In 1890, Nikola Tesla caused a total blackout in the town of Colorado Springs using a 140-foot Tesla coil. Creating a citywide power outage was not his goal. He wanted to power a light bulb that was more than two miles away without using wires. Much to the dismay and anger of residents and the power plant, whose dynamo was burned out, the experiment was claimed to be a success, a claim that later proved to be debatable.

Now more than 100 years later, an energy startup called Emrod wants to bring Tesla’s dream of wireless power transmission to life. The New Zealand company has partnered with one of the country’s primary power distributors to build a wireless electricity infrastructure that it believes can deliver power more efficiently than traditional methods.

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In a world-first, Australian University builds its own solar farm to offset 100% of its electricity use

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LIMITING GLOBAL WARMING to well below 2℃ this century requires carbon emissions to reach net-zero by around 2050. Australian households have done much to support the transition via rooftop solar investments. Now it’s time for organizations to take a more serious role.

The University of Queensland’s efforts to reduce its electricity emissions provides one blueprint. Last week UQ opened a 64-megawatt solar farm at Warwick in the state’s southeast. It’s the first major university in the world to offset 100% of its electricity use with renewable power produced from its own assets. In fact, UQ will generate more renewable electricity than it uses.

The Warwick Solar farm shows businesses and other organizations that the renewables transition is doable, and makes economic sense.

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New solar panels suck water from air to cool themselves down

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Intense summer sun can spike temperatures of solar panels, causing their electrical production to plummet.

Like humans, solar panels don’t work well when overheated. Now, researchers have found a way to make them “sweat”—allowing them to cool themselves and increase their power output.

It’s “a simple, elegant, and effective [way] to retrofit existing solar cell panels for an instant efficiency boost,” says Liangbing Hu, a materials scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Today, more than 600 gigawatts of solar power capacity exists worldwide, providing 3% of global electricity demand. That capacity is expected to increase fivefold over the next decade. Most use silicon to convert sunlight to electricity. But typical silicon cells convert only 20% of the Sun’s energy that hits them into current. Much of the rest turns into heat, which can warm the panels by as much as 40°C. And with every degree of temperature above 25°C, the efficiency of the panel drops. In a field where engineers struggle for every 0.1% boost in power conversion efficiency, even a 1% gain would be an economic boon, says Jun Zhou, a materials scientist at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Decades ago, researchers showed that cooling solar panels with water can provide that benefit. Today, some companies even sell water-cooled systems. But those setups require abundant available water and storage tanks, pipes, and pumps. That’s of little use in arid regions and in developing countries with little infrastructure.

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This company wants to turn your windows into solar panels

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Ubiquitous Energy solar glass

San Francisco (CNN Business)What if every window in your house could generate electricity? One Redwood City, California-based startup thinks its technology can achieve that by transforming the way solar power is collected and harnessed.

Ubiquitous Energy has developed transparent solar cells to create its ClearView Power windows, a kind of “solar glass” that can turn sunlight into energy without needing the bluish-grey opaque panels those cells are generally associated with. The company, spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, hopes to use that tech to turn practically any everyday glass surface into a solar cell.

“It can be applied to windows of skyscrapers; it can be applied to glass in automobiles; it can be applied to the glass on your iPhone,” Miles Barr, Ubiquitous Energy’s founder and chief technology officer, told CNN Business.

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These luxury prefabs are going fully off-grid

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Dvele homes will now come with a new thermal enevelop, solar power, and a backup battery system

High-end prefab home builder Dvele just got a little more high-tech—and eco-conscious. The San Diego-based company, which is known for its luxury prefab designs, announced this week that it would start exclusively building fully self-powered homes going forward.

Since its founding in 2017, Dvele has branded itself as a sustainable option in the prefab space, but its new initiative takes it a step further with homes that run entirely on solar power and stored energy. Dvele’s models are similar to other eco-minded prefab homes in that a major focus is to limit the amount of wasted energy produced in the first place.

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