Tag Archives for " photovoltaic "

Why You Won’t See the New Prius Solar Roof in the US

prius solar roof

Your questions answered about the Prius Prime’s solar roof

Earlier this year, Panasonic (the same company that manufactures Tesla’s latest low-profile, roof-mounted solar panels) made a pretty exciting announcement. The company developed a new type of PV module specifically meant for the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. Toyota debuted the new car at the New York Auto Show in March 2017. That’s right – there is now a Prius solar roof option for this popular vehicle.

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How Do Solar Panels Work?

how do solar panels work

How do solar panels work and how do solar panels actually create power? How does sunlight allow us to create power?

Once upon a time, in a land and time far far away (just about 2,700 years ago), lived a poor a little ant. Little did it know its life would soon come to an end by a curious child (or even perhaps a dumbfounded philosopher), armed with malicious/scientifically designed magnifying glass.

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Transparent Solar Cells are the Future

New organic thin film technology is making solar cells so transparent that you’d think they were regular windows.

The renewable energy industry has been working on transparent solar panels for years, because towering expanses of solar panels lining the shining glass walls of office buildings is an opportunity too lucrative and useful to pass up. Thin films of light-collecting materials have been investigated for their use in coating glass panels to turn them into solar collectors. As recently as 2011, though, the chemical components of the films being used had the side effect of tinting the glass and only allowing 70% of the light through.Continue reading

Canada Develops Micro Photosynthetic Power Cells

Researchers at Concordia University have developed a tiny power plant that fits on the tip of a finger and runs off the rays of the sun.

The efficient and innovative Micro Photosynthetic Power Cell was developed by a team at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. The tiny fuel cell can work day and night to make electricity, and requires no fuel at all – only the sun. Tiny volumes of algae and cyanobacteria use that sunlight and create energy that can be collected.

Fuel cells have existed since the mid-1800s and are currently used in everything from hybrid vehicles to NASA satellites and landers. They convert oxygen and fuel into energy via chemical reactions that send charged particles across a membrane and produce an electrical charge. All of the fuel cells currently and commonly used need fuel to burn. Not so when you’re working with plants.

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Solar is California’s One Beacon of Hope During Drought


The California drought — which has reached state emergency levels — has brought all kinds of disasters on farmers, miners, and hydropower production. However, in the spirit of optimism, there’s one shining beacon of hope during this mess. Fewer clouds and rain means more sun, which in turns means more solar power.Continue reading

Study: California Can Use Developed Land for Solar Power


For many people, the question of where to put solar panels is what holds their community back. While putting giant solar panels out in the desert or in a field far away from the city makes sense (lots of sunlight in a flat space), it does have the potential to destroy environmentally sensitive areas.

That’s why a new study in Nature Climate Change could change the game, as it suggests that in a state like California, there is enough space to install solar power on or close to land that we already occupy. Better yet, there’s enough space in the state to power three to five Californians.Continue reading

2014 Marks Solar’s Biggest Year


We’ve been talking nonstop about all the ways in which solar is taking over the U.S. Georgia is the fastest growing solar state. Tax rebates are still kicking, solar jobs are growing at an exponential rate, and rooftop solar panels increase the value of a person’s home. Now, analysis firm GTM Research found 2014 was solar’s biggest year ever.Continue reading

New Bionic Solar Leaf Matches Efficiency of Photosynthesis

solar leaf

For over a billion years, plants have learned to harness solar energy for sustenance in a process we’ve called photosynthesis. It now seems that scientists from Harvard University are progressing towards developing a new technology that involves turning solar energy into liquid fuel.

So far solar energy researchers have been designing photovoltaic cells that function by using electricity to yield hydrogen, which is used for power. Since modern technology is more compatible with liquid states of fuel, solar technology has been dragging a bit behind.

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