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UCLA developing the next high efficiency solar cell?

The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science is working on a polymer based solar cell that claims to be highly efficient compared to what’s out on the market today. The special aspect of polymer based solar cells is they can bring solar everywhere, meaning solar panels that people could hang on the wall, similar to hanging a poster on the wall. If solar technology could become that easy to deploy, you would see solar cells integrated into virtually every product that requires power. The UCLA research team discovered manipulating the silicon atom for a carbon atom in the polymer solar cell greatly improved the conversion of light into electricity, also known as the photovoltaic effect. The team has reached a 5.6% efficiency, which is great for these low cost solar cells. Traditional silicon based solar cells have an efficiency of over 20%, so these polymer based solar cells have a long way to go before they become as efficient as traditional silicon solar cells. The research team’s goal is to get their low cost, flexible solar cell to an efficiency to over 10%….do you think its possible? How long do you think it will take before solar cells are very common in our daily...

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SolarWorld makes an offer to buy Opel

SolarWorld, is a leading German solar panel manufacturer made an unsolicited bid to by Opel from General Motors (GM) today, although GM refused the offer and said Opel is not up for sale. GM owns Opel, which is a German automobile brand. According to SolarWorld, they want to take the Opel brand and turn the product line exclusively into full electric and hybrid vehicles. There is room for a great partnership between solar pv panels and electric based cars. Imagine a world in which every home and business has solar panels on top of their roofs and people can charge their cars right from the power of the sun. I think GM should sell the division to SolarWorld, because at this point they are very low on options, plus I think this is the reason GM is in the problem they are in because they are so spread thin from their core business. The management can’t even make the GM brand profitable, I don’t understand why they would want to hold on to brands that they just can’t afford to hold onto right now. As the electric car and hybrids vehicle industry continue to move forward, we are seeing a close relationship developing with the photovoltaic industry. Should GM sell Opel to SolarWorld? What types of opportunities will this create for the...

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Polysilcion prices forecasted to decline in 2009

Do you know what computer chips and photovoltaic solar cells have in common? They are both would not be possible without the amazing element, Silicon. Many of the solar panels on the market currently are made up of Polysilicon, which is an element in high demand in short supply thus keeping the prices of photovoltaic solar panels out of reach of the mainstream population. According to industry reports, Polysilicon supply is going to exceed the demand in 2009, which will have a direct impact on the market prices of solar panels. How much will prices of solar panels drop next year is the question on many consumers minds on the fence of going solar. I think with the increased federal tax credit for residential customers, more state rebate programs coming online, the prices of solar panels predicted to drop, raising electric rates and the volatile stock market will create the perfect environment for a investment in solar power to be more attractive then its ever been in 2009. What do you think? With consumers cutting back on spending will this slow down the exploding solar power...

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AC Sun’s Solar Air Conditioner

A while back I wrote about a solar air conditioner called the Greencore Air that was a highly efficient air conditioner powered by photovoltaic (pv) panels. This week a Danish company AC-Sun, announced they are developing a unique solar air conditioner. We’re fascinated with solar air conditioners because typically these are the largest and most expensive load on homes and businesses across the world, which can make a very cost effective application of solar energy if a company can release a reliable product. The most interesting part about AC-Sun’s solar air conditioners is that instead of using solar panels to generate electricity to power an AC, it uses solar thermal technology which boils water, creates steam to drive a turbine which can cool a room. It’s using the sun’s heat to cool a room! The AC-Sun’s system is based off an already known thermal process, which includes a traditional solar thermal panel that provides energy to an expander that ends up operating a compressor. A compressor is a critical unit in air conditioning and is important in the overall process of creating cool air. Unfortunately, you can’t buy AC-Sun’s solar air conditioner today, they are still developing the product and according to the company the product will be on the market in the middle of 2010. What do you think about solar air conditioners? This is a very interesting niche of solar energy, has anyone seen other companies dabbling in this...

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Meet the ElectraWall by Solaroad

The ElectraWall by Solaroad Technologies is a very unique product that collects and stores energy from various outdoor locations. The system is completely self contained and has a built in battery storage capability. Made out of recycled materials the ElectraWall’s versatile design allows the product to be applied to a wide variety of surfaces. Road and highway are an untapped source of power as they continuously collect heat and light from the sun. The ElectraWall will take advantage of collecting this lost energy, and will be installed by clipping on top of highway barrier walls, light poles and parking garages. The ElectraWall’s photovoltaic system features a cylindrical design that is not dependent on the sun’s angle of incidence, therefore does not require direct sunlight to harvest energy. These units can be used as backup generators since they have storage capacity built right into the...

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