This cloudy-day black silicon solar cell can hit a record 22.1% efficiency

Researchers at Finland’s Aalto University have achieved a record-breaking 22.1% efficiency for a nanostructured silicon, or black, solar cell. They accomplished this by overlaying a thin, passivating film on the nanostructures by a process known as atomic layer deposition, and by integrating all of the metal contacts on the cell’s back side. Perhaps the best part: Black solar cells work really well on cloudy days. “This is an advantage particularly in the north, where the sun shines from a low angle for a large part of the year,” said professor Hele Savin from Aalto University, who coordinated the study, in a statement. “We have demonstrated that in winter Helsinki, black cells generate considerably more electricity than traditional cells, even though both cells have identical efficiency values.” Using the aforementioned process, the team managed to beat their previous record by almost 4%, which is a stunning achievement. The new cells have a certified external quantum efficiency of 96% at 300nm wavelengths, which the team said shows that charged carrier surface recombination is no longer a problem — and that for the first time, the black silicon isn’t limiting energy conversion efficiency. And thanks to the inherent properties of black solar cells, they can capture solar radiation at low angles, generating more electricity over the full duration of a day as compared with traditional cells.

The Thermal Energy Storage Techniques & Projects - Potential To Store Energy For At Least 7 Hours

Thermal energy storage (TES) is a load management technology with a significant potential to shift load from peak to off-peak demand hours.

The Thin Film Solar Cell Industry In Transition: Knockout Phase Is Over - Profitability And Vertical Integration Next

The implementation of PV into buildings should not be considered an added novelty product supplementing current construction materials, but rather be seen as an integrated part of roofing and facade material that could add substantial value to building material suppliers' range.

A highlight of WINDPOWER 2015

U.S. energy secretary, Dr Ernest Moniz, spoke at the Opening General Session at AWEA’s WINDPOWER 2015 event today in Orlando, Florida. Moniz stressed that wind power is an important and necessary part of the solution to climate change. Wind could provide five times what it provides today, he said, with a goal of one trillion kilowatt-hours per year in America. To get there, new technologies are needed to boost the industry is areas where it is not yet cost-effective or as profitable as other energy sources. Moniz mentioned better siting methods, improved drivetrains, and longer blades. On the show floor, companies are certainly bringing some new and improved technologies to the wind market.   Click here for the full Summary from WindPower Engineering.

Using Aerial Image Technology is Paying Off for this Solar Company

Giannoumis has found that using PictometryOnline™, with access to high-resolution aerial imagery and analytical tools, combined with solar roof reports and CAD-compatible .dxf files provided by EagleView Technologies, is the key to maintaining productivity. This technology is also offering the company a new level of profitability and accuracy throughout the system design process.

Advanced Energy Now: Wind Booms In China, Rebounds In U.S., With Full Pipeline

China continued to deploy wind power at a remarkable rate, installing an estimated 23.3 GW in 2014, a 45% increase over 2013. China accounted for 45% of the 51 GW installed globally in 2014, representing $94.6 billion in revenue.

An Ohio Wind Farm Proves the Case for a Wise Renewable-Energy Policy

Data from AMP and Ohio State shows that wind power in Ohio is a good deal for its customers, and that its price is competitive with, and in some cases significantly cheaper than, other sources of power.

Used cigarette butts offer energy storage solution

Scientists in South Korea have developed a new way to store energy that also offers a solution to a growing environmental problem.   Reporting their findings in the IOP Publishing journal Nanotechnology, the research team successfully converted used cigarette butts into a high performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electric vehicles and wind turbines to store energy. According to the study, this material outperforms commercially available carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes. It may someday be used to coat the electrodes of supercapacitors: electrochemical components that can store extremely large amounts of electrical energy. "Our study has shown that used cigarette filters can be transformed into a high performing carbon-based material using a simple one step process, which simultaneously offers a green solution for meeting the energy demands of society," says co-author Professor Jongheop Yi of Seoul National University.

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary - June, July, August 2015

Here is a summary of what Tradeshows, Conferences & Exhibitions to look forward to in the coming months.

MIT Group Used Solar Energy To Make Salty Water Drinkable In Off-Grid Areas

By Eleanor Goldberg for The Huffington Post:   ​While there are many technologies out there than can effectively remove salt from water to make it drinkable, most are expensive and rely heavily on electricity –- rendering them all but useless in remote, off-grid villages. That’s why a group of engineers from MIT, backed by Jain Irrigation Systems, set out to invent a system that relies on solar energy to bring clean drinking water to rural areas in India, The Washington Post reported. About 21 percent of India’s communicable diseases are related to unsafe water, according to the World Bank. According to MIT researchers 60 percent of India has brackish groundwater -- while not toxic, that water is too salty to be ideal for human consumption. The group, which took home the first-place Desal Prize last month in the “Securing Water for Food” challenge, used a method called electrodialysis, which relies on electricity and ultraviolet rays, according to the aid organization.   The first-place winners were awarded a $140,000 grant.   Cont'd...

What Can be Learned from the Northeast's Use of Microgrids

State leaders in the Northeast should keep watch of neighboring states to share best practices and innovative solutions for microgrids. Stakeholders can also look nationwide to other states including California and Illinois, where officials are creating incentives and addressing regulatory challenges.

An Overview of Solar Panels

While buying a solar panel one must keep in mind various factors like where it will be installed, purpose; commercial or residential use, and budget.

Solar road in the Netherlands producing more energy than anticipated

A road made of solar panel material is producing more energy than the creators expected. Engineers created a solar power bike path near Amsterdam that is over 200 feet long last year, and the road generated over 3,000kwh during the first six months, according to Al Jazeera, enough energy to power a house for a year. The company that created the road, SolaRoad, claims that means the road can produce 70kwh per square meter per year. The road is made of solar panels, glass, rubber and concrete. The road can either power street lamps or add power to the general grid. Over 150,000 cyclists have ridden on bike path without a problem since the project began. The path is made to be non-reflective and to prevent skidding. SolaRoad is still refining its materials to make them even more weather proof and efficient, and the company hopes to expand to larger areas in the future.

OMG's PowerGrip Provides a Secure Connection for Solar Racks

The installation involved locating where the fastener is going, driving the fastener into the metal deck underneath the insulation and membrane, sliding the PowerGrip over the fastener head, and hot air welding it in place.

Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Nation's First 100% Renewable Energy Requirement

Hawaii lawmakers voted 74-2 this week to pass the nation's first 100% renewable energy requirement. The measure, House Bill 623, makes Hawaii a global leader in renewable energy policy by requiring that 100% of the islands' electricity must be generated from renewable energy resources--such as wind, solar, and geothermal-no later than 2045.  "Hawaii lawmakers made history passing this legislation--not only for the islands, but for the planet," said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of the Blue Planet Foundation.  The measure, if enacted by Governor David Ige, would make Hawaii the first state in the nation with such a 100% renewable energy standard. Blue Planet Foundation, whose mission is to clear the path for 100% renewable energy, praised the move.  "Passage of this measure is a historic step towards a fossil fuel free Hawaii," said Mikulina. "This visionary policy is a promise to future generations that their lives will be powered not by climate-changing fossil fuel, but by clean, local, and sustainable sources of energy." 

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Other Energy Topics - Featured Product

Sierra Instruments, Inc.- InnovaMass. Reinvented.

Sierra Instruments, Inc.- InnovaMass. Reinvented.

Sierra was the first to introduce a combination volumetric vortex and multivariable mass flow meter in 1997. Today, Sierra's completely redesigned InnovaMass® iSeries™ 240i/241i builds on two decades of success measuring five process variables for gas, liquid and steam with one connection. Now, with the latest hyper-fast microprocessors, robust software applications, field diagnostic and adjustment capability, and a new state-of-the-art flow calibration facility, Sierra's vortex iSeries delivers precision, performance, and application flexibility never before possible.