Solar Technology & PV R&D News

New metallization process cuts silver demand for modules by 30%
Fraunhofer ISE has worked with German technology companies to improve the metallization process in silicon solar cells. The result could drive down module costs quite a bit.
Sep 8, 2019 // Technology, Manufacturing News, solar cell, Fraunhofer ISE, PERC, metallisation, wickon hightech, koenen, murakami, Florian Clement
Hydrogen-powered bicycles offer new electromobility concept
With the 200 hydrogen bikes offered to journalists and world leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz proving popular, manufacturer Pragma Industries has received an order for 1,000 of them from Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. The company’s founder, Pierre Forté, wants the bike to have a societal impact in developing countries.
Sep 4, 2019 // Technology, Manufacturing News, Storage, Transport, Solar to Fuel, Lithium-ion batteries, Toyota, France, Europe, hydrogen, Daimler, hydrogen-fueled cars, Pierre Forté, Pragma Industries, Sebastian Pinera, Solar to Fuel, Solar to Hydrogen, Producing Hydrogen, Hydrogen from renewable, Renewable fuels
Australia National University hits new perovskite efficiency record
Scientists at the institution have achieved 21.6% efficiency with a perovskite cell measuring 1cm². The landmark has been verified as a new world record for perovskites at this size.
Sep 3, 2019 // Technology, USA, South Korea, Australia, Asia, Oceania, Australia National University, North America, Ulsan National Institute of Science, U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Thomas White
Food crops do better in the shade of solar panels
Another study has highlighted the advantages of combining solar with agriculture. According to the paper, growing chiltepin pepper, jalapeno and cherry tomato in dryland areas of the U.S. under the shade of PV modules is not only possible, but can lead to a better harvest.
Sep 3, 2019 // Technology, PV panels, Europe, University of Arizona, Greg Barron-Gafford, Margit Deimel
Coating could lead to commercial lithium-metal batteries
A new coating developed by scientists at Stanford promises to bring lithium metal batteries ‘closer to reality’, by significantly extending their operational lifetime and limiting the occurrence of dendrites at the anode, which can cause short circuiting and fires.
Sep 3, 2019 // Technology, California, USA, battery, North America, Stanford University, SLAC, Lithium metal, Zhiao Yu, Yi Cui
PV cheaper than spot market electricity across Europe
The levelized cost of energy produced by large scale PV projects ranges from €24/MWh in southern Spain to €42/MWh in Finland. New research states that is already cheaper than the average spot market electricity price and that the figure for big facilities in southern Spain may fall to €14 in 2030 and €9 in 2050.
Sep 3, 2019 // Technology, Plants, Large-Scale, Commercial, Europe, Christian Breyer, Lappeenranta University of Technology
Canadian researchers have done the math on optimizing PV output
Mathematicians at Canada’s University of Waterloo who turned their attention to solar power have developed an algorithm they say offers better control over PV plant output. The researchers estimate the algorithm could improve the output of a 100 MW power plant by almost a million kilowatt-hours per year.
Sep 3, 2019 // Technology, Plants, Large-Scale, Commercial, Residential, Canada, North America, University of Waterloo’s Department of Applied Mathematics, Milad Farsi
Scientists discover photovoltaic nanotubes
An international team of researchers led by the University of Tokyo has discovered a new material which, when rolled into a nanotube, generates an electric current if exposed to light. If magnified and scaled up, say the scientists, the technology could be used in future high-efficiency solar devices.
Aug 29, 2019 // Technology, Japan, Asia, Tokyo, University of Tokyo, Yoshihiro Iwasa, bulk photovoltaic effect
A graphene-based supercapacitor that’s also…. a t-shirt?
Scientists at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have developed a method for producing a ‘smart fabric’ with a supercapacitor energy storage device embedded in it. Its developers say it can be readily integrated with a solar cell or used to power wearable technology.
Aug 29, 2019 // Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Litty Thekkakara
European consortium develops advanced contamination-repellent solar panel coating
A European consortium of partners has developed an easy-to-clean solar panel coating that repels environmental forces. SolarSharc was created by the Advanced Resins and Coatings Innovation Centre (a strategic partnership between London South Bank University and TWI), Opus Materials Technologies, Onyx Solar, CEA – LITEN, Millidyne and TWI.
Aug 26, 2019 // Technology, Europe, SolarSharc, advanced Resins, Coatings Innovation Centre, Geraldine Durand
French scientists try to uncover the secrets of black perovskite
X-ray analysis is said to have solved the mystery of how to preserve optical absorption in perovskite layers. Researchers say the discovery could help stabilize the material and speed up the launch of a new ingredient for PV research.
Aug 23, 2019 // Technology, Manufacturing News, Europe, Belgium, Julian Steele, KU Leuven University
Japanese scientists develop dye-sensitized cell with 10.7% efficiency
The improved performance was achieved by using a methylene bridged material, the molecular dye DfZnP-iPr.
Aug 22, 2019 // Technology, Japan, Asia, Kyoto University, dye-sensitized solar cell
PV for cooking
Traditional solar cookers concentrate sunlight on mirrored surfaces and convert it into heat. But this summer, Sunspot unveiled Sunspot Solar Electric Cooking, a new cooker based on PV technology. The system relies on two PV modules, a lead-carbon battery, an inverter, and an induction cooktop.
Aug 21, 2019 // Technology, USA, North America, Sunspot Solar Electric Cooking system, Elsevier, International Solar Energy Society, David Renne
Global warming will hit solar panel performance
MIT researchers say climate change could reduce the yield of solar modules. Analysis based on the warming scenarios outlined by the IPCC predicts in some areas the annual energy output of PV systems may fall by up to 50 kWh per kilowatt installed.
Aug 17, 2019 // Technology, USA, solar modules, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, warming
Exciting excitons
A research team from Columbia University has designed organic molecules that can produce excitons with a longer lifecycle than inorganic equivalents. The excitons have the potential to amplify the amount of electricity generated by the photons a solar cell absorbs.
Aug 16, 2019 // Technology, USA, PV panels, Columbia University, organic molecules, inorganic, Luis Campos