It is an exciting time in the solar industry right now, with various breakthroughs and important discoveries made lately to further the quest for better and better solar cells. Scientist from around the world, including top notch Australian researchers, have developed ingenious ways of making solar energy more viable and cost effective.
Thin Film Solar Cells
Scientists have discovered that thinner solar cells are capable of trapping more sunlight than traditional arrays of solar cells. By making them thinner and intentionally roughing the surface of the cells, the light bounces inside the cell which results in better absorption and efficiency.
Thinner solar cells are also cheaper to manufacture, and by improving the absorption of electrons also further boost efficiency and output. University of New South Wales professor Martin Green recently revealed that this breakthrough will also serve as a backbone to organic semi-conductors and even plastic solar cells.
Though plastic is not an ideal material for solar panel arrays, Professor Green said that the thickness that the researchers are dealing with will allow plastic to work because of the low optical density that the thin solar cell processing will require.
Nano-sized solar cells
Recently this year Australian researchers invented a nano-sized solar cell about 1/100th the size of an average solar cell found in regular solar panels. These solar cells, or quantum dots, are made from cadmium telluride, which has good light absorbing characteristics.
The quantum dots are so small that they can be suspended in a liquid medium.
This will allow solar manufacturers to directly mass produce roofing materials that have built in solar cells, and they will be a cheaper price because of its less complex process.
The reduced size of the quantum dots hasn’t greatly compromised their efficiency rate; researchers said that the solar cells have an efficiency rate of 12% against the current 18% of traditional solar panels. This new technology will not be limited by your available roof spaces though, so you can generate more energy per home.
Stacked printable Solar cells
Lead researcher Dr.Udo Bach from the Monash University in Melbourne, in collaboration with the University of Ulm in Germany, discovered that stacked printable solar cells are capable of producing more energy than a single active electrode solar cell.
Dr. Bach explained that printable solar cells already have 2 electrodes stacked on each other,however one of them is inactive. The breakthrough is thatDr. Bach and his team found a way to replace that inactive electrode with an active one making it more efficient.
Although this technology is still under extensive research and development because of the relatively low efficiency rate compared to today’s solar panels, researchers believe that due to the fact that it can be printed onto cheap polymers, this technology will someday revolutionise the solar industry.
3-D solar panels
Dr Zhong Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology, together with US scientists, is now developing the so called “3-D” solar panels which use fibre optic technology instead of the typical solar cells.
The fibre optics work by collecting sunlight into the protruding tip, and as the light travels down the length of the cable the zinc oxide converts it to electricity. The two stage conversion process allows the zinc oxide to convert any missed light during the first stage.
Currently the technology has an efficiency rate of 3.3%, which as an example means that a 10 watt light bulb will be powered per 4 inches of fibre optics.
While mostly still in the development phase these innovations in solar power promise an exciting and better future for us, with sustainable and clean energy becoming cheaper and more effective, and the bonus of greatly reducing carbon emissions around the world.
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A solar cell is a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Sometimes the term solar cell is reserved for devices intended specifically to capture energy from sunlight such as solar panels and solar cells, while the term photovoltaic cell is used when the light source is unspecified.
The term “photo” derives from the Greek word for “light,” and the term “voltaic” comes from the word “volt” which means “electrical force.” A “cell” is a small receptacle or container containing electrodes which generate power.
Thus, a photovoltaic cell is a container that creates electric force, through light.
Whereas a solar cell can generate electricity from any light source, its intended use is the collection of solar energy from the sun.
How a Solar Cell Works
The solar cell works as follows:
Photons (which are particles of light in sun rays) hit the surface of the solar cell and are absorbed a semiconductor, such as silicon.
These photons (bits of sunlight) knock electrons loose from the atoms inside the semiconductor. The photons then push the electrons along, leaving a “gap” in the atom. Another electron is then pulled from an adjacent atom to fill the gap. And so an electrical flow is generated.
The simplicity of this is that one atom has an extra electron, and the other atom is missing one. This is referred to as a “difference in potential.” Nature, wanting to remain balanced, tries to even things out by pulling another electron from the neighboring atom.
A solar panel is comprised of a group of solar cells which are linked together to produce the desired amount of electricalenergy.
A group of solar cells linked together can also be referred to as a “module.” Thus the terms “solar panel,” and “solar module,” are synonymous to each other, and essentially mean the exact same thing.
“Solar panel” is the more common term, and “solar module” is the technical term.
One can use solar panels individually or one can link several together in order to generate more electricity. When a group of solar panels are linked together, it is called a “solar array”. The more solar panels are included in a solar array, the more power they produce.
Solar Power is a clean and virtually unlimited source of energy. I say “virtually unlimited” because the sun itself won’t last forever. But we won’t have to worry about that for the next few billion years.
Since solar power is a clean energysource which has been around for decades, one might wonder why its not used more. The answer to this lies partially in the cost of producing solar panels, as well as in the efficiency of the solar panels.
We are currently in the second generation of solar panel technology and verging on the third. A lot has changed since the first generation. Solar panels a are becoming a viable source of clean energy.
The solar cells of earlier times were relatively large and bulky compared to our current models. In view of the amount of energy and material required to produce them, and the amount of energy they actually produced, it was more costly to use solar energy than to use fossil fuels. The only exception was in places where little or no fossil fuels were available, such as in space.
With the second-generation solar cells, we attempted to tackle this exact problem. We attempted improve manufacturing techniques so as to reduce the costs, materials and energy needed for the production of solar cells.
Recently, major advances have been made in the production of solar cells, which have reduced production costs.
One contribution in this area was the development of techniques to coat glass or ceramic materials with very thin layers of semi-conductive substances. This made it possible to produce solar panels using only a fraction of the semi-conductive material that was required earlier. The production of solar panels using this second-generation technology is referred to as “Thin Film Technology.”
Third-generation solar energy technologies are currently being researched and developed. The objective is to improve the power of solar cells even further (while keeping production costs to a minimum) in which case thirty to sixty percent of the sunlight hitting the panels will be converted into electricity. (Currently, solar panels convert only about twenty percent.)
But regardless of third generation solar technology, the second-generation solar cell is efficient enough to make solar technology viable – and a host of new solar-powered products have hit the consumer market.
Solar-powered calculators have been in use for a while now, we’ve all seen them. We have even seen a few other novelty devices. But only in the last few years have solar devices come into serious and practical use.
The last two years in particular have seen a virtual explosion of solar devices hitting the market. Solar flashlights (I’ve often wandered what use they were), solar-powered radios, and, recently, solar battery chargers.
One can also now find a wide range of portable solar chargers and panels, which are lightweight and easy to transport, yet capable of providing a decent amount of power in even the most remote locations. Solar chargers are becoming a standard part of wilderness survival kits and emergency preparedness kits.
All of this is a result of the developments in solar cell technology, and the coming of the Solar Age.
Anna is the webmaster of Portable Solar Chargers, which is dedicated to helping people find the correct portable solar power devices to suit their needs, and Living Clean, where you can find further information about living in a less toxic world.
Solar power products that are used at home include solar heaters which focus thermal energy from the sun. This principle can be used to heat water to replace the cold water in the pool. The pool solar heater system is a solar powered hot water system to use in pools. Unlike other types of solar powered devices, pool solar heaters are rather simple and can extend the swimming season considerably.
Solar power products have been in the market for a long time, ranging from home solar power products to solar products for large scale consumption like street lighting. Solar power products for lighting are fixed with batteries, chargers, solar panels and converters which all work together to produce electricity.
Solar powered hot water heaters are now replacing electric heaters that burn fossil fuels, and in the process release harmful carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. You could help the environment by using solar powered hot water heating systems.
Solar heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to its point of usage. When a solar water heating and hot-water central heating system are used in conjunction, solar heat will either be concentrated in a preheating tank that feeds into the tank heated by the central heating, or the solar heat exchanger will be lower in the tank than the hotter one. When the initial costs of a solar system are properly financed and compared with energy costs, then in many cases the total monthly cost of solar heat can be less than other more conventional types of hot water heaters (and also in conjunction with an existing hot water heater).
There are lots of companies out there that can provide you with everything you will need to convert your heating system to run on solar power. You can buy solar powered water heaters in many different sizes and shapes; this makes them suitable for different applications. A solar powered water heater should pay for itself over time as you don’t need to pay for hot water again.
There are some do-it-yourself plans for creating your own pool solar heater, but that obviously will take some time and a certain amount of expertise.
It is really not that difficult and well within the reach of a person with average skills. I, however, would go for an already built system.
Frans Van Wyk is a lecturer in Information Technology with various interests in other fields. His passions include, reading, art, music and all forms of gadgets used to make life easier.
Flashlights are important. They are handheld sized yet they play a very important role in our society. They also help us counter various emergencies. They are cheap and can be found everywhere. When you shop online you of course always get a better deal. Traditional flashlights are powered by electricity. http://solarflashlight.info”>solar powered flashlights which uses solar rays from the sun. With solar power you can honestly use it everyday even in cloudy weather as the sun still is shining and this makes it a much better opportunity than traditional batteries.
Solar flashlights are lightweight which allows for better portability. They can become part of luggage without adding more weight to it. They are durable and last for longer periods than traditional lights. If you plan on buying one and want something special, there are so many models and colors, there is one that everyone will like. There are even LED flashlights that are ran with solar power. LEDs produce more than your regular bulb and actually require less power than them as well. These lights can be found everywhere at reasonable prices frequently.
Are you looking for the very best solar flashlights, that also include LEDs? By searching all day you might not find them in time for your trips. There are thousands of models online & every model claims its the best to be long lasting and durable. In order to help you out, we have prepared a list of the best solar flashlights.
. GSI Water Resistant Flashlight: A great camping solar flashlight with a built on solar panel and internal battery, this keeps your place lite up at night and charged during the day. It is waterproof and can stand up against some rough handling like dropping, which means it can be a wonderful little buddy when outdoor recreation activities.
It produces a high intensity light, which can serve various purposes. You will not need another light when camping. This monster has everything that you need while away from electric power and electricity powered lights. When you are camping, this will be your best bet!
. Rayovac SE4W3C Sportsman Extreme: This flashlight is perfect for carrying around. Its weight and dimensions make it perfect for everyday use. The flashlight is made up of metal, which makes it supreme if you have to run around and can’t care for your gadgets at all the times. This light should be a part of your home. It can fit into a drawer and can easily accompany you while travelling. It is perfect for almost every situation!
. Neiko Super Bright: If you want powerful light without compromising the size, this flashlight would be your perfect choice. It is made up of Aluminium that gives it backbone and compactness. The 9 LEDs provide enough resources for heavy-duty light needs.
. Solar Hybrid Flashlight: Hybrid Light is perfect for everyday use. If you have to carry the light around, use it at cabin and take it with you while travelling, then this is perfect for yototedite being low price, it gives exceptional performance and lives longer than its competitors do.
A solar powered flashlight can easily be carried and provides exceptional utility. You will hardly find time to charge your flashlights. The solar powered light will never go down even if you are not finding enough time to charge.
Under most of the situations, you do not find time to charge your flashlight. The solar powered light takes this worry away and becomes available even in the emergencies. Imagine having an electricity load shedding in the middle of night. You have forgotten to charge your flashlight; it will be a bizarre situation. If your flashlight is solar powered, it must have charged itself automatically from the sunlight in the day time. Now you can use that and can abet yourself around the house.
The solar powered flashlights can also come in handy when travelling. You may not find electric supply in all the areas or you may not find time to charge it. If your flashlight has solar panel, you need not to worry. It will automatically charge itself from the sun light. You just need to turn it on and you are good to go!
When you are electing the solar powered flashlights, you need to keep certain factors in mind. Here is a list of these important characteristics that your flashlight must have.
. Durability: The very first thing that every solar powered flashlight must have is durability. If the gadget is not durable, there is no point paying for it. You may get into some trouble if your light refuses to work in an emergency. If the light is durable, it will stand difficult times and will help you even when you have not taken good care of it. Moreover, it will last longer giving you value for money.
. Light intensity: You should keep the light-intensity needs in mind while choosing the flashlights. If your flashlight does not provide enough light, then it is useless.
. Size: The flashlight must be compact so that you can carry it around easily without adding more to your luggage. At times, you may need heavy-duty flashlights. You can ignore size if this is the case with you.
. Power: The best solar flashlights necessity have more than one power sources. If the light is solar powered, then it must support dry cells or rechargeable batteries as well. A flashlight that only has one option for power is not that useful. Imagine you have a light that is solar powered and you need it in the night. If you already used it in the day time, it will not have enough power to help you in the night. In case, it has alternative power options, you can easily use that and get the things done.
Tyler has been giving advice, product reviews in addition to more related topics. Solar Powered Flashlights are a much wanted item in today’s world, there are heaps of flashlights on the market and following the links will aid you to buy or and compare to figure out which one to buy or read more about them as well.
There are a growing number of people who exemplify the residential solar power Lockhart, TX has come to be known for. In fact, Lockhart is one of the most solar savvy cities in the United States, with an astounding number of people per capita that have invested in solar power for their homes or businesses. So how can you join the many homeowners that represent the residential solar power Lockhart, TX is famous for? Here’s the secret to a solar powered home:
Invest In Solar Technology!
Solar technology has made some excellent advances in the last decade, meaning that it’s not only more accessible, but it’s also more affordable! You can find a huge selection of solar products at Clean Green Nation’s online store: solar generators, solar panels, solar windows and much more! Everything is priced with the consumer in mind, meaning you won’t be put off by exorbitant prices or poor products.
But why is solar power so important? When you invest in solar powered technology, you’re reducing the traditional energy waste that many homeowners experience each year. Because solar power is a renewable energy source, you don’t have to worry about wasting energy! The power derives from light absorbed from a natural source that’s converted into an energy current we can use. Any excess energy is simply stored in a grid for when we need it next!
The residential solar power Lockhart, TX experience is unique because of the climate that it’s in. Because Texas is located in the southern United States and has a very warm climate, it’s prone to more sunshine year round than many other states.
Also, because sun shine is directly proportionate to energy in this case, this translates into massive energy savings each year for residents who have implemented solar technology!
Another aspect of solar technology that too many people tend to forget about is the great tax incentives that come with it. There are some excellent tax rebates and other incentives at both the state and federal level that can be applied to homes that utilize solar energy. They range from rebates to help you pay for your solar materials to incentives that pay you back for the energy that you save each year!
If you’re considering making the leap to a more eco friendly lifestyle, you might want to think about all the great incentives that solar power bring with it. Not only will you save money in the long run, you’ll also be doing your part to reduce the energy dependence that we as a country have on fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources. Plus, how cool would it be to say that your home runs on sun shine?
McClure will begin her work with Clean Green Nation effective immediately. To learn more about energy efficient home upgrades, green living, affordable wind energy and more, visit http://lanettam.cleangreennation.com.
With the rising cost of power in this current economic crisis and the environmental toll it takes on the earth people are starting to look at DIY Solar Power as a real alternative. It makes sense to turn to a more natural, cheaper sustainable source to fulfill our energy needs. What could be more natural than harvesting the energy given of by the sun?.
Residential solar power has been with us for decades now, but the price of installation (often driving up into the thousands of dollars) has been prohibitive for the average householder to consider homemade solar energy as a viable source of energy.
Just recently a few companies have started to put out guides on how to put together DIY solar power kits. These guides, available for around 50 or 60 dollars, lead the user step by step through the process of assembling your own solar panels and solar power system for under $ 200 in materials.
The guides which are extremely easy to follow have the potential to save you thousands of dollars in installation fees, while reaping the benefits of slashing your power bill by around 40 – 80%!.
Now don’t panic if you’re not the world’s best handy person, once gathered the materials are very easy to assemble by following the very easy to follow guides and / or videos, it really is a no-brainer and it’s actually a lot of fun. Get the whole family involved and not only will you raise their awareness about environmental issues whilst having fun building the project, but you will save yourself some money in the process.
If your serious about saving money on your energy bill and you want to do your bit for the environment, check out the following link diy solar power reviewed to learn more about diy solar panels
Please watch this video so you don’t make the same costly mistakes in building your DIY solar panel system as I did. Hopefully this information will save you time, money and a whole lot of frustration. IMPORTANT LINKS: – Grape Solar 280-Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel: www.amazon.com – MPPT Charge Controllers: www.amazon.com – Grape Solar 250-Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel: www.homedepot.com – Sunforce 30-Amp Digital Charge Controller: www.homedepot.com – BackwoodsSolar.com