Thursday, June 24, 2010

24.2% efficiency for silicon cell...

California solar firm SunPower Corporation has achieved a world record efficiency for a full-scale silicon solar cell.
The cell was verified as 24.2% efficient at converting sunlight into electricity – confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s own National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The company produced the cell at its manufacturing plant in the Philippines.
SunPower said improving the efficiency of solar power generation could reduce the effective costs of the technology by boosting the amount of energy generation that can be sold from solar equipment.
Effectively, making a more efficient solar cell reduces the cost per watt for the manufacturing process, installation and maintenance.


Bill Mulligan, vice president of technology and development for SunPower, said: “This new world record demonstrates SunPower’s ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world’s highest efficiency solar cells. Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel.”
SunPower, which has its head office in San Jose, California, is celebrating its 25th year in business this year.
Dr Richard Swanson, founder and chief technology officer for the firm, said the technology being produced today was “inconceivable” even a few years ago.
He said: “SunPower’s research and development and engineering teams have increased cell efficiency by a full four percentage points over the last five years while radically driving down manufacturing costs. We are extremely proud of their continued success.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

UAE Announces Plans for World’s Largest Solar Plant

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It seems everyone is rolling out with plans for the world’s largest this or that and the UAE is joining the fray with a massive concentrated solar energy project called Shams 1. Masdar is teaming up with French oil company Total and Spanish solar company Abengoa Solar to build a 100 MW solar plant outside of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Compared to the monster Desertec project in Europe and North Africa, Shams 1 is a drop in the bucket, but will be up and running long before Desertec secures financing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another iPod sound system -- solar powered

Solar-powered sound systems are certainly nothing new, but Etón has taken things a bit further than most with its new Soulra system, which not only adds an iPhone / iPod dock to the equation, but wraps it in a rugged, splash-proof enclosure. That obviously makes it better suited for the beach or pool-side than some other options, but you'll also naturally get an AC adapter and line-in to use it at home and connect other audio devices. Not much else in the way of technical specs just yet, unfortunately, but it looks like it should be available in the coming days for $199 -- Etón actually says 'now,' but most retailers seem to be saying otherwise.

Source Engadget

Apple's beautiful solar power iPhone patent

Some patents are just so sexy, and I’m loving Apple’s latest gem - solar-powered iPhones, iPads and iPods (and whatever devices may follow) in which the energy collection cells are actually hidden inside the display.

I’m so enamored of the elegance of this concept. It means that where you interact with the device will also be the point at which the device interacts with the world in an incredibly tangible way -- it gains energy, you gain information. Quite beautiful.

So, to the patent, Apple’s at pains here to describe just how it will be able to integrate cell panels beneath the multi-touch surface as opposed to it being applied to the top surface of their media players.

It also underlines another reason for Apple’s move to field glass type back panels on the iPad, as switching the iPhone's backside substrate to a non-metal surface makes it possible for Apple to “implement a double-sided solar panel design”, writes Patently Apple.

This would double the amount of power that the cells would be able to draw in order for them to power the media player longer.

The great thing about this whole notion is that your Apple device would continue to gather power when it was switched off. Meanwhile continued advances in the technology of solar power collection devices now means you can get a decent amount of power even on a grey day. Though we reckon we’ll need mains electricity for a good while yet.

All very cool.

Source 9 to 5 Mac