Category Archives: Innovations & Technology
A solar-powered, single-pilot airplane just made aviation (and renewable energy) history, completing the 4,000-mile journey from Japan to Hawaii without stops or fossil fuel. The plane landed at Kalaeloa Airport on the island of Oahu.
The trip from Japan to Hawaii was the longest leg in the Solar Impulse 2’s ongoing trip around the world. The plane took off from Japan on Sunday afternoon, after its team determined that the weather would permit a safe passage. The crew had made a previous attempt to fly to Hawaii in late May, but that effort was aborted mid-flight due to precarious weather. Continue reading
With solar installations continuing to grow in the residential, commercial and utility segments, one of the biggest criticisms of solar technology — that it is an intermittent source of power and does not generate electricity once the sun has set — is now coming up against the benefits and values of combining battery storage with solar PV systems. Combining banks of batteries with solar systems has primarily been an application occurring in the off grid market for those buyers living in more remote areas who have not had access to centralized electricity grid service.
The market for combining battery storage with solar has historically remained small due to, among other things, a lack of integration of varying parts of solar with storage systems. Another reason for the market’s small size is the belief that electricity pricing from electric utilities will remain reasonable and power from the grid will remain reliable. Continue reading
Third generation photovoltaic cells are solar cells that are potentially able to overcome the Shockley–Queisser limit of 31-41% power efficiency for singlebandgap solar cells. This includes a range of alternatives to the so-called “first generation solar cells” (which are solar cells made of semiconducting p-n junctions) and “second generation solar cells” (based on reducing the cost of first generation cells by employing thin film technologies). Common third-generation systems include multi-layer (“tandem”) cells made of amorphous silicon or gallium arsenide, while more theoretical developments include frequency conversion, hot-carrier effects and other multiple-carrier ejection. Continue reading