Solar Cells So Small They Don’t Even Pop Bubbles

Solar panels are hardly small things, they are so big that some places even create large fields covered in just the devices, some laws even state that you either use them on your roof or you have grass. With recent advances in the field, increasing both how much energy each solar panel can absorb but also what they look like, it was no surprise that people are more and more keen to adopt the new technology, but sometimes giant panels, even hidden ones, are just too inconvenient to be considered useful; introducing the solar cells so small that they don’t even pop bubbles.

The solar cells were created by researchers at MIT, who while they state they are years away from commercial products, the proof-of-concept means that soon your phones and even your clothes could soon be powering all your gadgets. The process involves a vacuum chamber and avoids the use of solvents, something that differs from the traditional approach of high temperature and chemicals in solar cell production.

The researchers were able to demonstrate how light and thin their solar cell was by placing it atop a soap bubble, the bubble then remained intact. The problem with the cell though is it may be too small, making it maybe a little too prone to blowing away in the wind or after a heavy breathe.

Would you like to see solar panels integrated into more things? Your house windows or your roof, why not your watch or the back of your phone? The possibilities are endless!

Town Bans Solar Panels For “Sucking Up All The Energy Of The Sun”

Solar panels are a great step in renewable energy. They are constantly being upgraded, from absorbing new areas of the light spectrum to being made see-through. Companies and governments are understanding their importance and role they could play in renewable energy, France has even made it a legal requirement to use them if your building a new office. MIT recently said that solar panels could power the planet’s energy requirements alone, and with the steps they are making that means fewer panels for the same amount of energy, doing away with things like nuclear or coal stations. The reason we don’t see more solar panels? Fear and recently Woodland, North Carolina, proved this by voting to not only stop development on a solar farm but also to ban all future solar farms.

Woodland Town Council recently voted to stop a rezoning application that would have allowed the development of a solar farm. Retired science Teacher Jane Mann told Roanoke-Chowan News Herald that she had witnessed plants around the solar panels going brown and dying because they didn’t get enough solar energy. She went on to question the number of cancer deaths in the area saying no one could tell that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

Bobby Mann, a local, stated that he had watched communities dry up when the I-95 was built and that solar panels would do the same to Woodland. He continued to say that solar farms would “suck up all the energy from the sun”.

The development of a newly renamed “solar vacuums” are on hold as we wonder what education and scientific principle were used to ban solar farms, while not perfect they are environmentally friendly and to go so far as voting on a moratorium on future solar farms with these “facts”, we hope they rethink the issue through soon.

Do you have solar panels? How have you found them? Do you like the idea of a solar farm outside your local area to help power the community or are you afraid of the effects the new technology may have?

Is E-Ink The Future of Remote Controlled Traffic Signs?

Wouldn’t it be better to have signs that change themselves when you want to if you live in a city with a lot of traffic or events? Sydney’s State of New South Wales’ Road and Maritime Services seems to agree and started using Visionect’s digital signage to help with all the traffic changes happening around the city.

Sydney is well-known for having a lot of football and cricket matches events, so on those days, drivers are faced with a hectic traffic. Up until now, RMS used to put up and take down different signs to show traffic changes, but since they started using the e-ink signs, they say things just got a lot faster and easier.

The e-ink displays were used for the signs due to the fact that they use a lot less power, so hooking them up to a solar-powered battery wouldn’t be a problem. The signs are also equipped with wireless broadband and can be updated remotely, so you can update and turn them on or off with the press of a button. Now imagine placing them, taking them down and changing them manually… it’s a really great improvement, isn’t it?

For now, RMS rolled out 15 of these signs on George Street in the Sydney CBD and some in Moore Park area. However, the signs are so time and cost efficient that they can almost replace every sign which requires to be changed every now and then to reflect traffic changes. Will this be the future of traffic signs? What do you think?

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

MIT Says Solar Panels Alone Can Handle Electricity Burden

An extensive study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that, despite unevidenced claims to the contrary, current solar panel technology is capable of delivering all the electricity a modern household could need. According to the 356-page report – The Future of Solar Energy – solar panels could, with the proper investment, deliver terawatts of electricity by 2050. MIT maintains that it is not the technology that is holding solar power back, but the investment, with researchers calling for increased funding from the US government.

“The recent shift of federal dollars for solar R&D away from fundamental research of this sort to focus on near-term cost reductions in c-Si technology should be reversed,” the report reads.

Richard Schmalensee, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said, “What the study shows is that our focus needs to shift toward new technologies and policies that have the potential to make solar a compelling economic option.”

“Massive expansion of solar generation worldwide by mid-century is likely a necessary component of any serious strategy to mitigate climate change,” reads the conclusion of the study. “Fortunately, the solar resource dwarfs current and projected future electricity demand. In recent years, solar costs have fallen substantially and installed capacity has grown very rapidly.”

Thank you Engadget and Computer World for providing us with this information.

France Starts With Solar Panels or Plants on the Rooftops

The rooftop scenery in France is set to change over the new few years as new buildings built in commercial zones in France will be required by law to either be covered in plants or solar panels.

While originally intended to cover all new buildings, the law was narrowed down to only included new commercial buildings. Intended to implement “green roofs” on all buildings, a term used to describe roofs which are covered in plants and grass, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat a building by insulating the roof (one of the main sources of heat loss in a building) thus keeping the building warm in winter and cool in summer. The new law, brought in on Thursday, allows for only part of the roof to be covered and offers the option to include solar panels, allowing them to generate electricity instead.

This is not the first case of a country enforcing green roofs through the law, Toronto in Canada adopted a law making them mandatory in industrial and residential buildings.

Have you ever seen a green roof? What do you think of them, is this the future of buildings?

Thank you Guardian for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ezsolar.

World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant Coming to Japan

Renewable energy venture Kyocera TCL has announced plans for a floating 13.4 MW solar power plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. In terms of capacity/output, the solar plant will become the largest of its kind in the world.

The plant will take up an area of 180,0002, with an output of 15,635 MWh/year, or  ¥450 million-worth of electricity per year. Kyocera is also building a number of other solar installations over Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, with plans to build another 30 plants between 2015 and 2016.

Japan has invested over $30 billion in solar energy over the last year, and is on course to usurp China as the largest solar installer in the world.

Source: Clean Technica