Friday, February 27, 2015Register

The George R. Brown Convention Center

The George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) Solar Pilot Program, managed by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) is part of the Solar Houston Initiative (SHI), a Department of Energy (DOE) Solar America Cities (SAC) program. The DOE SAC program is a federal program to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner, more secure energy future. Sponsorship and funding for the GRB Solar Pilot Program was provided by the City of Houston, GRB, HARC, Houston Endowment Inc., Standard Renewable Energy (SRE), The American Institute of Architects, Houston Architecture Foundation, BP and CenterPoint Energy.

The system consists of  51.3 kW DC STC crystalline module array  and a 49.0 kW DC STC amorphous thin film array. The crystalline module array consists of 270 BP modules, rated at 190 watt (W) DC STC, located on the I-beam along the south side of the building, mounted on supports painted to match the color of the existing beams. The amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film array consists of 360 Uni-Solar Photovoltaic (PV) flexible thin film panels, rated at 136 W DC STC, installed on the southern portion of the GRB roof adhered with Green Lock membrane adhesive. Each array is connected to a Satcon Photovoltaic PowerGate Plus 50 kW 480V 3ph 60Hz Nema 3R inverter system (Model # PVS-50-4UL-10 Years). The inverters are connected to the building’s electrical distribution system.   

 

Discovery Green

 

 

Green Building Resource Center


Magnetic nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells
Magnetic nanoparticles can increase the performance of solar cells made from polymers -- provided the mix is right. Adding about one per cent of such nanoparticles by weight makes the solar cells more efficient, according to new findings.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/IAUHY9dMFsg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Researchers enable solar cells to use more sunlight
Scientists report progress in photovoltaic research: they have improved a component that will enable solar cells to use more energy of the sun and thus create a higher current.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/oVEpiwBQ3m0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Using 'fuzzy logic' to optimize hybrid solar/battery systems
A group of researchers in Tunisia and Algeria show how fuzzy logic has helped them create an ideal photovoltaic system that obeys the supply-and-demand principle and its delicate balance. They have now described this new sizing system of a solar array and a battery in a standalone photovoltaic system.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/HcL8lnq-EIQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Detecting defects at the nanoscale will profit solar panel production
New research may lead to major efficiency gains and cost savings in the manufacture of flexible solar panels. The goal is to develop new technologies for the detection, cleaning and repair of micro and nanoscale defects in thin films that are vital in products such as printed electronics and solar panels.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/axBR7f9wvXs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Hydropower completes greening of Norway
The Norwegian energy supply can be sustainable by 2030, according to new research, as long as politicians keep their promises, authors say, after analyzing the development potential of the Norwegian energy system to find out how it could be made more sustainable. <img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/XRMmNpWpN5g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Cheap solar cells made from shrimp shells
Researchers have successfully created electricity-generating solar-cells with chemicals found the shells of shrimps and other crustaceans for the first time.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/d8X2rtCYbxw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Semiconductor works better when hitched to graphene
Graphene -- a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon with highly desirable electrical properties, flexibility and strength -- shows great promise for future electronics, advanced solar cells, protective coatings and other uses, and combining it with other materials could extend its range even further.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/-3jZX4XSfbI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Hybrid perovskite nanoparticles with 80% luminescence yield obtained
Researchers have developed a method for preparing methylammonium-lead bromide hybrid nanoparticles with extraordinary luminescence. They have successfully increased the luminescence efficiency of nanoparticles up to 80% and has also proven their high stability under ultraviolet visible light.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/2DOyzgrLACI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Construction of the world's biggest solar telescope
With a four-meter diameter primary mirror, the telescope will be able to pick up unprecedented detail on the surface of the Sun -- the equivalent of being able to examine a coin from 100 kms away. It will address fundamental questions at the core of contemporary solar physics. It will do this via high-speed (sub-second timescales) spectroscopic and magnetic measurements of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and corona.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/o1jPTe2tWGE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Bionic leaf: Researchers use bacteria to convert solar energy into liquid fuel
Solar energy can be harnessed using electricity from photovoltaic cells to yield hydrogen that can be stored in fuel cells. But hydrogen has failed to catch on as a practical fuel for cars or for power. Converting solar energy into liquid fuel could accelerate its adoption as a power source.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/58E-uXWhjCo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Why 'baking powder' doubles or triples efficiency of plastic solar cells
The efficiency of plastic solar cells can be doubled or tripled if an extra solvent is added during the production process, comparable with the role of baking powder in dough mixture. Exactly how this works has been unclear for the last ten years. But now researchers have come up with the answer in a publication in Nature Communications. This new understanding will now enable focused development of plastic solar cells.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/b1JSMPauzwg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Chances of saving with solar energy greater for Indiana farms than homes
The probability of saving money by using solar energy rather than standard grid electricity is 92 percent for Indiana farm businesses and about 50 percent for homes, energy economists find.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/k0BR-E5cXvE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

High efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop
Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop thanks to a new microscale solar concentration technology developed by an international team of researchers.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/82hYXoM_Mzc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar and wind power will be the cheapest forms of energy in the future
A new study demonstrates that an energy system based completely on renewable forms of energy will be economically viable in the future. Within ten years, solar and wind power will be the cheapest forms of energy production for Asia's largest energy markets.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/lDmhfD1Kk6A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

A third industrial revolution for Norway
Norway's wealth and prosperity over the last four decades has been built on oil, but a futurist and social and economic thinker, says it's time for the country to change. The Third Industrial Revolution is coming, and Norway needs to abandon fossil fuels and move towards a greener future that relies on renewable energy, shared transport and ultra-efficient housing, he says.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/1CQZ--kTOwY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Quest for efficiency in thermoelectric nanowires
Reseachers have developed a single electroforming technique that tailored key factors to better thermoelectric performance: crystal orientation, crystal size and alloy uniformity.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/Bxyey_U-ghc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Pinholes are pitfalls for high performance solar cells
The most popular next-generation solar cells under development may have a problem – the top layer is full of tiny pinholes, researchers have found.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/jfkozT06ZcU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Crystal light: New family of light-converting materials points to cheaper, more efficient solar power and LEDs
Engineers have shone new light on an emerging family of solar-absorbing materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar panels and LEDs. The materials, called perovskites, are particularly good at absorbing visible light, but had never been thoroughly studied in their purest form: as perfect single crystals. Using a new technique, researchers grew large, pure perovskite crystals and studied how electrons move through the material as light is converted to electricity.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/X5FLIAVVrQ4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New technique for growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells
Researchers have revealed a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals. The researchers fabricated planar solar cells from pervoskite materials with large crystalline grains that had efficiencies approaching 18%.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/6NyGQ_-mb4o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar chip monitors windows
A new kind of radio chip is intended to warn when windows are left open. This way, you can avoid having the heat go out the window on cold days. The sensor also detects break-in attempts early on. The key: This maintenance-free chip powers up with energy supplied by solar power.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/fBCtjvE6Jko" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Demystifying nanocrystal solar cells
Researchers have developed a comprehensive model to explain how electrons flow inside new types of solar cells made of tiny crystals. The model allows for a better understanding of such cells and may help to increase their efficiency.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/qJSRE8ABBHs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Economic trade-offs of owning versus leasing a solar photovoltaic system
Two new reports examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. Analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/LoCaYd1iDgY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Carbon nanoballs can greatly contribute to sustainable energy supply
Researchers have discovered that the insulation plastic used in high-voltage cables can withstand a 26 per cent higher voltage if nanometer-sized carbon balls are added. This could result in enormous efficiency gains in the power grids of the future, which are needed to achieve a sustainable energy system. The renewable energy sources of tomorrow will often be found far away from the end user. Wind turbines, for example, are most effective when placed out at sea. Solar energy will have the greatest impact on the European energy system if focus is on transport of solar power from North Africa and Southern Europe to Northern Europe.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/BdPLiR3xf5E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Do green roofs, solar panels work well together?
A new study examines whether solar electricity panels and green roofs can work well in tandem. With ongoing urbanization, which reduces the variety of species found in cities, green roofs can increase biological diversity, and also provide insulation, bringing energy benefits to building owners who will save money on heating and cooling, authors say.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/ZSxP2Gf7wFc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Calculating the future of solar-fuel refineries
A team of engineers has developed a new tool to help engineers better gauge the overall yield, efficiency and costs associated with scaling solar-fuel production processes up into large-scale refineries.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/eyd9i9tU_Fw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New technique helps probe performance of organic solar cell materials
Researchers have developed a technique for determining the role that a material's structure has on the efficiency of organic solar cells, which are candidates for low-cost, next generation solar power. The researchers used the technique to determine that materials with a highly organized structure at the nanoscale are not more efficient at creating free electrons than poorly organized structures -- a finding which will guide future research and development efforts.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/xKzO_G6v-0Y" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New technique for producing cheaper solar energy suggested by research
Pioneering new research could pave the way for solar energy to be converted into household electricity more cheaply than ever before. The global PV market has experienced rapid growth in recent years due to renewable energy targets and CO2 emission controls.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/Y-Uq1dKzfnU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Decorative and flexible solar panels become part of interior design and the appearance of objects
Scientists have developed and utilized a mass production method based on printing technologies allowing the manufacturing of decorative, organic solar panels. Design freedom improves the range of applications of the panels on the surfaces of interior and exterior building spaces. Researchers are also studying the feasibility of printing technology in the mass production of solar panels made from inorganic perovskite materials. The new mass production method enables to create interior design elements from organic solar panels (OPV, organic photovoltaics) harvesting energy from interior lighting or sunlight for various small devices and sensors that gather information from the environment. The panels can, for example, be placed on windows and walls and on machines, devices and advertisement billboards.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/KWk8kyRkh9M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

First public lighting system that runs on solar and wind energy
Scientists have developed the first autonomous industrialized public lighting system that works with solar and wind energy.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/JAIqN6ipQg4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Making waves with lasers could enhance solar cell efficiency
Laser processing produces deep ripples in silicon over a wide area — something that could enhance solar cell efficiency.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/DBtyCEHtRYo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Perovskites provide big boost to silicon solar cells
Stacking perovskites onto a conventional silicon solar cell dramatically improves the overall efficiency of the cell, according to a new study.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/JAjDLOS2gC4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Improved solar panels and printed electronics on the horizon with new material discovery
New and improved solar panels could result from the discovery of a new liquid crystal material, making printable organic solar cells better performing.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/8plsnr3i2LI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar cell polymers with multiplied electrical output
Scientists paired up photovoltaic polymers that produce two units of electricity per unit of light instead of the usual one on a single molecular polymer chain. Having the two charges on the same molecule means the light-absorbing, energy-producing materials work efficiently when dissolved in liquids, which opens the way for a wide range of industrial scale manufacturing processes, including "printing" solar-energy-producing material like ink.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/77navL4ZdoY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Flexible methane production from electricity and bio-mass
Interlinkage of the power and gas grids is planned to make electricity supply sustainable and robust in the future. Fluctuating amounts of wind and solar power, for instance, might be stored in the form of the chemical energy carrier methane. Now researchers have now proved that this is technically feasible.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/sPAJl_ZJxFs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

From the lab to your digital device, quantum dots have made quantum leaps
Quantum dots have not only found their way into tablets, computer screens, and TVs, they are also used in biological and medical imaging tools, and now researchers are exploring them for solar cell as well as brain imaging applications.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/-gU13J2o0xw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Wave energy integration costs should compare favorably to other energy sources
A new analysis suggests that large-scale wave energy systems developed in the Pacific Northwest should be comparatively steady, dependable and able to be integrated into the overall energy grid at lower costs than some other forms of alternative energy, including wind power.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/FKCB6kLQ1Ug" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Defects in solar cells made of silicon identified
A researcher has focused recent study on "defects found on silicon and their impact on the efficiency of solar cells made with this material."<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/srN2gEDXVEs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Quantum world without queues could lead to better solar cells
Scientists have used new technology to study extremely fast processes in solar cells. The research results form a concrete step towards more efficient solar cells.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/dJww2XGFt2Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Glimpsing pathway of sunlight to electricity
Four pulses of laser light on nanoparticle photocells in a spectroscopy experiment has opened a window on how captured sunlight can be converted into electricity. The work, which potentially could inspire devices with improved efficiency in solar energy conversion, was performed on photocells that used lead-sulfide quantum dots as photoactive semiconductor material.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/jY-q0Xamgy4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Comparing state solar policies to determine equation for solar market success
Scientists have used statistical analyses and detailed case studies to better understand why solar market policies in certain states are more successful. Their findings indicate that while no standard formula for solar implementation exists, a combination of foundational policies and localized strategies can increase solar photovoltaic installations in any state.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/Pgptd13Or8Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Nuclear should be in the energy mix for biodiversity
Leading conservation scientists from around the world have called for a substantial role for nuclear power in future energy-generating scenarios in order to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/4Vn9H0XYxJk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Stacking two-dimensional materials may lower cost of semiconductor devices
A team of researchers has found that stacking materials that are only one atom thick can create semiconductor junctions that transfer charge efficiently, regardless of whether the crystalline structure of the materials is mismatched -- lowering the manufacturing cost for a wide variety of semiconductor devices such as solar cells, lasers and LEDs.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/gL13LgIn_AI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New technique could harvest more of the sun's energy
As solar panels become less expensive and capable of generating more power, solar energy is becoming a more commercially viable alternative source of electricity. However, the photovoltaic cells now used to turn sunlight into electricity can only absorb and use a small fraction of that light, and that means a significant amount of solar energy goes untapped. A new technology represents a first step toward harnessing that lost energy.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/8Hd6bJosG60" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Is natural gas a 'bridge' to a hotter future?
Natural gas power plants produce substantial amounts of gases that lead to global warming. Replacing old coal-fired power plants with new natural gas plants could cause climate damage to increase over the next decades, unless their methane leakage rates are very low and the new power plants are very efficient.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/xC092Dv01UY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

In world first, researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency
Australia's solar researchers have converted over 40 percent of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported. A key part of the prototype's design is the use of a custom optical bandpass filter to capture sunlight that is normally wasted by commercial solar cells on towers and convert it to electricity at a higher efficiency than the solar cells themselves ever could.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/ZieovpyWTiQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New technique offers spray-on solar power
Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap. Scientists have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) -- a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/9HCAZW9_aSk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Light propagation in solar cells made visible
How can light which has been captured in a solar cell be examined in experiments? Scientists have succeeded in looking directly at light propagation within a solar cell by using a trick. The photovoltaics researchers are working on periodic nanostructures that efficiently capture a portion of sunlight which is normally only poorly absorbed.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/mBQF8-fqw8c" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Low-grade waste heat regenerates ammonia battery
An efficient method to harvest low-grade waste heat as electricity may be possible using reversible ammonia batteries, according to engineers. Low-grade waste heat is an artifact of many energy-generating methods. In automobiles, waste heat generated in winter is diverted to run the vehicle heating system, but in the summer, that same waste heat must be dissipated to the environment.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/2T3gMhscJpY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Matched 'hybrid' systems may hold key to wider use of renewable energy
The use of renewable energy in the United States could take a significant leap forward with improved storage technologies or more efforts to 'match' different forms of alternative energy systems that provide an overall more steady flow of electricity, researchers say in a new report.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/QbO3E34aH04" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Physicists bind single-atom sheets with the same force geckos use to climb walls
The approach is to design synergistic materials by combining two single-atom thick sheets, for example, that act as a photovoltaic cell as well as a light-emitting diode, converting energy between electricity and radiation.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/RcE0QAuf9u8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Blu-ray disc can be used to improve solar cell performance
Who knew about Blu-ray discs? One of the best ways to store high-definition movies and television shows because of their high-density data storage, Blu-ray discs also improve the performance of solar cells, according to a new study. Researchers have discovered that the pattern of information written on a Blu-ray disc -- and it doesn't matter if it's Jackie Chan's 'Supercop' or the cartoon 'Family Guy' -- works very well for improving light absorption across the solar spectrum.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/T7t6kSrhJ9A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Scientists get to the heart of fool's gold as a solar material
As the installation of photovoltaic solar cells continues to accelerate, scientists are looking for inexpensive materials beyond the traditional silicon that can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. Theoretically, iron pyrite could do the job, but when it works at all, the conversion efficiency remains frustratingly low. Now, a research team explains why that is, in a discovery that suggests how improvements in this promising material could lead to inexpensive yet efficient solar cells.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/-wzZzVj0E1o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Revolutionary solar-friendly form of silicon shines
Silicon is the second most-abundant element in the earth's crust. When purified, it takes on a diamond structure, which is essential to modern electronic devices -- carbon is to biology as silicon is to technology. Scientists have synthesized an entirely new form of silicon, one that promises even greater future applications.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/1gFDsfrXYzE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New materials for more powerful solar cells
Applying a thin film of metallic oxide significantly boosts the performance of solar panel cells. Researchers have developed a new class of materials comprising elements such as bismuth, iron, chromium, and oxygen. These 'multiferroic' materials absorb solar radiation and possess unique electrical and magnetic properties.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/wjchak4oIMw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New materials yield record efficiency polymer solar cells
Researchers have found that temperature-controlled aggregation in a family of new semi-conducting polymers is the key to creating highly efficient organic solar cells that can be mass produced more cheaply.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/L1fMHkrwGkc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Your own energy 'island'? Microgrid could standardize small, self-sustaining electric grids
When researchers talk about "islanding," or isolating, from the grid, they are discussing a fundamental benefit of microgrids -- small systems powered by renewables and energy storage devices. The benefit is that microgrids can disconnect from larger utility grids and continue to provide power locally.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/IL0mSq5diuU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Combining 'Tinkertoy' materials with solar cells for increased photovoltaic efficiency
Researchers are working to develop a technique that they believe will significantly improve the efficiencies of photovoltaic materials and help make solar electricity cost-competitive with other sources of energy.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/81rWrpQdE0M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat
A multidisciplinary engineering team developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/GPm_tVCG0BU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Acousto-optic tunable filter technology for balloon-borne platforms
A balloon-borne acousto-optic tunable filter hyperspectral imager is ideally suited to address numerous outstanding questions in planetary science. Their spectral agility, narrowband wavelength selection, tolerance to the near-space environment, and spectral coverage would enable investigations not feasible from the ground. Example use cases include synoptic observations of clouds on Venus and the giant planets, studies of molecular emissions from cometary comae, the mapping of surface ices on small bodies, and polarimetry.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/BDI598ooJJU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Cheaper silicon means cheaper solar cells
Researchers have pioneered a new approach to manufacturing solar cells that requires less silicon and can accommodate silicon with more impurities than is currently the standard. Those changes mean that solar cells can be made much more cheaply than at present.<img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/sciencedaily/matter_energy/solar_energy/~4/TqwjnZ8hdjk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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