Our Cities Could Become High-Density Solar Power Plants

Solar energy has a dark side. Those gargantuan plants that sprawl out like deconstructed disco balls sacrifice valuable open space and put wildlife, and possibly human lives, at risk. A new study by Stanford researchers says that focusing our solar energy efforts in already-developed urban areas could yield more… » 3/17/15 5:35pm 3/17/15 5:35pm

Apple Just Spent an Incredible Amount of Money on Solar Power

$848 million. That's the amount of cash Apple is spending on what Bloomberg calls "the biggest commercial solar deal EVER." That may seem like a crap ton of money to us, it's still less than a percent of the $178 billion in cash Apple—aka the 55th richest country in the world—has on hand right now. » 2/11/15 4:15pm 2/11/15 4:15pm

Study: Solar Energy Will Be as Cheap as Fossil Fuel Energy by 2016

A new study on solar energy from Deutsche Bank bears very good news. Thanks to technology and innovation, solar energy will be just as cheap as energy from fossil fuels by 2016. That's basically tomorrow, and it's awesome. » 10/30/14 10:00am 10/30/14 10:00am

Satellite Dishes Can Turn Toxic Waste From Fracking Into Clean Water

In the past few years, earthquakes in Oklahoma have been on the mysterious rise—the state has had more earthquakes than even California. Why? One big fat finger has been pointed at fracking, in which toxic wastewater is injected into wells that can leak and lubricate faults. We clearly need a better solution for this… » 10/27/14 3:45pm 10/27/14 3:45pm

This Cheap, New Solar Cell Doubles As a Battery

Solar power has an efficiency problem. When the electrons move from the solar panel to the battery that stores them, about 20 percent of the energy is lost. But now, thanks to new type of solar cell, nearly 100 percent of the energy is stored. That's because the solar cell itself is the battery. » 10/03/14 10:38am 10/03/14 10:38am

New Crystal Clear Solar Cells Could Power Your Smartphone One Day

The idea of a completely transparent solar panel has always been a bit of a dream. Such revolutionary technology would mean that we could turn windows into power generators and build phones with self-charging screens. Well, guess what? That dream is becoming a reality. » 8/20/14 11:06am 8/20/14 11:06am

Automatic Skyscraper Shades Bend and Fold to Keep You Comfy

It's the very worst part of working in a giant climate-controlled building: Depending on the time of day, half of the offices end up roasting while the others freeze to death. How about a smart skyscraper skin that adjusts window by window based on the angle of the sun, saving energy and allowing workers to control… » 8/11/14 5:15pm 8/11/14 5:15pm

Baltimore's Solar Wheel Pulls in 25 Tons of Harbor Garbage Daily

Baltimore harbor is apparently only about a half step up from Rio in terms of cleanliness given that the city's newest green machine—a trash-collecting water wheel powered by the sun—is expected to extract some 50,000 pounds of garbage from coastal waters every day. Every day. » 5/27/14 8:40am 5/27/14 8:40am

President Obama Pitched Solar Power At a Silicon Valley Walmart Today

Today President Obama continued his tour of California with a stop in a somewhat unlikely place: Walmart. The company has pledged to double the number of solar projects at its stores and distribution centers by 2020, and the president used the Walmart in Mountain View, California as a backdrop to discuss the… » 5/09/14 2:00pm 5/09/14 2:00pm

The Smartest Place To Build Solar Farms? Toxic Superfund Sites

The largest solar farm in the U.S. finally got cooking this year, but not without reports of singed wildlife and displaced tortoises. It turns out that both thermal solar farms and other types of solar plants can harm the environment in unforeseen ways. But what if we limited these farms to areas where no plants… » 4/10/14 4:20pm 4/10/14 4:20pm

This is a huge wall of solar cells being tested prior to their installation on European Space Agency satellites. Solar arrays are a must-have for the majority of space missions, and virtually all spacecraft these days use thousands of individual solar cells to harvest power from the sun. (Photo credit: Airbus Defense… » 4/08/14 6:45am 4/08/14 6:45am

World's Largest Landfill Will Soon Be NYC's Biggest Solar Facility

At one time, Freshkills Park was the world's largest landfill, receiving the majority of NYC's waste. Now, it's being made into a park nearly three times the size of Central Park, and Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday it will soon include the city's largest solar energy installation. » 11/26/13 12:20pm 11/26/13 12:20pm

Solar Panels: Not Just Big Rectangles on the Roof Anymore

In designing the 28th Street Apartments in South Los Angeles, architects at KoningEizenberg had several underlying missions: To restore an 80-year-old structure, to add a new residential wing, and to modernize the entire complex, making it more sustainable. In sunny L.A., adding solar energy was a no-brainer. » 11/12/13 4:30pm 11/12/13 4:30pm

8 Amazing Uses For Metamaterials, the Tech Behind Invisibility Cloaks

Metamaterials are a mind-bending class of matter. Broadly defined as manmade materials with unusual properties not found in nature, this category of materials is probably most famous for serving as the building blocks for a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak. But so much more is possible. » 8/08/13 9:00am 8/08/13 9:00am

This Inflatable Aircraft Carrier Houses a Solar-Powered Wonder Plane

When you're flying around the world in a lightweight solar-powered plane with a wingspan larger than most commercial airliners, you need to guarantee you've always got a safe place to store it on the ground. So the support team behind the Solar Impulse, the world's first globe circumnavigating solar-powered aircraft,… » 6/05/13 12:19pm 6/05/13 12:19pm

See-Through Solar Panels Are a Window To Wider Usage

New technologies have a greater chance at being accepted and embraced when they're easy to adopt. And to help the spread of solar power Sharp has developed a new see-through solar cell, allowing them to be used as architectural accents that blend into a building. » 9/26/12 9:56am 9/26/12 9:56am

This Modern Island Home Is Entirely Powered by the Sun

Great Barrier House, built by Crosson, Clarke and Carnachan in New Zealand's Great Barrier Island, is a sustainable solar-powered home constructed of sustainably-sourced timber in deference to its ecologically-sensitive island surroundings. » 6/07/12 10:40pm 6/07/12 10:40pm

Solar Impulse Is Going to Circle the Earth Nonstop—Eventually

Like a gigantic, solar-powered motherf***ing Pterodactyl, the Solar Impulse aircraft hopes to revolutionize air travel by circumnavigating the globe without landing. But first, it has to get from Switzerland to Morocco in 48 hours without refueling. » 3/29/12 11:30am 3/29/12 11:30am

Half-Price Solar Panels Thanks to An Ion Cannon

Twin Creeks Technologies is a new startup that says it has sliced the price of producing solar panels in half—using an ion cannon. According to the company, it can produce solar cells for about 40 cents per watt compared to the 80 cents it costs now. » 3/13/12 11:40am 3/13/12 11:40am

First Hybrid Power Plant Will Combine Solar, Wind and Natural Gas

A new hybrid power plant to be built in Turkey will combine a traditional gas-fired steam turbine with solar thermal power and wind power, according to GE. It's a step toward integrating renewable sources into the traditional power grid, using steam and mirrors. » 6/10/11 8:09am 6/10/11 8:09am