Go Inside the Factory That Makes the World's Solar Panels

While you're watching the final game of the World Cup today, keep a keen eye on the advertisements along the sidelines. You're likely to see the name Yingli Solar: a massive Chinese solar power manufacturer that few soccer fans are likely to know. Climate Desk recently visited Yingli's sprawling plant, and got a… » 7/13/14 4:00pm 7/13/14 4:00pm

Scientists Swapped a Toxic Chemical in Solar Cells For a Tofu Ingredient

Thin-film solar cells promise to bring flexible, low-profile solar power to all kinds of surfaces. Unfortunately, constructing thin-film panels requires cadmium chloride, a finicky, expensive, and toxic material. Now, University of Liverpool scientists have figured out how to make solar cells using magnesium chloride,… » 6/26/14 7:15pm 6/26/14 7:15pm

Color Solar Panels Let Stained Glass Windows Produce Cheap Power

Because solar panels are designed to accumulate as much light from the sun as possible, they're typically very dark in color. It makes them more efficient, but also kind of an eyesore, minimizing their adoption. So researchers at the University of Michigan have developed what they believe to be the world's first… » 3/03/14 4:00pm 3/03/14 4:00pm

A Roomba For Solar Panels That Keeps the Sun Shining Through

It's easy to live with a few smudges on your smartphone's display, but for devices like solar panels that are completely dependent on every last drop of light making it through, cleanliness is a top priority. And when you've thousands of solar panels in a field drinking in sunlight, cleaning them all manually isn't an… » 11/29/13 9:00pm 11/29/13 9:00pm

Almost Everyone Is Angling Solar Panels the Wrong Way

Conventional wisdom in the northern hemisphere is to face solar panels south so they get the most light all day. Architects and panel installers implement this approach all the time, especially on homes. But a new study indicates that panels facing west may actually get more juice from the sun, and at more convenient… » 11/17/13 12:04pm 11/17/13 12:04pm

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

Super Thin Graphene Solar Panels Could Pave the Way for Powered Paint

Covering any and all things with solar panels would be an awesome way to get power, but the bulk and expense of the tech we've got today makes it a little less than practical. But wonder-material-at-large graphene is shaking up the scene with ultra-thin solar panels and, maybe someday, solar-powered paint. » 5/03/13 11:53am 5/03/13 11:53am

Flexible Solar Panels Stack Cells on Sheets Printed Like OLEDs

Solar panels are finicky devices—they have to be specially mounted, angled, and presented with the precisely correct environmental conditions to function at capacity. The complexities make it hard for the technology to gain mainstream appeal. A German startup could change all that with flexible solar cells built using… » 4/24/12 11:30am 4/24/12 11:30am

Solar Panel-In-a-Tube Generates Power and Hot Water At the Same Time

Solar photovoltaic cells and solar thermal collectors both capture the sun's rays. The first one turns the light into electricity, while the other turns it into hot water for heating. They usually battle for rooftop real estate, but Naked Energy has found a way to merge them both into a single solar solution. » 4/12/12 4:40pm 4/12/12 4:40pm

Japanese Company Wants to Turn Moon Into Disco Ball

The moon is pretty, we guess, but what has it ever done for us? Nothing. Until now! The Shimizu Corporation, an enormous contracting conglomerate, has a plan to turn the moon into a giant, solar panel-covered disco ball, providing "13,000 terawatts of continuous solar energy being transmitted back to receiving… » 5/30/11 5:40am 5/30/11 5:40am