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

Now We Actually Have a Real Reason to Dread Solar Eclipses 

Superstitions have surrounded the eerie solar eclipse since time immemorial. And now, for entirely scientific reasons, it turns out we have good reason to fear them. Earth's biggest solar eclipse since 1999 is happening this March, and it could cause some real disruption—thanks to Europe's reliance on solar energy. » 2/24/15 6:30pm 2/24/15 6:30pm

Dust Off That Day Planner For These Compact Solar Charging Panels

The Blackberry struck the first blow, but eventually those multi-page day planners were all but completely replaced by modern smartphones. However, they might have finally found a way to claw their way back into relevancy with these replacement day planner pages that are actually functional solar panels, letting you… » 1/01/15 2:00pm 1/01/15 2:00pm

This Ball Machine Fakes Perpetual Motion As Long As the Sun Is Shining

Why is watching a marble snake its way around a twisty maze so mesmerizing? Maybe it's an allegory on the human condition as we all try to make our way through the world? What's for certain is that they make for great desk toys, and as long as your office gets a bit of sun during the day, this one could—at least in… » 12/12/14 1:37pm 12/12/14 1:37pm

A Solar Cell Snowboard Powers Your Gadgets While You Cruise

A couple of years ago the folks at Signal Snowboards tried their hand at making a board with a thin layer of solar cells on top to charge a battery while it careened down the slopes. Not only was their creation a success, it actually worked so well the company decided to put it into production, and it's now available… » 9/29/14 4:33pm 9/29/14 4:33pm

How the World's Largest Solar Plant Wants To Fix Its Fried Bird Problem

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System has a problem. The myriad mirrors that reflect the sun's searing rays onto towers that generate electricity also create a death ray that fries anything in its path, namely poor innocent birds flying through the desert. But don't worry. They're working on it. » 8/19/14 1:32pm 8/19/14 1:32pm

MIT Explains How To Turn an Old Car Battery Into a Working Solar Cell

There are over 1 billion cars in the world, and the vast majority of them use batteries made from lead. As lithium batteries replace these old timers, eventually there may be many of the lead suckers sitting in landfills. Which is why MIT wanted to find a way to reuse them—by turning them into a new kind of solar… » 8/18/14 4:22pm 8/18/14 4:22pm

Solar Power Company Wants to Make Up For Frying Birds By Neutering Cats

A few months ago, Sploid reported on an unsettling consequence of running the world's largest solar plant. The 350,000 mirrors bounce sunlight back towards the atmosphere with such intensity that it basically creates a giant death ray. The poor little birds that pass by don't stand a chance—they get scorched in midair. » 8/18/14 11:16am 8/18/14 11:16am

A Flashlight That's Powered By the Sun (Or Your Strength)

Is there anything scarier than the thought of being out in the woods at night with a dead flashlight? Of course there is; your smartphone could be dead too. That's why GoalZero's latest flashlight, the Torch 250, can be recharged with a built-in solar panel, or simply your muscles using a pop-out hand crank. » 7/31/14 3:47pm 7/31/14 3:47pm

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

The Solar-Powered Fridge of 1937 Made Sunbeams Into Ice Cubes In 2 Hours

We often think of solar-powered devices as pretty new. But we've been harnessing the sun since long before the first practical solar cell was introduced back in 1954. For instance, in these solar-powered contraptions from a 1937 Popular Science film — including the amazing fridge that turned sunbeams into ice cubes in… » 5/09/14 6:42pm 5/09/14 6:42pm

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