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

Japanese Scientists Just Beamed Energy Through the Air

Human-made satellites have long been able to harness the sun's energy as it washes over them outside the protection of our atmosphere. But what if we could beam all that solar power down to Earth? The science fictional idea may be a reality sooner than you think. » 3/14/15 2:00pm 3/14/15 2:00pm

World's Largest Solar Plant Looks Like Someone Playing Tetris From Space

The Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, California is the largest photovoltaic power station on the planet. In this image, it looks like someone aboard the International Space Station decided to power up a game of Tetris on planet Earth. » 3/06/15 8:15am 3/06/15 8:15am

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 10:50am 12/12/14 10:50am

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

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

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

This LED Flashlight Is Powered by Spherical Solar Cells

Solar-powered flashlights consistently suffer from one glaring problem: They're ugly as hell. But that's nothing that a multidisciplinary creative collective from Japan can't solve. » 8/18/14 5:00pm 8/18/14 5:00pm

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 12:38pm 7/31/14 12:38pm

The World Is Your Steam Room With a Material That Turns Sunshine Into…

Good news for vaporized water fans everywhere: MIT researchers have developed a disc-shaped material structure that generates steam using solar power. » 7/21/14 1:55pm 7/21/14 1:55pm

This Is What Solar Panels Used to Look Like

This incredibly beautiful object is a dual-axis array of non-imaging solar concentrators—or, in other words, a solar panel. Things have certainly changed, haven't they? » 6/27/14 7:00am 6/27/14 7:00am

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

Why the future of a solar powered life isn't here yet

You'd think that with all the solar farms we've been building up and all those solar panels on people's roofs we would figure out how to use solar power to replace those old smoking power plants of ours. But we can't yet. Because of stupid clouds. » 6/19/14 8:46pm 6/19/14 8:46pm

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 6:20pm 5/09/14 6:20pm

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