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

A Home Art Installation That Doubles As a Rooftop Solar Panel Monitor

Installing a set of solar panels on the roof of your home can lead to significant savings when your monthly power bill arrives. But how do you know how well they're performing in between without watching the meter like a hawk? With this innocuous looking piece of art that doubles as a home energy monitor. » 4/09/14 4:20pm 4/09/14 4:20pm

This Plane Will Circle the World Using Only the Power of the Sun

You've probably heard about the ambitious, almost impossible-sounding project to fly a solar-powered plane around the world without refueling. But now, about a year before the voyage is scheduled to begin, you get your first look at the plane itself. It's unlike any plane you've seen before. » 4/09/14 12:00pm 4/09/14 12:00pm

Cheap, Colorful Solar-Powered Watches That Require No Maintenance

Based on the same technology that lets Citizen's high-end watches with Eco-Drive stay perpetually charged by the sun, Q&Q (a company founded almost 40 years ago as part of Citizen) has finally made its once Japan-only SolarSmile watches available internationally. So for just $40—with free shipping—you can get a simple… » 4/02/14 5:00pm 4/02/14 5:00pm

New Light-Emitting Solar Cells Could Be Used as Smartphone Displays

In the future, the glass that coats our skyscrapers could also serve as the power plant that keeps the lights on. This is not news. However, with an amazing new material being developed in Singapore, that same glass could also turn your city's windows into skyscraper-sized displays. » 3/24/14 6:30pm 3/24/14 6:30pm

New Interactive Map Explores State of U.S. Solar Power

The Center for Land Use Interpretation, in Culver City, Los Angeles, opened a new exhibition on Friday exploring the contemporary state of solar power in the United States. The show includes extensive photographs of all existing solar power plants in the U.S. southwest, many of which were taken "from the air, using… » 3/10/14 2:20pm 3/10/14 2:20pm

The World's Largest Solar Plant Started Creating Electricity Today

Take 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. Control them with computers to focus the Sun's light to the top of 459-foot towers, where water is turned into steam to power turbines. Bingo: you have the world's biggest solar power plant, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. » 2/13/14 7:15am 2/13/14 7:15am

Ford's New Solar-Powered Electric Car Is Its Own Rolling Power Grid

Electric cars have come a long way in the past decade or two, but one glaring problem remains: you have to charge the dang things. What do you do when there aren't enough charging stations (and there aren't)? If you're Ford, you build a car that charges itself. » 1/02/14 2:00pm 1/02/14 2:00pm

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

Self-Contained Solar-Powered Streetlights Stay Completely Off the Grid

Those long dark stretches of highway out in the middle of nowhere without any streetlights might soon be a thing of the past thanks to the engineers and designers at the Netherlands-based Kaal Masten. They've created the Spirit, a standalone solar-powered streetlight that gets all the energy it needs from the sun, so… » 10/16/13 3:06pm 10/16/13 3:06pm

Flexible Solar Panel Wings Could One Day Let Robot Birds Fly Forever

Hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey have been known to stay aloft for hours on end using a strategic mix of flapping and gliding. Robotic birds can do the same, except that they can't replenish their batteries by snatching a mid-flight snack. However, researchers at the University of Maryland are perfecting a set… » 10/16/13 10:34am 10/16/13 10:34am

IKEA's Going to Sell Solar Panels Now (No Assembly Required)

Get excited, Earthlings who like the Earth: IKEA just announced a new program to sell energy-saving solar panels in each of its 17 UK stores. This means that with a little bit more effort than it takes to purchase a set of Billy bookcases, Brits can be doing their part to bring the world a little closer to sustainable… » 9/30/13 1:27pm 9/30/13 1:27pm

Daisy-Chain This Keychain Solar Battery's Panels For Faster Charges

You can never have too many sources of backup power for your mobile devices. And not only is the compact ClicLite easy to carry around, it also charges itself using the sun's continuously free rays. But what's that you say? That tiny solar panel will take hours to recharge its internal battery? Well then it's a good… » 9/09/13 4:00pm 9/09/13 4:00pm