Today’s method of flexible solar cell manufaturing, is based on highly purified silicon compounds, which is an expensive procedure. MIT came a step closer to cheaper flexible solar cells, by using organic (carbon-containing) compounds to make lightweight, cheap and flexible cells.
The main problem why carbon did not work so far, was that graphene repels water. Typical procedures for making an electrode on the surface, by depositing the material from a solution do not work. But the MIT team added some impurities onto the surface (doping) and this changed the behavior of graphene, making it possible to bond tightly. Moreover, this doping increased the conductivity of graphene.[via]
MIT is a step closer to cheap organic solar cells - [Link]
A team from Caltech (California Institute of Technology) ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute could assist the thermo-chemical production of fuels. In a paper published in the journal Science, the researchers claim that fuel can be generated over 500 cycles. Solar to fuel efficiencies of 0.7-0.8 per cent were achieved. [via]
Solar reactor produces fuel from water and carbon dioxide – [Link]
This device allows solar cell arrays to be connected to either conventional lead-acid, sealed lead-acid, or lithium storage batteries without fear of overcharging. It allows two different electrical loads to be driven from the batteries at two different charge states to maximise power usage efficiency.
Photovoltaic Solar Battery Regulator and Load Controller – [Link]
This project is a solar irradiance meter based on TSL230R Light-to-Frequency converter and Amicus 18F25K20.
This chip features an “electronic iris” to facilitate measurements over a wide range of intensities. The photo sensor may be enabled in 3 stages to measure from near darkness (the glow of a computer monitor) to full-intensity sunlight. The output of the sensor is a pulse stream whose frequency is proportional to irradiance.
Solar Irradiance Meter - [Link]
This project shows how to build a 60W solar panel using common tools and inexpensive and easy to acquire materials. It will guide you through buying the solar cells, building the box, solder the solar celsl together, install the panel on the box, install a blocking diode, testing the solar panel etc. Check details on the link below.
Build a 60 Watt Solar Panel - [Link]
This project shows how to build a 63W solar panel using plain materials. It will guide you through everything from building the frame to soldering the solar cells. The frame is build of plywood and solar cells is better to be soldered using a low wattage soldering iron. Finally you add the plexiglass and your panel is ready. Check construction details on the link below.
DIY 63 Watt Solar Panel – [Link]
This is a solar powered robotic mobile that combines solar energy and Bluetooth module. It’s another kind of art by Mark Malmberg.
Solar Powered Robotic Mobiles - [Link]
The largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the world was completed last month. This facility is now online and is producing up to 80 megawatts of electricity.
World’s Largest Solar PV Facility Now In Canada - [Link]
This project is used for charging sealed lead-acid batteries with a solar panel in small and portable applications. The charger will stop charging once a pre-set voltage (temperature compensated) has been reached, and resume charging when the voltage has dropped off. The load is disconnected when the battery voltage drops below 11V and reconnected when it gets back to 12.5V.
Solar charger for lead-acid batteries - [Link]