In a bid to bring affordable solar technology to the market by 2017, IBM Research and Airlight Energy (Switzerland) have partnered to produce a solar parabolic dish that can concentrate the sun’s radiation by 2,000 times and convert 80% of it into useful energy. The system is said to be able to generate 12 kW of electrical power and 20 kW of heat under sunny conditions, and will be capable of providing both power and hot water/air conditioning to several homes.
IBM ‘sunflower’ solar concentrator produces energy and hot water - [Link]
This Arduino Nano controlled solar battery charger can charge a standard lead acid 12V battery and runs with 90% efficiency under 70ᵒC (158ᵒF). The circuit can take up to 24V input from the solar panels. The maximum power point tracking is implemented in the circuit by measuring the output voltage and current from the solar panel to get the maximum possible power from it.
Solar battery charge controller - [Link]
This application note describes a DC-to-AC converter design, specifically targeted at converting highly variable energy from a solar panel into a form that can be directly connected to the power grid. This emphasizes on the control design and how PSoC 5LP is employed for a particular power topology.
Solar microinverter - [Link]
Here’s a cool Solar scare mosquito project by Gallactronics. He writes:
So I built a device that generates air bubbles at regular intervals and effectively produces ripples up to a radius of 2 meters (sufficient for most urban water bodies). The device automatically switches on when it comes in contact with water an alarm alerts if the water body dries up or someone tries to remove the device from water. At less than $10, the device is cost effective and being solar powered, it is energy independent and maintenance-free.
Solar scare mosquito - [Link]
kurtscottage @ youtube.com writes:
In this video I’m showing you how I built some solar panels from start to finish I tried to make it as detailed as possible. These panels cost me very little to build and are fun projects for everyone. This is just one way of doing this there are lot’s of others doing this and good videos out there. Presently I’m using my panels at a job site where there is no electricity available they are running my RV off the grid. These panels are not encapsulated but they work well and low cost not for on roof installation best to be close to ground for inspection.
Homemade Solar Panels Diy tutorial - [Link]
Over 90 % of the worlds solar cells are made from silicon but they are not particularly efficient at converting light to energy. They are made from layers of high purity crystal more than 150 micrometers thick which is costly to produce. Thin-film solar cells are an alternative technology; they convert the sun’s energy using a more efficient semiconductor process and can get similar efficiency using lower purity material that is only 2 micrometers thick. This results in much lower production costs.
The majority of thin-film cells are made from a sandwich of cadmium telluride and cadmium sulfide (CdTe/CdS) which, thanks to recent advances are now approaching the efficiency of silicon cells. The problem with this technology is that cadmium based products are extremely harmful to living organisms. Researchers at Liverpool University in the UK have discovered that magnesium chloride is a good alternative to cadmium chloride. It is extracted from sea water and has uses such as road de-icing and as a coagulant for tofu, the vegan protein foodstuff based on soy milk.
Vegan Additive makes Non-toxic Solar Cells - [Link]
mjlorton @ youtube.com writes: In this video I go through the components that are part of a solar power solution. I explain the differences between On-grid vs. off grid.
How to Solar Power Your Home / House #1 – On Grid vs Off Grid - [Link]
By Dexter Johnson:
Quantum dots have offered an attractive option for photovoltaics. Multijunction solar cells made from colloidal quantum dots (CQD) have been able to achieve around 7-percent conversion efficiency in the lab. While figures like this may not seem too impressive when compared to silicon solar cells, their promised theoretical conversion efficiency limit is an eye-popping 45 percent. This is possible because when a single photon is absorbed by a quantum dot, it produces more than one bound electron-hole pair, or exciton, thereby doubling normal conversion efficiency numbers seen in single-junction silicon cells.
Quantum Dot Solar Cells Break Conversion Efficiency Record - [Link]
Fully Programmable Solar BMS ( Battery Management System ) Learn to program microcontrollers and HW design video tutorials Open Source:
This Battery Management System development board is designed to work with any type of rechargeable Lithium batteries and supercapacitors thanks to fully user programmable parameters.
Whenever you need to use a rechargeable lithium battery you will also require a BMS. Most small device have them integrated like the battery from your laptop, cellphone or cordless power tools (if they use Lithium). Same is true for supercapacitors (EDLC).
Open Source Programmable Solar BMS Li-ion, LiFePO4 dev board - [Link]
In December 2013 Linear Technology announced a new chip – LT8490. This chip includes a 80V Buck-Boost Lead Acid & Lithium Battery Charging Controller that actively finds true Maximum Power Point in solar applications.
No yet available, that chip looks very promising. It operates with input voltages down to 6V and can boost that to charge batteries with higher voltage. I made already a schematic and board design from the preliminary datasheet that charges a 3S LiPo from a solar panel with up to 5A. A small board size allows usage in model gliders with large wing span to charge the battery in flight.
Solar charger with MPPT - [Link]