Tag Archives: Photovoltaic

Solar Cells Made Obsolete – 3D rectennas aim at 40-to-90% efficiency


R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:

PORTLAND, Ore.–Now before you get all excited by the headline, which is not click-bait according to the researchers, a new kind of nanoscale rectenna (half antenna and half rectifier) can convert solar and infrared into electricity, plus be tuned to nearly any other frequency as a detector. The invention was made at Georgia Tech (Atlanta) and peer-reviewed in today’s issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

Right now efficiency is only one percent, but in the paper (DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.220) professor Baratunde Cola and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, Atlanta) convincingly argue that they can achieve 40 percent broad spectrum efficiency (double that of silicon and more even than multi-junction gallium arsenide) at a one-tenth of the cost of conventional solar cells (and with an upper limit of 90 percent efficiency for single wavelength conversion).

Solar Cells Made Obsolete – 3D rectennas aim at 40-to-90% efficiency – [Link]

Energy-harvesting power management ICs for wireless sensor nodes


by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:

Cypress Semiconductor has introduced what it believes to be the lowest-available-power PMICs that enable an integrated module size of 1 cm² for solar-powered wireless sensor node (WSN) designs.

Intended to manage solar-powered wireless sensors for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, these parts are said to be the lowest-power, single-chip Energy Harvesting PMICs, and can be used with solar cells as small as 1 cm². Cypress offers a complete, battery-free energy harvesting solution that pairs the S6AE101A PMIC, the first device in the new family, with the EZ-BLE PRoC module for Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity, along with supporting software, in a $49 kit.

Energy-harvesting power management ICs for wireless sensor nodes – [Link]

Large area industrial crystalline silicon n-PERT solar cell with a record 22.5 percent efficiency


@ phys.org:

Nano-electronics research center imec announced today at Intersolar Europe, a new efficiency record for its large area n-type PERT (passivated emitter, rear totally diffused) crystalline silicon (Cz-Si) solar cell, now reaching 22.5 percent (calibrated at ISE CalLab). It is the highest efficiency achieved for a two-side-contacted solar cell processed on six inch commercially available n-type Cz-Si wafers without the use of passivated contacts.

N-type silicon solar cells are considered as promising alternatives to p-type solar cells for next generation highly efficient solar cells thanks to their ability to withstand light-induced degradation and to their higher tolerance to common metal impurities.

Large area industrial crystalline silicon n-PERT solar cell with a record 22.5 percent efficiency – [Link]

Logging harvested solar power using $15 Scorpion Board


by Pieter:

It’s undeniable that South Africa is experiencing a critical electricity crisis. On the positive side, it’s forcing us to conserve and consider alternative sources of energy. My mom sponsored our household with a cheap Chinese solar panel with battery pack and LED lights to use during load shedding (we live in Cape Town zone 6 and you can find the schedule here).

This made me wonder: how much solar power does this system harvest in one day? Enter my handy $15 Scorpion Board. I built a cheap current sensor board (using a Diodes ZXCT1051 low side current sensor IC).

Logging harvested solar power using $15 Scorpion Board – [Link]

See-through solar concentrator harvests energy from sunlight


by Amy Norcross @ edn.com:

A team of Michigan State University (MSU) researchers has created a transparent solar concentrator able to turn any window (or other sheet of glass, such as the screen for a smartphone) into a photovoltaic solar cell. What makes this development different? The panel is truly transparent.

Earlier attempts at building transparent solar cells resulted in panels with tinted glass and/or compromised visibility. Lead researcher Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU, says, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass. It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco.”

See-through solar concentrator harvests energy from sunlight – [Link]

Solar self-rechargeable Battery


This is a prototype model Battery (type C ) for electronic devices. The battery has the ability to be recharged by the sun and don’t need any battery charger. It is necessary for climbers, explorers, soldiers, free camping and general for humans who attempt in areas without infrastructure electricity. The standard can also be applied to other types of batteries and the current technology allows their development with much greater energy capacity.

Specifications of the prototype:

  • Battery 1.2v 700 mAh
  • Solar cell 1.5v 70mA

Solar self-rechargeable Battery – [Link]

120A Solar BMS charger LiFePO4,Li-ion OffGrid,RV with WiFi


The NEW Solar BMS charger for LiFePO4 or any other Li-ion battery and used for OffGrid House, RV or boats, with wireless datalogging.

 Solar BMS (Solar Battery Management System)is a solar charge controller designed to replace the Lead Acid solar charge controllers most people use today in Offgrid, RV, Boats and multiple other applications with 12V and 24V systems. Solar BMS can be used with 3 up to 8 Lithium cells (any type) or supercapacitors. The new SBMS100 will have multiple improvements over the first generation SBMS4080 see further for details.

120A Solar BMS charger LiFePO4, Li-ion OffGrid,RV with WiFi – [Link]

A basic Arduino Solar PV Monitor


by retrotext.blogspot.co.uk:

I have just recently had solar pv installed, mainly to future proof my energy costs, I do not expect it to be like drilling for oil in my back garden, however the return looks to be encouraging.

The install gives you another single unit meter, from this you will see the total amount the panels produce, but that is about it.

I wanted to know how much the production was as it was happening, I discovered the light blinks on the front of the meter will flash 1000 times for each kWh of electricity which passes through. The rate of the flashing of the LED tells you how much power is currently passing through the meter.

A basic Arduino Solar PV Monitor – [Link]

Specialized ICs, PV Cells Enable Energy Harvesting from Indoor Lighting


by Stephen Evanczuk @ digikey.com:

Indoor lighting offers a convenient energy source for many applications but lacks the high-power levels of solar energy. In fact, indoor lighting energy-harvesting systems face a number of challenges that differ subtlety from those encountered in solar-energy harvesting. Nevertheless, engineers can quickly implement energy-harvesting designs using a variety of components and specialized devices from manufacturers including Cymbet, IXYS, Linear Technology, Panasonic, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments, among others.

Specialized ICs, PV Cells Enable Energy Harvesting from Indoor Lighting – [Link]

Arduino MPPT Solar Charge Controller v3


by deba168 @ instructables.com:

Welcome to my solar charge controller tutorials series.I have posted two version of my PWM charge controller.If you are new to this please refer my earlier tutorial for understanding the basics of charge controller.

This instructable will cover a project build for a Arduino based Solar MPPT charge controller.

Now a days the most advance solar charge controller available in the market is Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT).The MPPT controller is more sophisticated and more expensive.It has several advantages over the earlier charge controller.It is 30 to 40 % more efficient at low temperature.

But making a MPPT charge controller is little bit complex in compare to PWM charge controller.It require some basic knowledge of power electronics. I put a lot of effort to make it simple, so that any one can understand it easily.If you are aware about the basics of MPPT charge controller then skip the first few steps.

Arduino MPPT Solar Charge Controller v3 – [Link]