Related topics: solar cells · energy · solar panels · electricity · megawatts

Cement, salt and water: A new storage material for green heat

Heating the space where we live or work is a common necessity in most inhabited areas. The energy required for this process is responsible for a third of all the energy consumed in Europe; moreover, 75% of this energy is ...

Energy-harvesting plastics pass the acid test

A polymer previously used to protect solar cells may find new applications in consumer electronics, reveals a KAUST team studying thin films capable of converting thermal energy into electricity.

Lighting the path to recycling carbon dioxide

Semiconductive photocatalysts that efficiently absorb solar energy could reduce the energy required to drive a bioelectrochemical process that converts CO2 emissions into valuable chemicals, KAUST researchers have shown.

Ecological power storage battery made of vanillin

Researchers at TU Graz have found a way to convert the aromatic substance vanillin into a redox-active electrolyte material for liquid batteries. The technology is an important step toward ecologically sustainable energy ...

'Two-headed beast': China's coal addiction erodes climate goals

China's surprise pledge to slash its carbon footprint to zero by 2060 was met with cautious applause, but fresh spending on coal to rev up a virus-hit economy threatens to nullify its audacious bid to lead the world into ...

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Solar energy

Solar energy is the radiant light and heat from the Sun that has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation along with secondary solar resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass account for most of the available renewable energy on Earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.

Solar power provides electrical generation by means of heat engines or photovoltaics. Once converted, its uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, hot water, thermal energy for cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors (with electrical or mechanical equipment) to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

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