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

Researchers find a way to harness the entire spectrum of sunlight

Scientists for the first time have developed a single molecule that can absorb sunlight efficiently and also act as a catalyst to transform solar energy into hydrogen, a clean alternative to fuel for things like gas-powered ...

Image: The sun in 2019

The changing activity of our sun as seen by ESA's Proba-2 satellite in 2019.

Polluted wastewater in the forecast? Try a solar umbrella

Evaporation ponds, which are commonly used in many industries to manage wastewater, can span acres, occupying a large footprint and often posing risks to birds and other wildlife. Yet they're an economical way to deal with ...

Harnessing hot carriers for high efficiency solar cells

Two-dimensional solar materials may offer a way to extract more energy from sunlight. By tuning the structure of a 2-D perovskite solar material, researchers from KAUST and the Georgia Institute of Technology have shown they ...

Portraits of particulate matter

On solar farms in particularly dusty places in the world, like the Arabian Peninsula and parts of India and China, air pollution costs the solar energy industry tens of billions of dollars annually. As particles settle out ...

Silver improves the efficiency of monograin layer solar cells

As a result of their two-year joint project, the materials researchers of Tallinn University of Technology have improved the efficiency of next generation solar cells by partial substitution of copper with silver in absorber ...

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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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