Category Archives: Solar Panels

Waspmote Plug & Sense! : Solar-Powered Wireless Sensor Platforms

Today, we use sensors for a myriad of activities such as intrusion detection, fall detection, patient surveillance, art and goods preservation, offspring care, animal tracking, selective irrigation, and many more. Where the sensor network has to operate outdoors, what can be a better way of powering them other than through solar means? Using an external or internal solar panel, one can safely recharge batteries for the system. For external solar panels, the panel is usually mounted on a holder Read more [...]

Rectannas : Will They Make Solar Cells Obsolete?

Professor Baratunda Cola and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, claims to have improved on the solar cells available. They have reported their findings in Nature Nanotechnology. The new type of solar cell is actually a rectenna – half antenna and half rectifier that can be tuned to any frequency as a detector, while generating electricity from solar and infrared light falling on it. The team claims they can achieve a broad-spectrum efficiency of 40 percent with their Read more [...]

Monitor Your Solar System with a Raspberry Pi

Most photovoltaic systems contain parts such as the solar modules (panels) to provide the electrical power, a battery charger for converting the panel output to the battery voltage, a battery pack to store energy during the day and provide it during the night time, an inverter to transform the battery voltage to the proper line voltage for operating home appliances and an line source selector to switch between the solar and grid power. When the sun is shining during the daytime, the solar photovoltaic Read more [...]

Long Lasting Solar Aqueous Flow Battery

Yiying Wu, Professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the Ohio State University, Ohio State, and his team has combined a solar cell and a battery to form a single device. A novel solar panel on top of the battery captures energy from sunlight. The battery is able to source 20% of its energy from sunlight. Although the design is pending a patent, the researchers have published their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Tests conducted by the researchers show that their solar Read more [...]

Solar Powered Drone Beams Internet

Certain regions of the Earth are presently out of the ambit of the Internet. Nearly 10% of the population or more than 4 billion people live so far from fiber optic cables or cell towers that they are unable to reach the Internet. Facebook is set to end this isolation by having a drone fly overhead while beaming Internet down to such areas. At their Connectivity Lab, which is a division of Facebook's Internet.org, researchers confirm the completion of such a drone. This is the first step Facebook Read more [...]

Butterfly Technology Boosts Solar Panel Output

We normally do not relate butterflies to solar panels. After all, bees and butterflies are good for pollinating flowers and transforming them to fruits so that nature can propagate. On the other hand, solar panels are human creations that collect energy from the sun for the use of humankind. The link between the two seems rather distant, apart from the fact that the sun is the basic force that drives all life on our planet. However, science finds the humble butterfly could be holding the key to unlock Read more [...]

Is Your Solar Panel Installed the Right Way?

Although few people would have noticed, the costs of solar photovoltaic cells have been dropping over the years. As the technology took off, costs plummeted in the first 12 years. However, between 2005 and 2009, global market demand surged, making it difficult for supply to keep up. As manufacturing picked up post 2009, solar PV cell prices have continued their downward trend steadily. Now, it makes sense for companies to switch to PV cells purely based on economics. As solar grows to become a Read more [...]

New Combination of Materials for Efficient Solar Cells

An international team of scientists have come together to build solar cells with high efficiency using a new blend of materials. The materials used allow the cells to convert sunlight into electrical energy without the addition of dopants. The design, termed DASH, uses molybdenum oxide and lithium fluoride. Doing away with doping Most of the solar cells use silicon wafers in the crystalline form. The wafer, along with the layers of materials deposited on it are doped or injected with special Read more [...]

Solar Deployment Component Selection

The market for renewable energy is in turmoil right now, mainly because of lower utility costs, a desire for energy independence, incentivized solar installations, and low-cost batteries. Homeowners are now trending towards storing energy from solar cells rather than selling it back to the grid. However, that requires selecting storage components wisely. Although 2016 was the cutoff year for the current solar energy tax incentives, there has been a successful bid to the Congress to extend the Read more [...]

Raspberry Pi for the Solar Plant Monitoring System

In an effort to go green, solar energy is proving to be the forerunner. Collecting energy from the sun requires photovoltaic cells that convert the solar energy directly into the usable electrical form. Even computers are getting smaller and using less energy than before. As a result, several companies are building commercial products based on SBCs or Single Board Computers such as the hackable Raspberry Pi, or the RBPi. For example, Storm Energy is a Germany-based firm designing the SunSniffer Read more [...]