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New Solar Technology

07 Feb 2011 2:37 PM | Anonymous

Much of the solar energy discussion has been focused on policies, goals and permits. While these are crucial in advancing the solar industry, spending so much time on regulations may cause us to overlook the astounding advances universities and solar companies are making every day.  From solar windows to cheap full-spectrum solar cells, we commend organizations out there dedicating themselves to advancing solar technology!

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories have developed a solar cell that responds to almost any wavelength of light.  Traditionally, solar cells respond to only a few wavelengths; therefore decreasing their possible efficiency.  Attempts to create solar cells that absorb energy from the entire light spectrum have been extremely expensive and only used on specific projects, such as spacecrafts.  Berkeley researchers, though, have discovered a way to combine various semiconductors to create a commercially viable solar cell that responds to the entire light spectrum.  Learn the specifics of this process here.

New Energy Technologies, based in Columbia, Maryland is making it possible to generate electricity on see-thru glass windows.  They have created a coating for windows which supports electron movement and produces electricity.  New Energy is now trying to create a product that could be distributed commercially.  While most solar panels are made by a high-temperature, high-vacuum method, this product could be sprayed onto clear, glass windows.  Check out New Energy’s latest developments.

If you think solar windows are the direction of the future, what about solar roads?  Scott Brusaw, an electrical engineer in Idaho, believes this is the next step.  Using super-strong glass instead of asphalt or concrete, the roads would remain heated and clear during harsh winter storms.  Brusaw’s idea has gained the attention of both GE and the federal government.  Read more in this article.

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