Solar and the snow

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in the United States are working to quantify the effects of abundant snowfall on PV systems and to identify cost effective strategies to mitigate energy losses and reliability issues caused by snow and ice.

The best battery for grid level energy storage

A new paper published by researchers at China’s Tianjin University examines the state of the art in grid level energy storage, outlining the pros and cons of various battery technologies being deployed on grids around the world, and remaining challenges that could be overcome if research is pushed in the right direction.

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Canadian Solar signs 1.2 GW supply agreement with Lightsource BP

The Chinese-Canadian module manufacturer will supply panels to the U.K.-based developer over several years. The modules are destined for projects in the United States and Australia.

Ricoh launches solar cell for indoor applications

The Japanese electronics company has produced a solid-state, dye-sensitized solar cell for integration into sensors and consumer electronics. The company says the device can generate electricity from indoor light.

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UK designers launch freestanding curved panel

Product development company the Cambridge Design Partnership, working with compatriot solar business Solivus, has developed a curved solar module featuring an organic thin film. The design is based on Solivus’ desire to “create a product so attractive that people would be happy to have one in their garden”.

An alumina lining for silicon in storage

Scientists at Rice University in the U.S. have conducted experiments with lithium-ion batteries using silicon as an anode material and made an unexpected discovery regarding an aluminum oxide passivation layer at the cathode. The finding could open up a new pathway toward better performing lithium-ion batteries.

For a bigger battery, just add manganese

Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark working with sodium-ion batteries found that a new electrode material incorporating iron, manganese and phosphorous could increase both the power and capacity of the batteries.

Tandem cells approaching 30% efficiency

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin have taken back the world efficiency record for a perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell, achieving 29.15% with a device measuring 1cm². The record has been confirmed by Fraunhofer ISE, and according to HZB, this means that the 30% efficiency mark is within reach.

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Proving perovskite reliability

A new paper published in Nature claims that scientists have reached a consensus on the procedures for the testing of perovskite cells, which they say will lead to better reproducibility and comparability of data produced by different laboratories, and ultimately a better understanding of the degradation pathways affecting perovskite solar cells, and the most effective ways to mitigate them.

MIT researchers put slimmer silicon back on the table

With solar grade polysilicon prices having plummeted in recent years, cutting down on consumption of the material has not been a priority. But strategies exist and significant savings can be made through deploying thinner wafers that use less silicon, insists a new paper published by MIT and NREL. And as manufacturers are increasingly hitting dead ends on other routes to cost reduction, this option could be back on the table for many.

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