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Technology

The weekend read: Cloud looms over PV’s silver lining

Should heterojunction solar technologies be temporarily shelved? Could copper plating replace screen-printed silver conductive surfaces in cells? Why are tandem cells a likely successor to PERC? Brett Hallam recently sat down with Natalie Filatoff in Sydney to explain the findings of a new study by UNSW that sought to answer these controversial questions.

The Hydrogen Stream: New tech to store 5 tons of hydrogen per day

Proton Motor Fuel Cell and xelectrix Power have also developed a complete system that combines fuel cell and battery storage technologies and U.S.-based Plug Power is building a 100 MW electrolyzer in Egypt. Furthermore, Germany said it wants to deploy 10 GW of hydrogen capacity by 2030 and South Korea unveiled its hydrogen strategy.

PV-powered buoys for maritime fairways

Finland-based fairway maintenance service provider Arctia Group is developing solar-powered navigational markers through an EU-funded research project. A 10-meter high solar buoy is currently being tested by the Ports of Stockholm.

Behind the price drops in lithium-ion batteries

Scientists in the United States pieced together data from hundreds of different sources, looking to establish the key factors that have led to consistently falling prices for lithium-ion technology since their commercialization thirty years ago. They find that public-funded research, primarily in chemistry and materials science, has made the largest contribution to cost reduction. And they offer suggestions on policy and investment to ensure that the research can continue to make these important contributions to reduction in battery costs.

Semi-transparent solar module for greenhouse applications

Manufactured by scientists in Italy, the 3.88%-efficient organic solar panels are able to filter the light from the roofs of greenhouses. They are also capable of supplying a portion of the electricity required to power the greenhouse’s temperature and humidity sensors.

Solar heat pump solution for water, pool heating

U.S. solar thermal specialist Fafco is set to launch a new photovoltaic-thermal heat pump solution for water and pool heating. The system consists of photovoltaic-thermal panels, a 5 kWh thermal battery with a heat pump, and an electric hot water heater.

VSUN tests flow battery technology with standalone PV-powered EV charger

Australian energy storage company VSUN Energy claims to have identified the ‘missing piece of the renewable energy jigsaw’ after successfully testing a standalone electric vehicle battery charger using solar PV supplied by a vanadium redox flow battery.

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Belgium’s rooftop solar potential estimated at 99.6 GW

According to recent analysis by Belgian institute EnergyVille, rooftop PV and onshore wind have the technical potential to reach 118 GW of capacity in Belgium. Of the three Belgian macro-regions, Flemish-speaking Flanders is the one with the largest solar potential for rooftop systems, at 67.56 GW, followed by French-speaking Wallonia, with 31.54 GW, and the Brussels metropolitan region, with 4.23 GW.

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Hunting the sun with Harris hawks optimization algorithm

An Iranian-Canadian-based research group has conceived a nature-inspired algorithm to estimate the model parameters of PV systems. The proposed tool mimics the exploring, exploiting and attacking strategy of the Harris hawk, a bird of prey species that cooperates when hunting.

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Ultra-thin 2D perovskite solar cell with 18.3% efficiency

The solar cell was built with a layer of organic cations between the iodide on top, and lead on the bottom enhanced interactions between the layers. Its creators designed the device after they discovered that, when the sunlight hits a 2D perovskite, it contracts the space between atomic layers in the material.

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