Researchers from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have created flexible solar cells made of crystalline silicon. They claim to have stretched a crystalline silicon cell’s surface by around 95% while maintaining conversion efficiency of around 19%.
Researchers at the American Institute of Physics have used the clear-sky irradiance model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to measure the degradation rates of solar panels at a testing field in Germany over five years. The scientists say the model, when combined with real-world data, offers an efficient tool to evaluate the aging of PV technology.
Spanish researchers have developed an analytical model to optimize the operation of PV water pumping systems. They say simultaneously irrigating different parts of a farm could help minimize costs and maximize energy use. The model was tested on an olive farm divided into four zones in the Spanish province of Almería.
According to a new study by Finland’s LUT University, solar PV consumes between 2% and 15% of the water that coal and nuclear power plants use to produce just 1 MWh of output; for wind, this percentage ranges from 0.1% to 14%. Under the researchers’ best policy scenario, water consumption could be reduced by 75.1% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
The combination of pumped hydro with other storage technologies can increase renewables penetration, improve operational safety and reduce maintenance costs at large-scale hydropower plants, according to new research. The study also focuses on techniques to determine the optimal size of renewables-based pumped hydro storage systems. Costs for hybrid solar-pumped hydro projects currently range from $0.098/kWh to $1.36/kWh.
An Indian Institute of Technology research team analyzed around 300 studies about PV panel waste containing carcinogenic metals. The researchers said solar module recycling is not economically profitable and policy support is necessary to avoid panels being dumped in landfill.
A U.S. research group has developed a metal-carbon-nanotube composite – MetZilla – which can be embedded in commercial, screen-printable silver pastes and is said to reduce the formation of hotspots in solar modules and to prolong panel lifespan. The composite metal contacts are also ‘self-healing’ as they are able to regain electrical continuity after cycles of complete electrical failure caused by extreme strain.
Spanish researchers have discovered a material said to offer radiative cooling and self-cleaning of devices which undergo critical heating during operation, such as PV panels. The thermal emitter enabled the scientists to lower the daytime temperature of silicon wafers by 14 degrees Celsius.
A U.S. research team has used protein bacteriorhodopsin to improve the efficiency of what it called ‘bioperovskite’ solar cells. The scientists used Förster Resonance Energy Transfer to predict the strength of long-range excitonic transport between the perovskite and protein layers.
The facility will be developed under the World Bank’s Scaling Solar initiative on a public-private partnership basis in Herat province.
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