Technology and R&D

MIT researchers say PV innovations should be deployed in niche markets first

Solar module manufacturers should begin testing new technologies in higher-value niche markets, say scientists at the U.S. institution. For example, bringing perovskite technology directly to the mainstream market remains prohibitive in terms of initial investment but segments such as building-integrated PV or microelectronics devices may offer better routes to commercial maturity.

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”.

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Indian researchers develop a mathematical method to choose the best PV technology in hot, dry areas

The proposed model is said to perform better at energy prediction than software tools such as PVWatts, PVSyst or RetScreen. The approach was validated on two 5 MW PV plants in the same district of the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Raising the efficiency of polycrystalline cells with new luminescent EVA film

Chinese researchers have developed a pure EVA film, which they claim can enhance the conversion efficiency of conventional crystalline solar cells by around 0.50%. The film is able to convert UV light into strong visible light.

A new technique to get the right angular-tilt

US scientists are proposing a new approach to calculating the optimum angular-tilt of PV panels for a planar surface at a particular site. In their view, the new technique may unlock innovative yield optimization methods for the installation of PV systems.

New materials to convert waste heat into electricity

Materials that can recover energy wasted in the form of heat and convert that into electricity can pave the way for devices that can be coupled with new renewable technologies such as solar-thermoelectric and Lithium batteries.

Perovskites meet the stability standard

European research group Solliance says its perovskite modules have passed three key industry standard reliability tests: Light soaking, damp heat and thermal cycling. The group said it is the first time perovskite modules of that size have achieved such results and represents a milestone in the technology’s move toward commercialization.

Longi claims 22.38% efficiency world record for PERC mono panel

The Chinese manufacturer said the result was confirmed by Germany’s TÜV Rheinland. The achievement beats the company’s previous record of 21.65%, set last month.

The long read: Back to the drawing board

The combined use of trackers and bifacial modules can result in significant power gains, but they are not distributed equally. For single-axis tracking R&D teams, the process of optimizing the output from arrays that use bifacial modules requires experimentation and a steep learning curve in terms of what is going on underneath the module.

Stretching exercises for crystalline silicon solar cells

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%.

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