Solar Power

Department of Energy launches podcast ‘Direct Current’

Department of Energy launches podcast ‘Direct Current’

Podcasts are popular again, and high-quality offerings are springing up all over the place. Newest among them is a series from the Department of Energy, which has announced (and published) its first-ever podcast. The podcast series is called ‘Direct Current,’ and it concerns itself with everything electricity. The team behind it includes a few people from the Office of Public Affairs, among others.

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Solar Impulse plane lands in California after successfully crossing Pacific

Solar Impulse plane lands in California after successfully crossing Pacific

Following a long 9-month delay in Hawaii, the Solar Impulse 2, a small solar-powered aircraft, finally departed on Thursday to continue its trip across the Pacific Ocean, just a single leg in its flight around the world. The project's team has revealed that the plane successfully completed its flight to California, landing south of San Francisco in Mountain View at around 11:45 PM on April 23rd.

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Solar Impulse plane ready to continue solar-powered flight around the world

Solar Impulse plane ready to continue solar-powered flight around the world

The last news you may remember hearing about the Solar Impulse 2 project, which aims to fly a small solar-powered aircraft around the world, was last summer when the plane arrived in Hawaii with "irreversible damage" to the batteries. The aircraft and its pilot had just spent over 4 days and 21 hours flying across the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii, setting a world record for the longest solo flight in the process, only to be grounded due to severe overheating damage.

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Chinese researchers develop solar cell that can charge in rain

Chinese researchers develop solar cell that can charge in rain

We are always in the search alternative sources of energy, mostly from renewable resources. In practice, that usually translates to solar and wind power, mostly the former. But while the sun is almost always available, at least during the day, it can sometimes be hidden for hours under a torrent of rain. To get past at least that situation, a group of researchers from the Ocean University of China and Yunnan Normal University are developing a new time of solar cell that can generate electricity even without the sun. At least as long as there is rain.

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Morocco turns on the 1st part of epic solar power plant

Morocco turns on the 1st part of epic solar power plant

Morocco is a name usually associated with exotic getaways and clothing, but by 2018, it will also be knowns as a super power, almost literally. By that time, its sprawling solar power plant complex will be in full operation to provide electricity for as much as 1.1 million people. But while that dream is still two years away, the country has already started the important first step in that journey, turning on the switch for Noor 1, the first of three sections that together will make up the world's largest solar plant.

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Ecocapsule is a sustainable egg-shaped house the size of a car

Ecocapsule is a sustainable egg-shaped house the size of a car

It may not seem like it, but the small, egg-shaped construction seen here can actually be lived in like house, despite being even smaller than a typical New York City apartment. It's called the Ecocapsule, and it's made for total off-the-grid sustainability. It features dimensions of 4.46 x 2.25 x 2.60 m (14 x 7.3 x 8.5 ft), and only offers 6.3 sq m (67.8 sq ft) of usable floorspace. Most people probably wouldn't want to live in it, but with power, water, a toilet, and a stove, they could certainly try.

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New material mimics photosynthesis, produces hydrogen

New material mimics photosynthesis, produces hydrogen

With the UN Climate Change conference happening this week at Paris, the spotlight is being focused the search for renewable sources of energy, especially ones that will fuel, no pun intended, our every growing number of gadgets and gizmos. As if by happy coincidence, researchers from Florida State University, headed by Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Jose L. Mendoza-Cortes almost serendipitously came across a new thin material that could imitate the way a plant uses sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter of which can be used for fuel.

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Morocco will be home to world’s largest concentrated solar farm

Morocco will be home to world’s largest concentrated solar farm

Morocco will soon be home to the world’s largest solar farm, according to a new report. The city of Ouarzazate is in the pipeline to get four mega solar plants, all of them linked together into a single complex. This will operate alongside both wind and hydro energy farms, as well, the sum total of which is expected to produce half or more of the nation’s electricity needs by 2020. If all goes as planned, there might be enough electricity left over to export into Europe.

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Panasonic eneloop solar storage provides light, charges phones

Panasonic eneloop solar storage provides light, charges phones

Given the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, it might be too easy to presume that every place in the world has a constant and reliable supply of electricity. The fact, however, is that one out of every five people in the world actually lives without enjoying the conveniences, not to mention the essential benefits, of electricity. Almost ironically, these same areas do have working cellular networks. Panasonic "eneloop solar storage" tries to hit two birds with one stone, gathering enough solar power to give light as well as charge mobile devices.

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Apple steps up its clean energy programs in China

Apple steps up its clean energy programs in China

True to the promise it made last May, Apple has launched several programs that will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its operations in China. But rather than just keeping the benefits to itself, it is moving to apply its environmental achievements to a wider range, including its own manufacturing partners in the country. And to prove that it isn't all just words, Apple announced that it has finally completed the construction of its 40-megawatt solar project in Sichuan Province which can power all of Apple's offices and stores in China and more.

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Elon Musk’s SolarCity announces world’s most efficient solar panels

Elon Musk’s SolarCity announces world’s most efficient solar panels

SolarCity, the residential solar panel installer co-founded by Elon Musk, has said that it has developed the world's most efficient rooftop solar panel, achieving an efficiency of just over 22%. The company says that this means the panel is capable of generating more power per square foot and harvesting more energy per year than any other rooftop panel. Limited production is set to start this month, but the plan is to start building 360 watt panels at SolarCity's new 1-gigawatt plant opening in New York next year.

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Google Project Sunroof takes guesswork out of solar switch

Google Project Sunroof takes guesswork out of solar switch

Google is hoping to encourage more homeowners to fit rooftop solar panels, launching Project Sunroof to do the math on just how much could be saved. The system relies on the same aerial imagery that Google already delivers in Google Earth, figuring out rooftop area and then taking into account factors like what angle the sunlight will hit it, whether it's in the shade of nearby buildings or trees, and even what the weather might be like in your area.

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