Solar Power

Soofa bench charges your phone as you bask in the sun

Soofa bench charges your phone as you bask in the sun

It a great and sunny day and you decide to head outdoors for some alone time with your tablet or phone. But alas, in just a few short hours your device's battery gives you its dying cry. Time to head home and plug in? That might no longer be necessary if Soofa's solar-powered benches become a public fixture just like, well, non solar-powered benches.

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Sharp solar cells can reach 60 percent efficiency

Sharp solar cells can reach 60 percent efficiency

Solar power is perhaps the most well-known alternative source for power, but because of cost and the puzzles of physics itself, it is still quite far from becoming a completely sustainable and practical replacement. Sharp, however, may be on the breakthrough of creating solar cells that are twice as efficient as currently existing cells, at least in theory.

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Apple patents touch panels for solar-powered iPhone future

Apple patents touch panels for solar-powered iPhone future

The newest in an incredibly vast collection of patents filed for and held by Apple is an update to a previously held patent for solar panels. These solar panels were previously filed for patent to include touch-friendly pieces of equipment, but not displays as such. In this update, Apple’s newest next-generation ware may very well be the solar-powered iPhone.

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BMW i Solar Carport Concept powers i8 and home

BMW i Solar Carport Concept powers i8 and home

Plugging in an electric car to recharge often happens in the dark confines of a garage, but BMW wants to brings its u3 and i8 EV range into the light with a new BMW i Solar Carport Concept. Mounting translucent solar panels on top of a bamboo frame - the wood picked for its rapid regrowth - the carport could be entirely off-grid, BMW claims, though you'd obviously need to get enough sun.

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Ivanpah solar plant ushers in bright future (but it’s already outdated)

Ivanpah solar plant ushers in bright future (but it’s already outdated)

More than 300,000 individually computer-controlled mirrors. Three 459 foot tall towers topped with solar boilers at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. 392 megawatts of Power. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System has gone live, a huge solar power plant built by BrightSource with backing from Google, NRG, and others, set to provide clean energy to 140,000 homes. For all its advanced technology, though, Ivanpah may be more important as a gateway to even more advanced solar energy projects.

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Solar cell project creates hydrogen fuel and bypasses batteries

Solar cell project creates hydrogen fuel and bypasses batteries

Batteries are a distraction: the best way to store excess solar energy for nighttime use is using it to create "solar fuels" that rely on energy-dense chemistry, one research team has concluded. The prototype takes a cue from plants and uses a new type of solar cell that relies on the sun's energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The latter is released, but the former can be stored and then later used for power, including potential in fuel-cell cars. Best of all, the system requires no external power source in order to work its hydrogen-generating magic.

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IKEA brings solar panels to the UK, aiming for mainstream

IKEA brings solar panels to the UK, aiming for mainstream

Though they've made clear that the decision to sell solar panels to the masses on a market-by-market basis, the results are already clear: IKEA is aiming to make solar energy mainstream. If there's one company that can take this green push to the market in a way that's not-quite-cheap but certainly not overpriced, it's IKEA. And here with the IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard speaking on the subject with the AP this week, "It's the right time to go for the consumers."

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