Solar panels get really hot; I’ve touched mine this summer on my rooftop and it really burns - solar panels could heat up over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on its normal operation. The high temperature will result in shorter lifespan of these panels and reducing its effectiveness to produce power.
Earlier this year, Honda introduced its Smart Home, a home on the University of California Davis West Village campus that, among other things, produces more energy than it consumes. Interest in the Smart Home has been high, and due to that demand, Honda has announced that its Smart Home is now open source.
Aston Martin is planning to keep its drivers cool using a novel idea: solar panels. The company revealed its plans this week, saying it is an effort to be more green, and, more importantly, to improve performance by taking the load off the race cars' engines.
University of Texas at Austin researchers lead by Ivan Ramirez have discovered what they believe to be our sun's sibling, a so-called "long-lost brother" believed to have resulted from the same space cloud as our star. The discovery could increase understanding of our solar system.
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.
A new solar-powered aircraft is being shown off called the Solar Impulse 2 that plans to make a flight that will take it around the globe. The aircraft was unveiled on April 9 in Switzerland. Pilots of the aircraft's circumnavigation of the Earth using no fuel will be Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. Solar Impulse 2 will be used to fly around the globe in 2015.
We may not yet have achieved our Jetsons utopia, but advancements in robotics have happened at a clipped rate over the years, and slowly robotic devices have worked their way into many industries, taking over tasks that would be difficult or needlessly wasteful if performed by adults. One such task is keeping a field of solar panels in the desert clean, something Ecoppia E4 robots are doing at one Israeli solar field.
The market has no lack of solar chargers for small gadgets, such as smartphones and tablets, but they often take longer than a wall charger and are less convenient, needing full sunlight in most cases. Such negatives aren't much incentive for gadget owners to go green, but the startup Changers hopes to change that. Those who use the company's solar charger will earn credits that can be redeemed for goods.
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.