Solar Cells Collect More Light, Display Art

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Friend and frequent contributor Colin Rush sent this Economist item about Semprius, a concentrating solar cell maker about to go into production with their highly efficient technology. It’s big news that a production solar panel is able to convert 42.5 percent of sunlight falling on it into energy, when the world’s record for any solar cell was set last September by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems with an experimental multi-junction solar cell that’s 44.7 percent efficient.  The 42.5 percent for Semprius cells drops to about 35 percent when they are surrounded by the normal mounting flanges and connecting lines – still well above most production panels. These may achieve 50 percent with suitable refinement. Using breakthroughs devised …

Nudging the Speed Limit on Solar Power

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Imagine driving through the desert with sundown approaching and the gas gauge teetering on empty. Wherever you are when the car runs out of gas or the clock reads 5:00 pm, you spend the night. Competitors in the Challenger Class of this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge had to face this challenge to their comfort and peace of mind every evening for five days. Organizers of this international competition note, “It’s all about energy management!  Based on the original notion that a 1000 Watt car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5 kilowatt hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure.  All other energy must come from the sun or …