CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 28, 2012 |
One of the holy grails of solar cell technology may have been found, with researchers at UCLA announcing they have created a new organic polymer that produces electricity, is nearly transparent and is more durable and malleable than silicon. The applications are mind-boggling. Windows that produce electricity. Buildings wrapped in transparent solar cells. Laptops and phones - or even cars or planes - whose outer coverings act as chargers. It might even be sprayed on as a liquid. The promise of cheap and easy-to-apply site-generated solar electricity might now be a lot closer to reality.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 2011 |
A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight. Not only that, but it's way cheap. Chemistry professor Xiaoyang Zhu and his team discovered that an organic plastic semiconductor could double the number of electrons harvested out of one photon of sunlight. Yep, plastic. For the Record, 12:15 p.m. Dec. 19.: An earlier version of this online article incorrectly said Queen's University is in Toronto.
December 8, 2011 |
The agreement by investor Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings to buy a $2-billion photovoltaic farm in San Luis Obispo County could bring a ray of financial sunshine to the battered solar-energy industry. The scale of Buffett's foray into this sector of the renewable energy scene is considerably more modest than his $34-billion purchase of BNSF Railway, but it could provide the same kind of boost to the solar power business that the 2009 acquisition did to the railroad industry, experts said.
HOME & GARDEN
August 27, 2011 |
Carl Harberger's 6,000-square-foot Chatsworth house is equipped with six refrigerators, five TVs, a smattering of computers and a pool, among other things — enough to draw the wagging finger of the eco-minded if it were not for what Harberger has on his roof. By the end of the month, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is expected to flip the switch on the home's 24-kilowatt installation of thin-film solar panels, bringing to life what is believed to be the largest residential installation of its kind in the country.
January 14, 2011 |
Iron pyrite ? also known as fool's gold ? may be worthless to treasure hunters, but it could become a bonanza to the solar industry. The mineral, among the most abundant in the earth's crust, is usually discarded by coal miners or sold as nuggets in novelty stores. But researchers at UC Irvine said they could soon turn fool's gold into a cheaper alternative to the rare and expensive materials now used in making solar panels. "With alternative energy and climate-change issues, we're always in a race against time," said lead researcher Matt Law. "With some insight and a little bit of luck, we could find a good solution with something that's now disposed of as useless garbage.
January 11, 2011 |
Southern California Edison has signed contracts with two companies for the construction and operation of seven solar power plants in the state, including one that the utility said would be among the largest single solar photovoltaic installations in the U.S. The facilities, when completed by 2016, would add a total of 831 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity, enough to power 540,000 homes, the Rosemead utility said Monday. That represents a significant increase in Edison's ability to deliver power from the sun and other renewable sources.