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Power Technology

Clear Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
ckwu writes "The vast real estate of windows in office buildings and skyscrapers could be a fruitful field for harvesting solar energy—if lightweight solar cells could be made with a high enough conversion efficiency and appealing aesthetics. Now researchers at Oxford University report semitransparent solar cells that might do the trick. The team made solar cells using a perovskite, a class of mineral-like materials that have properties similar to inorganic semiconductors and show sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies of more than 15%. The team deposited a thin film of perovskite onto glass so that the material formed tiny crystalline islands. The islands absorb photons and convert them to electrons, while light striking the empty areas passes through. The result was a semitransparent solar cell with a grayish tint."
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Clear Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power

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  • by dwywit (1109409) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @08:22PM (#45742027)

    What's the issue/s with durability? Mine are warranted for 80% of claimed output up to 20 years (BPSolar), the rooftop mounts are cyclone-rated, and the panels themselves are rated for hail up to (can't remember right now) size.

    I've had people ask me about this great offer they've had from some local start-up that offers them cheap chinese panels with a five-year warranty, and I tell them to say "no" until they are offered well-known brands with better warranties. At least those people were smart enough to ask around for advice and opinions - I suppose others who don't ask for advice and opinions might get stuck with poor durability.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Friday December 20, 2013 @01:28AM (#45743437)
    Another challenge is the fines and penalties for installing solar cells on your roof. [theguardian.com]

    An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels- casting them as "freeriders" - a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned.

    These people are actually freeloaders but of course he can't say what they really are because of political correctness that forces him to use softer words like "freeriders".

    Further details of ALEC's strategy were provided by John Eick, the legislative analyst for ALEC's energy, environment and agriculture program.

    Eick told the Guardian the group would be looking closely in the coming year at how individual homeowners with solar panels are compensated for feeding surplus electricity back into the grid.

    "This is an issue we are going to be exploring," Eick said. He said ALEC wanted to lower the rate electricity companies pay homeowners for direct power generation - and maybe even charge homeowners for feeding power into the grid.

    "As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially freeriders on the system. They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non direct generation customers are being penalised," he said.

    Eick dismissed the suggestion that individuals who buy and install home-based solar panels had made such investments. "How are they going to get that electricity from their solar panel to somebody else's house?" he said. "They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity."

    I don't want sewage electricity being forced down my throat after it's been on some other guy's filthy roof already! I'm an American; I have a right to choose clean electricity!

    In November, Arizona became the first state to charge customers for installing solar panels. The fee, which works out to about $5 a month for the average homeowner, was far lower than that sought by the main electricity company, which was seeking to add up to $100 a month to customers' bills.

    IN THE BEGINNING God created heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was floating on the surface of the waters. God said "let there be light" and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness with a thin film of perovskite on glass so that the material formed tiny crystalline islands. The islands absorbed photons and converted them unto electrons, whilst light striking the empty areas passed through. And God saw that it was good. Then God said "let the rooftops sprout with panels: panels bearing light from the heavens"; the ceilings brought forth electricity, freeriders yielding current with voltage in it, unto the grid. And God saw that it was good. Then to be fair he charged the freeriders $100 per month, which Arizona reduced to $5, for those who drilled the formless void of the earth for the Spirit of God, and have to distribute the unwanted surplus electricity. And God saw that it was good.

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