Sun Plus Nanotechnology: Can Solar Energy Get Bigger by Thinking Small?

Nearly 60 years after researchers first demonstrated a way to convert sunlight into energy, science is still grappling with a critical limitation of the solar photovoltaic cell.

It just isn’t that efficient at turning the tremendous power of the sun into electricity.

And even though commercial solar cells today have double to four times the 6 percent efficiency of the one first unveiled in 1954 by Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, that hasn’t been sufficient to push fossil fuel from its preeminent place in the world energy mix.

But now, alternative energy researchers think that something really small—nanotechnology, the engineering of structures a fraction of the width of a human hair—could give a gigantic boost to solar energy. (See related quiz: “What You Don’t Know About Solar Power.”)

“Advances in nanotechnology will lead to higher efficiencies and lower costs, and these can and likely will be significant,” explains Matt Beard, a senior scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “In fact, nanotechnology is already having dramatic effects on the science of solar cells.”

Written by Patrick J. Kiger. To read the full article, click here

Walgreens to add over 200 solar panels to stores

Walgreens announced it will add more than 200 solar panels to stores in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. The store is working with Chicago-based solar developer SoCore Energy LLC on the renewable energy project.
Once complete, Walgreens will have more than 350 stores with solar installations, more than any other retailers in the country. Walgreens has approximately 8,100 stores across the the U.S.
SoCore Energy will own, operate and maintain the solar installations. The two companies first joined together in 2011 to install solar panels at 53 Ohio stores. The panels will generate an estimated 13.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
“SoCore is proud to be developing one of the most important and sizable distributed solar platforms ever constructed in the United States,” said Pete Kadens, SoCore’s president and CEO.

Written by PennEnergy Editorial Staff. To read the full article, click here