SunPower Corp announced they have smashed another efficiency barrier with their X series solar panels pumping out 24.1%. Higher efficiency benefits residential home solar power because it generates greater power production from a smaller system footprint on the roof, or wherever space may be at a premium.
Enphase Energy, a leading maker of microinverters, yesterday announced the launch of what is being billed as the company's "most efficient and power technology to date."
This may lead some of you to ask, What the heck is a microinverter?
Luckily for everyone involved, GetSolar's very own Annie Lindseth has already has a concise explanation:
Solar panels need (micro)inverters to convert the electricity they produce to a type that can be used at home. Solar photovoltaic panels produce DC (direct) electrical current, and household appliances use AC (alternating) electrical current.
We've seen a slew of solar-powered chargers designed for use with personal electronics. Here's but one example. But how about getting rid of all the plug-in peripherals and instead go with a laptop that runs entirely on solar power?
That seems to be the goal of Andrea Ponti, an Italy-based industrial designer.
The most efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on the market today is capable of turning about 20 percent of the sun's energy into electricity. This number is slowly but surely increasing, as technology continually improves. But in an ideal world, solar panels would convert a larger portion of the sun ray's into useful energy.
On this topic, EchoFirst may be onto something. In addition to using sunlight to generate electrical power, as conventional PV panels do, the company's energy system captures the sun's thermal energy, which may then be used for heating water and home air conditioning.
The result, according to the company, is a system that operates at around 50 percent efficiency. Here's more on how it works:
In our four years as a blog, we've seen just about every solar-powered gadget out there, including solar surfboards, solar suitcases and a solar helmet. So, when Ralph Lauren recently announced the release of a solar-powered backpack, we weren't exactly surprised.
The bag is part of the designer's RLX line, which offers buyers "exceptionally luxe lifestyle apparel and innovative athletic gear." It is perfect for me, in other words. Next time I'm exploring the Amazon, I can both (a) look great and, thanks to the backpack, (b) get enough juice from its 2.45-watt solar panel to charge my GPS device and iPod.
It seems April Fools' Day this year got very popular with corporate America and media outlets:
From a new “body controlled” email system to the purchase of Pluto to a royal wedding–themed car, companies and media outlets have been busily pranking this April Fools’ Day, lightening up an otherwise grim news flow focused on violence in Libya and the ongoing disaster in Japan.
The MarketWatch story linked to above references the day's gags from Google, Groupon and Virgin, among others. We here at GetSolar would just like to inform our readers that we were hip to the April Fool's thang way back in 2009:
A Spain-based firm, Derma-Volt, is developing a suntan lotion that, when applied, will cause the underlying surface to generate electrical current.
Before installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at your home or business, it's important to know as much as you can about how the system actually works. This way, when you get solar home energy quotes, you'll know exactly what they're talking about and won't drown in a sea of foreign vocabulary.
Just last week, we introduced you to the LED solar pebble -- a dependable and easily transportable solar-powered light that can be used in rural areas that lack a steady source of electricity. Today, it's the solar refrigerator -- an equally fascinating and useful development that is also made for those same remote areas.
Biennially since 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has held the solar decathlon, a competition between 20 university teams from around the world that design, construct and operate homes that are affordable, energy efficient and attractive.