Photo credit: Nina Vaidya
Stanford University researchers, led by engineering researcher Nina Vaidya, have developed an optical concentrator that can be used to gather and concentrate light, regardless of the angle or frequency of that light. Called AGILE (Axially Graded Index Lens), it resembles an upside-down pyramid with the point lopped off, allowing light to enter the square, while the tile-able top funnels it downwards to create a brighter spot at the output.
After many years of design and testing, the Lightyear 0 is finally going into production this fall as the world’s first solar car. In optimal conditions, the vehicle is capable of freely traveling for up to seven months without having to be plugged into a household outlet or charging station.
The ACOPOWER 100W 12V Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase Kit is great for RVs or outdoor camping trips, and you can get one for $149.99 shipped with coupon code: 50A99YT2, today only, originally $299.99. You get two fully waterproof and dustproof 50W monocrystalline solar panels, complete with a built-in 5-stage solar charge controller for overcharge protection. Product page – be sure to enter coupon code: 50A99YT2 during final checkout for the additional discount.
Forget electric scooters, the Squad Solar City Car is here, and it doesn’t even require a license to drive in some EU countries. Priced from $6533 USD, this solar electric vehicle (SEV) is powered by dual 2-kW in-wheel rear motors that produce a combined 5 hp and are good for a top speed of 28 mph, while its lithium-ion batteries boast a 62-mile range on a full charge.
The UK has plans to build a solar power plant in space and it could have a demonstrator in orbit by 2035. London’s Space Energy Initiative wants to make this a reality since solar-based energy has very low environmental footprint and needs only modest infrastructure on Earth, either on land or coastal areas, while generating large scale electricity at minimal cost.
Night solar panels sound like something from a science fiction movie, but a team of Stanford engineers has made them a reality. How do they work? The system essentially harvests energy that is transferred between the solar panels back into space at night – also known as radiative cooling – by incorporating a thermoelectric generator. The latter basically captures the heat flowing between the warm air and solar panels, eventually transforming it into energy. Read more for additional information.
Photo credit: Felice Frankel
Engineers from MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have designed a heat engine with zero moving parts, yet it’s still capable of converting heat to electricity with over 40% efficiency. Simply put, it’s a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, similar to a solar panel’s photovoltaic cells, that passively traps high-energy photons from an immensely hot (between 1,900 to 2,400° Celsius) heat source and then proceeds to convert them into electricity. Read more for a dditional information.
Researchers project that solar power is expected to reach 10% of global power generation by the year 2030, and many of these solar farms are located in desert areas, where things can get quite dusty to say the least. If too much dust gathers on the panels, they can reduce the output of photovoltaic panels by as much as 30% in 30-days, so keeping them clean is of the utmost importance. However, cleaning them the traditional way uses up to 10 billion gallons of water per year. Read more to find out how MIT engineers plan to solve this problem.
If money is no object, a luxurious sprinter van conversion or expedition vehicle may be an option for those seeking to live off-the-grid, but for everyone else, they need to get creative. Creativity is exactly what Jojo and Norah put first with their solar-powered raft. The 2.9-meter x 7-meter raft was designed mainly to float around Sweden’s lakes on the Dalsland Canal with their living space being inside a Sibley 500 Protech tent. read more for a look inside and additional information.
Minrise’s 30,000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank is great for long trips or outdoor activities where outlets just aren’t available, and you can get one for $29.70 shipped after clipping the 10% off on-page coupon, this weekend only, originally $59.99. Best of all, it can also charge some laptops via USB-C or just two standard devices simultaneously using the USB-A output ports. Product page. Read more for a hands-on video review and additional information.