Solar power still amounts for a small share of net electricity generation around the world. In the USA, for instance, as of December 2014 it was responsible for just 0.45% of the total electricity produced.
Things are changing quite quickly, however, and if the German think tank Agora Energiewende is right, faster than expected.
The main obstacle to a more widespread adoption of photovoltaic so far, has been cost: solar used to be very expensive compared to coal or gas, but, according to Agora – that recently commissioned a study on the subject to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems – this is no longer true.
Will New Technologies Give Critical Boost to Solar Power?
by cheryl katz | 11 DEC 2014
Promising new technologies, including more efficient photovoltaic cells that can harvest energy across the light spectrum, have the potential to dramatically increase solar power generation in the next two decades. But major hurdles remain….>> e360.yale.edu
New World Record For Solar Cell Efficiency Set At 46%
By Staff Reporter | 2 December 2014
A new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity has been established in Europe, after a multi-junction solar cell developed through a French-German collaboration achieved 46 per cent efficiency – up from 43.6%.
The record was achieved using… >>
New Technique Could Harvest More of the Sun’s Energy
Written by Jessica Stoller-Conrad | 11/26/2014
As solar panels become less expensive and capable of generating more power, solar energy is becoming a more commercially viable alternative source of electricity. However, the photovoltaic cells now used to turn sunlight into electricity can only absorb and use a small fraction of that light, and that means a significant amount of solar energy goes untapped.
A new technology created by researchers from Caltech, and described in a paper published online in the October 30 issue of Science Express, represents a first step toward harnessing that lost energy.
Huge New Solar Thermal Plant Can Keep Running for Six Hours After Sun Goes Down By Dave Levitan | 10 Oct 2013
The Ivanpah plant in the Mojave may have recently snatched away the title of “world’s largest,” but Abengoa Solar’s Solana plant in the desert near Gila Bend, Arizona, still has its share of superlatives. At 280 megawatts, Solana is one of the largest plant using parabolic mirrors in the world, and it is undoubtedly the largest to use substantial thermal storage to keep the juice flowing for hours after the sun goes down. Intermittency is still among the most common complaints about industrial-scale renewable energy, so proving that this storage tech can work is a huge step for the solar industry…>>
Solar Power Plants Burden The Counties That Host Them
By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Eager for jobs and tax money, Mojave Desert counties welcomed big solar projects. But they may have been too optimistic. And expanding emergency services and infrastructure isn’t cheap…>>
Solar Subsidy Sinkhole: Re-Evaluating Germany’s Blind Faith in the Sun By Alexander Neubacher
… As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz….>>