As the world’s top carbon offenders attempt to one-up each other with commitments in Paris this week, one country is quietly snickering from the sidelines. That’d be Uruguay, which already sources a staggering 94.5% of its electricity from renewables.
China began construction on its first large-scale solar power station in August 2009. These striking before-and-after satellite images show the extent to which this solar farm has expanded in the Gobi Desert over the course of that time.
Human-made satellites have long been able to harness the sun's energy as it washes over them outside the protection of our atmosphere. But what if we could beam all that solar power down to Earth? The science fictional idea may be a reality sooner than you think.
Superstitions have surrounded the eerie solar eclipse since time immemorial. And now, for entirely scientific reasons, it turns out we have good reason to fear them. Earth's biggest solar eclipse since 1999 is happening this March, and it could cause some real disruption—thanks to Europe's reliance on solar energy.
In what's turning into a public relations headache for the solar industry, news has emerged that a recent test of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada resulted in some 130 birds catching fire, when they flew into an area of highly concentrated solar energy.
Called Topaz, it's located in San Luis Obispo County, California. The plant recently completed its final 40-megawatt phase, making it the first 500-plus megawatt solar farm to come online in the United States — and the largest online plant in the world.
There's a structure to installing solar panels. The size, the shape, and the configuration are all pretty rigidly prescribed. There's also a direction they face: South. The trouble? They might actually be facing the wrong way.
Introducing the world's first solar battery. The device — which is part solar cell, part battery — recharges itself using air and light. Nano-scale holes allow air to enter the battery (inset), while rods of titanium dioxide gather light (larger image). The researchers from Ohio State say it'll help tame the costs of…
Brian Trease, a mechanical engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is working with researchers at Brigham Young University to construct a solar array that uses origami principles for deployment.
The future is always weirder than what you imagine. What you're seeing is an off-the-grid house made entirely from specially-treated fabric that can withstand 100-mile-an-hour tornado winds, store energy, recycle water, and maintain comfortable temperatures year-round.
Renewable energy jobs grew by 14% to 6.5 million employees worldwide in 2013, says the International Renewable Energy Agency. In decreasing order, the largest employers were China, Brazil and the United States. The solar panel industry, spurred by falling prices, employed 2.27 million workers, mostly in China.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Japan has doubled its efforts to find a viable alternative to nuclear power. An updated proposal from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) seeks to solve the island nation's energy woes — and it's the much vaunted scifi-like idea of building an orbital farm.
How can we turn thousands of miles of ugly asphalt roads into energy-producing powerhouses? By paving them in solar panels. One engineer's idea of solar Utopia could be a lot more feasible than you'd think.
One of the big questions for the twenty-first century is what our biggest source of energy will be. Many are betting on natural gas, because it's cheap and plentiful. Unfortunately it emits dangerous carbon into the environment. The sustainable alternative is solar, but that was deemed too expensive — until now.
You're looking at an astonishingly huge and gorgeous solar energy plant that's being built by Brightsource Energy, an American firm, in the Negev desert. It looks like something out of Star Trek, but it's actually from Earth's near future.
As in, holy crap, we knew solar was getting cheap, but wow. Among energy afficionados, the precipitous decline in the price of solar cells is called "The Swanson Effect." And no – not after that Swanson.
Humanity's demand for energy is growing at an astonishing rate. Combine this with an ever-dwindling supply of fossil fuels, and it becomes painfully clear that something innovative and powerful is required. There's one high-tech proposal that holds tremendous promise — an idea that has been around since the late…
Black silicon solar cells are a relatively new technological advance that allows for the absorption of light in the infrared spectrum — about 25% of incoming sunlight. These cells are capable of pulling in an incredible 99.7% of the light that hits their surfaces, compared to traditional cells which absorb 95%. And…
With photosynthesis, plants are already busy converting sunlight into usable energy. The question then is how to use plants' natural solar-power abilities to generate energy for us. In this video, an MIT researcher explains how to do just that.