Solar Novus readers are savvy about solar, and the articles they read most are a good indication of the exciting and significant trends in the industry. Here we give you the five most-read articles of 2017, which shows the broad range of interests among our readers. From installing thin film solar on a sailboat to overcoming challenges in manufacturing perovskite-based solar to the Section 201 trade case and more.
Perovskites represent a range of possible composition of material that possess unique physical and chemical properties. Halide perovskites, for example, are exceptional absorbers of light, and their synthesis fairly simple. One challenge has been that using a liquid electrolyte in production leads to degradation of the perovskite. This article describes a major breakthrough that occurred in 2012 when the liquid electrolyte was replaced by a solid state organic semiconductor. This laid the groundwork for achieving a power conversion efficiency of nearly 23%, which is higher than that of established thin film technologies CIGS and CdTe. As in any path to commercialization, there are still additional challenges, and David Forgacs of Saule Technologies, describes those challenges and how they may be tackled before perovskites become readily available on the market.
Chris Phillips loves to sail his Seaward 32RK, which is docked in San Carlos, Sonora (Mexico). He often takes the boat out for weekends, and occasionally for a week or more. Like many boat owners, he uses renewable po
wer (solar and/or wind) to charge house batters that run the marine electronics, refrigerator, inverters, microwave and lighting. He had previously installed to solar panels for this purpose, but they weighed 100 pounds total, which could cause the boat to pitchï¿½"plus they were difficult to remove and stow below deck, so they created a safety issue. This case study describes the MiaSolï¿½© FLEX solar modules, which he installed on a weekend with some Velcro, marine canvas and an aluminum frame. Not only can he remove and store them easily, but they generate more power than his previous setup.
Puerto Rico and other islands ravaged by storms in the fall of 2017 are still struggling to restore power to all residents. The US Army Corps of Engineers installed power generators and temporary roofs, with hospitals receiving top priority. But more help was needed, and it came in the form of volunteer labor and solar equipment organized by several non-profit organizations. This article describes a few of the initiatives, who they have partnered with from within the solar industry, and just what help they are bringing beyond the installation of solar panels and battery storage.
The many PV design solutions on the market today go beyond simply taking the guesswork out of laying out a photovoltaic system or solar plant. Many have similar features, such as taking shade into account in energy production modeling. Others provide more robust designs and reports such as those including bankability details, full sales proposals or a complete bill of materials. Today it´s common for software to be cloud-based, and many come with a free trial period. Several enable seamless integration with popular design tools such as CAD and Energy Toolbase. This article offers a list of eight PV design solutions and details their similarities and what sets them apart.
More than 30,000 students have participated in the Solar Decathlon around the globe, and there´s no doubt that for many, this university-based competition is a life-changing experience. This article highlights five former decathletes who have since launched successful businesses, all inspired by knowledge and experience gained through participation in Solar Decathlons.