Hot Towns, Urban Heat Islands. Sunlight: Solar as Equitable Energy Source. Environment Technology 

Sunlight: Equitable Energy Source

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic Solar energy is touted for a variety of reasons: it is renewable, clean, and quiet, and can be used as a decentralized form of electricity generation. But while doing some reading I came across a figure that reveals a less-discussed benefit of using solar energy that may be most important—depending on your priorities when it comes to global issues. Below is the figure, reproduced from a recent 2015 paper in Energy and Environmental Science that reviewed all that we know about the solar resource and the…

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Chilean Solar Farm: Cheapest Power Project Ever Environment Science Policy Technology 

Chilean Solar Farm: Cheapest Power Project Ever

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic For a long time, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has been looking for some sort of magic to ignite her country’s sluggish economy. The spell may finally be cast in the form of solar energy. Chilean Solar Farm Bloomberg reports that a host of electricity supply contracts decreasing the average price for customers by 40 percent have been auctioned off. Among these contracts is one deal with Solarpack Corporación Tecnológica to sell power from a 120-megawatt (MW) solar farm for only $29.10 per megawatt hour (MWh). That…

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Solar-Powered Oxygen Saves Lives in Africa Health Technology 

Solar-Powered Oxygen Saves Lives in Africa

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore If you’ve ever stayed in a hospital, you might remember the oxygen delivery system mounted on the wall behind your bed or at your bedside. Many of us take these for granted, but in developing countries such as Uganda they are not easily available—and even when present, they are unreliable because power cuts are rife. Now, scientists have devised an innovative solution for delivering oxygen to children with severe pneumonia: harnessing solar energy to power oxygen delivery systems. “Ours is the first study to describe the…

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Lens Flare, Steven Spence Environment Physics Technology 

Spying on the Atomic Structure of Perovskites

By Jonathan Trinastic, @jptrinastic Spying on the Atomic Structure of Perovskites Perovskites are darling materials in the world of solar cells but still somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Perovskite-based photovoltaics boast a combination of high performance and cheap production that makes them an ideal candidate to lead the next solar energy revolution. Like many young and talented upstarts, however, they don’t always perform consistently, and they burn out quickly. Scientists do not yet completely understand why, but they have taken an important step by creating the first images of individual…

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Truly transparent solar energy Engineering Environment Featured Physics Technology 

Solar Energy that Doesn’t Block the View

By Kate Stone In 2014, a team of researchers at Michigan State University developed a new type of solar concentrator that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while still allowing people to see through the window. It is called a “transparent luminescent solar concentrator” and it can be used on buildings, cell phones, and anything else that has a clear surface. According to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the operative word in this story is “transparent.” One year ago, researchers predicted that, while the technology was at an early…

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