In search of the ‘most rational design’ for anti-reflective coating

Scientists in Spain have tested various properties of anti-reflective and anti-soiling coatings for PV module glass, aiming to develop a material that offers the best balance of desired material properties at the lowest cost. Over a year of testing, the best coatings were shown to boost module output by around 2%, and the group also made several observations that could influence future developments of coatings for PV module front glass.

Scratching the surface of LeTID

The mechanisms behind light-elevated temperature-induced degradation are still not fully understood, but it is known to cause significant performance losses for modules in the field. Scientists in China are investigating the causes of the phenomenon, and are currently focused on the surface of the materials and the interfaces between the silicon and passivation layers.

Pirates of the PV industry

Product piracy is a well-known threat in many industries, and in solar the risk posed by poor quality products from disreputable manufacturers making their way onto rooftops and other PV installations should not be underestimated. With manufacturers investing in solutions to protect against inferior products bearing their logo, pv magazine looks at the size of the problem.

Bifacial PV modules are going mainstream but more field data is needed — and NREL is on the case

Getting the most out of a bifacial module requires a rethink at almost every level of system design and the industry is hungry for field data generated by such systems to better inform energy yield modeling and define the best approaches to maximizing yield at minimal cost. NREL’s three-year study into bifacial performance is beginning to yield results.

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The inner workings of a lithium battery

An international group of scientists has developed a method to track the microscopic processes at work in lithium batteries. Employing a ‘virtual unrolling’ model developed for ancient manuscripts too sensitive to be opened, the group peeked inside the layers of a commercial battery to gain a better understanding of the processes at work and the degradation mechanisms affecting them.

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Recycling heat for a ‘385% efficient’ solar desalinator

MIT scientists have developed a solar desalinator which sends heat from the sun through a ten-stage process of evaporation and condensation. The group estimates that a $100 device incorporating their innovation could provide the daily drinking water needs of a family.

Solar and the snow

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are working to quantify the effects of abundant snowfall on a PV system and identify cost-effective strategies to mitigate energy losses and reliability issues caused by the presence of snow and ice.

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Perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells approaching 30% efficiency in lab

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin have taken back the world efficiency record for a perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell, achieving 29.15% with a device measuring 1cm². The record has been confirmed by Fraunhofer ISE, and according to HZB, this means that the 30% efficiency mark is within reach.

Saving water with solar and wind

Scientists at Princeton have found solar and wind energy offer the added environmental benefit of reducing water usage, by comparison with hydroelectric dams. Their findings, say the researchers, could have a positive impact on groundwater sustainability in drought-prone regions such as California, where they conducted a case study.

‘New and strange properties’ provide a boost to energy storage

MIT scientists have developed a class of liquid electrolyte with properties they say could open up new possibilities for improving the performance and stability of lithium batteries and supercapacitors.

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