Solar Power Lab is engaged in research activities on different aspects of Photovoltaics.
Article on the Solar Power Lab collaboration with sea turtle expert Jesse Senko. We are developing solar powered lights for fishing nets to warn turtles of the net's location and prevent the turtles getting caught.
The US Energy Information Agency keeps detailed statistics on all forms of energy including solar power. The recently released data for 2017 shows that solar powers almost 2% of the US national electricity grid. What is remarkable is the high growth of solar with the amount of power produced doubling every two years. In 2015 solar electricity was less than 1% of the total electricity generated in the US. Two years before that (2013) the EIA did not even keep detailed statistics on solar, since the amount produced was so small.
A new publication highlights the progress in photovoltaic module efficiency. Previously, efficiency has focused on the smaller solar cell but a practical product requires combing the solar cells into a larger module. The publication includes the most recent photovoltaic module records as well as the historical context.
The US Energy Information Agency publishes the amount of electricity each state uses and the amount generated by solar. The plot below shows the fraction of electricity that is generated by solar in states of the US where we have QESST members. California is an interesting case as the amount of eletricity from solar has grown from a few percent to over 20% in less than 5 years. It is remarkable how quickly solar electricity can ramp up production even in a large high-tech market such as California.
At the Solar Power Lab we fabricate industrially ready solar cells. We have people from all over the country come and learn how to make a solar cell. To speed the learning process we have put together a video showing the process. We are still working on the narration but here is a sneak peak of the video.
Analysis of the recombination mechanisms of a silicon solar cell with low bandgap-voltage offset was published. http://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.4984071.
Seminar: Demand Side Management of PV Systems in Rural Areas in Africa
Speaker: Catarina Augusto
May 16, in ERC 189, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m
Renewable energy systems depend strongly on energy efficiency, impacting directly the power size of the systems, and the investment cost. In developing countries, energy supply is poor and the investment costs are high. In this scenario, energy efficiency is critical to secure proper energy supply, more than in developed economies. Demand Side Management (DSM) can help to answer to this problem. In this work, we study the potential of DSM on renewable energy microgrid systems in remote areas. Fossil fuel and batteries are the two most expensive components in these systems. We analyse the impact of DSM strategies in reducing the needs of fossil fuels and how it could improve the performance of batteries in the microgrids. Different scenarios were design based on the main DSM strategies: conservation, peak clipping, load shifting and valley filling. The study is based on Soroti community, a small town in central-east of Uganda, supplied by a PV-diesel microgrid system. The tools used in this study are LoadProGen (for load profile estimation) and HOMER (for DSM scenarios analyses). The results show that combining all DSM strategies improve the performance of the power systems, and reduce the energy supply costs. The study also demonstrate that the nominal power capacity of the system has a higher impact on the energy cost than the reduction of diesel consumption. In systems with DSM, the LCOE has an improvement of 20%. These results highlight the importance of the often-neglected DSM strategies for isolated microgrids, which have the potential for promoting access to electricity in many regions of the world with clean renewable energies.
At the science fair for the local middle school QESST put on a display on solar and fun to be had with liquid nitrogen. The temperature reading on the liquid nitrogen wa -309 °F. Arizona normally doesn't normally get that cold!. The display was to complement the excellent work done by the Aprende middle school student for their science fair project. Thanks very much to SPL students Max, Alex and Mark for making the night such a success.
We made the cover story of the latest edition of the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE). Katherine Nelson's PhD work on "Students’ Misconceptions about Semiconductors and Use of Knowledge in Simulations" was featured as the cover story on the April 2017 edition of the Journal of Engineering Education. Solar Cells are based on the principles of semiconductor device physics. Dr Nelson and her co-authors used the instructional materials at the pveducation.org website to explore how student's misconceptions are either reinforced or overcome by the animations. Her findings will enable instructors to create better simulations to aid student learning.
The full paper is at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jee.20163/full
The latest report from the International Energy Agence (IEA) shows that photovoltaics supplies 1.8% of the world's electricity consumed. Photovoltaics (PV) grows exponentially while electricity demand grows slowly so it was only two years ago that photovoltaics supplied less than 1% of the world's electrcity. At current growth rates photovoltaics will suppply all the world's electcity in 2030. A more likely scenario is that the declining costs of photovoltaics will enable access for the 1.1 billion people without electrcity, and new technologies such as electric cars.