Pokeberries Prove to Be Valuable in Solar Panel Production
Scientists at Wake Forest University have discovered that pokeberry dye can improve the efficiency of some solar cells. When applied to fiber-based solar cells, the berry's dye acts as an absorber, helping the cell's fibers capture more sunlight to convert into power. Fiber-based solar cells can produce twice as much power as current flat-cell technology and are less expensive to produce. Civil War soldiers used juice from the weeds to write letters home, reports UPI.com.
Caltech Raises a ‘Solar Army’
Because the minerals used to create solar panels are rare, they are expensive—thus making solar panels expensive to produce. Researchers at Caltech have recruited brainy high school students in Pasadena to help hunt for promising solar-technology compounds made from abundant elements. Caltech students mentor high school chemistry students every week as they try and test every combination of elements--like copper, iron and sulfur--that they can think of. A scientist at the University of Wyoming leads the "solar army," which consists of graduate, undergraduate--and now high school--students from across the country and Germany who are working on the problem.
First Solar Plans New Factory for Solar Panels
Solar-panel manufacturer First Solar revealed plans to build a new factory similar in size to its Toledo, Ohio, facility. The company has not decided where the new plant will be located. The Toledo plant has an annual production capacity of 223 megawatts worth of solar panels. A company spokesman told Today’s Energy Solutions that all of its plants are at full capacity, which is why it wants to build a new one.
Arizona Utility Cuts Solar Energy Rebates Again
One month after it said too much demand had drained its funds, the Arizona Public Service Co. reduced its solar rebate amounts again. Applications have not stopped, and APS has received enough of them to hit a trigger point that drops the incentives from $2.15 per installed watt to $1.95 per installed watt. Those wishing to get incentives for residential solar also may have a longer wait as the funds the utility used are already reserved, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
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