solar panels

18 Stories

Most Solar Panels Facing the Wrong Way

Study suggests they should be oriented west, not south

(Newser) - If you happen to have solar panels on your house, they might need a change of direction. A new study suggests that the standard industry advice (at least in this hemisphere) of having the panels face south is wrong, reports National Geographic . Try west instead. The study by the Pecan... More »

Coming Soon to IKEA Shelves: Solar Panels

Don't worry: you won't have to install them yourself

(Newser) - IKEA is perhaps best known for flogging flat-packs of unpronounceable but affordable furniture and modestly-priced meatballs, but the Swedish-owned retailer will soon be adding a surprising new item to its UK stores: solar panels. At $9,200 for a pack of 18 panels, the product will be pricier than most... More »

US Was Blind to Cracks at Solyndra

Firm launched $1.8M lobbying campaign

(Newser) - The Obama administration, eager to approve funding for a hard-lobbying Solyndra, overlooked key flaws that ultimately brought down the company, insiders and analysts tell the New York Times . None of the other solar panel firms that received federal loan guarantees hired lobbyists; “it was made clear to us early... More »

Ex-Solyndra Employees Saw Scads of Wasted Money

Government loan 'made people sloppy'

(Newser) - Cheer up, taxpayers: Solyndra may never pay back its $535 million loan , but it put the money to good use. Like, for example, building a shiny conference room with nifty glass walls that could turn solid gray at the flip of a switch. That’s one of several questionable expenditures... More »

White House Misses Solar Panels Deadline

Promised last October panels would be installed by end of spring

(Newser) - Summer officially begins today, which means spring ended yesterday, which means the White House has a broken promise it made last October: to install solar panels on the roof of the most iconic home in the nation by spring 2011. The Energy Department did release a statement yesterday, saying it'... More »

Google Wants Solar Panels on Your Roof

Company invests $280M in plan with installer SolarCity

(Newser) - Google is investing $280 million to help private US homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops. The money will allow installer SolarCity to offer solar systems to 10,000 homeowners for no money up front. In exchange, customers agree to pay a set price for the power produced by the... More »

Sahara Holds Key to Powering Half the World

'Solar Breeder Project' would extract silica from desert sand

(Newser) - Scientists in Japan and Algeria have a plan they say could provide half the world’s electricity needs by 2050, and it all starts with the Sahara desert. Factories built around the desert could isolate the silica from sand to make photovoltaic solar panels; the panels could power solar plants;... More »

US Military Ditching Fuel for Solar Energy

First portable solar panels arrive in Afghanistan

(Newser) - The US military may be an unlikely poster child for green energy, but with its fuel supply convoys increasingly under attack in Afghanistan, it's working hard to ditch its dependence on fossil fuels—and source its energy from the sun. Last week saw the arrival of portable solar panels and... More »

Mars Rover Goes Missing

May be 'hibernating' to survive Martian winter

(Newser) - The Mars rover is MIA. The machine has failed to make a scheduled communication with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, and NASA officials are speculating that the aging Spirit may have gone into power-saving "hibernation" mode to survive the red planet's winter. "We may not hear from Spirit again... More »

Sorry US, China Is World's Solar Powerhouse

(Newser) - If the US wants to be, in Barack Obama’s words, the “world’s leading exporter of renewable energy,” it’s got a lot of catching up to do. China is the king of solar, and it’s moving aggressively on the US market, the New York Times... More »

Astronauts Install Last Pair of Solar Panels

(Newser) - The International Space Station is about to get full power for the first time. Two astronauts today installed the last pair of solar panels for the station in a six-hour spacewalk, reports The station, which now has a total of eight solar panels, will unfurl the newly installed... More »

Solar, Wind Boom Starts to Wither

Once thought recession-proof, green tech takes a hit

(Newser) - Wind and solar power have been growing at breakneck speed over the past few years—a demand the industry had hoped would continue to soar under the Obama administration. But instead, wind and solar power is dropping, with trade groups projecting a drop in new installations of up to 50%.... More »

Slump May Doom Clean Energy Initiatives

Some nations could fall back on fossil fuel

(Newser) - Just as global warming initiatives were gaining serious momentum around the world, the financial crisis looks like it's undermining both the political will and the math that support them, the New York Times reports. With gas prices plummeting, US automakers may be scaling back investment in new technology. In Europe,... More »

Oops! Tools Lost in Space

Astronaut slips up on spacewalk

(Newser) - A shuttle astronaut performing repairs during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station yesterday faced a slippery dilemma when a grease gun spurted lubricant inside her tool bag. As Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper cleaned the lubricant from her gloves, her bag full of tools floated away, boldly going where no tools have... More »

Mars Lander Falls Silent

Phoenix lacks the solar power to continue its mission

(Newser) - The Martian autumn has cut power to NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, ending its mission of scientific discovery, NASA reports. As anticipated, shorter days and increasingly overcast skies are preventing sufficient solar energy from reaching the lander’s power cells. It has already collected data for 2 months longer than... More »

New Solar Tech Can Top This

Solyndra's designs can capture light from any angle

(Newser) - A California company's new, sun-sucking glass tubes aim to solve solar power's practical problems, the Economist reports. Chief among them are flat panels that miss the sun—by looking the wrong way—and cost more than $40,000 per household to install. Solyndra's new technology uses glass tubes that capture... More »

Kids Take Green Lessons to Heart, Then to Home

Kids are America's new eco-police

(Newser) - They’re watching. No, not surveillance cameras; the growing population of “eco-kids”—children who, lectured on sustainability at school and elsewhere, are pushing green practices at home. They rummage through garbage bins, agitate for hybrid vehicles, and even even turn off the water while parents are brushing their... More »

Toyota to Add Solar Panels to Prius

Some 2009 models will have panels that help power air conditioning

(Newser) - Toyota plans to go even more “green” with its hybrid Prius, offering solar panels as a high-end option beginning with the 2009 model year, reports Reuters. And, although the panels will do little more than help power the air conditioning system, Toyota’s move shows just how far automakers... More »

18 Stories