Trump’s energy plan doesn’t mention solar, an industry that just added 51,000 jobs

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The White House website may not even mention it as part of Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” — but the U.S. solar industry continues to post dramatic job growth numbers.

According to a new annual report by the nonprofit Solar Foundation, more than 51,000 solar industry jobs were added in 2016, a 24.5 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the foundation finds, some 260,000 Americans now work in the solar industry.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Fluorescent Ruby Red Roofs Stay as Cool as White

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Elementary school science teaches us that in the sun, dark colors get hot while white stays cool. Now new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found an exception: Scientists have determined that certain dark pigments can stay just as cool as white by using fluorescence, the re-emission of absorbed light.

The researchers tested this concept by coloring cool roof coatings with ruby red (aluminum oxide doped with chromium). Led by Berkeley Lab scientist Paul Berdahl, they first found that white paint overlaid with a layer of ruby crystals stayed as cool as a commercial white coating. Next, they synthesized ruby pigment to mix into coatings. Their results were published recently in the journal Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, in an article titled “Fluorescent cooling of objects exposed to sunlight—The ruby example.”

Solar stove research team wins $100,000 award for innovation

Read the full story from the UIUC Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment.

Researchers in the iSEE-funded Stored Solar Stove Project are the recipients of The Ocean Exchange’s 2016 Gulfstream® Navigator Award.

Presented each year at The Ocean Exchange’s Annual Event, this $100,000 award honors an outstanding innovation that demonstrates positive impact on the environment, economies, and health while respecting cultures around the world and has applications across multiple industries.

Created by the project team, Sun Buckets are portable, stored solar energy cookstoves that allow users to cook without fire, fuel, or emissions. The cooking vessel design maintains local cooking traditions by emulating the temperature of fire and allowing users to cook where and when they wish, even when the sun isn’t shining. Watch how it works.

No-Cost Solar Screenings and Implementation Assistance for Universities

In support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is offering approximately 40 hours of no-cost technical assistance to universities seeking to increase the deployment of mid-scale solar photovoltaic systems at universities. Assistance will provide project development support to higher education institutions as they deploy solar on-campus, which includes assistance writing and/or evaluating request for proposals, advice on financing structures and interconnection agreement facilitation. Applications are due November 18.

These Shape-Shifting Solar Panels Can Be Disguised As Tile Or Shingles

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Solar panels can drastically bring down the energy footprint of any building on which they are installed. But existing solar panels can’t be used just anywhere. These flat, fragile, and transparent panels are best placed on roofs, where they can collect the most sun without being damaged—and where they also draw plenty of attention to themselves, aesthetically altering the appearance of the buildings on which they are installed. For historic buildings, solar energy is often simply not an option.

Now, a family-run Italian solar business called Dyaqua thinks it has an answer to what some might call the architectural blight of solar panels. The company has invented what it calls “Invisible Solar” panels, though that’s a bit of a misnomer. These solar panels aren’t so much invisible as they are indistinguishable from more common construction materials, such as concrete, slate, stone, terracotta, and even wood.

Toward ‘Greener,’ Inexpensive Solar Cells

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

Solar panels are proliferating across the globe to help reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels. But conventional panels are not without environmental costs, too. Now scientists are reporting in the Journal of the American Chemical Society a new advance toward more practical, “greener” solar cells made with inexpensive halide perovskite materials. They have developed low-bandgap perovskite solar cells with a reduced lead content and a power conversion efficiency of 15 percent.