Solar Energy: Harnessing the sun's power
Solar panels and solar cells have become increasingly prevalent. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to solar power is building a better battery that can store and effectively use the energy that solar cells pull from the sun. Additionally, breakthroughs in solar cell materials technology and engineering are improving efficiency that goes beyond the current level of only 20 percent.
NSF-funded material scientists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists all play a role in moving this technology forward so that solar power can flourish and most effectively augment other energy sources in the future.
Featured video: QESST for Solar Power to Feed an Energy Hungry World
Modern society is very much defined by its access to electricity. What if researchers could advance sustainable energy technologies to the point where everyone around the world had access to clean, cheap energy sources? Richard Smalley, 1996 Nobel Prize winning chemist, called it the greatest challenge facing the world in the 21st century and coined the phrase "terawatt challenge." The Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST) Center is tackling the "terawatt challenge," looking for game changers in photovoltaics. This is an episode of NSF's Science Nation video series that originally aired on September 14, 2015.
- Future Fuels for Everyone Powered by the Sun (NSF Discovery, April 6, 2011)
- Size Matters: Smaller Particles Could Make Solar Panels More Efficient (NSF News Release, March 25, 2011)
- Understanding the Science of Solar-Based Energy: More Researchers Are Better Than One (NSF News Release, August 28, 2008)
- A 'clear path' to solar power (Science Nation video series, November 9, 2015)
- Solar Fuels: A Grand Challenge of 21st Century Chemistry (Science Nation video series, April 21, 2014)
- Spray-on Solar Panels (Science Nation video series, February 14, 2011)
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