Tasmanian Times


Forget about stone-age coal energy … think space-age solar technology.

UNSW solar engineer Dr Mark Keevers inspects a new highly efficient Si solar conductive prism

If we can acquire a natural energy resource for zero cost and little environmental impact then why shouldn’t we develop it, particularly when it is of significant benefit to the entire planet. Our sun is infinitely reliable, and it comes up everyday giving us its supply free. That’s why solar energy is the vanguard of the future.

In 2017 solar power investment was $161 billion world-wide. This is up 18% since the previous year, and there appears no stopping the neo-revolution of harnessing this dynamic energy.

Here are some of the latest cutting edge innovations.

Solar Cells incident light efficiency.

Solar panels can now double their efficiency with an array of magnifying glasses

The Insolight company have developed a system to capture 100% of incident light regardless of the angle of the sun. They have used the highest rated solar cells available to gain very high yields.

The insolight technology only requires only small segments, which concentrate an array of tiny magnified lenses and a sensor to track 100% of the incident light, which means producing electricity without direct sun.

The energy conversion rate is about double of that than a traditional solar cell. It is an expensive system though the higher cost price will most likely be offset by the additional energy output.

Formation of the nanolens-array.

Below shows the schematic of the proposed structure. Nanostructure features were embedded in an optically transparent layer to fabricate nanolenses, instead of using a Si substrate. This approach properly formed the periodically nanostructured PV device without a direct etching process to Si.

Nanolens concept.

A transparent indium-tin-oxide (ITO) nanolens was designed to focus the incident light-spectrum in focal lengths overlapping to a strong electric field region for high carrier collection efficiency. The ITO nanolens effectively broadens near-zero reflection and provides high tolerance to the incident light angles. This presents a record high light-conversion efficiency of 16% for a periodic nanostructured Si solar cell.


Milestone Solar Cell technology.

Our Aussie solar engineers are leading the way in solar development. A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% – establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device.


Super thin solar cells


Nightime Energy.

The biggest drawback to solar energy has been the inability to produce power all the time, but not any more, as Chinese scientists have invented solar panel that can generate power at night through reflective moonlight from the sun. An efficient prototype of such is still a few years away from being a commercial product.

Rain Energy.

Not quite solar, but such an application could be amalgamated into solar panels. New ultra-thin panels have been designed to harness the rain, and are equipped with a device that converts motion into energy. This happens when raindrops fall on the layers and roll off, and the friction creates an electrical charge.

Batteries of the future.

Battery storage of solar energy is another advancing aspect in renewable energy, and predominately it is dominated by Lithium-ion, and in larger scales, Sodium.

Battery types of the future may include lithium-air, lithium-sulphur and sodium-ion.
The following link explores many possibilities.


Solar energy systems are the future.

Investing in solar creates jobs, stimulates the economy, lowers pollution and slows global warming that could save us from catastrophic irreversible climate change!

It’s time to forget about fossil fuels being the major player in our energy needs.

Ted Mead began dabbling with solar energy back in the mid 1980s. Since then renewable technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, particularly in the past decade. Ted has enthusiastically pursued the use of photovoltaics, and hasn’t paid for a network service in many decades, and believes it is possible and economical to be residentially and light-industrial off-grid these days.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Russell

    November 8, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Yes Frank, coal would not be there in the first place without the sun to grow the plant-life from which it comes. Burning it to kill our planet by filling our atmosphere with CO2 and polluting our dwindling fresh water supplies just to produce energy, when there are much better and sustainable ways, is insane.

    There is more money and employment to be made by going 100% solar, with wind and wave energy, too.

    Only the cave dwellers promote coal, and that’s exactly where any survivors will end up.

  2. Ted Mead

    November 8, 2018 at 6:34 am

    The renewable dream –

    The other night I had a vivid dream that I was working in Bunnings selling renewable energy products. I was doing well and selling lots of products, then low and behold in walked Malcolm Turnbull who wanted to purchase some solar panels for the Lodge (the one he is no longer in).

    At the risk of losing a sale I immediately berated him for his supportive stance preferring coal mining over renewables. The discussion was intense but he claimed to be a reformed man, a claim I challenged him to substantiate.

    Malcolm assured me that after he leaves Bunnings he was going off to call a national press conference to appeal to the broader public to come on down to Bunnings and buy their solar panels from me.

    In an instant we became connected, and we had a good old clutching hug to celebrate our union .. though can’t remember if we got down to snogging amidst the hardware isles.

    I recounted this dream to a friend last night who merely replied “You need help” however I disagree, and I believe even on a subconscious level that I have faith that renewable energy products will be a national necessity in the near future.

    P.S – If anyone has Malcolm’s personal email address, please forward this on. Ta!

    • Russell

      November 9, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Lol, sorry to shatter your dream though, Ted. If you wasted an hour last night watching Q&A you would have seen that nothing has changed.

      Turnbull still gave the same non-answer no matter what question was asked, and he’s still as gutless as he was when PM.

  3. Frank Strie - Terra Preta Developments

    November 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Yes, all the above is fine, and I support the opportunities with solar energy even further. Solar powered the plants way before we walked the Earth.

    Where did all the oil and coal come from in the first place anyhow? You can imagine that we need to sequester solar energ,y meaning storing/ sequestering Co2 and become Carbon Negative = Climate Positive, asap.

    It is now time to get behind the initiative that goes beyond carbon neutral (at best) solar, wind, water and waves.
    Here I like to introduce PyCCS via Biochar, Filtrationchar, Feedchars, Constructionchar, Designerchars. …

    Biochar and PyCCS included as negative emission technology by the IPCC
    by Hans-Peter Schmidt

    Biochar was included for the first time as a promising negative emission technology (NET) in the new IPCC special report published on 8th October 2018. While the special report’s overall message was alarming, the inclusion of biochar is an important milestone for mitigating climate change and fostering research on pyrogenic carbon. Since the EU is obliged to fund research in negative emission technologies due to the Paris Agreement, it can be expected that biochar research and development will start to receive more important funding in the near term. We provide here a short summary on pyrogenic carbon capture and storage (PyCCS) and relevant excerpts from the new IPCC special report with regards to PyCCS and biochar. … cont via above link / headline.

  4. Mike Adams

    November 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I look forward to the day when solar Venetian blinds are marketed. Mixing shade with power generation seems sensible.

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