1) Artificial Leaf Solar Cell – Captures CO2 and Sunlight, Produces Fuel

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy. Unlike conventional solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity that must be stored in heavy batteries, the new device essentially does the work of plants, converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into fuel, solving two crucial problems at once. A solar farm of such «artificial leaves» could remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and produce energy-dense fuel efficiently.

2) Transparent Solar Cells that Could Power Mobile Phones and Skyscrapers

A Silicon Valley startup named «Ubiquitous Energy» has succedded in creating such transparent solar cells. Organic chemistry is the secret to creating such material. Manufacturing cost of organic solar is less comparing to the conventional silicon solar panels.
Ubiquitous Energy has redesigned the solar cell to selectively transmit light visible to the human eye while absorbing only the ultraviolet and infrared light and converting it into electricity. In future they can have this Invisible Solar Cells to Power the Skyscrapers. ClearView Power Technology of the Ubiquitous energy is a transparent solar cell that can coat any surface, including displays and windows, to harvest ambient light and generate electricity.

3) Flexible Parylene-based Solar Cells as Light as a Soap Bubble

Researchers at MIT have now demonstrated just such a technology: the thinnest, lightest solar cells ever produced. In this initial proof-of-concept experiment, the team used a common flexible polymer called parylene as both the substrate and the overcoating, and an organic material called DBP as the primary light-absorbing layer. Parylene is a commercially available plastic coating used widely to protect implanted biomedical devices and printed circuit boards from environmental damage. The entire process takes place in a vacuum chamber at room temperature and without the use of any solvents, unlike conventional solar-cell manufacturing, which requires high temperatures and harsh chemicals. In this case, both the substrate and the solar cell are «grown» using established vapor deposition techniques.

4) New Tandem Solar Cell is at the Forefront of Solar Innovation

A team of researchers from the Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may have found a way around the seemingly inseparable high efficiency and high-cost linkage through an innovative multi-junction solar cell that leverages a unique «stepcell» design approach and low cost silicon. The new stepcell combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun's energy while using a novel, low-cost manufacturing process.

5) MIT Creates Transparent, Flexible Solar Cells Using Graphene

A new flexible, transparent solar cell developed at MIT is bringing that future one step closer. The device combines low-cost organic materials with electrodes of graphene, a flexible, transparent material made from inexpensive and abundant carbon sources. This advance in solar technology was enabled by a novel method of depositing a oneatom thick layer of graphene onto the solar cell — without damaging nearby sensitive organic materials. The ability to use graphene instead is making possible truly flexible, lowcost, transparent solar cells that can turn virtually any surface into a source of electric power.

6) Wearable Solar Cell you can put in the Wash

Scientists from RIKEN and the University of Tokyo have developed a new type of ultra-thin photovoltaic device, coated on both sides with stretchable and waterproof films. It can continue to provide electricity from sunlight even after being soaked in water or being stretched and compressed. The work, published in Nature Energy, could open the way to wearable solar cells, which will provide power to devices such as health monitors incorporated into clothing.

7) Solar Glasses Generate Solar Power

Researchers from KIT developed sunglasses with colored, semitransparent solar cells applied onto lenses that supply a microprocessor and two displays with electric power. This paves the way for other future applications such as the integration of organic solar cells into windows or overhead glazing.

8) Bacteria-powered Solar Cell Works even under Overcast Skies

Researchers from KIT developed a sunglasses with colored, semitransparent solar cells applied onto lenses that supply a microprocessor and two displays with electric power. This paves the way for other future applications such as the integration of organic solar cells into windows or overhead glazing.
9) Transparent Solar Technology Represents «Wave of the Future»

In the research paper, Michigan State University researchers argue that widespread use of such highly transparent solar applications, together with the rooftop units, could nearly meet U.S. electricity demand and drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels. The research Team pioneered the development of a transparent luminescent solar concentrator that when placed on a window creates solar energy without disrupting the view. The thin, plastic-like material can be used on buildings, car windows, cell phones or other devices with a clear surface.

10) Graphene-coated Solar Panel Generates Electricity from Rain Drops

Scientists in China are developing a new kind of solar panel that could be used to generate power from rain drops. By using a thin layer of highly conductive graphene, the solar cell could effectively harness power from rain. The salt contained in rain separates into ions (ammonium, calcium and sodium), making graphene and natural water a great combination for creating energy. The water actually clings to the graphene, forming a dual layer i-e pseudocapacitor, with the graphene electrons. The energy difference between these layers is so strong that it generates electricity. According to the scientists , this new technology could guide the design of advanced all-weather solar cells.
11) Solar Paint offers Endless Energy from Water Vapour

The RMIT researchers found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight- absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air. Titanium oxide is the white pigment that is already commonly used in wall paint, meaning that the simple addition of the new material can convert a brick wall into energy harvesting and fuel production real estate. There's no need for clean or filtered water to feed the system. Any place that has water vapour in the air, even remote areas far from water, can produce fuel.

12) Freshwater from Salt Water Using only Solar Energy

A new water treatment research has yielded an off-grid technology that uses energy from sunlight alone to turn salt water into fresh drinking water. This new desalination system created by Rice University uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and light- harvesting nanophotonics.

13) Scientists Create an Ultra-Thin Concrete Roof that Can Generate Solar Power

Researchers from ETH Zurich have built a prototype of an ultra- thin, curved concrete roof using innovative digital design and fabrication methods. The self- supporting, doubly curved shell roof has multiple layers: the heating and cooling coils and the insulation are installed over the inner concrete layer. A second, exterior layer of the concrete sandwich structure encloses the roof, onto which thin- film photovoltaic cells are installed. Eventually, thanks to the technology and an adaptive solar facade, the residential unit is expected to generate more energy than it consumes.

14) New Solar Based Water Purification Technique Achieves Almost 100% Efficiency

The idea of using energy from the sun to evaporate and purify water is ancient. The Greek philosopher Aristotle reportedly described such a process more than 2,000 years ago. Now, University at Buffalo researchers are bringing this technology into the modern age, using it to sanitize water at what they report to be record-breaking rates. By draping black, carbon- dipped paper in a triangular shape and using it to both absorb and vaporize water, they have developed a method for using sunlight to generate clean water with near- perfect efficiency. This technique is able to produce drinking water at a faster pace than is theoretically calculated under natural sunlight.

15) See-through Organic

University of Michigan researchers have found a way to coax electrons to travel much further than was previously thought possible in the materials often used for organic solar cells and other organic semiconductors. The ability to make electrons move more freely in organic semiconductors could have far-reaching implications.
For example, the surface of today's organic solar cells must be covered with a conductive electrode that collects electrons at the point where they're initially generated. But freely moving electrons can be collected far away from their point of origination. This could enable manufacturers to shrink the conductive electrode into an invisible grid, paving the way for transparent cells that could be used on windows and other surfaces.