Solar power, once so costly it only made economic sense in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast.
There’s a transformation happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity.
On Wednesday, a team of researchers said they developed a fabric that’s made from cotton and two advanced electronic fibers. One fiber generates power from sunlight, and the other, called a “fiber supercapacitor,” stores the electrons and provides current, like a battery. The scientists say their fiber can withstand the bending, twisting, and wrapping normal to industrial weaving, a critical area in smart-fabrics research. Fixing rips in the fabric isn’t as easy as ironing on a new patch—connecting a new swatch into a garment represents a “delicate sewing process,” according to the new study, published in the journal ACS Nano.
In May, for the first time ever, solar produced more electricity than coal in the United Kingdom.
Swedish firm Midsummer, a leading supplier of production lines for cost effective manufacturing of flexible thin film CIGS solar cells, has developed a unique process to recover leftover rare metals such as indium and gallium when manufacturing thin film CIGS solar cells.