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This Old House

Ross Trethewey, co-host of This Old House, visits Prof. Vladimir Bulović, director of MIT.nano, to learn more about the future of solar technology, including an electricity-generating film that can be applied to windows and other materials. “Dramatic advancements are on the horizon,” says Bulović. “We can make solar cells that don’t weigh very much at all so deployment of them on top of your roof could be as simple as unrolling a carpet and stapling it to the roof with a plug. Maybe your windows will be turned into solar cells.” 

Fast Company

Quaise Energy, a startup out of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, has developed a millimeter wave drilling system to access layers of rock that reach over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, making geothermal power more accessible, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. “Wind and solar [power] take up quite a bit of land,” writes Peters. “If geothermal power can be affordable anywhere, it could help fill an important gap in getting to 100% renewable electricity.”

CNBC

Ubiquitous Energy, an MIT startup, is developing technology to transform windows into surfaces that capture solar energy, reports Catherine Clifford for CNBC. “Ubiquitous makes a coating for windows that uses semiconducting materials to convert sunlight into electricity,” writes Clifford. “The coating is just nanometers thick and tiny wires connect the solar window to electrical systems where the energy is used.”

Fast Company

MIT startup Ubiquitous Energy has created transparent solar panels that can also generate electricity, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. “The windows, with two panes of glass that are sealed together, have wires that can be connected either directly to something next to the window – such as a light or electronic blinds – or connected to a battery in the building or back into the electric grid,” writes Peters.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe correspondent Scott Kirsner spotlights CubicPV, an MIT startup, which is creating solar cells that more efficiently convert sunlight into energy.

Bloomberg

MIT researchers have analyzed the role of long-duration energy storage technologies and found that large storage systems have the potential to lower electricity prices in a carbon-free grid by up to 40%, writes Eric Roston for Bloomberg. 

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Kristin Toussaint writes that a study by MIT researchers finds shutdowns and lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic led to clearer skies and increased solar output in Delhi. “I think we’ve been able to get a glimpse of how the world can look like if we actually have clean air,” says research scientist Ian Marius Peters.

Forbes

A new study by MIT researchers finds that temperature increases caused by climate change could lead to a reduction in the energy produced by solar panels, reports Scott Snowden for Forbes. The researchers found that “on average, photovoltaic power output reduces by 0.45% for each degree increase in temperature.”

Bloomberg News

In an article for Bloomberg News, Noah Smith highlights a study by MIT researchers that examines the factors influencing the decline in solar prices. The researchers found that, “from 1980 to 2001, government-funded research and development was the main factor in bringing down costs, but from 2001 to 2012, the biggest factor was economies of scale,” Smith explains.

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe Magazine, Andrew Nemethy chronicles the work of Prof. Maria Telkes, who was known as the “Sun Queen” and developed the first habitable building heated by the sun. Nemethy writes that “almost everything she did broke ground. As a prominent and outspoken female scientist, she defied stereotypes.”

NBC News

Students from MIT and the University of Michigan will install solar panels for families in Long Beach, California over spring break, reports Marcela Valdivia for NBC 4. “Students will install solar panels for a two-day period for one family and spend the other days spreading awareness about renewable energy in the community,” Valdivia explains.

The Daily Beast

A new paper co-authored by Prof. David Rand shows that people are more likely to buy solar panels if the salesperson actually uses them. Study participants believed the salesperson’s personal behavior “was a stronger signifier of their beliefs than any sales pitch, no matter how sincere,” reports Tarpley Hitt for The Daily Beast.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Bette Keva spotlights SeaTrac Systems, Inc., which was founded by MIT alumni Buddy Duncan and James Herman, and has developed an autonomous, solar-powered boat. Herman explains that SeaTrac’s goal is to develop a boat that could be used on “dirty, dull, dangerous, or expensive” missions.

Vox

A Vox article on the potential and challenges of scaling solar power cites the MITEI Future of Solar Energy report’s findings about the relationship between market penetration of solar, market prices, and solar revenues. In the article, MITEI researcher Jesse Jenkins discusses what it will take to make solar energy competitive.

Boston Globe

In an article for The Boston Globe, Prof. Emeritus Richard Schmalensee writes that policies should be enacted in Massachusetts that make solar power cost-effective for all consumers. Schmalensee writes that, “public policies must place a greater emphasis on rewarding the lowest-cost sources of solar electricity.”