New World Record Set For Solar Efficiency: 31.25%

by Justin Thomas •

On a perfect New Mexico winter day — with the sky almost 10 percent brighter than usual — Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate. The old 1984 record of 29.4 percent was toppled Jan. 31 on SES’s “Serial #3” solar dish Stirling …


Solar Hybrid Lighting Tested In California

by Justin Thomas •

A handful of buildings in California are beginning to try a new kind of indoor lighting: sunlight without windows. It’s called hybrid solar lighting, and it is being marketed by a company called Sunlight Direct. During the day, sunlight is captured and channeled into lighting fixtures, then at night, the fluorescent bulb takes over. On the roof, sunlight is captured …


1000 Suns From Huge Concentrating Dish

by Justin Thomas •

Israel’s National Solar Energy Center will start testing a 400 square meter (4,300 sq ft) solar collecting dish. The huge dish is capable of achieving 1000 suns — it can concentrate the intensity of the sun’s energy by a factor of a thousand. The dish is lined with 216 mirrors, but not more than a quarter will be uncovered to …

Lacquered Bamboo Dishes

by Justin Thomas •

These dishes are made of lacquered, wound bamboo, which comes from Cat Dang, Vietnam. The soaked bamboo is cut into very fine strips and pressed into a curve. The strips are then coiled outward from the centre of each dish. A frame is used to achieve uniform depth and angles. After a coating of cashew oil-based glue, the work is …