Volume 3 Issue 6, June 2018

Volume 3 Issue 6

Photovoltaics blends in

Large-scale deployment of photovoltaics has overcome expectations in recent decades, calling for further technological innovations and opening new opportunities for integration, such as solar roof tiles (pictured here). In this Focus, we explore two trends in photovoltaic deployment and delve into current challenges in bringing new technologies from the laboratory to the real world.

See Ballif et al.

Image: Antal Thoma, CSEM. Cover Design: Allen Beattie


Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    Recent developments in photovoltaic technologies enable stimulating architectural integration into building façades and rooftops. Upcoming policies and a better coordination of all stakeholders will transform how we approach building-integrated photovoltaics and should lead to strong deployment.

    • Christophe Ballif
    • , Laure-Emmanuelle Perret-Aebi
    • , Sophie Lufkin
    •  & Emmanuel Rey
  • Comment |

    Low photovoltaic module costs imply that increasing the energy yield per module area is now a priority. We argue that modules harvesting sunlight from both sides will strongly penetrate the market but that more field data, better simulation tools and international measurement standards are needed to overcome perceived investment risks.

    • R. Kopecek
    •  & J. Libal

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Various approaches have been adopted to enhance the performance of alkaline water electrolysers, such as improving catalyst efficiency or increasing operating temperatures. Now, magnetic hyperthermia is demonstrated as another potential route to enhance overall water splitting catalytic activity.

    • Bora Seo
    •  & Sang Hoon Joo
  • News & Views |

    Wind facilities have generally deployed turbines of the same power and height in regular uniform arrays. Now, the modern generation of turbines, with customer-selectable tower heights and larger rotors, can significantly increase wind energy’s economic potential using less land to generate cheaper electricity.

    • Robert Thresher
  • News & Views |

    The energy density of aqueous organic flow batteries is generally low primarily because of the low solubility or instability of charge-storing organic molecules. Now, a phenazine-derived molecule is shown to have both high solubility and long-term stability, leading to an exceptionally high capacity in an aqueous flow battery.

    • Daniel P. Tabor
  • News & Views |

    Many consumers encounter electric vehicles for the first time at car dealerships when they are looking to buy a new vehicle. Now, research shows that interactions with sales personnel have an important and often detrimental influence on the purchase of electric vehicles, presenting a critical barrier to their wide-spread adoption.

    • Jennifer Lynes



  • Article |

    Electrocatalytic water splitting to produce H2 is impeded by slow reaction kinetics over noble-metal-free catalysts at the electrodes. Here, the authors use high-frequency alternating magnetic fields to locally heat FeC–Ni core–shell catalysts, enhancing the kinetics of the oxygen and hydrogen evolution reactions.

    • Christiane Niether
    • , Stéphane Faure
    • , Alexis Bordet
    • , Jonathan Deseure
    • , Marian Chatenet
    • , Julian Carrey
    • , Bruno Chaudret
    •  & Alain Rouet


  • Article |

    Planning for transportation and electricity needs is important to balance the power demand. Here, the authors analyse large datasets on urban mobility and energy consumption of electric vehicles and provide a recommendation scheme for the drivers to alleviate the peak load on the power grid.

    • Yanyan Xu
    • , Serdar Çolak
    • , Emre C. Kara
    • , Scott J. Moura
    •  & Marta C. González
  • Article |

    Wind turbine technologies evolve, as do social acceptability and policies on wind farm siting. Here, Rinne et al. assess wind energy potential taking these evolutions into account and show an increase in the economic potential of wind energy in Finland using modern technology assumptions.

    • Erkka Rinne
    • , Hannele Holttinen
    • , Juha Kiviluoma
    •  & Simo Rissanen
  • Article |

    Redox flow batteries (RFBs) based on organic redox-active molecules are attractive, but the solubility of those molecules, and consequently the capacity, is generally low. Here, the authors develop a phenazine derivative with high solubility as an energy-dense anolyte for RFBs.

    • Aaron Hollas
    • , Xiaoliang Wei
    • , Vijayakumar Murugesan
    • , Zimin Nie
    • , Bin Li
    • , David Reed
    • , Jun Liu
    • , Vincent Sprenkle
    •  & Wei Wang
  • Analysis |

    Achieving sustainable development goals while meeting the 1.5 °C climate target requires radical changes to how we use energy. A scenario of low energy demand shows how this can be done by down-sizing the global energy system to enable feasible deployment rates of renewable energy resources.

    • Arnulf Grubler
    • , Charlie Wilson
    • , Nuno Bento
    • , Benigna Boza-Kiss
    • , Volker Krey
    • , David L. McCollum
    • , Narasimha D. Rao
    • , Keywan Riahi
    • , Joeri Rogelj
    • , Simon De Stercke
    • , Jonathan Cullen
    • , Stefan Frank
    • , Oliver Fricko
    • , Fei Guo
    • , Matt Gidden
    • , Petr Havlík
    • , Daniel Huppmann
    • , Gregor Kiesewetter
    • , Peter Rafaj
    • , Wolfgang Schoepp
    •  & Hugo Valin

Amendments & Corrections


  • Focus |

    Photovoltaic scale-up and deployment

    This Focus examines some of the challenges in scaling-up photovoltaic technologies from the laboratory to the real world and explores upcoming deployment routes.