Solar Newsletter

The Solar Newsletter is an electronic newsletter that provides information about NREL's research and development of solar technologies.

See the Solar Newsletter archives.

April 2022

A person standing on a solar panel

Aging Gracefully: Extending the Lifetime of Solar Modules

How long can solar modules last in the sun, wind, hail, snow, and heat? For today’s modules, it’s probably 30 years. Can research push that age of retirement to 50 years? Dive into the NREL-led national lab consortium that’s advancing the science of photovoltaic reliability.


Deep space showing many stars and galaxies

How To Prove Out Perovskite Panels for Space Power

How will perovskite solar cells perform in orbit? In space, radiation comes from all directions in the form of protons, electrons, neutrons, alpha particles, and gamma rays. NREL scientists are participating in a collaborative research effort to test the radiation-tolerating properties of perovskites intended for use in space.


American Made Solar Prize

NREL's Concentrating Solar Power Research Heats Up

After 4 years, more than 30 prizes, and $100 million in cash prizes and support, the American-Made program is a pillar of the U.S. Department of Energy's activities, incentivizing U.S. entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.


solar panels

Working Out the Details of a Circular Solar Economy

By 2050, the United States will have installed a lot of solar modules—possibly 20 times the amount installed today. What happens when they're retired? A new, NREL-developed software model is envisioning paths to a circular solar economy. Its analyses are challenging some commonly held assumptions about circularity in the solar industry.


A map

Identifying Best Practices for Validating Hosting Capacity Analyses

As more states and utilities use hosting capacity analysis (HCA) to streamline solar and other distributed energy resource growth, NREL and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council have teamed up to offer advice for ensuring HCA data is validated and trustworthy.


 

Research Highlights

Winter 2021/2022 Solar Industry Update

Understanding What Limits the Voltage of Polycrystalline CdSeTe Solar Cells

System and Techno-Economic Analysis of Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen Production

Perovskite Solar Cells Can Take the Heat

Savings in Action: Lessons From Observed and Modeled Residential Solar Plus Storage Systems


Upcoming Events

May 9 – Webinar: Reliability Implications of Recent PV Technology Trends

May 10 — Webinar: Data Validation for Hosting Capacity Analyses


Staff Profile – Mark Mehos

Eric Lockhart

Principal Engineer

When it comes to concentrating solar power (CSP) research, Mark Mehos has seen the industry growth and solar boom firsthand. CSP technologies—capturing sunlight to produce heat that drives thermoelectric generation systems—had their beginnings in the mid-1980s, at the dawn of his 35-year career at NREL.

From the early days of low-temperature parabolic troughs to today’s cutting-edge molten-salt-based central receiver power tower systems (and their emerging role in thermal energy storage systems), Mark has seen it all.

"One of the perks of working at NREL is that you are always part of a larger team that works together to solve difficult problems.”

Read more about Mark’s 35-year history at NREL.