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tv   Click - Short Edition  BBC News  April 30, 2022 10:45pm-11:01pm BST

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and today, that goes far beyond simply plonking panels on rooftops. we keep seeing scientists develop new ways to make the technology more flexible, more powerful and more useful. this factory in stockholm is making ultra—thin solar cells that don't even need sunlight to harvest energy. the idea is that they can be used outside or inside your home to power products. i will be showing you later on what that means for various devices. but first, here's dan simmons, who's been looking at how solar could help the energy price crisis. although most of us like the idea of clean energy, so far, we've not been persuaded. maybe it's because we don't own our own roof. or it's the upfront costs. maybe we're thinking of moving
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and feel we can't take solar panels with us. orjust those glaring large slabs isn't quite the look we're after. so, i've been to the homes of two british start—ups who want you to look again. this is the solivus arc. its curves are wrapped in an organic solar film which doesn't contain any toxic substances, nor rare earth materials that could require mining, and so it has a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional panels. and that's not all. now, the arc is designed to capture sunlight throughout more of the day. and that's partly because it's got five surfaces on which to harvest energy. and this curved design means that it usually has a sweet spot which is very useful at the start and the end of the day in particular. i think it looks quite futuristic, and if solar sculptures like this were to catch on, i can
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see them being seen as a sort of carbon neutral status symbol — something for the neighbours perhaps to gawk at. i don't like the look of conventional solar panels. ijust don't like them, so, ithought, well, i want to get the home energy independent, but how can i do it with avoiding solar panels? so started looking into new solar technology that was out there. this is solivus�*s testing yard in kent where they've been adapting the shape of the sculpture to maximise efficiency. the multilayered solar film used is provided by german firm heliotech. these solar panels are made up of three distinct layers at the moment, and the top layer will capture the high—energy light. the middle layer will capture the sort of visible light and then the bottom layer captures more of the infrared, more of the heat. so, maximum efficiency for conventional solar panel is about 33%, whereas for this technology, it's tuneable,
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and they can layer it with, in theory, as many layers as they want to choose different parts of the spectrum and capture, overall, more light coming in. despite this sunny outlook, today this solar film is only 8% efficient, with a 10% version expected later this year. now, last year, that may have been a problem. high initial costs have dogged solar as a cost—effective option — until the maths changed. driven by supply issues and fresh demand from a world recovering from a global pandemic, energy prices are surging. more than 50% in a matter of minutes. and that was before many western nations imposed sanctions on russia's gas and oil following its invasion of ukraine. with the uk's energy price cap lifting next week, many household bills are about to soar.
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from around 18p per kilowatt hour last year, the variable rate of electricity is expected to jump to more than 26p by the autumn, and at least 32p if you want to fix your prices for a year or more, depending on where you live in the uk. at £3,500, the arc isn't cheap, but it is guaranteed for 20 years. its film panels, which are upgradable, are expected to produce an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours per year by the end of 2022. when it becomes 1,000 kilowatt—hours a year, in the uk, you're looking at about 21p per kilowatt hour. that amount of energy will be locked in at that 21p for 20 years, and then after that, it's free, obviously. let's be clear — one of these isn't enough to power the home, isn't enough to power a home, even one that uses gas or oil for heating. in theory, you'd need at least one
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for every bedroom you have. and if you don't have an expensive battery to store any surplus energy as it's captured, you'll end up feeding it back to the grid for a fraction of the market price. one alternative is you can plug the arc directly into your electric car if you have one. i've found another solo entrepreneur in london's notting hill. this prototype features a unique, cost—effective way to attach solar film to regular blinds so owners of flats and garages can take advantage too. because to date, solar power�*s been for the rich, and it's not been — there has not been a system or product in place where it can go on any building. my company's aim is all around the democratisation of solar, so any window can now become a solar panel. david's applied for a patent for his creation and will take it first to spain, where these types of blinds are more common. installations begin later this year.
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and he's also in talks with a london authority which wants to fit them to council flats. so, for this size of window, it'd generate about 10—15% of your energy needs, and this is a three—bedroom house, so between a hot summer or a cool winter, the amount of energy you could generate would be probably about 10—15% less during winter compared to summer. so, not much difference? no, not that much, no. and with this new solar film, it generates energy in cloudier climates compared to silicon panels. another good thing about solar film is that it's scalable. some places have more roof space than others, of course so, for reasons of cost savings, as well as the environment, this rugby stadium has decided now is the time to cover its stands in the new lightweight solar film. there's an estimated 2.5 billion square metres
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of south—facing commercial roof space in the uk, and a lot of it wouldn't have enough strength to support weighty, traditional solar panels. for the panels, we will pay 15p per kilowatt hour. that is half or less than half of what the current cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity is, so that's a significant saving for us. if you've got a big roof or a big area of land, i don't know why you wouldn't consider this as a viable option. i mean, you know, it uses an asset that you can't really use for any other purpose, it saves you money, and it's good for the planet. increasingly, these new types of flexible solar panels are making solar more accessible for people. they don't replace traditional panels, which will be ideal for some. and there are other options, like solar tiles, out there too. like solar tiles, out there too, but solarfilm is now
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getting more efficient and, importantly, cheaper, just as grid prices are going through the roof. so, both practically and financially now, solar could be coming home. here's a way of making your gadgets greener by using sustainable energy — something this solar cell factory in sweden is taking to the next level. this machine is printing custom nano ink onto solar panels, and they don't even need the sun to charge. we have developed our own nano inks, and in this machine, we print that ink on the proprietary substrate. how is the end result and the usage of it different to other solar cells? it actually harvests all kinds of light. it's sort of like artificial photosynthesis, so it will work under any light conditions. led, normal light bulbs, even in the shade — any kind of light. you're sort of using electricity, but i guess it's just electricity that is being used anyway? we're recycling light.
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the extra efficiency means that those silver strips that usually run through solar panels are no longer needed, freeing up new design ideas. these cells have been shaped to fit a headphone band and this robot is responsible for squirting electrolytes on them to allow conduction. it looks like it's going to drip bits in between, but it's actually doing it very precisely. it's more efficient and predictable, and for sure, it doesn't make any mistakes. the final step is lamination to give the cells custom textures. and into the press it goes. and here's the finished product. giovanni, tell me about the prototypes you've got here. what you see here is a fully self—powered, sustainably—powered headphone. it has a leather structure to it. and it will actually absorb any kind of light and convert that light into electrical energy and charge the battery. if you go to the gym, whatever you do, they will always charge during the day.
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but the luxury of not needing conventional charging will add a chunky $50 to devices, several of which have already been created. a smart helmet can sense when it's worn in the dark and light up automatically. here are the charging panels — one, two and three. it's actually one cell underneath. they really do blend in. and this bag doubles up as a power bank. this is a pretty big surface and you can place this in the sun, so it can charge a lot. charging from ambient light does have its limitations, though. how about a laptop? how far away are you from being able to create that sort of power in the bag? well, the laptop, you know, is super power—hungry. and a phone as well — you'rejust not going to get enough power. laptops and phones, you need much stronger light, or you need a larger surface. but who's going to walk around with this? it's not going to happen. so it's all about finding the balance, right? what is the available surface on the product? how do you normally use
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the product in your daily life? products like these headphones do still have a back—up charging port, though, for those who just still want it there for peace of mind. that's it for this week's programme. as ever, you can keep up with the team on social media. find us on youtube, instagram, facebook and twitter @bbcclick. thanks for watching. bye—bye. hello. well, april as a whole was a very dry month, but in its final day, we actually got a decent dose of rain, particularly in north—western areas of the country. and indeed, on sunday 1st may, we will have some rain elsewhere, but it's going to be quite overcast
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wherever you are on sunday. and you can see the weather systems streaming in off the atlantic here. that's the low pressure that brought the rain to north—western parts — to northern ireland and western parts of scotland. now it's a weak area of low pressure on sunday, meaning that the rain is starting to fizzle out and, if anything, it is going to be mostly an area of cloud spread across the uk. so this is what it looks like early in the morning, some dribs and drabs of rain around the irish sea and wales. it's also very mild first thing — 7am, ten degrees in belfast, ten in london, and elsewhere it's typically around seven to nine degrees. so let's pick up on that rain. a soggy morning in parts of wales, damp around the irish sea. very slowly that area of damp weather will spread into the midlands and perhaps other parts of england too, but also in scotland and northern ireland it's actually going to brighten up and this is where the best of the weather is going to be on sunday.
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in fact, in glasgow, our highest temperature's expected — 17 degrees celsius. compare that to cardiff and plymouth, between 11 and 13 degrees with that damp weather. now, monday is going to be a brighter day. we still have the remnants of that weather system over us, maybe a few showers across parts of england, but quite a chilly day in northern scotland in a northerly wind — seven in lerwick, ten in stornoway. but in the south of the country it's going to be a good deal warmer — 18 degrees, but again, not a sunny day. sunny spells, though, expected. so here's the forecast for the week ahead. tuesday, wednesday, we have some rain heading towards us. but from around about thursday onwards, high pressure is expected to build across the uk. that means settled weather and also around this area of high pressure, we will have this current of warmer air spreading in all the way from the azores, so the temperatures will start to rise across the uk towards the end of the week. so here's the summary — bank holiday monday, a rather overcast day. in fact, the first half of the week will be fairly changeable
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with showers possible, but then from thursday onwards, it's turning warmer.
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this is bbc news, i'm lukwesa burak, with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. ukraine's defence ministry says there are signs russia is preparing for "even bigger" military actions in the eastern donbas region. in the besieged city of mariupol, ukrainian fighters inside the azovstal steel plant say 20 civilians have been able to leave but hundreds are thought to still be sheltering there. in the uk, in an exclusive interview with the bbc — the conservative mp neil parish says he's resigning, after admitting he watched pornography in the house of commons. in the end, i could see that the furore and damage
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i was causing my family and my constituency and association

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