Green tech finds (4/14/11)

Lots of solar news this week… from a new efficiency record, to solar company corporate responsibility rankings, to a DIY solar cooker.

  • Solar powered washing machines: They’re just one part of a test to see if people are ready for the smart grid in Breda, The Netherlands. (via Crisp Green)

  • ENERGY STAR certification for senior facilities: Living and care facilities for elders are now among new commercial building types eligible for ENERGY STAR certification (via Earth Techling)

  • UN offers $10K for climate change app: Developers… got a smartphone app focused on climate change in the works? Get busy: the UN’s International Telecommunications Union is offering a $10,000 prize for such applications. (via Treehugger and @derekmarkham)

  • Chinese desalination plant runs on waste heat: Desalinating sea water is very energy intensive, but a new plant in China, developed by Israeli company IDE Technologies, runs on waste heat from nearby industry and power plants. (via @energycollectiv)

  • Another DIY solar cooker: No boxes and aluminum foil this time… check out the video above to learn how to make a solar cooker from an old satellite dish and chrome reflective vinyl.

  • New solar efficiency record: Silicon Valley start-up Solar Junction claims it has achieved 43.5% peak efficiency with its multijunction solar cell.

  • How green are your solar panels? Not a question that gets asked often, but even solar technology has environmental and social impact. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition has released its 2011 Solar Company Scorecard, which ranks companies (based on survey results from firms that choose to participate) on a variety of social and environmental factors. (via Cleantechnica)

What did we miss? Let us know about your own green tech finds this week in the comments.