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  #241  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2013, 5:32 PM
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The Coming US Distributed Solar Boom
Opportunities and risks in a cost-competitive market

Shayle Kann: June 14, 2013

In the first quarter of this year there were 71.3 megawatts of residential solar installed in California’s three investor-owned utility territories, according to our just-released U.S. Solar Market Insight report. Of that total, 13.2 megawatts (18.5 percent) were installed without the support of rebates from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) or any other state-level program.

It would be hard to overstate the significance of this, so I’ll reiterate. In the first three months of this year, around 3,000 residential solar installations were completed in California with no state incentives. These installations did benefit from a number of things: full retail net metering (we’ll come back to this), the federal Investment Tax Credit and accelerated depreciation, and California’s relatively solar-friendly rate structures. But even so, this is emblematic of a sea change in the solar industry and, even more importantly, the energy industry.


http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...ted-solar-boom

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Turkey: over 3 GW of projects submitted for licensing
14. June 2013 | Markets & Trends, Applications & Installations, Top News | By: Hans Christoph Neidlein/Jonathan Gifford

More than five times the initial quota of larger photovoltaic projects to be developed under Turkey’s FIT program has been submitted to the relevant regulatory authority. No foreign developers have been listed as applicants to be considered in the initial round.

Turkey continues to attract much attention from the international photovoltaic industry, as the first rounds of the licensing program for larger projects closed today. According to information provided to pv magazine by Enerparc, the Turkish Energy Regulatory Authority (EPDK) has received over 3 GW of applications for licenses for larger projects throughout the week, far exceeding the 600 MW cap set by the EPDK for the first round of licenses.

Licensing rounds began on Monday of this week and closed on Friday.
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...ing_100011727/
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  #242  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2013, 4:58 PM
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Almost 9 GW of projects submitted for licensing in Turkey
17. June 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Top News | By: Hans-Christoph Neidlein/Edgar Meza

The first licensing round for PV projects larger than 1 MW in Turkey has been exceeded by almost 15 times. Nearly 500 applications with a total 8.9 GW were handed in between June 10 and 14.

So far, 496 applications with close to 8.9 GW have been submitted to the Turkish Energy Regulatory Authority (EPDK), according to information provided to pv magazine by Enerparc, which itself is in the bidding for 10 projects it plans to develop with Turkish partners. The cap for the first licensing round, which ended Friday, is 600 MW.

The most recent numbers are nearly three times higher than the initial figures reported by pv magazine on Friday.
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...key_100011739/
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  #243  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2013, 1:22 AM
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  #244  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2013, 3:05 PM
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Large-scale solar in the UK generates over £13 million a year
By Peter Bennett
19 June 2013, 15:52 Updated: 19 June 2013, 15:52

Commercial-scale solar PV projects are generating an estimated £13.5million worth of electricity a year according to new research published by SmartestEnergy.

Research carried out by the independent energy company revelaed that there were 528 commercial-scale independent solar projects of over 50kQ operating in the UK at the end of 2012, accounting for 322MW of capacity.

Installations owned by renewable energy developers account for 59% of the total energy being generated by the sector with 13% coming from onsite generators and landowners alike. Agricultural installtions account for a further 7%.

In terms of location, the South of England continues to dominate with 128 projects located in the South West and 113 in the South East of England.

Commenting on the results of the research, SmartestEnergy’s head of generation, Iain Robertson said: “Rising energy prices and the introduction of financial subsidy schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff have sparked huge interest in the development of independent renewable generation projects in recent years.

“For businesses, farms and organisations faced with steep rises in energy costs, investing in their own renewable energy projects can generate significant savings and help them remain competitive. The combined strength of a large number of these projects will also play an increasingly important role in helping the country meet its climate change targets in the years ahead.”
http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/ne...on_a_year_2356

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Palo Alto Goes Solar, 80 Megawatts at 6.9 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour
Some of the cheapest solar in the land in the heart of Silicon Valley

Eric Wesoff: June 19, 2013

The city of Palo Alto could claim the title of being the Heart of Silicon Valley (against the protestations of San Jose, Mountain View, Cupertino, and Menlo Park). The Northern California city is the home of Stanford University, Packard's garage, a high concentration of venture capitalists, and a crop of high-tech startups that's growing like kudzu.

And now it's home to a municipal utility which has approved 80 megawatts in solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) to meet approximately 18 percent of the city's load -- and essentially provide power for all of Palo Alto's 65,000 residents, according to the utility.

But the big story is the price.

The price is an eye-opening 6.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for the 30-year PPA.

"Try building a new nuke or coal plant at that price," was Adam Browning of Vote Solar's take on the number. The price compares favorably to the typical market price referent and would seem to be able to take on prices paid for natural gas or wind. The projects still include the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit.
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...er-Kilowatt-Ho

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Tata Wins Over IBM, Dell With Solar Cheaper Than Grid
20 June 2013

June 20 (Bloomberg) — Tata Group’s solar unit is expanding its business building plants for customers, forecasting that offices and factories will be paying more for grid power than solar by 2016 in most Indian states.

Solar installations for commercial and industrial energy consumers, such as cement factories, information technology parks and car manufacturers, seeking to generate their own power represent a market of about 80 billion rupees ($1.3 billion), said Ajay Goel, chief executive of Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd., a unit of India’s biggest industrial group that owns Jaguar Land Rover.

The company, formerly known as Tata BP Solar Ltd., is seeking to diversify from making panels after an oversupply from Chinese competitors crushed prices globally and idled Indian factories. Customers for whom it has already completed solar plants for self-generation include Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., the country’s biggest carmaker, and the local units of Dell Inc. and International Business Machines Corp.

“We’re seeing a huge uptake as we get closer and closer to grid parity,” Goel said in a phone interview. “Corporate customers are coming to us to install solar on their rooftops or land on the side of their factories because it can provide energy cheaper than from the grid.”

The investment can pay for itself in a year if the customer is able to claim tax depreciation benefits or about four years if they can’t, Goel said. The economics improve further when businesses calculate the cost of diesel burned during daily blackouts. Diesel generators cost about 17 rupees per kilowatt-hour to run, more than double the cost of solar, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.
http://about.bnef.com/bnef-news/tata...per-than-grid/
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  #245  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2013, 5:55 PM
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New York passes solar bill that could add 2.2GW by 2023
By Felicity Carus - 21 June 2013, 18:36
In News, Power Generation

New York state legislators yesterday gave their resounding approval to a solar bill that could see 2,200 MW of new installations by 2023.

The New York Solar Bill (A.5060b/S.2522) was passed by the state Assembly by 76 to 16 votes and would enact Governor Andrew Cuomo's 10-year solar programme proposed earlier this year, building on the success of the NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to drive growth in the state’s solar industry and lower solar costs.

Solar has gained increasing attention from state lawmakers following the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, which exposed New York’s energy infrastructure as grossly outdated and unable to weather the effects of climate change.
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/new_york..._2.2gw_by_2023

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Chile on track for 6 GW of solar projects
21. June 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Blanca Díaz/Edgar Meza

Development of solar power projects are Chile has increased dramatically in recent months. The country’s Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) has already approved 4 GW of new projects with an additional 2.2 GW currently under review.

Chile has seen a rapid rise in the development of new solar power projects in recent months. The country's Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) has already approved 4 GW of new projects and is currently reviewing an additional 2.2 GW, according to a report by published on June 19 by Chile’s Center for Renewable Energy.

While a large number of major projects are set go online in the coming months, Chile's capacity from operational facilities currently totals only 3.5 MW. However, solar plants with a total capacity of 69 MW are currently under construction and the SEA has approved an additional 4 GW of projects which have yet to be built. A further 2.2 GW are under review.
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...cts_100011804/

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A cheaper drive to 'cool' fuels
UD scientists pioneer inexpensive catalyst to drive synthetic fuel production


1:29 p.m., June 20, 2013--University of Delaware chemist Joel Rosenthal is driven to succeed in the renewable energy arena.

Working in his lab in UD’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Rosenthal and doctoral student John DiMeglio have developed an inexpensive catalyst that uses the electricity generated from solar energy to convert carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into synthetic fuels for powering cars, homes and businesses.

The research is published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Gold and silver represent the “gold standard” in the world of electrocatalysts for conversion of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. But Rosenthal and his research team have pioneered the development of a much cheaper alternative to these pricey, precious metals. It’s bismuth, a silvery metal with a pink hue that’s a key ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, the famous pink elixir for settling an upset stomach.

An ounce of bismuth is 50 to 100 times cheaper than an ounce of silver, and 2,000 times cheaper than an ounce of gold, Rosenthal says. Bismuth is more plentiful than gold and silver, it is well distributed globally and is a byproduct in the refining of lead, tin and copper.

Moreover, Rosenthal says his UD-patented catalyst offers other important advantages: selectivity and efficiency in converting carbon dioxide to fuel.

“Most catalysts do not selectively make one compound when combined with carbon dioxide — they make a whole slew,” Rosenthal explains. “Our goal was to develop a catalyst that was extremely selective in producing carbon monoxide and to power the reaction using solar energy.”

Many of us hear ‘”carbon monoxide” and think “poison.”

“It’s true that you do not want to be in a closed room with carbon monoxide,” Rosenthal says. “But carbon monoxide is very valuable as a commodity chemical because it’s extremely energy rich and has many uses.”
http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2013/jun/...el-062013.html

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DNA constructs antenna for solar energy
Published Wed 19 Jun 2013

PRESS RELEASE: Researchers at Chalmers have found an effective solution for collecting sunlight for artificial photosynthesis. By combining self-assembling DNA molecules with simple dye molecules, the researchers have created a system that resembles nature's own antenna system.

Artificial photosynthesis is one of the hot trends in energy research. A large number of the worlds' energy problems could be resolved if it were possible to recreate the ability plants have to transform solar energy into fuel. The Earth receives enough solar energy every hour to satisfy our energy needs for an entire year.

A research team at Chalmers University of Technology has made a nanotechnological breakthrough in the first step required for artificial photosynthesis. The team has demonstrated that it is possible to use self-assembling DNA molecules as scaffolding to create artificial systems that collect light. The results were recently published in the esteemed scientific Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Self-assembling system

Scaffolding in plants and algae consists of a large number of proteins that organise chlorophyll molecules to ensure effective light collection. The system is complicated and would basically be impossible to construct artificially.

"It's all over if a bond breaks," says Jonas Hannestad, PhD of physical chemistry. "If DNA is used instead to organise the light-collecting molecules, the same precision is not achieved but a dynamic self-constructing system arises."
http://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages...ar-energy.aspx

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2013/06/21
Uncovering Nature’s Quantum Secret in Science
Researchers in group led by Prof Niek van Hulst observe the quantum character of light transport in photosynthesis.


Photosynthetic organisms, such as plants and some bacteria can whisk away 95 percent of the sunlight they absorb in less than a couple of trillionths of a second to drive the metabolic reactions that provide them with energy. Various research groups around the world have found indications that this highly efficient energy transport is connected to a quantum-mechanical phenomenon. However, until now, no one had directly observed the possible impacts of such a quantum transport mechanism at work at room temperature.

In an article published in Science, researchers from the group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Niek van Hulst, in collaboration with biochemists from the University of Glasgow, have been able to show for the first time at ambient conditions that the quantum mechanisms of energy transfer do make photosynthesis more robust in the face of environmental influences. Quantum coherence is manifested in so-called photosynthetic antenna proteins that are responsible for absorption of sunlight and energy transport towards the photochemical reaction centers where the energy is stored.

In order to observe this process, researchers send ultrafast femtosecond light flashes to capture a high-speed series of ‘pictures’ of the states of individual antenna proteins after light absorption. With these "snapshots", they are able to understand how solar energy is transported through single proteins and observe how energy flows through sunlight absorbing photosynthetic systems with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.
http://www.icfo.eu/newsroom/news2.ph...ubsection=home

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What Tech Is Next for the Solar Industry?
Solar manufacturers are eager to implement several new technologies that could make solar power cheaper, and the panels easier to make.

By Kevin Bullis on June 21, 2013

Solar panel installations continue to grow quickly, but the solar panel manufacturing industry is in the doldrums because supply far exceeds demand (see “Why We Need More Solar Companies to Fail”). The poor market may be slowing innovation, but advances continue; judging by the mood this week at the IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists Conference in Tampa, Florida, people in the industry remain optimistic about its long-term prospects.

The technology that’s surprised almost everyone is conventional crystalline silicon. A few years ago, silicon solar panels cost $4 per watt, and Martin Green, professor at the University of New South Wales and one of the leading silicon solar panel researchers, declared that they’d never go below $1 a watt. “Now it’s down to something like 50 cents of watt, and there’s talk of hitting 36 cents per watt,” he says.

The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of reaching less than $1 a watt—not just for the solar panels, but for complete, installed systems—by 2020 (see “Why Solar Installations Cost More in the U.S. than in Germany”). Green thinks the solar industry will hit that target even sooner than that. If so, that would bring the direct cost of solar power to six cents per kilowatt-hour, which is cheaper than the average cost expected for power from new natural gas power plants. (The total cost of solar power, which includes the cost to utilities to compensate for its intermittency, would be higher, though precisely how much higher will depend on how much solar power is on the grid, and other factors.)
http://www.technologyreview.com/news...olar-industry/
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  #246  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2013, 4:58 PM
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India’s biggest corporates turn to solar – it’s cheaper than grid
By Giles Parkinson on 23 June 2013

It seems that Coal India – the world’s largest coal company – is not the only one turning to solar in India because it is cheaper than the predominantly coal-fired grid.

Tata, the country’s biggest industrial group which also has a thriving solar business, says many of the biggest companies in the country are turning to solar because it is cheaper than grid in some states. It expects this will be the case in most Indian states by 2016.

Companies that have already turned to solar include the country’s biggest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, and the local units of computer giants Dell and IBM.

Ajay Goel, the head of Tata’s solar division, Tata Power Solar Systems, told Bloomberg that solar installations for commercial and industrial consumers represents a market of around 80 billion rupees ($1.4 billion).

“We’re seeing a huge uptake as we get closer and closer to grid parity,” Goel told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “Corporate customers are coming to us to install solar on their rooftops or land on the side of their factories because it can provide energy cheaper than from the grid.”

Goel told Bloomberg that commercial consumers such as hotels and shopping malls, which pay the highest rates for electricity from the grid, can already generate solar power cheaper in 10 percent of India’s 35 states and territories. That will be true in 60 per cent of India’s states and territories, and in 80 per cent if government subsidies are taken into account.

Depreciation benefits can mean the investment can pay for itself within one year, and the economics improve further when taking in the cost of diesel – around twice the price of solar – which is used during blackouts, which are a daily occurrence in India’s strained electricity grid.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/indi...han-grid-95096
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  #247  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 3:19 PM
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Researchers ID Thousands of Organic Materials for Use in Solar Cells
Using computers to virtually test new molecules could lead to new types of solar cells.

By Mike Orcutt on June 24, 2013

Using donated computing power and drawing on the theory of quantum mechanics, Harvard researchers have computationally screened 2.3 million organic molecules for properties relevant to photovoltaic applications and then organized them into a searchable, sortable database. The new library, which was released to the public today, will help guide the search for new organic photovoltaic materials.

The release of the database, announced by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, marks the second anniversary of the so-called Materials Genome Initiative, a federal effort to “double the pace of innovation, manufacture, and deployment of high-tech materials“—a process that normally can take years or decades. Agencies participating in the program, which aims to foster collaboration and data sharing among academic and private-sector materials science researchers, have awarded a total of $63 million to projects over the past year.

Crucial to the push is the use of huge amounts of computing power, and machine learning, to virtually test new materials and predict their properties. The idea is that these insights will make it easier and faster for engineers to find materials that behave a certain way. “It’s sort of like mapping out what you can do in principle—all the basic properties,” says Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT. “And then people can do more targeted engineering.”
http://www.technologyreview.com/news...n-solar-cells/

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Sharp Solar Cell Efficiency Record — Another One (44.4%)
by Zach
on June 23, 2013
By Mathias Aarre Maehlum

A research team at Sharp Corporation has announced that it has created a solar cell capable of converting 44.4% of incoming sunlight into electricity. The solar cell is of the “concentrator triple-junction compound” type, which basically is a lens-based system that focuses sunlight.

The high conversion efficiencies that we see with compound solar cells are due to several photoabsorbing layers typically made from indium and gallium. Sharp’s record-setting solar cell uses three layers (InGaP top, GaAs middle, and InGaAs bottom), as you can see on the illustration below:
http://solarlove.org/sharp-solar-cel...ther-one-44-4/
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  #248  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2013, 5:03 PM
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News Release NR-3913
NREL Reports 31.1% Efficiency for III-V Solar Cell
Conversion-efficiency mark is a world record for a two-junction solar cell measured under one-sun illumination

June 24, 2013

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab has announced a world record of 31.1% conversion efficiency for a two-junction solar cell under one sun of illumination.

NREL Scientist Myles Steiner announced the new record June 19 at the 39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in Tampa, Fla. The previous record of 30.8% efficiency was held by Alta Devices.

The tandem cell was made of a gallium indium phosphide cell atop a gallium arsenide cell, has an area of about 0.25 square centimeters and was measured under the AM1.5 global spectrum at 1,000 W/m2. It was grown inverted, similar to the NREL-developed inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cell – and flipped during processing. The cell was covered on the front with a bilayer anti-reflection coating, and on the back with a highly reflective gold contact layer.

The work was done at NREL as part of DOE’s Foundation Program to Advance Cell Efficiency (F-PACE), a project of the Department’s SunShot Initiative that aims to lower the cost of solar energy to a point at which it is competitive with other sources including fossil fuels.

At the beginning of the F-PACE project, which aims to produce a 48%-efficient concentrator cell, NREL’s best single-junction gallium-arsenide solar cell was 25.7% efficient. This efficiency has been improved upon by other labs over the years: Alta Devices set a series of records, increasing the gallium-arsenide record efficiency from 26.4% in 2010 to 28.8% in 2012. Alta’s then-record two-junction 30.8% efficient cell was achieved just two months ago. The new record may not last long either, but “it brings us one step closer to the 48% milestone,” said NREL Principal Scientist Sarah Kurtz, who leads the F-PACE project in NREL’s National Center for Photovoltaics. “This joint project with the University of California, Berkeley and Spectrolab has provided us the opportunity to look at these near-perfect cells in different ways. Myles Steiner, John Geisz, Iván García and the III-V multijunction PV group have implemented new approaches providing a substantial improvement over NREL's previous results.”
http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2013/2226.html
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  #249  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2013, 5:09 PM
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Solar power heads in a new direction: thinner
Atom-thick photovoltaic sheets could pack hundreds of times more power per weight than conventional solar cells.

David L. Chandler, MIT News Office
June 26, 2013

Most efforts at improving solar cells have focused on increasing the efficiency of their energy conversion, or on lowering the cost of manufacturing. But now MIT researchers are opening another avenue for improvement, aiming to produce the thinnest and most lightweight solar panels possible.

Such panels, which have the potential to surpass any substance other than reactor-grade uranium in terms of energy produced per pound of material, could be made from stacked sheets of one-molecule-thick materials such as graphene or molybdenum disulfide.

Jeffrey Grossman, the Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering at MIT, says the new approach “pushes towards the ultimate power conversion possible from a material” for solar power. Grossman is the senior author of a new paper describing this approach, published in the journal Nano Letters.

Although scientists have devoted considerable attention in recent years to the potential of two-dimensional materials such as graphene, Grossman says, there has been little study of their potential for solar applications. It turns out, he says, “they’re not only OK, but it’s amazing how well they do.”

Using two layers of such atom-thick materials, Grossman says, his team has predicted solar cells with 1 to 2 percent efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity, That’s low compared to the 15 to 20 percent efficiency of standard silicon solar cells, he says, but it’s achieved using material that is thousands of times thinner and lighter than tissue paper. The two-layer solar cell is only 1 nanometer thick, while typical silicon solar cells can be hundreds of thousands of times that. The stacking of several of these two-dimensional layers could boost the efficiency significantly.

“Stacking a few layers could allow for higher efficiency, one that competes with other well-established solar cell technologies,” says Marco Bernardi, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Materials Science who was the lead author of the paper. Maurizia Palummo, a senior researcher at the University of Rome visiting MIT through the MISTI Italy program, was also a co-author.

For applications where weight is a crucial factor — such as in spacecraft, aviation or for use in remote areas of the developing world where transportation costs are significant — such lightweight cells could already have great potential, Bernardi says.

Pound for pound, he says, the new solar cells produce up to 1,000 times more power than conventional photovoltaics. At about one nanometer (billionth of a meter) in thickness, “It’s 20 to 50 times thinner than the thinnest solar cell that can be made today,” Grossman adds. “You couldn’t make a solar cell any thinner.”
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/t...nels-0626.html
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  #250  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2013, 4:53 PM
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Solar coming to 200 more Walgreens roofs
EarthTechling.com Staff
Technology / Solar Technology
June 28, 2013



While some retailers own their systems – like Ikea, which has since installed solar at dozens more stores, bringing its total capacity to 38 MW – Walgreens has gone with a host model: commercial solar developer SoCore Energy will own, operate, and maintain the systems on Walgreens roofs. It’s the same model the two companies used to put solar on 53 stores in Ohio a few years ago.

In announcing the big solar doings, Walgreens took advantage of the opportunity to mention all its other good energy deeds and you got to give the chain credit, they’ve got a good long list of things to brag about. From the release:
This unprecedented rollout is the latest of many green initiatives for Walgreens. The company currently operates three stores that have achieved a LEED certification level of gold, silver and certified; a store in Oak Park, Ill., using geothermal energy; a distribution center in Waxahachie, Texas, that generates energy though the use of wind; and 400 locations with electric vehicle charging stations. Walgreens drugstores use 25 watt fluorescent lamps (lowest wattage in the industry), LED cooler and freezer lighting and energy management systems in more than 5,000 locations. In addition, 15 Walgreens distribution centers have achieved net zero waste, which means revenues from recycling exceed waste expense.
http://www.treehugger.com/solar-tech...ens-roofs.html

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Walmart Solar Goal: Let A Thousand Rooftops Bloom
by Pete Danko

Framing its commitment as a hedge against possibly much higher conventional energy prices, Walmart this week reiterated its goal of running 100 percent on renewable energy by 2020. In part, that will require it to have at least 1,000 rooftop solar systems operating in the U.S., the company said.

“When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth,” President and CEO Mike Duke said, according to a company release. “Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks. Our leadership in this area is something our customers can feel good about because the result is a cleaner environment. And savings we can pass on to them.”
http://www.earthtechling.com/2013/04...oftop-systems/

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MIT creates super accurate solar potential map of Cambridge
Megan Treacy
Technology / Clean Technology
June 5, 2013

As solar power has become cheaper and more prevalent, there have been no shortage of solar potential maps for showing how much power could be generated in specific spots or throughout a city with the installation of solar arrays. Cities like San Francisco got mapped early on and there's even an app that lets anyone get data on the solar potential of their roof. But most of these maps so far have relied on Google maps data and pretty simple calculations.

That's where the smarties in MIT have come in to improve upon the solar mapping technology. A team of researchers there with the Mapdwell project has created a program called Solar System that could be the most accurate and impressive solar mapping tool to date. Not only is the system in 3D, but it factors in more variables that could affect solar energy output like roof angles and sky conditions for each hour of the year. In testing, the predictions have fallen within four to 10 percent of real-world results.

To show the Solar System tool off, the team created a full solar map of all 17,000 rooftops in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the data accessible to anyone through a user-friendly website. The map shows that if photovoltaic panels were installed on all of the locations classified as either "good" or "excellent" on the map, the city of Cambridge could generate about one third of its energy needs from solar for a cost of about $2.8 billion.
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-tech...cambridge.html



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Sunrun secures $630m for residential rooftops
28. June 2013 | Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news, Markets & Trends | By: Max Hall

JPMorgan subsidiary is among the investors as San Fran based third party ownership company builds on recent expansion into 11th state. CEO claims company is installing $2m of systems daily.

San Fran based third-party solar pioneer Sunrun has announced a successful funding round to purchase and install a further US$630 million worth of home solar systems.

Having expanded its third-party ownership service, which Sunrun claims has 35,000 customers across 11 U.S. states, into Connecticut last week, the company announced a funding round which takes the total capital raised to date to more than $2 billion.
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...ops_100011867/

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Imaging defects in solar cells
Munich, 06/27/2013
Researchers at LMU have developed a new method for visualizing material defects in thin-film solar cells.

An LMU research team led by Bert Nickel has, for the first time, succeeded in functionally characterizing the active layer in organic thin-film solar cells using laser light for localized excitation of the material. The findings are reported in the scientific journal “Advanced Materials”. “We have developed a method in which the material is raster-scanned with a laser, while the focused beam is modulated in different ways, by means of a rotating attenuator for instance. This enables us to map directly the spatial distribution of defects in organic thin films, a feat which has not previously been achieved,” explains Christian Westermeier, who is first author of the new study.

Solar cells can convert sunlight into electrical power by exploiting light’s capacity to excite molecules, producing free electrons and positively charged “holes”. How long it takes for these charge carriers to be extracted by the electrodes is in turn dependent on the detailed structure of the cell’s active layer. Defects in the regular arrangement of the atoms act as temporary traps for charge carriers, and thus reduce the size of the usable current that can be produced. The new mapping method allows researchers to detect the changes in current flow associated with localized excitation of defects by laser light. In the utilized experimental geometry a metallic back contact serves as the gating electrode. By applying a voltage to this gate, the traps present in the semiconducting material can be filled or emptied in a controllable manner via the so-called field effect. By modulating the frequency of the laser light the temporal dynamics of trap states can be determined.
http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/n...f-m-48-13.html
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  #251  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2013, 10:40 PM
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Libya Solar Potential 5x Larger Than Oil Reserves (Infographic)
June 29, 2013

If Libya covered just 0.1% of its land mass with solar panels, it could generate around five times the amount of energy from solar power that it currently produces in crude oil according to research published in the journal Renewable Energy.

Libya is the 16th largest country in the world in terms of land mass according to OPEC.org. Its economy depends primarily on revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95 percent of export earnings, about one quarter of gross domestic product, and 60 percent of public sector wages. Substantial revenues from the energy sector, combined with a small population, give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa.


http://cleantechnica.com/2013/06/29/...s-infographic/

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250 MW Unsubsidized Solar Energy Project Being Developed In Spain
by Nathan
on June 28, 2013

A completely unsubsidized 250 MW solar energy project is currently being developed in the north-western region of Cádiz, Spain — near the town of Trebujena. The Spain-based solar energy company Tentusol is behind the very large project, which will eventually cover an area of around 800 hectares.

The €275 million project will be built over a period of 2–3 years in five separate phases of 50 MW each. The first phase is expected to be connected by the end of 2015, and the final phase by the end of 2017.

Once completed, the solar park will feature somewhere around 90,000 PV panels, which will generate about 420,000 MW a year. That’s enough to power around 117,000 homes in the region, according to Tentusol.
http://solarlove.org/250-mw-unsubsid...oped-in-spain/
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/06/28/...g-up-in-spain/

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The Future of Solar and Wind Powered Shipping
Solar and wind power could reduce fossil fuel consumption in shipping.

Kevin Bullis
June 28, 2013

People like to build solar whatnots, even if they don’t make much practical sense. Solar cars. Solar planes. This week I stepped aboard the world’s largest solar-powered ship, a 100-metric-ton catamaran that, last year, motored around the world without using any fuel. Now it’s being used for a scientific expedition—the fact that it doesn’t emit exhaust gases makes it good for collecting data about the ocean and atmosphere.

Exclusively solar-powered ships almost certainly aren’t the future of shipping, but solar power could help reduce emissions.

The solar boat I toured, the Turanor (the name comes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy books) weighs about 100 tons, and to provide enough power for an average cruising speed of just 5 knots, requires 29,124 of some of the most efficient silicon solar panels available, many of them cantilevered out past the edge of the boat. It’s made from expensive, lightweight composite materials. Container ships transport as much as 150,000 tons of freight and travel much faster.

“Personally I don’t believe solar energy is appropriate for big ships and commercial traffic. It would be a dream, but it’s crazy. You would not get enough power,” says Gerard D’Aboville, the Turanor’s captain. “You can go around the world with solar energy. But it’s not the future of boats. It’s more a symbolic gesture.”

But while solar power likely won’t replace fossil-fuel power outright in large cargo ships, it could work for some smaller ships, or to help lower fuel consumption on the big ones. D’Aboville says solar panels might work well for small ferries—indeed a company called SolarSailor already operates such ferries. One option is combining solar and wind power to produce some or all of the power for a ship.
http://www.technologyreview.com/view...ered-shipping/
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2013, 5:11 PM
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Saudi Arabia Starts Survey of Renewable Energy Potential
2 July 2013

July 2 (Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia started a program to assess its potential for generating renewable energy, part of an effort to lure $109 billion for building a solar industry that will free up more of its crude oil for export.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the organization responsible of devising the kingdom’s strategy, will install at least 70 stations nationwide to measure the ability to produce electricity from the sun, wind, geothermal and waste sources, according to a statement issued yesterday and carried by official Saudi Press Agency. The agency known as Ka-Care said 10 stations already have been installed.

The findings will be published in a national atlas by year end, which will guide investors and researchers studying where to place generation plants.
http://about.bnef.com/bnef-news/saud...rgy-potential/

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RPS Helped Drive $100 Billion in Private Investment For Clean Energy
07/02/2013
Clean Edge News

Since 2004, the private sector has invested more than $300 billion in the U.S. renewable energy market, according to "Strategies to Scale-Up U.S. Renewable Energy Investment," a report by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), and Climate Policy Initiative released at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street. The groups highlighted the role of policy at the state, federal, and regulatory level in unlocking private capital in the industry during the past decade.

Further, the paper finds that state policies such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) have effectively leveraged over a hundred billion dollars in private investment into the 29 states with RPS policies. These policies have been extremely effective at maximizing the amount of private investment in renewable energy projects, and as a result, all 50 states should aim to strengthen or create a policy framework aimed at leveraging private capital into this industry.

"Just look at the past two years and you'll see that we've had the best two years on record for private investment in the industry," said Dan Adler, Managing Director of the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF).
http://www.cleanedge.com/Resources/n...r-Clean-Energy

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Solar drives 50% rise in South West renewable capacity
By Peter Bennett
02 July 2013, 14:49 Updated: 02 July 2013, 14:58

The level of renewable capacity installed in the South West has grown by almost 50% in the last 12 months, according to a new report published by Regen SW.

The total capacity installed in the region has grown from 714MW last year to stand at more than 1GW now. This surge in renewable installs means that the South West now gets 7.3% of it electricity from renewable sources.

Leading the renewable charge is solar; the technology has been responsible for 65% of the region’s new renewable capacity in the last 12 months. Solar’s rapid cost reduction coupled with the South West’s higher irradiance levels have seen 200MW of solar farms connected to the grid since July 2012. To put solar’s performance in context, the next biggest contributor was 39MW of biomass capacity.



Below is the county-by-county breakdown of capacity installed in the South West:
  • Devon has a total renewable energy capacity of 301 MW
  • Cornwall and the IoS has a total renewable energy capacity of 293 MW
  • Somerset has a total renewable energy capacity of 102 MW
  • Dorset has a total renewable energy capacity of 98 MW
  • Wiltshire has a total renewable energy capacity of 96 MW
  • Former Avon has a total renewable energy capacity of 87 MW
  • Gloucestershire has a total renewable energy capacity of 66 MW
http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/ne..._capacity_2356
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  #253  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2013, 4:15 PM
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Nature News Blog
Management row threatens to blow Sahara solar dream
03 Jul 2013 | 13:42 BST | Posted by Quirin Schiermeier | Category: Business, Energy, Technology

Plans to supply Europe with electricity generated in North Africa suffered another blow this week when the DESERTEC Foundation, set up in 2009 to promote the idea, pulled out of the industrial consortium which is trying to advance the €400 billion project.

The split, agreed upon during an extraordinary DESERTEC board meeting on June 27, is the climax of growing tensions between the founders of the project and the Dii consortium – including Deutsche Bank and German energy utilities Eon and RWE – over management and strategy issues. Solar power capacities are expanding throughout North Africa and the Middle East – but Dii has recently scaled back ambitions, hinting to political and technical problems with transmitting massive amounts of electricity from North Africa to Europe.

The DESERTEC foundation – sole owner of the project’s brand name – has been increasingly unhappy with how internal discussions over the future of the project leaked to the press.

“It was always clear to us that our idea of producing electricity from the deserts (…) was never an easy task and will always face extreme challenges,” Thiemo Gropp, director of the DESERTEC Foundation, said in a statement.
http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/07...lar-dream.html

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New solar cell could be 1000x more powerful, pound for pound
By Jeff Spross on 3 July 2013
Climate Progress

The technological momentum in solar cells right now is aimed largely at pursuing greater efficiency. Most solar cells can convert 15 to 20 percent of the light energy that hits them into electricity, with most advanced hitting 30 percent. But researchers at MIT published a paper a few weeks ago exploring advancements in an alternative direction — instead of pursuing better light-to-electricity conversions, they’re looking into ways to create cells using fewer materials. While the process they’ve laid out would construct solar cells with only 1 or 2 percent efficiency, the cells would also be so incredibly thin that they could produce up to 1,000 times more energy per pound than conventional photovoltaic cells.

According to Jeffrey Grossman — the Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering at MIT, who authored the paper along with Marco Bernardi, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Materials Science, and Maurizia Palummo, a senior researcher visiting MIT from the University of Rome — the process uses nanotechnology to layer together a one-molecule thick sheet of graphene and a one-molecule-thick sheet of molybdenum disulfide. The resulting two-layer solar cell is only one nanometer, or one billionth of a meter, thick. Bernadi also added that stacking multiple sets of the two-layer cell on top of one another could possibly then boost the otherwise-low conversion efficiency.

For comparison, another ultra-thin solar cell in development right now by Alta Devices — which can hit 30 percent efficiency — is 1,000 time thicker at one micrometer (or micron). The Alta Devices cell is also more expensive to manufacture than traditional photovoltaics. By contrast, the MIT process would reduce costs through far less use of raw materials and by not requiring any use of purified silicon. Half the price of most solar panels today also comes from support structures and installation expenses, which would also be cut down by such thin and light cells. “It’s 20 to 50 times thinner than the thinnest solar cell that can be made today,” Grossman added. “You couldn’t make a solar cell any thinner.”
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/new-...ny-other-27441

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Antifreeze, cheap materials may lead to low-cost solar energy
07/03/2013

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A process combining some comparatively cheap materials and the same antifreeze that keeps an automobile radiator from freezing in cold weather may be the key to making solar cells that cost less and avoid toxic compounds, while further expanding the use of solar energy.

And when perfected, this approach might also cook up the solar cells in a microwave oven similar to the one in most kitchens.

Engineers at Oregon State University have determined that ethylene glycol, commonly used in antifreeze products, can be a low-cost solvent that functions well in a “continuous flow” reactor – an approach to making thin-film solar cells that is easily scaled up for mass production at industrial levels.

The research, just published in Material Letters, a professional journal, also concluded this approach will work with CZTS, or copper zinc tin sulfide, a compound of significant interest for solar cells due to its excellent optical properties and the fact these materials are cheap and environmentally benign.

“The global use of solar energy may be held back if the materials we use to produce solar cells are too expensive or require the use of toxic chemicals in production,” said Greg Herman, an associate professor in the OSU School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. “We need technologies that use abundant, inexpensive materials, preferably ones that can be mined in the U.S. This process offers that.”

By contrast, many solar cells today are made with CIGS, or copper indium gallium diselenide. Indium is comparatively rare and costly, and mostly produced in China. Last year, the prices of indium and gallium used in CIGS solar cells were about 275 times higher than the zinc used in CZTS cells.
http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archiv...t-solar-energy
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  #254  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2013, 4:45 PM
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VCs invest $176 million in solar as project funds boom: Cleantech Group
By Felicity Carus - 04 July 2013, 08:00
In News, Power Generation, Finance

The gulf in confidence separating the downstream and upstream solar markets continues to grow as investments in third party lease companies continue to boom, according to second quarter data released by the Cleantech Group yesterday.

Venture capitalists (VCs) invested $1.76 billion in Q2, a 56% increase on the previous quarter, across 214 deals. But the number of deals in the solar category for VC investments stayed flat in the last quarter at 19. The solar deals represent only 10% of the total invested, well below the 2008 peak of around 38%, while project funds in the last quarter attracted $1.73 billion.

Sheeraz Haji, chief executive officer at the Cleantech Group, said: "You have a huge split between the downstream and upstream. There have been some failures upstream, some distressed sales. Ironically, an investor recently told me that MiaSole, which got sold in distress for $30 million is selling incredibly well right to the frustration of one of the investors. But upstream is quite challenged. With companies like BrightSource the economics are difficult because of natural gas and the price of PV – I suspect it's quite hard to raise capital there.

"On the flip side, the downstream is booming. There is incredible interest in downstream solar. We have found that the creditworthiness of these customers is incredibly high so the investor community are incredibly interested in putting 100s of millions of dollars to work."
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/vcs_inve...leantech_group

Quote:
Germany installs 1.5GW to June
By Mark Osborne - 04 July 2013, 14:37
In News, Power Generation

In the first five months of 2013, Germany added 1.5GW of new PV capacity, almost half the level (2.58GW) installed in the same period of 2012.

According to the latest figures from the Bundesnetzagentur authority, a total of 344.2MW was installed in May, up from 254MW in May, 2012.

Susanne von Aichberger, Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz said, “Even though the first 5 months of 2013 are in the range of the same period in the previous 3 boom years, we project the total 2013 market to be much smaller, as we don’t expect any peaks ahead of steep funding cuts, as has happened in the past.”

The German Government has previously stated that it wanted to target new PV capacity this year at between 3.5GW - 4.5GW.

Deutsche Bank is currently forecasting PV installations in Germany to reach 3.5GW, a 54% decline from 7.2GW installed in 2012.
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/germany_..._1.5gw_to_june
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  #255  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2013, 3:28 PM
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BREAKING: Germany Sets Solar Power Record (Again) — 23.9 GW
July 7, 2013

It has been a very sunny day here in western Poland, so I knew it was basically the same in Germany (it always is) and that there was a good chance Germany would break its previous solar power output record. So, I’ve been keeping an eye on SMA Solar Technology’s live solar power output tool for the country.

Sure enough, a few hours ago, solar output climbed above the 22.68 GW solar power output record Germany set in April. Not long after, it climbed above the 23.4 GW solar power output record set in June. At its peak at about 1:45pm local time (one hour ago), the output got up to 23.9 GW. (Actually, I thought I saw it reach 24 GW at that time, but the replay isn’t showing it go above 23.9 GW.)

I’m sure an official number still needs to be confirmed, but a full 0.5 GW increase according to SMA’s site makes for a very safe conclusion that we have a new record. It is an estimate based on the output of thousands of SMA solar power systems spread across the country.

Germany’s peak electricity demand at midday is about 60 GW, so at 1:45pm or so, solar power was providing about 40% of the country’s electricity demand. Impressive. Approximately 1.3–1.4 million solar power systems were involved in creating that massive electricity output, our German solar expert Thomas tells me. And about 8.5 million people live in buildings where solar power systems are used to produce electricity or heat.
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/07/...again-23-9-gw/
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  #256  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2013, 2:16 AM
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they could become the saudi arabia of solar power

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SolarReserve Wants To Build 600 MW Solar Power Plant In Saudi Arabia
July 8, 2013

US solar project developer SolarReserve has hopes to build a massive solar energy park in Saudi Arabia that could boast up to 600 MW of baseload capacity.

The plans by the Santa Monica–based company will be submitted to Saudi authorities in the hope that the concept will be acceptable for upcoming auctions of solar capacity as part of the kingdom’s commitment to build 42 GW of solar.

Saudi Arabia has indicated it will offer 1,100 MW of solar PV capacity and a further 900 MW of solar thermal capacity in the first round of auctions, which could be called by the end of this year.

If possible, SolarReserve would look to combine capacity in both CSP and PV at the one location. That would include four solar thermal towers with storage, and a further 400 MW of solar PV.
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/08/...-saudi-arabia/
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/sola...o-saudis-89555
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  #257  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2013, 11:34 PM
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US: 10 GW PV capacity reached
09. July 2013 | Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

The solar photovoltaic capacity in the U.S. has now reached the 10 GW milestone. More than 1.8 GW of new solar PV capacity was installed in the first half of this year.

According to the new NPD Solarbuzz report "North America PV Market Quarterly," the U.S. has now managed to inch beyond the 10 GW of installed PV capacity mark. "The US has now joined an elite group of maturing solar PV markets that have accumulated more than 10 GW of installed capacity," stated Christopher Sunsong, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

So far, only Germany, Italy, and China have more installed PV capacity than the U.S. according to Sunsong. He added, "The U.S. is only the fourth country to reach the 10 GW milestone of installed PV capacity."
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...hed_100011971/

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New Breakthroughs in Anti-Solar Propaganda
July 9, 2013

Christian Roselund kindly wrote a debunking article about a post published last week titled “How Fast are the Costs of Solar Really Coming Down?“.

It was written by staff of the Breakthrough Institute, and it is full of false statements, but I’m repeating myself.

One of the false statements says that cost of solar in Germany is at “$2250/kW today.” Actually, it is already down to €1000 a kW, which is around $1,300/kW.

And that’s in Germany. Many locations worldwide have at least double Germany’s solar resources. That of course means solar could cost double the amount per kW in such a location and still match Germany’s price per kWh. You would not know that from the Breakthrough anti-solar propaganda piece, of course.
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/09/...ar-propaganda/
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  #258  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2013, 2:11 PM
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Originally Posted by amor de cosmos View Post
they could become the saudi arabia of solar power


It would be about time too.
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  #259  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2013, 4:08 PM
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Solar Market Seen Exceeding $134 Billion by 2020, Navigant Says
10 July 2013

July 10 (Bloomberg) — Developers will spend more than $134 billion annually by 2020 on solar-energy systems, up 51 percent from this year, as falling panel prices make electricity produced from sunlight cost-competitive with power from other sources, according to a report from Navigant Consulting Inc.

Growing demand for photovoltaic systems in emerging markets including Chile, South Africa and Saudi Arabia will be bolstered in other regions by increased use of both large, utility-scale power plants and smaller, distributed generation systems, the Chicago-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

“By the end of 2020, solar PV is expected to be cost-competitive with retail electricity prices, without subsidies, in a significant portion of the world,” Dexter Gauntlett, a Navigant analyst, said in the statement.

The company expects a total of 438 gigawatts of solar capacity to be installed from this year through 2020.
http://about.bnef.com/bnef-news/sola...navigant-says/
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  #260  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2013, 5:35 PM
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$100 Trillion for Solar Revealed at Intersolar North America
To get into the marketplace, solar needs “a tradable liquid product.”

Herman K. Trabish: July 12, 2013

There is $100 trillion looking for a good solar investment, according to NREL Senior Finance Analyst Michael Mendelsohn. The only obstacle is perceived risk.

Fund money -- pension funds, insurance funds, mutual funds, sovereign wealth funds, private equity funds, hedge funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and private wealth -- isn’t coming to solar and other renewable energies because “we need a tradable liquid product,” Mendelsohn said in an opening day session at Intersolar North America 2013 in San Francisco.

Risk is an obstacle for solar, explained New Oak Founder/CEO Ron D’Vari, because markets are characterized by “short memory and fear.”


http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...-North-America

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Dye-sensitized solar cells rival conventional cell efficiency
11.07.13 - Dye-sensitized solar cell efficiency has been raised to a record 15% thanks to a new fabrication process developed by EPFL scientists.


Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) have many advantages over their silicon-based counterparts. They offer transparency, low cost, and high power conversion efficiencies under cloudy and artificial light conditions. However, until now their overall efficiency has been lower than silicon-based solar cells, mostly because of the inherent voltage loss during the regeneration of the sensitizing dye. In a Nature publication, EPFL scientists have developed a state solid version of the DSSC that is fabricated by a new two-step process raising their efficiency up to a record 15% without sacrificing stability.
http://actu.epfl.ch/news/dye-sensiti...entional-ce-2/

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A Sneak Peek of the National Grid on Renewables
A government research facility uses a megawatt-scale simulator and supercomputer to test futuristic grid technologies without disrupting today’s grid.

By Martin LaMonica on July 12, 2013

A new $135 million research facility aims to solve a puzzle: how can countries prepare for an energy system that relies heavily on renewable energy? It can also test ways to improve reliability under stress, for example when demand soars in the summer as the air-conditioning load taxes the grid.

Because wind and solar energy supply power intermittently, they create challenges for grid operators. Other new energy technologies are coming online, too, including electric vehicles, energy storage, efficient buildings that cut power use during peak times, and small-scale natural-gas generators and fuel cells. Integrating these technologies on a large scale presents challenges to grid operators.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, created the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) to understand how to best operate the pieces of a more diverse energy system. Drawing on a supercomputer and power equipment that can create a megawatt-scale mini-grid within the facility, product engineers and utilities can simulate the impact of new technologies without causing problems to functioning grids.
http://www.technologyreview.com/news...on-renewables/
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