By Lucas Mearian for Computerworld: Manhattan has approximately 47,000 buildings with around 10.7 million windows, according to a 2013estimate from The New York Times.
Now imagine if just 1% -- or 100,700 -- of those windows could generate electricity through transparent photovoltaics.
That's the idea behind solar power windows, and at least two companies are hoping to sell the technology to window manufacturers, saying once installed in a building the technology will pay for itself in about a year.
"If you look at the glass that's manufactured worldwide today, 2% of it is used for solar panels; 80% of it is used in buildings. That's the opportunity," said Suvi Sharma, CEO of solar panel maker Solaria. Cont'd...
Ross Jennings for The Conversation: The world’s tides contain enough energy to power the entire UK’s electricity consumption. And, since it effectively harnesses the moon’s constant and predictable gravitational pull, tidal power overcomes one of renewable energy’s classic problems – the fact you never know quite how much sun, wind or rain to expect. Now, underwater windmills positioned just below the ocean surface could be a major breakthrough for tidal power.
Costly technology and inaccessible locations have thus far held things back. Large, heavy and expensive turbines mounted on the seabed have been developed, but these are aimed at commercial scale developments. Tidal power needs its equivalent of the rooftop solar panel.
Imagine then a wind turbine, but underwater, and not fixed to the seabed – these so-called “mobile floating turbines” are a cheaper and more adaptable alternative to big, fixed developments. Most floating turbines look something like this: Cont'd...
By Lauren J. Young for IEEE Spectrum: Today’s concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technologies have shown promising potential for more efficient solar power. The latest systems are said to be capable of handling the power of a hundred suns. Yet prototypes have failed to compete with cheaper flat panel solar systems that dominate the market. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) is determined to push CPV to the next level. On 24 August, at the Clean Energy Summit, U.S. President Barack Obama and Energy Secretary Ernest Monizannounced a program called MOSAIC that will invest $24 million into CPV solar technology development.
Why can’t today’s CPV systems compete? The concentrators can only convert direct sunlight into energy, missing out on the large fraction of sunlight diffracted by clouds and the atmosphere. Manufacturing costs of concentrator apparatuses have also prevented CPV from reaching mass production. Cont'd...
Iran is building the Middle East’s first geothermal power plant at the foot of an inactive volcanic peak as the country is racing to meet a runaway demand for electricity by its growing population.
The pilot station in northwestern Meshguin Shahr in the Ardabil province is projected to come on stream in the next two years, putting Iran in the club of two dozen nations with the geothermal power generation capacity.
The 50-megawatt project is in line with Iran’s bid to expand its clean energy mix which is dominated by fossil fuels. Geothermal power is cheaper and more reliable than other renewable energy sources, such as thermal or hydro power. Cont'd...
Megan Treacy for TreeHugger: When we think of antennas we mainly think of the type that transmit and receive radio waves, letting us listen to radio stations in our car or watch TV in our homes, but in this case the researchers are using the term to describe a new thin film material that captures more of the light spectrum, converting it into wavelengths of light that solar cells can convert into electricity.
Many scientists are working on building better solar cells, but researchers at the University of Connecticut wanted to figure out how to boost the efficiency of the technology we already have. Thus, the antenna.
As Phys.org reports, Challa V. Kumar, Ph.D and his team "built an antenna that collects those unused blue photons and converts them to lower energy photons that the silicon can then turn into current."
"Many groups around the world are working hard to make this kind of antenna, and ours is the first of its kind in the whole world," Kumar said. Cont'd...
By Loren Grush for The Verge: Google wants to help you harness the power of the sun. A new service called Project Sunroof aims to provide a "treasure map" of solar energy with the help of Google Maps. Sunroof gives homeowners detailed information about how much solar power their roof can generate and how much money they could save on electricity costs by adding solar panels.
Sunroof uses data from Google Maps that previously had no practical application. For instance, Sunroof uses Maps’ 3D-modeling to calculate the amount of space a building’s roof has for solar panels. The service also analyzes the positioning of the sun over the course of a year, as well as the type of cloud cover and temperature the neighborhood usually experiences. It even considers the amount of shade cast by nearby objects. Cont'd...
By Michael McDonald for OilPrice.com: As the oil price bust continues, renewable energy and sustainability innovation is continuing unabated. For instance, an architecture company recently unveiled a set of plans for a smart floating farm project that helps preserve land space and improve food production efficiency. The plans are just hypothetical at this point and it is unclear if they will ever be built, but that’s not really the point. The project shows that, around the world, companies and individuals continue to devote time and resources to innovation in sustainable living.
In a similar vein for instance, in the solar field, small companies are creating a host of new innovative products like new inverters and module level electronics. Many of these innovations may seem trivial and iterative. And many are, but a series of trivial and iterative innovations can still lead to big change and that has solar proponents excited.
Big changes are also occurring on more visible systems. A company called Ripasso Energy is pushing its new, more efficient solar generators. In a highly visible effort, Tesla is pressing ahead with its home and business battery storage systems. Desalinization with solar and even solar planes are also on the horizon.
The vast majority of these innovations are too early stage for investors to make serious bets on, and even if an investor could be in on an individual technology, that approach is risky. Instead, investors are better off putting their dollars into firms that consistently show an innovative spirit and are pressing forward with a broad portfolio of product innovations. These kinds of broad sets of innovations are important to the future of the planet and they can generate serious returns for sage investors as well. Cont'd...
Barbara Grady for GreenBiz: In another sign that renewable energy is becoming big business, developers of wind and solar power projects are about to find themselves subject to a new layer of scrutiny.
The social impact startup trying to goad oil and gas exploration companies to meet certain levels of socially and environmentally responsible behavior is extending its efforts into renewable energy.
Equitable Origin, founded as a self-proclaimed standards setter for how oil exploration and extraction companies should go about their work without trampling on human rights, harming local communities and destroying the environment, announced this week that it wants to branch out with new standards for wind and solar energy site development.
It’s not that the organization is against renewable energy development, its officers insist.
“What we are trying to do is assist the growing renewable energy industries by helping them not repeat the same mistakes as oil and gas,” Josh Garrett, communications manager of Equitable Origin, told GreenBiz. Cont'd...
Tesla has taken 100,000 reservations for its Powerpack and Powerwall battery products, worth approximately $1bn, according to founder Elon Musk.
Speaking on the company’s quarterly earnings call, Musk said Tesla had taken reservations (non-binding agreements) which led him to believe the company would sell $50m of storage in the fourth quarter of 2015, and up to $500m in both 2016 and 2017.
Musk said: "If you just take the reservations that have been made thus far, it's well over $1 billion worth of Powerpacks and Powerwalls. And that's with no marketing, no advertising, no sales force to speak of, really, we're not trying to sell it".
Tesla chief technology officer Jeffrey Straubel, who was also on the call, said that around 70% of the reservations were for the larger 1MW Powerpack system, which is focused at commercial users and large-scale energy generators. Cont'd...
Mike Stone for GTM: Norway has a lot of hydroelectric plants: a total of 937 of them, which provide a population of 5 million with around 98 percent of its electricity. In fact, the Scandinavian country is home to roughly half of all the hydroelectric water storage reservoirs in Europe.
This vast system could also offer a Europe a substantial amount of energy storage -- up to 20 gigawatts of it -- if an ambitious scheme currently being proposed can overcome political and social hurdles and get the necessary funding. That’s according to Kaspar Vereide, an engineer at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. And his models suggest it could all be achieved in seven years.
Vereide is not alone in thinking Norway could become a vast green battery for Europe. The Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy has concluded that there are four realistic scenarios for pumped hydro energy storage in the country, ranging from a Nordics-only scenario, where Norway only looks after its own needs, plus some of those of its Scandinavian neighbors; to a so-called ‘big storage’ scenario, which, it says, would see “Norwegian hydropower play an important role in integrating variable renewable sources into the European power system by providing large volumes of balancing over various time horizons to the North Sea countries through highly integrated grids and power markets.”
It’s this "big storage" scenario -- with Norway becoming "the green battery of Europe" -- that Vereide has in mind. Cont'd...
By Sophie Vorrath for RenewEconomy: The key role energy storage will play in the electricity grids of the future – and the vital importance of investing in and testing the various emerging battery storage technologies – has been highlighted in a major report published by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency on Monday, which predicts a 40-60 per cent price plunge for certain battery technologies by 2020.
The 130-page report prepared by AECOM predicts a “mega-shift” to energy storage adoption, driven by demand – from both the supply side, as networks work to adapt to increasing distributed and renewable energy capacity, and from consumers wishing to store their solar energy – and by the rapidly changing economic proposition; a proposition, the report says, that will see the costs of lithium-ion batteries fall by 60 per cent in less than five years, and by 40 per cent for flow batteries. Cont'd...
Oliver Wheaton for Metro.co.uk: The massive solar plant, which will stretch out across the Gobi desert in the country’s Quinghai province, will cover 25 square kilometres of vacant ground space.
When finished the plant, called Delingha, is expected to have a capacity of 200 megawatts, which means it will power one million households all year round.
Delingha is the world’s first solar power plant to be run as a commercial entity after being jointly developed by BrightSource Energy from California and the Shanghai Electric Group in China.
The awesome structure will have six huge towers as well as thousands of solar mirrors which, due to their heat storage time of 15 hours, will be able to guarantee ‘stable and continual power generation’, according to Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group board chair, Wu Longyi. Cont'd...
by ARATA YAMAMOTO for NBC News: Engineers in Japan have installed the world's largest floating wind turbine, a towering 344-foot structure that is billed as being able to withstand 65-foot waves and even tsunamis.
The 7 megawatt turbine was fastened to the seabed last week by four 20-ton anchors about 12 miles off the Fukushima coast.
Its installation was delayed four times because of consecutive typhoons in the region. But one of its chief engineers, Katsunobu Shimizu, told NBC News that the turbine — which is about the same height as London's St. Paul's Cathedral — would be able to withstand even the most extreme conditions.
"These turbines and anchors are designed to withstand 65-foot waves," Shimizu said during a sea tour of the turbine given from a boat off the coast. "Also, here we can get 32-foot-tall tsunamis. That's why the chains are deliberately slackened."
If a large wave were to push the turbine up, down or to the side, the loose chains connecting the structure to the seabed would give it the freedom to move without being damaged, he said. Cont'd...
By Madeleine Cuff for Business Green: The offshore wind industry is set for a bumper 12 months, as the latest figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reveal installations in the first half of this year hit record levels.
As several projects reached completion and larger, more powerful turbines were deployed, new installations hit 2,342.9MW, triple the grid-connected capacity added in the same period last year. The surge in new projects makes the first six months of 2015 more successful than any other full year on record, in terms of installed capacity.
Some 584 new offshore wind turbines have been connected to the European grid so far this year, while the average turbine size has risen from 3.5MW to 4.2MW as manufacturers continue to develop more powerful turbines capable of capturing greater amounts of wind energy, the report said. Total offshore wind capacity across Europe has now reached 10,393.6MW, it added. Cont'd...
By Richard Valdmanis for Reuters: Rhode Island's Deepwater Wind began installing the foundations for North America's first offshore wind farm on Monday, a milestone the company says could pave the way for an industry long established in Europe but still struggling with opposition in the United States.
The 30-megawatt wind farm, which will include five turbines located three miles (4.8 km) off the coast of the bucolic summer tourist destination of Block Island, will take more than a year to build and is scheduled to produce electricity for the tiny island community and the mainland by the end of next year.
"Our belief is once Block Island is up and running, it will bring offshore wind from theory to reality in the United States and open up opportunities to build larger projects," said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind's CEO. Cont'd...
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