New Solar Power Design Inspired by Telescope Could Produce Twice the Energy

Researchers have designed a new solar power module that uses a curved mirror to focus sunlight onto a 5-inch glass ball that then spreads the light evenly across a solar panel, leading to twice the power output of traditional solar panels when combined with high-efficiency solar cells. The design was inspired by telescope technology and the high-efficiency solar cells used by space agencies. The module also tracks the sun and rotates with it to increase its efficiency. The whole module is mounted on a steel 10-ft by 10-ft rotating frame that moves with the sun. “The tracker is fully automated,” Blake Coughenour, a graduate student in the UA’s College of Optical Sciences, explained. “The system wakes itself up in the morning and turns to the East. It knows where the sun will rise even while it’s still below the horizon. It tracks the sun’s path during the day all the way to sunset, then parks itself for the night.” One of the most interesting parts of the system is the mirror. The researchers came up with a dish-shaped mirror design that works very well for concentrating sunlight specifically for photovoltaics, as opposed to a solar thermal system.  

China's Wanxiang to take control of battery maker A123

A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) , designer, developer, manufacturer and seller of rechargeable lithium-ion and energy storage systems, today reported a loss in its second quarter. However, shares of the Waltham, Massachusetts-based are gaining after it secured a financing deal. For the second quarter, AONE reported a loss of $82.9 million, or $0.56 per share, compared to a loss of $55.4 million, or $0.44 per share reported for the same period in the previous year. Revenue for the quarter fell 53% to $17 million. AONE’s results were worse than Street estimates. Despite posting worse-than-expected results, AONE shares are up sharply today after the company reached an agreement with Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp. for an investment of up to $450 million. The investment will help AONE to stay afloat. David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems, said that today’s announcement is the first step toward solidifying a strategic agreement that the company believes would remove the uncertainty regarding its financial situation.  

Wind power hits 57% mark in Colorado

During the early morning hours of April 15, with a steady breeze blowing down Colorado's Front Range, the state's biggest utility set a U.S. record -- nearly 57% of the electricity being generated was coming from wind power. As dawn came and the 1.4 million customers in Xcel Energy's service district began turning on the lights, toasters and other appliances, the utility's coal and natural gas-fired power plants ramped up production and brought wind's contribution back closer to its 2012 average of 17%. lities have long been wary of placing too much finicky renewable power on the grid. "A lot of utilities don't want to contract large amounts of wind because it's volatile," said Amy Grace, a wind analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. "Anything over 25%, and utilities get nervous." Colorado's overnight high-water mark demonstrated that utilities can indeed incorporate cleaner power sources into the mix.

Renewable Energy Groups Applaud Senate Finance Committee Vote to Enhance Production Tax Credits

Leaders of four renewable energy trade associations today commended a last-minute vote by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday afternoon to extend and enhance production tax credits (PTCs) for all renewable energy sources. The tax credits are essential for the development of clean energy-generating facilities by offsetting the high cost of construction. Yesterday's action by the Committee will give renewable baseload technologies equitable access to this important program by allowing eligible facilities to qualify for the tax credits when construction is commenced. "We are highly encouraged that the Senate Finance Committee passed this tax credit extension, and we urge the full Senate and the House to approve the credit before the end of the 112th Congress," said Bob Cleaves, President and CEO of Biomass Power Association. "The construction of new biomass facilities can be prohibitively expensive, and our industry relies on one-time tax credits to attract private investors to support the building of new plants. An extension of PTCs will help ensure that renewable energy sources continue to produce a growing share of electricity for our nation."  

First Solar Boosting Solar-Panel Production to Meet Higher Demand

U.S. solar company First Solar Inc. (FSLR) said Wednesday that it will make more solar panels this year than earlier planned due to rising demand. The Arizona company said it plans to make 1,800 to 1,900 megawatts of panels this year, up from its plan in May to cut production to 1,400 to 1,700 megawatts. That compares to 2,400 megawatts of production in 2011. First Solar Chief Executive Jim Hughes said the company will make more products to meet higher-than-expected demand from customers primarily in Europe and India. First Solar reported a second-quarter profit of $111 million, or $1.27 a share, up 82% from $61.1 million, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales jumped 80% to $957.3 million, primarily due to an increase in the number and size of projects under construction for which revenue could be booked in the second quarter. Share of First Solar were up 13% at $16.70 in after-hours trade.

Real World PV Solar System Installation - Part 1

AltEnergyMag is having a residential PV system installed and monitoring the process. This is part 1 of a series of articles we will publish along the way in order to demonstrate and explain a real world project for our readers to follow and learn from.

Nuclear Fusion

Research into controlled fusion, with the aim of producing fusion power for the production of electricity, has been conducted for over 60 years. It has been accompanied by extreme scientific and technological difficulties, but has resulted in progress. At present, controlled fusion reactions have been unable to produce break-even (self-sustaining) controlled fusion reactions. Workable designs for a reactor that theoretically will deliver ten times more fusion energy than the amount needed to heat up plasma to required temperatures (see ITER) were originally scheduled to be operational in 2018, however this has been delayed and a new date has not been stated.

SMART GRID SECURITY: A PAN EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE

The maturity of the smart grid security in Europe could be evaluated as medium to low; that is what our study demonstrated. We are still trying to find out how to implement the smart grid on our electricity power infrastructure, after which we would conceive how the security should be applied. This is not a good approach, we need to define what instruments we should use (requirements for smart grids) in the smart grid before any other action can be taken into account.

Adept Robotics for the Solar Industry

Today's ultra-thin solar cells require precise and gentle handling. And with the increasing demand on solar manufacturers for product, automation must deliver the highest throughput possible. Adept Robotics for the Solar Industry

Don't Give Up Yet: US Solar Companies can Compete with China with a Bit of Innovation

In the end, it will be Chinese cash and American access to (massive) Chinese consumers for clean-energy products that saves the industry and allows it to gain a competitive edge over fossil fuels.

Energy: A Citizen's Solutions Guide

"Energy: A Citizens' Solutions Guide" is one of a series of unbiased, nonpartisan guides that help the public wrestle with and work through difficult issues. These guides are especially useful in advance of the election, to help voters cut through campaign spin and media bias, so that they are able to reasonably judge the platforms put forth by candidates.

Energy through Hydrogen

In many ways, hydrogen is the perfect fuel. It's abundant, efficient and produces no emissions when used in a fuel cell. It can be produced from renewable resources and is not a greenhouse gas. Because hydrogen power is environmentally friendly and non-toxic to use, industry should accelerate research so that this renewable resource may be used in the near future.

Geothermal Manifold Installation with a Professional Touch

The GeoCal™ is a breeze to install and gives a lot of flexibility as the automatic air vents and supply and return temperature gauges are a couple of added plusses. With this first one up and running, and the customer satisfied, I'll be evaluating how it holds up.

Solar Shade Ideas - Pergola

This system looks great and makes the perfect shade spot for their patio barbecue (this is a system in the 2KW range).

Corruption and Mismanagement See Much of the US without Power

Americans are now being told that keeping utility bills down means keeping maintenance of the country's dismal electricity distribution system to a bare minimum. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the entire system could collapse by 2020 without an immediate investment of $673 billion. Furthermore, experts say that brownouts and blackouts will end up costing more in the end than re-hauling the entire system.

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Solar & Wind - Featured Product

GreenFasten™ solar panel roof mount hardware, watertight, USA made

GreenFasten™ solar panel roof mount hardware, watertight, USA made

The GreenFasten™ - GF1 system utilizes the patented watertight technology EcoFasten Solar® is known for. The flashing is fit with our EPDM rubber bushing and when used with a compatible EcoFasten Solar compression bracket (milled with countersink), a watertight seal is created, which protects the integrity of the roof. Requiring just a single fastener (lag bolt or self-drilling), GreenFasten provides the fastest install in the industry and will not void roofing manufacturer's warranties. Backed by IAPMO certification, GreenFasten delivers a mounting solution for all new or existing (retrofit) composition shingle roofs, and is the most cost-effective solution available. Like all of the solar roof mount solutions in our line of products, GreenFasten is made in the USA using recycled materials.