Finance plays a major role in any energy project, and we discuss the horizon of such opportunities, but we also highlight the newest ideas and technologies which continuously challenge our participants
The European Commission’s investigation of solar-panel imports from China was the world’s biggest antidumping case ever when it began in September, signaling a new willingness in Brussels to challenge China’s extensive assistance to favored export-oriented industries. But the case ended with a whimper Saturday and illuminated deep divisions in Europe — and how good the Chinese are at exploiting those differences. The European Commission said Saturday that it had settled the case in exchange for a pledge from China not to export solar panels for less than 74 cents a watt, a price about 25 percent lower even than when the case began. The commission also decided to forgo imposing the steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels it had threatened. The deal could end up strengthening the fractured Chinese solar panel industry and sending a wave of cheaper Chinese panels to the United States. Trade experts said the European Commission’s meager outcome, in a case covering 6 percent of China’s exports to Europe, showed that while Brussels might have had a strong case in terms of law or economics, it was fatally weak from the beginning at the political level. Those political weaknesses increased as China’s leaders traveled repeatedly to European capitals and lobbied aggressively and successfully to divide Europe on the issue. European makers of solar panels were furious about receiving so little after a year of litigation, and vowed to sue. The European settlement also undermined Obama administration officials, who had taken a tough stance toward China on solar panel trade and had tried for months to persuade European leaders to side with them.
The European Union and China are near a settlement in their dispute over solar panel imports, press reports said Thursday, but Europeans manufacturers challenged the figures involved as still harmful to their business. The Handelsblatt business daily said negotiators were ready to set a minimum price on imported Chinese solar panels at 57 cents per watt of power they produced. This price would apply to the first seven gigawatts of solar panels imported. Any panels imported above the seven gigawatt quota would then incur an anti-dumping tariff of 47.6 percent, the German daily said, without specifying its sources. EU officials declined to comment directly on the report and the figures given. "Discussions are on-going at the highest level as both sides seek an amicable solution," EU Trade spokesman John Clancy said.
Volvo is famous for favoring safety over style, making the selection of Synthesis Design + Architecture, best known for its sweeping, sci-fi inspired solutions, a bit of a surprise. The solar-powered pavilion is a stunning showcase for its new hybrid electricV60 model, and the parabolic platform is intended to highlight the sedate sedan’s impressive technological innovations at marketing events while charging it up for the ride to the next city. Unlike many green design projects that tack on aesthetics like an aftermarket body kit, Synthesis was driven by them. Synthesis principal and USC professor Alvin Huang has been a long time researcher of “dynamic mesh relaxation”—a design approach pioneered by Frei Otto and amplified by computer science that is focused on the physical properties of dynamic materials and efficiently configuring them into complex, visually striking structures. The design process involved digital and analog techniques—digital tools allowed for quick explorations of designs while physical models acted as proof of concepts for the carbon fiber frame, mesh surface, and artfully placed solar panels. The combination of the two styles of design equipped the team with an intuitive sense for what works to develop an attractive form that could stand up to the rigors of use in the field. “The iterative exchange between the parallel digital and analog models allowed us to further refine design technique, and perhaps more importantly, design intuition, in terms of achieving desired effects.” says Huang.
Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this morning following news that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has selected an area off the coast of Virginia as the site of the nation's second offshore wind energy lease sale. On September 4 th , the Department of the Interior will auction 112,799 acres offshore of the Commonwealth in a competitive lease sale. The area will be sold as one single lease and it is anticipated it will support 2000 megawatts of wind generation and enough electricity to power 700,000 homes. "Today, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the formal date for the auction of lease blocks in federal waters off Virginia's outer continental shelf for the commercial development of offshore wind energy. This will be only the second offshore wind energy lease sale in American history and it is an exciting and significant step in our bipartisan effort to advance Virginia's ‘all-of-the-above' energy strategy. I want to thank Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and her team at BOEM for moving this project forward as part of a comprehensive approach toward meeting our nation's energy needs and creating more good jobs for our people. "Earlier in our Administration we were pleased to accept the invitation of then Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to join the Department's Offshore Wind Consortium, and we worked with the Secretary on the ‘Smart from the Start' program. Together with the General Assembly, we created the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority (VOWDA) to oversee the data gathering, research and planning that must be done to support offshore wind development off of Virginia's coast. As part of that effort we are currently working toward final approval of two offshore wind research leases. "Virginia's coast is ideal for wind development. The gradual slope of the Outer Continental Shelf and consistent offshore wind speeds make this a natural geographic location for the commercial utilization of offshore wind resources. At the same time, Virginia enjoys a robust commercial ship building industry poised to become the center of construction for the component parts needed to build the specialized ships, turbines and towers necessary for these upcoming leases, and potentially for additional future wind leases on the east coast. This will result in millions of dollars in industrial activity and the creation of many new high-skilled jobs in our state.
Visitors to last week’s Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco could not help but notice the presence of a benign invader: energy storage vendors. Half the second-floor exhibition space at the Moscone West convention hall had been rented by energy storage companies. According to Markus Elsaesser, CEO of Intersolar, the number of companies exhibiting energy storage technologies at Intersolar has increased from about a dozen just three years ago to more than 200 this year. The surge in companies entering, or expanding into, the energy storage space is no accident. Bankruptcies, a panel supply glut, and falling feed-in tariff rates have shaken the PV industry. Panel and system manufacturers are looking for ways to grow earnings, and one likely new revenue source is energy storage. According to Elsaesser, the PV industry expects to boost revenue by $10 billion by 2017 globally with storage. “The PV industry needs to look for future profit pools,” Markus Hoehner, founder of theInternational Battery and Energy Storage Alliance(IBESA), said at an Intersolar briefing. “When we look at the PV industry on the global level, most of it was feed-in tariff driven. It was about IRR [internal rate of return], making money out of the PV system. Now, due to the downturn in the feed-in tariff markets, and due to the much lower system cost, we’re talking about saving money.” Homeowners in markets with high retail electricity rates, he said, are looking to shield themselves from rising energy costs with storage. Take the example of Germany. Matthias Vetter , a researcher with theFraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems(ISE), who also spoke at the briefing, said that he pays 26 euro cents ($0.34) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for grid electricity in Germany.
Solar Impulse has made history with the first aircraft to fly across the United States without a single drop of fuel. Instead, the innovative Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype made its segmented journey using renewable solar power. The ambitious coast-to-coast trip from NASA's Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City took two months to complete, landing safely on July 6. The aircraft draws its power from 11,628 solar cells and has an average flying speed of 43 mph. Its maximum altitude is approximately 27,900 feet, while it boasts an extremely light carbon fiber structure and an enormous wingspan equal to that of an Airbus A340. According to the project website, the solar powered HB-SIA was designed top to bottom to save energy, resist the hostile conditions facing the plane and pilot at high altitudes, and to marry weight restraints with the required strength. The Flight Across America mission was steered by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Swiss pilots and founders of Solar Impulse. The two men took turns manning the single passenger cockpit as it made its way across the U.S. making stops in Phoenix, Dallas Fort Worth and Washington D.C. before reaching its final destination in New York.
China, the world’s biggest maker of solar panels, plans to increase fivefold its installed solar capacity to more than 35 gigawatt by 2015 to support an industry faced with declining profits, slowing exports and a supply glut. The nation will add 10 gigawatt of solar-power capacity annually over the next three years, according to a statement from the State Council posted on the central government’s website today. The move will help reduce the industry’s reliance on exports and ease oversupply that contributed to a 20 percent plunge in the average price of solar panels last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China will provide credit support to profitable photovoltaic manufacturers and encourage restructuring and overseas investment, according to the statement, which didn’t specify what period the government will consider to measure profitability. Risen Energy Co. (300118) jumped 10 percent, its daily limit and the most since Feb. 18, to 6.71 yuan in Shenzhen trading. Hareon Solar Technology Co. (600401) rose as much as 6.8 percent and traded 4.6 percent higher to 6.49 yuan as of 1:25 p.m. in Shanghai. “While the Chinese government is determined to boost the domestic market, it is not sufficient to eliminate oversupply,” said Wang Xiaoting, a Beijing-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Panel prices will stay stable in 2013."
AltEnergyMag.com has once again partnered with Intersolar to bring all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine and help our readers make sense of this key tradeshow. Here we have compiled a list of some product releases from this years show.
The regulatory requirement to prove collision-friendly foundation design need not be a cost-intensive mandatory additional measure, but may be an opportunity that significantly improves reliability and safety. It would increase the lifespan of the primary structure of the wind turbine, preventing subsequent time- and cost-intensive repairs.
The hydrogen fuel cell barge bypasses the need for electrical infrastructure. The barge also has the capability of being moved from berth to berth as needed and to anchorage points to power vessels that are waiting for berths.
Solar Energy USA had the privilege of engaging in a solar power question & answer session with Tim Echols, one of the five Georgia Public Service Commissioners responsible for regulating large monopolistic entities in Georgia. This article showcases some important points about power generation and power delivery as they relate to Georgia residents.
Energy free residences are not only practical but they are the dwellings of the future. Let's hope that home builders start thinking zero net energy as they design upcoming housing subdivisions.
California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, for example, is more than half way through implementing its target of supporting installation of more than 6200 charging stations, and Tesla, Nissan, and Rabobank/SolarCity have been developing their own charging networks in California.
Solar PV has been one of the fastest growing energy sources in the US over the past six years, with a compound annual growth rate of over 50% since 2007.
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