Concentrator cells have been reaching increasingly impressive efficiencies, inspiring new interest in the high-efficiency, high-concentration approach. Currently, the record efficiency is 40.7 percent for a three-junction GaInP / GaInAs / Ge cell. From JX Crystals' perspective, its president Dr. Lewis M. Fraas sees the LCPV approach as fast to market with minimal risk. 'It is a simpler approach to understnd in terms of reliability and O&M because it is evolutionary from the traditional planar silicon module. Because of its simplicity, LCPV may be more suited to commercial building flat rooftops,' he recently told CPVToday.com in an interview.
The vision of the smart home has been around for decades. And an appealing vision it is - a computerized triumph of automation, controlling a house's lighting and heating, even the kitchen. Yet it has not yet caught on. What is needed is a "killer app" - a compelling use - and some government encouragement, according to Tim Woods, a partner in the consulting firm Poco Labs and an expert in smart home technology. The killer app, Mr. Woods said, will be energy efficiency.
Owl Power Company has announced Vegawatt, an innovative new cogeneration system for restaurants and food service facilities. Vegawatt uses waste vegetable oil from any food service operation as a fuel to generate on-site electricity and hot water, saving the restaurant thousands of dollars as well as providing a clean, renewable source of energy. Any food service location with fryers can use the Vegawatt system to save $800 monthly. It is a fully automated system that requires no intervention or maintenance by restaurant staff, no additional chemicals, and produces no liquid byproducts.
The engineering company CH2M Hill is now joining hands with the U.S. Department of Energy to provide Internet solar maps of 25 American cities, using Google Earth technology to chart the precise solar potential of neighborhoods, literally rooftop by rooftop. The company has just finished mapping all of San Francisco, allowing residents to enter their address and take the solar measure of their own home. "People in San Francisco think we don't have any solar potential,' says Gavin Newsom, the city's deep-green mayor. "But the map shows we have a lot more sun than you'd believe." Time Magazine Source.
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