Ascent Solar's Flexible Solar Panels Named a TIME Magazine Best Invention

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. a developer of lightweight, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic modules, announced today that itsflexible CIGS solar panels were named one of TIME's 50 Best Inventions of 2011. Ascent's technology was one of six ‘green' inventions to be recognized in this year's list, featured in the Nov. 28 TIME issue. For each of the past 10 years, TIME has recognized the top 50 breakthroughs in science, technology and the arts. Previous honorees have included the iPad, Nissan Leaf, 3-D cameras, and the world's first synthetic cells. "We are honored to be recognized by TIME as one of this year's top 50 inventions," said Ascent Solar President and CEO, Ron Eller. "Our flexible solar panels integrate seamlessly with countless applications across a wide variety of markets. TIME's recognition further validates the transformational aspects of Ascent's technology."  

Cleantech Open announces winners

Twenty-one cleantech startups from across the U.S. competed for a grand prize of $250,000 in seed investment and services at this year’s Cleantech Open Business Competition. On Wednesday night, the not-for-profit organization awarded the national grand prize to the winner in the renewable energy category, Atmosphere Recovery, which makes laser-based gas analyzer systems for efficient manufacturing and advanced energy process control.  See the full list of winners here.

Feed in Tariffs - the proven road NOT taken…Why?

Complacency is always a barrier to change. Just as the Captain and crew of the Titanic became complacent when the ship was deemed "unsinkable" we must not become complacent and not do what is proven and obvious - Feed in Tariffs.

Despite Solyndra's Death, the future of Solar Energy is Sunny

As with the dotcom crash, the death of Solyndra, Evergreen and others will usher in a more robust solar industry not signal the disappearance of PV as a viable alternative for future energy needs. Both companies were a tiny fraction of an enormous and rapidly growing global market.

Energy Storage and Variable Renewable Energy Sources

Climate change, national security, energy independence, jobs and energy cost are some of the factors that are merging to reinvigorate efforts in energy storage development.

Case Study: Solar Installation at the University of Delaware

The clean energy provided by the solar array will result in 1,810,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide being emitted annually, while reducing the University's energy costs by 30%.

Getting off to a Smart Start

To become a smart city requires a comprehensive city-wide sustainability plan, strong leadership from local authorities, effective public/private partnerships and enthusiastic buy-in from citizens with several EU funding opportunities there to help out along the way.

AMSC's SolarTie™ System

The SolarTie System was designed to lower the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants. A great deal of attention is being given to reducing the LCOE, which defines how much the energy produced really costs.

The US Solar Confidence survey - The results are in.

A recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance demonstrated that, in spite of plunging stock prices, investment in utility scale renewable energy was higher in Q3 than in any other quarter and up by 16% compared to this time last year. The second shock of the report was that it was the US cleantech sector taking the lead in terms of investment, overtaking the usual front runners Europe and China. This seemingly positive news is however tainted with some worries from investors and the cleantech sector. Some believe Solyndra's high profile collapse will affect government support of renewable incentives, whilst others expect the expiry of the Treasury cash grant at the end of the year to dampen the development of utility scale projects. Building upon Bloomberg New Energy Finance's findings, Green Power Conferences and the Solar Power Generation USA congress invited over 35,000 professionals from the solar and finance communities to take part in a 5 minute survey to assess industry confidence for 2012. Despite expected difficulties in the market, over 60% of respondents thought that investment in the utility scale solar sector would increase in 2012, whilst 20% thought it would stay the same as 2011 levels.  

U.S. launches probe into China solar panels

The U.S. Commerce Department said it would investigate whether Chinese companies sell solar panels in the United States at unfair discounts and receive illegal government subsidies. The trade spat, one of several sensitive economic and trade issues between the United States and China, could lead to steep duties on imports of Chinese panels and help struggling domestic manufacturers. The action is opposed by companies in the U.S. solar industry that count on importing cheap panels to boost solar power generation. It comes as the administration of President Obama faces criticism from Republicans in Congress about domestic aid to solar and other renewable energy companies. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that it had accepted a petition from SolarWorld Industries Americas Inc. Last month, the company asked the U.S. government to slap duties on Chinese solar cells and modules.

PROINSO launches online store to sell PV products in the USA, Germany, Spain, and Italy

According to PROINSO sources , companies or individuals can make a selection of orders that can be modified according to what the customer agrees with the PROINSO sales department, which will send the customer an offer. Each installer can sign in with a username and password, and they will have a sales representative in their country. "The selection of purchase orders made with the online tool does not mean the customer must make the purchase. Availability can be checked and delivery dates and final prices can be negotiated before an order is actually placed," they said. Read the full news release here.  

Solazyme's algae jet fuel powers United flight

Sometime shortly after 7 a.m. PST on Monday, execs at algae oil company Solazyme, members of the media and others will board a plane at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and take off on the first commercial U.S. domestic flight to use Solazyme’s algae-based jet fuel. United Airlines will operate the flight, which will land at Chicago O’Hare International Airport a couple of hours later and is set to carry 189 passengers.  The event is significant: While companies have spent years looking to scale next-generation biofuel products, few are producing fuels that can scale large enough to sell to the airline industry, let alone the auto industry. Solazyme’s jet fuel, dubbed Solajet, isn’t a widely commercialized product yet, but it has a few deals, including with the Navy and Australian carrier Quantas.

Solar Power International 2011 - Special News Report

News Announcements from SPI 2011

The Coolest New Solar Manufacturing Technology You've Never Heard Of

The Optical Cavity Furnace is a new piece of equipment for making solar cells that is about to rock the photovoltaic industry by slashing costs and increasing efficiency. The news should not just excite tech nerds—by reducing the cost of producing solar cells by nearly three-quarters, this new technology represents another big step on the path to making clean energy the cheap kind of energy. Here’s how it works. By using optics to more efficiently focus visible and infrared light, the Optical Cavity Furnace can heat silicon wafers used in solar cell production much more precisely and uniformly than previous forms of solar cell manufacture. The resulting solar cells are stronger, more efficient, and have fewer impurities. The National Renewable Energy Lab, or NREL, the DOE office responsible for the research, and a corporate partner AOS Inc. are now working to bring this technology to scale. The partners plan to build an industrial-scale Optical Cavity Furnace capable of producing 1,200 highly efficient solar cells per hour. NREL has cooperative research agreements with many of the country’s biggest solar cell producers.

Another Milestone: Renewable Energy Surpasses Nuclear Power by 18%

According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through June 30, 2011, renewable energy has passed another milestone as domestic production is now significantly greater than that of nuclear power and continues to close in on oil. During the first half of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass & biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 4.687 quadrillion Btus of energy or 12.25% of U.S. energy production. By comparison, renewables accounted for 11.05% of domestic production during the first half of 2010 and 10.50% during the first half of 2009. (On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.45% of total U.S. energy use.) More significantly, energy production from renewable energy sources in 2011 was 17.91% more than that from nuclear power, which provided 3.975 quadrillion Btus and has been declining in recent years. Energy from renewable sources is now equal to 79.83% of that from domestic crude oil production, with the gap closing rapidly.  

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Easy monitoring with weather sensors from Lufft

Easy monitoring with weather sensors from Lufft

Professional weather sensors form the heart of large solar plants supporting their operation and performance. Lufft was the first manufacturer to combine several sensors in one housing, bringing the largest multiparameter weather sensor family with 19 members into being. Many of them are well-suited for solar site assessment and continuous monitoring. The most commonly used one is the WS600 delivering data on temperature, air pressure, wind, relative humidity and precipitation. Through its open protocol, it can easily be attached to radiation sensors e.g. from Kipp&Zonen. Other models have an integrated Silicon, Second Class or Secondary Standard radiation sensor.