The Economics of Small Commercial Solar Projects

Solar projects can be a great investment for many businesses and offer a solid ROI, but it takes time and energy to put together a project that works for all the interested parties-the customer, the bank, and the installer.

Google: 4 out of 5 US homes have solar power potential

Steve Dent for engadget:  A five kilowatt rooftop solar installation now costs just $12,500 on average after tax credits, and pretty soon, installing one might soon be a matter of re-tiling your roof. Whether it's right for you, however, depends in large part on how much sun your house gets. That's where Google's Project Sunroof comes in -- launched just two years ago, it has now surveyed over 60 million US buildings in 50 states. That means there's a good chance you can see the electricity production potential in your city, neighborhood and even specific house. Google calculates the amount of sunlight on your roof based on "3D modeling of your roof and nearby trees," weather patterns, the position of the sun in the sky during the year and shade from buildings, trees and other obstructions. That info is then converted to energy production "using industry standard models for solar installation performance," Google says.   Cont'd...

Scientists harness solar power to produce hydrogen from biomass

University of Cambridge via Biomass Magazine:  Dr Moritz Kuehnel, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, joint lead author on a new research paper published in Nature Energy, says: "Lignocellulose is nature's equivalent to armoured concrete. It consists of strong, highly crystalline cellulose fibres, that are interwoven with lignin and hemicellulose which act as a glue. This rigid structure has evolved to give plants and trees mechanical stability and protect them from degradation, and makes chemical utilisation of lignocellulose so challenging." The new technology relies on a simple photocatalytic conversion process. Catalytic nanoparticles are added to alkaline water in which the biomass is suspended. This is then placed in front of a light in the lab which mimics solar light. The solution is ideal for absorbing this light and converting the biomass into gaseous hydrogen which can then be collected from the headspace. The hydrogen is free of fuel-cell inhibitors, such as carbon monoxide, which allows it to be used for power.   Full Article:

Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves

Diane Cardwell for The New York Times:  Brooklyn is known the world over for things small-batch and local, like designer clogs, craft bourbon and artisanal sauerkraut.  Now, it is trying to add electricity to the list. In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door. The project is still in its early stages - it has just 50 participants thus far - but its implications could be far reaching.   Cont'd...

The Atacama Desert, Extreme Conditions for Instrumentation

Due to extreme weather, high solar radiation, high UV index and the salinity of certain areas, the Atacama Desert in Chile presents conditions that contribute to the early degradation of instrumentation, communication and energy systems.

What Is Net Metering, and How Does It Work?

Depending on the size of your solar system and the amount of solar you produce each month, you can greatly reduce your monthly electric bills, and even profit from it.

Large-scale floating offshore wind power is finally here

Sami Grover for TreeHugger:  Offshore wind energy has been growing like crazy in the last few decades—so much so that there's even talk of serious talk of multi-gigawatt offshore wind farms in the US in the not too distant future.  But offshore wind has so far been limited to areas where the seafloor is relatively shallow, and where it's easy to build foundations for these gigantic turbines. Floating wind turbines are different. Instead of using fixed foundations, they are anchored to the sea floor using cables. And that means they can be located in deeper waters, opening up many more areas where wind conditions are favorable and concerns about views and/or bird migration routes are less relevant. Alongside opening up new areas for development, the other major advantage of floating turbines—once they are being developed at scale—could also be reduced costs.    Cont'd...

New process for manufacturing PV cells means cheaper solar power

Phys.org:  A major roadblock to the mass use of solar energy are photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. This is because the cost, inefficiency and negative environmental impact that the manufacturing of these cells outweighs any potential savings provided by the resulting solar energy. If, however, cost could be were minimised, then solar power would be more able to compete with traditional fossil fuel-based methods for generating energy. To overcome this hurdle, the EU-funded SOLNOWAT project has developed an innovative dry process for manufacturing PV solar cells. PV cells are typically created via a wet chemical process that etches away layers of silicon from a crystalline wafer, leaving behind the solar cell. The SOLNOWAT process replaces the expensive and inefficient wet chemical process with the use of atmospheric pressure dry etching technology – a process that cuts costs and speeds up production. Because less silicon is removed during dry etching, the resulting cells are darker, making them very efficient at absorbing light. In fact, they are so efficient that they have been classified as having zero global warming potential.   Cont'd...

Sollega Case Study: FastRack510 - IKEA 1.125 MW

Ikea, one of the leading retailers of finished goods in the world, has installed a 1.125 MW solar array on their new facility in Renton Washington. It is the latest Ikea in the US to be powered by the sun and the largest roof top install in Washington State.

US wind generation reached 5.5% of the grid in 2016

Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota all sourced more than 20 percent of their electricity generation from wind power during 2016, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). It shows wind supplied over 5.5 percent of electricity nationwide, up from 4.7 percent in 2015.  With 99 percent of wind turbines located in rural areas, wind power's steady growth as a share of the nation's electricity supply has been accompanied by a surge of investment in rural America. The industry invested over $13.8 billion in new turbines last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in addition to operating a fleet now over 52,000 turbines.   Full AWEA Press Release:

A World Premiere - The First Hybrid FPV and Hydroelectric Dam Power Plant System

The installed 840 floating PV panels have a total peak capacity of 220 kilowatts and is expected to generate 332 megawatts per hour in its first year - equivalent to the annual consumption of around 100 homes.

Global Annual Installed Capacity of Small and Medium Wind Turbines is Expected to Exceed 446 MW in 2026

Despite weakening policy drivers and competition from declining solar PV prices, the SMWT industry is still poised for growth. With a large amount of wind resource potential still available, plus several growing and emerging markets, the industry is anticipated to sustain itself into the foreseeable future. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, the global installed capacity of SMWTs is expected to grow from 176.4 MW in 2017 to 446.0 MW in 2026.  "With historically leading markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and China seeing declining annual installed capacities of small and medium wind in recent years, other countries such as Japan, Denmark, and Italy are emerging as forces in the distributed wind market thanks to favorable government incentives," says Adam Wilson, research associate with Navigant Research. "We're also seeing a shift with medium-sized turbines as their niche slowly shrinks as drivers continue to favor small wind turbines for distributed wind and larger multi-megawatt turbines dominating utility-scale applications."   Full Press Release:

Southern California Edison Reaches California's Solar Deadline

Under net metering 2.0, property owners are forced to pay non-bypassable charges, reducing the value of clean energy provided to the utility.

How drones are helping design the solar power plants of the future

Katie Fehrenbacher for T he Guardian:    At the edge of a plot of muddy farmland, a few miles down the road from the University of California at Davis, an engineer takes a few quick steps across crop rows and lets go of a three-foot drone. Within seconds, the device - which weighs less than 2lbs and carries a powerful camera - ascends hundreds of feet into the cold, clear, blue sky and begins to snap detailed photos of the ground far below, including a long row of large solar panels mounted on steel poles. This flight is just a test, demonstrated by Kingsley Chen, the drone fleet coordinator for SunPower at the solar company's research and development center, which is under construction and about a two-hour drive northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area. The drone will enable SunPower to survey a wide region and help design a solar power farm that can fit more solar panels on a piece of land, more quickly and for lower costs than it previously could.   Con'td...

Follow the Patents: For Solar Power, the Devil Is in the Details

Alec Schibanoff for Electric Light & Power:  There actually is a crystal ball that permits you to see into the future. All you have to do is follow the patents. The latest patents in any technology will show you where that technology—and the businesses that use that technology—are going. This month, we take a look at the future of solar panel installation. The first solar power generator was displayed at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1878. The first U.S. Patent for a solar power device was awarded the next year to Edward Weston. He actually received two patents: U.S. Patent No. 389,124 for an “Apparatus for Generating Solar Radiant Energy” and U.S. Patent No. 389,125 for the “Art of Utilizing Solar Radiant Energy.” It was not until 1954 that Bell Labs developed the first silicone-based solar panel.   Cont'd...

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Solar & Wind - Featured Product

Joyce Dayton Corp - Solar Tracking Jacks Solutions

Joyce Dayton Corp - Solar Tracking Jacks Solutions

Joyce/Dayton, North America's premier manufacturer of screw jacks and actuators has been in continuous operation for over 140 years. Joyce has become the trusted name in solar tracking with more than 2 gigawatts of power generation equipment in service world-wide. Consider the benefits: • Reliably position 50 tons (or more) • Long life/Low maintenance design • Motorized to meet customer specifications • Customer specified load/speed/fit • Built to ISO9001:2008 standards • Superior surface protection • Integral Trunnion mount • Easy to install. Joyce delivers more than the finished product. Quality is built into the whole process from expert engineering support during design conception to top-notch customer support after shipment. Contact Joyce for the products and support you need.