Solar power production hit a new record of 4,093 megawatts on Saturday, March 8, 2014. The previous record was 3,926 megawatts (MW) set the previous day on March 7. Electricity generated from solar has more than doubled from June 7, 2013 when the ISO recorded 2,071 MW of peak production — and output has more than quadrupled from the summer of 2012. The new record generation can instantaneously power about 3 million homes.
"This shows that California is making remarkable progress in not only getting new resources approved and connected to the grid, but making meaningful contributions in keeping the lights on as well," says Steve Berberich, ISO President and Chief Executive Officer. "The milestones illustrate that we are well into a new era when clean, renewable energy is shouldering its share of our electricity needs — and that is exciting."
At the European Wind Energy Association's annual conference, GE) announced its 2.75-120 wind turbine, a smarter, more powerful turbine. Part of GE's brilliant wind platform, the 2.75-120 provides 5 percent more annual energy production than GE's 2.5-120 model and is available with various tower technologies, ranging between 85-139 meters, and optional energy storage.
"As we accelerate our platform's growth in Europe, we will continue to invest in technology such as the 2.75-120's flexible tower and other energy storage options, making GE's wind turbines more customizable for developers and operators," said Cliff Harris, general manager of GE's renewable energy business in Europe.
The 2.75-120 is available on a steel, hybrid or space frame tower, helping to tailor the turbine for unique site conditions and bring wind power to new places across the continent. The range of tower height spans 85-139 meters tall.
Short-term or long-term energy storage is available with the 2.75-120, making wind power more predictable, flexible and fast responding through battery software applications. Short-term storage is integrated at the turbine level and long-term storage is centralized for the wind farm. These options further customize GE's offering based on-site or operator needs.
Continuing its explosive growth, the U.S. solar industry had a record-shattering year in 2013. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, photovoltaic (PV) installations continued to proliferate, increasing 41percent over 2012 to reach 4,751 megawatts (MW). In addition, 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came online. Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. Additionally, the cost to install solar fell throughout the year, ending the year 15 percent below the mark set at the end of 2012.
At the end of 2013 there were more than 440,000 operating solar electric systems in the U.S. totaling over 12,000 MW of PV and 918 MW of CSP.
The U.S. installed 2,106 megawatts in the fourth quarter alone, 44 percent of the annual total. This makes Q4 2013 by far the largest quarter in the history of the U.S. market, exceeding the next largest quarter by 60 percent. Cont'd
Germany-based SMA Solar is to acquire Danfoss’ solar inverter business.
Danfoss will acquire 20% of SMA’s shares with a value of €302 million (US$415 million) in return for selling its inverter unit.
It will receive SMA shares at a price of €43.57 50% premium on the average price during (US$59.86) the past 60 days.
The alliance between SMA and Danfoss brings together respectively the world's largest and seventh largest inverter manufacturers by market share, according to an IHS study published in May.
“The strategic alliance with Danfoss strengthens SMA’s leading position in the global photovoltaic market. We are faced with a highly competitive market environment and increased price pressure,” said Pierre-Pascal Urbon, chief executive of SMA.
“In this context, SMA will benefit from Danfoss’ years of experience in automated drives. This market has been characterised by fierce competition for a long time. Accordingly, the strategy of the Danfoss group targets continuous cost improvements through global sourcing and cost down initiatives. By establishing a close cooperation there is significant potential to improve the cost position in both companies,” added Urbon
The inverter market has been hit by the emergence of bigger utility projects that require larger but fewer inverters, and the rise of new players in the microinverter market that have stolen share in the residential sector.
SUNLIGHT is free, but that is no reason to waste it. Yet even the best silicon solar cells—by far the most common sort—convert only a quarter of the light that falls on them. Silicon has the merit of being cheap: manufacturing improvements have brought its price to a point where it is snapping at the heels of fossil fuels. But many scientists would like to replace it with something fundamentally better.
John Rogers, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is one. The cells he has devised (and which are being made, packaged into panels and deployed in pilot projects by Semprius, a firm based in North Carolina) are indeed better. By themselves, he told this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, they convert 42.5% of sunlight. Even when surrounded by the paraphernalia of a panel they manage 35%. Suitably tweaked, Dr Rogers reckons, their efficiency could rise to 50%. Their secret is that they are actually not one cell, but four, stacked one on top of another.
Solar cells are made of semiconductors, and every type of semiconductor has a property called a band gap that is different from that of other semiconductors. The band gap defines the longest wavelength of light a semiconductor can absorb (it is transparent to longer wavelengths). It also fixes the maximum amount of energy that can be captured from photons of shorter wavelength. The result is that long-wavelength photons are lost and short-wave ones incompletely utilised. Cont'd
A windy stretch of the Mojave Desert once roamed by tortoises and coyotes has been transformed by hundreds of thousands of mirrors into the largest solar power plant of its type in the world, a milestone for a growing industry that is testing the balance between wilderness conservation and the pursuit of green energy across the American West.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opened Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.
"The Ivanpah project is a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement after attending a dedication ceremony at the site. "This project shows that building a clean-energy economy creates jobs, curbs greenhouse gas emissions and fosters American innovation."
The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.
China is projected to install 12,000 megawatts of solar power in 2014, giving it the "gold medal" in the figurative 2014 Solar Olympics, according to GTM Research.
That amount will be greater than what the United States has installed in all of its solar history.
Japan will take "silver" in 2014 with 7,500 megawatts forecast. The U.S. will take bronze at 5,300.
"China's rise to the top in global PV installations has been impressive, to say the least," GTM Research solar analyst Adam James said in the release. "Although transparency continues to be a problem in accurately sizing the market, GTM sees the shift to production-based incentives and increased downstream financing support driving deployment to new heights over the next few years."
For the first time in the past four year period, no European country will feature on the podium.
"While European feed-in tariff markets have been great at the short-distance events, the global solar market is clearly aiming toward the long-distance contenders in Asia and North America," said Shayle Kann, senior vice president at GTM Research. "But don't count out emerging markets. By the time the Summer Olympics roll around in Rio, Latin America will be a PV force to contend with."
One-third of all Americans who work in solar power live in California, according to an annual survey released Tuesday.
And their numbers are growing fast.
The solar industry employed 47,223 Californians last year, up 8 percent from 2012, according to the survey from the Solar Foundation, a research and advocacy group.
Nationwide, the solar industry employed 142,698 people. And while the rate of solar job growth nationwide was faster than in California, nearly hitting 20 percent last year, the Golden State still dominates the business.
"California is, by far, the leader," said Andrea Luecke, the foundation's executive director. "It's not by accident that the solar industry is based there."
Most of California's solar jobs, however, focus on panel installation and financing versus research and development efforts to create new technologies.
Starting more than 10 years ago, California officials made a concerted push to foster the solar industry. They forced the state's utilities to buy more renewable power and offered rebates to homeowners who bolted solar panels to their roofs.
The effort appears to have worked. Most of the country's largest solar companies are based in California, particularly in the Bay Area. The foundation's survey counted 21,653 solar jobs around the bay.
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