The technology breakthroughs that are helping solar cells approach 50 percent efficiency levels are encouraging, but everyday applications are still years away.
IBM has announced a weather-modeling and power-grid management system with the goal of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. "Applying analytics and harnessing big data will allow utilities to tackle the intermittent nature of renewable energy and forecast power production from solar and wind, in a way that has never been done before," IBM's global energy and utilities industry headman Brad Gammons said in a statement. "We have developed an intelligent system that combines weather and power forecasting to increase system availability and optimize power grid performance." The system, called Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting, or HyRef, is part of theSmart er Energy component of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative. HyRef uses cloud-imaging tech and cameras that track cloud movement, and combines that data with info from sensors on wind turbines that keep track of wind direction, temperature, and speed. All of this data is fed into weather models and analyzed in such a way as to be able, IBM claims, to "produce accurate local weather forecasts within a wind farm as far as one month in advance, or in 15-minute increments." By doing so, IBM says that HyRef can enable renewable-energy installations to better predict the power they can produce – wind and solar being variable sources – and thus to better anticipate the amount of power they will be able to provide to the grid to which they are connected. Such predictions enable managers to better accommodate the need to supplement renewables with such conventional power sources as coal and gas-fired power plants.
A new type of stained glass just installed in a Saskatoon cathedral is trying to prove green can also be glorious, combatting the stereotype of ugly, bulky solar panels. When the Cathedral of the Holy Family needed a new set of stained glass windows, Toronto artist Sarah Hall jumped in with a project she's been working on since 2005 -- one that combines old art techniques with new technology. Working with engineer Christof Erban, who pioneered the concept of placing a solar cell between layers of glass, Hall's solar-infused masterpiece is a colourful set of three giant windows set atop the Saskatoon church. The work is called "Lux Gloria," or "Light of Glory," and the largest of the three windows measures 37-feet high by 12-feet wide. The windows -- a display of silver solar cells fused with various colours of stained glass -- simultaneously shade the church, harvest solar energy from outside and block out heat. While the Saskatoon project is just one example of Hall's work in the field of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) - her first installation went up in Washington, D.C., in 2005 - the Lux Gloria is the first of her pieces that feeds back into a city's electrical grid. She has also worked on two projects in Toronto, one in Vancouver and one in Camas, Washington. Hall's studio said the embedded solar panels are capable of generating 2,500 kilowatt hours of power, or about 20 per cent of the electricity used per year in the average Canadian household.
Monash University researchers have brought next generation energy storage closer with an engineering first - a graphene-based device that is compact, yet lasts as long as a conventional battery. Published today in Science, a research team led by Professor Dan Li of the Department of Materials Engineering has developed a completely new strategy to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors (SC), making them viable for widespread use in renewable energy storage, portable electronics and electric vehicles. SCs are generally made of highly porous carbon impregnated with a liquid electrolyte to transport the electrical charge. Known for their almost indefinite lifespan and the ability to re-charge in seconds, the drawback of existing SCs is their low energy-storage-to-volume ratio - known as energy density. Low energy density of five to eight Watt-hours per litre, means SCs are unfeasibly large or must be re-charged frequently. Professor Li's team has created an SC with energy density of 60 Watt-hours per litre - comparable to lead-acid batteries and around 12 times higher than commercially available SCs.
General Electric Co. is permanently scrapping plans to build the largest solar factory in the U.S. near Denver. GE blamed the cancellation on a glut of solar panels on the market and falling prices, The Denver Post reported Tuesday. The factory was to have been bigger than 11 football fields and have an annual capacity of 400 megawatts. State officials said it would create 350 jobs. GE put the project on hold last month. A research center that developed the thin-film solar-cell technology for the plant will be closed, with 50 people losing their jobs, according to Lindsay Thiel, a GE spokeswoman. The research center, formerly a startup named PrimeStar, was in Arvada, another Denver suburb. "We have decided that it is not in the best interest of GE, our customers or the Denver community to move forward with the build-out of this facility," Thiel told the newspaper in an email. At least 10 states were vying for the PrimeStar plant in 2011. GE said it would go to Aurora that fall, and company executives attended the next year's State of the State address by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who personally cited the plant in his speech.
The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) battery technology project will be installed at Leighton Buzzard primary substation, in order to assess the role of energy storage in cost effectively delivering the UK's Carbon Plan. The technology can provide a range of benefits to the wider electricity system, including absorbing energy, then releasing it to meet demand, to help support capacity constraints and to balance the influx of intermittent and inflexible low carbon technologies onto the grid. The Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project aims to carry out a range of technical and commercial innovation to facilitate the more efficient and economic adoption of storage. By contrast to other electrical storage projects, it will demonstrate storage across multiple parts of the electricity system, outside the boundaries of the distribution network. By demonstrating this multi-purpose application of 6MW/10MWh of energy storage at Leighton Buzzard primary substation, the project will explore the capabilities and value in alternative revenue streams for storage, whilst also deferring expensive conventional reinforcement measures, such as transformers, cable and overhead lines. The project will generate new knowledge and learning on the challenges of integrating large-scale storage, and provide the industry with a greater understanding and a detailed assessment of the business case and full economics of energy storage.
CANTARRANA, Cuba (AP) — It's like a vision of the space age, carved out of the jungle: Thousands of glassy panels surrounded by a lush canopy of green stretch as far as the eye can see, reflecting the few clouds that dot the sky on a scorching Caribbean morning. Cuba's first solar farm opened this spring with little fanfare and no prior announcement. It boasts 14,000 photovoltaic panels which in a stroke more than doubled the country's capacity to harvest energy from the sun. The project, one of seven such farms in the works, shows a possible road map to greater energy independence in cash-poor Cuba, where Communist leaders are being forced to consider renewables to help keep the lights on after four failed attempts to strike it rich with deep-water oil drilling and the death of petro-benefactor Hugo Chavez. "For us this is the future," said Ovel Concepcion, a director with Hidroenergia, the state-run company tasked with building the solar park 190 miles (300 kilometers) east of Havana in the central province of Cienfuegos. "This is just like having an oil well," he told The Associated Press on a recent tour of the facility. Outside experts have chastised Cuba for missing an opportunity to develop alternative energy sources; just 4 percent of its electricity comes from renewables. That lags behind not only standard-setter Germany (25 percent) but also comparable, developing Caribbean nations such as the Dominican Republic (14 percent).
US wind growth has ground to a halt this year, with no new installations completed in the second quarter of 2013, figures from the American Wind Energy Association show. The new figures are even worse than Q1's 1.6MW of new installations, effectively just one GE 1.6MW turbine. The next slackest period for wind power in the States was the first quarter of 2010, with 541MW of completed installations. The figure for the final quarter of 2012 was 8,380MW. In its report, the AWEA accepted that the wind power industry ‘slowed dramatically’ in the first half of 2013, and it cited the late extension of the production tax credit (PTC) and ‘historic levels’ of installation at the end of 2012 as reasons. But it insisted that activity was ‘picking up’ in the industry, listing as evidence more than 3,950MW of long-term power purchase agreements signed, and more than 1,300MW of self-builds announced, by utilities since January. There was 1,280MW of wind power under construction across eight US states as of June 30.
With an incentive programme now in place, the German PV industry looks to promote self-consumption, but what do installers and adopters need to know?
Unlike a traditional, large thermal power plant, where hundreds of megawatts or even gigawatts are generated in a single geographic location, our solar facilities will be distributed all across the country and eventually, around the world.
Thermoelectrics is a means of utilising thermal energy by converting it to electrical energy so that, when there is a heat differential between the opposing sides of certain semiconductor materials, the difference in temperatures causes the electrons in the material to move, creating an electric current.
VC funding is up $63 million this quarter from $126 million to $189 million. The total number of deals however went down to 19 from the 26
By reducing energy consumption through the use of geothermal and solar water heaters while generating energy from renewable sources, the 63D RSC is positioning itself to meet the three percent annually energy reduction goal while creating renewable energy generation projects for the Army Reserve.
The Energy Joule takes pricing and consumption data from the home's smart meter and simplifies it into an easy-to-read format, enabling the homeowner to understand their energy usage at a glance.
Coronal and Panasonic deliver an efficient and integrated construction and permanent financing solution - mitigating investment risk and offering customers a way to navigate the complexities involved in a solar project by minimizing the effort required to realize the often considerable economic benefits.
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Morningstar's TriStar MPPT 600V charge controller leverages Morningstar's innovative TrakStar™ MPPT technology and our 20+ years of power electronics engineering excellence, to enable the widest input operating voltage range available from a solar array, wind turbine or hydro input. This controller's standard and DB versions are for off-grid applications, and the TR versions were developed to enable retrofitting grid-tied systems with battery backup.