Researchers at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara have created the first highly transparent, plastic solar cells. The new solar cell is almost 70% transparent to visible light. There are two key breakthroughs here: First, as far as I can tell, this is one of highest efficiency (4%) polymer solar cells (PSC) yet created; and, perhaps more importantly, researchers have historically struggled to get get past 10 or 20% transparency, let alone 70%. You are probably wondering how something can be both transparent and absorb light — well, in this case, the PSC only absorbs infrared light, but lets visible light pass through it. In both cases, the secret sauce is silver nanowires within the polymer. These nanowire electrodes are conductive and flexible, and after being coated with titanium dioxide nanoparticles they are also photovoltaic. Most importantly, though, these nanowires can be laid down using a solution process — basically, to turn a big roll of polymer into a solar cell, all you have to do is immerse it in a vat of titanium dioxide-coated silver nanowires, cure it, and voila.
Germany's environment ministry is considering launching anti-dumping proceedings against China over its financial support for solar power firms amid a bitter price war in the industry that has left many German panel producers fighting for survival. Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told German broadcaster ZDF late on Thursday that there had to be fair competition in the global market and anti-dumping proceedings might be one way of ensuring this. Altmaier recently suggested higher import duties as another way to prevent price dumping. "It is also being looked into whether anti-dumping procedures can be launched against China," he said. The ministry was not immediately available for comment on Friday. Germany's once-booming solar panel makers are struggling to digest steep cuts in state support and increasing competition. German firm Solarworld recently brought a suit with American firms in the United States against cheap Chinese imports, with a degree of success.
Amonix Inc., a closely held maker of solar panels that qualified for $21.5 million in federal subsidies, closed its 214,000-square-foot plant in Nevada. The company, based in Seal Beach, California, plans to restructure its operations and will vacate the factory by early August, according to an e-mailed statement today. It also has a research lab in Torrance, California, and an office in Singapore, according to its website. Amonix said the decision to close the plant was based on“challenging” pricing for solar panels and low demand for its concentrated photovoltaic systems, according to the statement. “We looked at several options and were really hoping that we could keep the North Las Vegas manufacturing facility, but it is not economically possible,” the company said.
Unirac, Inc., has been awarded a contract by Bechtel Power Corporation to supply the ground mount system for the 110MW AC Catalina Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project in Kern County in Southern California. The project is one of the largest photovoltaic ground mount installation in North America, projected to cover 1,100 acres and produce enough energy to power approximately 35,000 homes. Completion is scheduled for 2013. "We are excited to work with Bechtel, a global leader in engineering, procurement and construction, on this important landmark project," said Peter Lorenz, CEO, Unirac. "Unirac has long been a leader in the residential and commercial markets. This award demonstrates that we have become the partner of choice for large, complex utility projects."
InterSolar North America 2012 was held in San Francisco from July 10 - 12. Intersolar North America focuses on photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies. Exhibitors include PV cell, module and inverter manufacturers, components and mounting systems suppliers, manufacturing system suppliers, service companies as well as manufacturers of solar thermal applications including heating and cooling, among others. With 900 exhibitors and over 22,000 attendees expected, this years show will be one of the biggest Solar Industry tradeshows in North America. AltEnergyMag.com has put together a special tradeshow report highlighting some of the many great products showcased at this years show.
News and Product Announcements from the show.
In July 2011, the EU Commission defined ambitious sustainability standards for biofuels. Which certification schemes apply and what aspects do biomass producers have to take into consideration to exploit the full potential of their biomass production? The biofuel pros at TÜV SÜD provide an overview and offer impartial third-party support.
The best moment for a customer is when you turn them on for first time and the meter slows down and then starts to go backward. The worst is the moment the sun sets and they're not producing power anymore.
Wireless communication networks allow operators to become knowledgeable about the health of the grid. FHSS wireless data radios help decrease wasted energy and loss of power by sending critical data to an operator's fingertips. Wireless I/O, in particular, can be utilized to monitor and control critical electric power applications.
The Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Arizona — which is one of the world’s largest solar panel farms — is now two thirds completed, according to the owners and developer of the project, NRG Energy, MidAmerican Solar and First Solar. The solar farm, which is supposed to be completed in 2014, employs 400 to 450 workers per day, and California utility PG&E has a contract to buy the power. Agua Caliente is now generating 200 MW of solar power, and will provide 290 MW when completed. The project is being funded by a $967 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, as well as equity from owners NRG Energy and MidAmerican Solar, which is the energy-focused fund owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. MidAmerican bought 49 percent of the $1.8 billion farm in January of this year.
The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed closely by Germany, Japan, and Italy, according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report finds that in the last decade the U.S. has made "limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level," putting it in 9th place out of 12 economies around the globe. The rankings are modeled on ACEEE's time-tested approach to energy efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 12 of the world's largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. These 12 economies represent over 78 percent of global gross domestic product; 63 percent of global energy consumption; and 62 percent of the global carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions.
InterSolar North America 2012 is being held this week in San Francisco. Intersolar North America focuses on photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies. Exhibitors include PV cell, module and inverter manufacturers, components and mounting systems suppliers, manufacturing system suppliers, service companies as well as manufacturers of solar thermal applications including heating and cooling, among others. With 900 exhibitors and over 22,000 attendees expected this years show will be one of the biggest Solar Industry tradeshows in North America. AltEnergyMag.com has put together a special newspage devoted specifically to news and announcements coming out of this years show . We invite those exhibitors to post PR directly to this newspage here.
Add another solar factory to the list of closures and delays that have been plaguing the industry. Solar startups, including Solyndra and Abound Solar, a recipient of government funds that declared bankruptcy last week, have been failing left and right in the face of low solar panel prices. Now GE has reportedly stopped work on its planned 400-megawatt solar panel factory in Colorado. It says it needs to improve the power output of its technology if it’s to compete. It was thought that a company like GE, with its deep pockets, might be able to scale up production to the point that its thin-film solar panels could compete with silicon. The reports throw this into doubt. It might be that both low cost and at least comparable efficiency levels are needed to compete.
Many new installations benefit from solid core transformers, and split core technology is not designed to compete with these. However, existing machines and building equipment have no way to add solid core devices without a costly shut-down of the system. New materials and technologies equip advanced split core current transformers for immediate retrofitting of high-performance and cost-effective condition monitoring, power metering and facility supervision systems.
"EarthHeat", the next generation water heating system - less expensive and more efficient than gas, electrical or solar powered water heating systems currently on the market. Here is how it works.
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Each pre-bundled package is designed to make solar plus energy storage easy. By combining OutBack's most popular FLEXpower pre-wired systems with matched OutBack energy storage, SystemEdge takes the guesswork out of installing solar plus storage. Every SystemEdge package includes a FLEXpower factory pre-wired system, application-specific EnergyCell batteries and racking, FLEXware ICS Plus combiner and all the necessary connection hardware.