Solar power to overtake wind for the first time

Solar power capacity is set to overtake wind for the first time this year, as a slowdown in the world’s two largest wind markets, China and the U.S., clear the way for a growing solar market, according to a report released Thursday. Clean energy news and data provider Bloomberg  New Energy Finance forecast new onshore and offshore wind farms to add 33.8 gigawatts and 1.7 gigawatts, respectively, to global power markets. That compares with an estimated 36.7 gigawatts of new photovoltaic, or PV, capacity, the first year in which solar power will add more megawatts than wind. “The dramatic cost reductions in PV, combined with new incentive regimes in Japan and China, are making possible further, strong growth in volumes,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Europe is a declining market, because many countries there are rapidly moving away from incentives, but it will continue to see new PV capacity added.” Wind may be down but not out. Wind installations will shrink by nearly 25% in 2013 to their lowest level since 2008, due to the slowdowns in the U.S. and China caused by policy uncertainty, BNEF said.

Solar Power From Giant Mirrors Flows Into California's Grid

BrightSource Energy’s massive solar farm in a remote corner of California delivered its first flow of power to the grid, an important step for demonstrating that the project is on the final path to become a fully operating power plant, the company said Tuesday. BrightSource achieved what is called the “first sync” with the project,Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, where for the first time the steam was sent to one of its three turbines for generating electricity and synching to the grid. Ivanpah is the first commercial power plant project in the United States for BrightSource, which owns a stake in the project along with NRG Energy and Google. The project also is one of the massive solar power projects being built in California to enable the state to meet its goal of using an increasing amount of renewable electricity. The state’s mandate requires 33% of its utilities power supplies to come from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass by 2020. The project has a 392-megawatt capacity but is set to deliver 377 megawatts to the Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison . It’s sized to deliver enough power to about 140,000 homes per year. Ivanpah is made up of three power generation stations. The “first sync” milestone took place at Unit 1, and the same step will be done at Unit 2 and Unit 3 soon. Unit 2 and Unit 3 are scheduled to start delivering electricity to the grid by the end of the year.

India To Build World's Largest Solar Power Plant In Rajasthan

The Indian government will set up the world’s largest solar  power  plant in its northwestern state of Rajasthan, an official statement said on Friday, and the venture is expected to significantly reduce solar power taxes in the country. The project, known as the "Ultra-Mega Green Solar Power Project," will have a total power generation capacity of 4,000 megawatts, which is more than double the total solar power generation capacity in India. “This will be the largest solar-based power project in the world. Being the first project of this scale … this project is expected to set a trend for large-scale solar power development in the world," a government statement said. The project will be spread across 23,000 acres of land belonging to the state-run Sambhar Salts Ltd, near the Sambhar Lake, which is about 47 miles away from Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital city. The first phase of the project, which will be for 1,000 megawatt capacity, is expected to be completed in three years and will be run by a joint venture of five state-run utilities, including BHEL, Power Grid Corporation of India and Solar Energy Corporation of India.

China to limit construction of new solar panel factories

China, the world's biggest maker of solar panels, will limit construction of new photovoltaic manufacturing plants to curb excess capacity in a move that may encourage consolidation within the industry. New solar plants that "purely" expand capacity will be strictly banned, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on its website yesterday. Annual spending by companies for research and development and upgrading equipment must total at least 3 per cent of revenue and must exceed 10 million yuan (HK$12.6 million). Chinese authorities have pledged to cut overcapacity in industries from steel to paper as policy makers seek to reduce the economy's reliance on investments and exports. A global oversupply of solar panels led to a 20 per cent plunge in prices last year, according to data. The policy will slow efforts to expand production capacity in favour of mergers and acquisitions as a growth strategy for the biggest companies, said Angelo Zino, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ in New York.

Photoflow is solar power and rainwater harvesting in one

A design company called NOS has developed a solution to two major problems facing developing countries: scarcity of drinking water and electricity. The concept is called the PhotoFlow, a combination solar photovoltaic device and rainwater harvester. NOS says, "Most of the developing countries are located near the equator, receiving more sunlight and rainfall than most other countries on the planet. Despite this abundance, a large number of people living in these countries suffer from a lack of electricity and potable drinking water. Building upon the designs of some existing rooftop water containers, we have created a simple device to collect both of these precious natural resources to meet the need for both electricity and drinking water." The PhotoFlow is made up of eight identical triangular photovoltaic panels that are mounted on a 400-liter recycled polyethylene water tank. The panels form an octagon with a slope of 3 degrees that allows water to funnel into the central filter and be collected into the tank. To keep the water potable once it's collected, the inner layer of the tank is covered with a coating that controls levels of bacteria and fungi.

Real World PV Solar Project - One Year Later

We've been living with the solar system for a little over a year now and I thought it time to report back to you about the experiences we've had and talk about how the system is operating and performing.

DC Fast Chargers for Electric Cars

DC Fast Chargers can charge an EV battery in 15 - 30 minutes, depending on vehicle make, model and initial battery state-of-charge.

Flywheels: A Way To Change the Utility Business Model?

The purpose of this note is to explore the feasibility and stimulate discussion of such an approach ( a few others have discussed this possibility as well), which has the potential to reduce utility peak power demands, reduce consumer costs by taking consumers off the grid at peak periods, and transform the nature of utilities.

Solving Wind Farm Siting

An automated approach takes the guesswork out of siting. Software-generated algorithms automatically search the solution space, quickly and efficiently providing planners with a near optimal solution that can statistically be guaranteed.

The Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) Program

A Solar Renewable Energy Credit, often referred to as an SREC, represents the renewable component of 1 megawatt hour of power production generated from a solar photovoltaic system.

Financing - The single largest roadblock for energy-saving projects

It's not surprising that CFOs are a little nervous about investing hundreds of thousands of unbudgeted dollars in projects with hard-to-believe savings estimates. Unfortunately, this industry is somewhat a victim of its success - the better the products, the harder the estimates are to believed.

4 Reasons Your Next Vehicle Will Be Solar Powered

Advancements in battery technology and recharging capabilities will drive adoption. Since the beginning of 2013 we have not only seen fast-charging stations that rapidly refill a battery but also wireless recharging capabilities and battery swap techniques.

Renewable Energy Vital for First Nation and Remote Communities

Some First Nation communities have initiated solar and wind power and mini hydroelectric initiatives but more needs to be done to ensure that all remote communities have access to clean and affordable energy.

Solar Power International Leads With Ideas, Education, Industry Luminaries

Solar Power International 2013 (SPI ‘13), North America's premier business-to-business event for professionals in solar energy, brings new formats and focused sessions to educational programming during the annual show, taking place in Chicago from October 21 - 24 at McCormick Place. With six conference tracks, pre- and post-conference workshops and Solar Idea Swaps, SPI offers solar professionals the opportunity to engage with the future of the industry. Event details and attendee registration information is available at solarpowerinternational.com.  "SPI is the place for the solar industry to gather and learn from experts, industry leaders and each other about the advances, trends and changes that affect our business," said Stephen Miner, CEO of SPI ‘13 organizer - Solar Energy Trade Shows. "We want each and every attendee to go home with a new perspective and greater understanding of the industry, and we've targeted our educational programming to ensure solutions-based learning."  General Sessions Designed to inspire and challenge attendees, the 2013 General Sessions introduce breakthrough technologies and invite role reversal. 

Why Firefighters Are Scared of Solar Power

A 300,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse in Delanco, New Jersey, burned down last week, and the local fire chief says solar panels are partly to blame. No, the 700 solar panels on top of the Dietz & Watson warehouse didn't cause the fire, but their presence did dissuade Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt from putting his team on the roof. "With all that power and energy up there, I can't jeopardize a guy’s life for that,” Holt told NBC Philadelphia. The only thing firefighters fear more than fire is solar.  So long as a solar panel is getting sunlight, it's impossible to turn off. "During daylight, there can be enough voltage and current to injure or even kill a firefighter who comes in contact with the energized conductors," Matthew Paiss, a fire engineer with the San Jose Fire Department, wrote in a handy guide for firefighters. The Dietz & Watson warehouse fire started when the sun was out. By the time the sun went down, the fire was beyond control. The warehouse burned for 29 hours.  As Paiss explained in his essay on solar panels and firefighting, roof access is crucial for firefighters: Full Article:

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