Google investing $94 million in Sacramento-area solar plants

Google announced that it's investing $94 million in solar panel farms in the Sacramento area. The money will go toward four photovoltaic, or PV, panel farms built by San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy, owned by tech-giant Sharp, and will help fuel the project alongside funding from investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., said Axel Martinez, Google's assistant treasurer, in a company blog post Tuesday. The investment pushes Google's portfolio of clean energy investments to more than $915 million, $880 million of which has been invested since January, Martinez said. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Recurrent and Google did not disclose how much Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was investing in the project.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics Impacts the Glass and Glazing Industry

Selling PV modules in their product package of glass and fenestration products represent a very significant sales potential increase for glass and glazing subcontractors. On a related matter, many PV modules can be glazed directly into the fenestration products without any modification to either product.

MIT Energy Initiative: With changes, U.S. electric grid can hold up to expected challenges

MIT report shows that with new policies, U.S. electric grid could handle expected influx of electric cars and wind and solar generation.

Solar Infrastructure Codes

Unirac is a strong advocate for developing new codes for solar infrastructure, and has been working closely with the International Code Council Evaluation Service to develop new performance standards for racking and mounting systems. Unirac's new SolarMount (E)volution residential roof mount PV racking system, launched at Solar Power International in October, is currently being evaluated by ICC-ES. Unirac is the first company to apply for an ICC ESR under ICC-ES AC428.

Striking Balance - How the Solar Industry Benefits From the U.S. & China

The solar industry is ready for its moment in the sun: Here at home, we hope fairness prevails so that the investigatory process proceeds without acrimony, political overzealousness or protectionism; at stake are U.S. jobs, U.S. exports, and U.S. consumer benefits for a strategically important U.S industry

Solar Technology Comparison Study
Wastewater Engineering Building - LEED Gold Certified

Both thin film and crystalline solar technologies provide reliable and impressive energy production performance. While it is well known that amorphous silicon modules suffer lower performance loss in high temperatures and low light conditions, this study reveals that the differing mounting requirements of each system more than offset this cell-type difference. As a result, with commonly-used commercial mounting solutions, crystalline modules actually outperform thin film modules in energy production per rated watt.

Solar Cogeneration Technology

Solar cogeneration of electricity and hot water maximizes the economic and environmental value of energy derived from the sun. Cogenra's system produces as much electricity as photovoltaic (PV) technology allows, then captures most of the remaining energy as hot water, in total exploiting over 70% of the energy incident from the sun.

India Embraces Solar Power, Says Price Will Equal Thermal Power in Five Years

The program's goals are nothing if not ambitious, as the government had initially hoped to boost the nation's solar capacity by the equivalent of about 18 nuclear power plants by 2022, a date that's now been brought forward by five years.

Trabant partners with Siemens to develop game changing solar tracker

Sade's idea was to eliminate the need for masts or poles to secure a solar array to concrete foundations. Instead, the tracker would use a ballast pan filled with dirt, gravel or sand.

Small Companies Can Make a Big Difference in Tomorrow

During the conversation, I kept coming back to ‘Why? What was driving this desirable business behavior?' Larry summed it up. "At the end of the day - we work to do as much right as we can for all concerns. By being long-term, we can look at the long-term win-wins for both conserving our resources and with a competitive long-term cost benefit as well.

Scientists report first solar cell producing more electrons in photocurrent than solar photons entering cell

The external quantum efficiency for photocurrent, usually expressed as a percentage, is the number of electrons flowing per second in the external circuit of a solar cell divided by the number of photons per second of a specific energy (or wavelength) that enter the solar cell. None of the solar cells to date exhibit external photocurrent quantum efficiencies above 100 percent at any wavelength in the solar spectrum. The external quantum efficiency reached a peak value of 114 percent. The newly reported work marks a promising step toward developing Next Generation Solar Cells for both solar electricity and solar fuels that will be competitive with, or perhaps less costly than, energy from fossil or nuclear fuels. A paper on the breakthrough appears in the Dec. 16 issue of Science Magazine. Titled "Peak External Photocurrent Quantum Efficiency Exceeding 100 percent via MEG in a Quantum Dot Solar Cell," it is co-authored by NREL scientists Octavi E. Semonin, Joseph M. Luther, Sukgeun Choi, Hsiang-Yu Chen, Jianbo Gao, Arthur J. Nozikand Matthew C. Beard. The research was supported by the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Semonin and Nozik are also affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder.

PVP HE String inverters

We believe that system owners and installers should take an active role in understanding how their system is performing and that basic web based monitoring should be free and flexible. Adhering to this philosophy, we have designed the ZigBee based monitoring solution for the PV Powered HE string inverter to make string inverter performance monitoring fast, easy, simple, reliable and flexible.

Buffett's MidAmerican makes second foray in solar

Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings made its second foray into solar energy in as many weeks, saying on Friday it will buy a 49 percent stake in an Arizona power plant from NRG Energy Inc (NRG.N). MidAmerican, the utility affiliate of Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), said it will take a stake in the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Arizona. The plant is being built by solar power company First Solar Inc (FSLR.O) and is supported by a $967 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. The announcement comes a little over a week after MidAmerican said it would buy First Solar's 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm power plant in California.

First Solar stock plunges 20%

Shares in solar power company First Solar fell over 20% in early trading Wednesday after the firm lowered its sales forecast for 2011. The Arizona-based company, which is a leading maker of thin-film solar panels and also a developer of solar power projects, predicted net sales in 2011 of $2.8 to $2.9 billion. That's down from earlier projections of $3.0 to $3.3 billion. The company said the lower sales were due to delays in its projects caused by weather and "other factors," but predicted a healthy 2012. "Our diverse business model and robust project pipeline will help First Solar generate a significant amount of cash in 2012 while improving operational efficiencies," Mike Ahearn, Chairman and Interim CEO of First Solar, said in a statement Wednesday.

Japanese Breakthrough in Wind Turbine Design

While energy from wind turbines currently accounts for less than one percent of total power generated in Japan, the new breakthrough in design provides ample reason to ramp up production. Called the 'Windlens,' Yuji Ohya, a professor of renewable energy dynamics and applied mechanics, and his team at Kyushu University have created a series of turbines that could make the cost of wind power less than coal and nuclear energy. The two major concerning issues with traditional turbines have been their general inefficiency and intolerable noise. However, Kyushu's researchers found that attaching an inward curving ring around the perimeter of a turbine's blades increases the focus of airflow faster through the blade zones at two to three times the speed as before. An improvement in safety from covering the outer edges of the blades and a reduction of the dreaded noise pollution of older models is just a bonus.

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