InterSolar 2012 Special News Report

News and Product Announcements from the show.

Fuel of the future

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.

Solar Leasing

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.

Reliable Communication Networks for Electric Power and Smart Grid Applications

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.

Aqua Caliente Solar Farm now 2/3 completed

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.

ACEEE: UNITED KINGDOM TOPS IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY, U.S. LAGS IN 9TH PLACE

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 2012 North America underway in San Francisco

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.

GE Stalls Solar Factory Construction

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.

How to choose and implement current sensors

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.

Geo-T Geothermal Water Heater

"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.

Advanced Battery and Energy Storage Product Commercialization Center

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) is creating the NY-BEST Battery and Energy Storage Commercialization Center to translate the State's technology investment into manufacturing and job growth.

EcoCAR 2 Teams Spread the Word on Alternative Energy

When many college students were heading to the beach for Spring Break, the Mississippi State University EcoCAR 2 team was at the Gulf Coast Children's Fair in Biloxi, Mississippi. The two-day environmental event organized by the Gulf Regional Planning Commission and the EPA gave MSU students a chance to talk to local elementary students about pollution and the benefits of keeping the air clean.

The Solar Gold Rush

Solar Developers are finding that land use considerations add a level of complexity unrelated to their experience with installations of building mounted solar PV systems. Delays may result from a lack of understanding of land use considerations and can cost the project proponent unanticipated time and money.

U.S. small wind power market shrinks, manufacturing grows with exports

In the U.S., more than 19 MW of small wind energy systems were installed, with revenues totaling $115 million. More than 7,300 small wind turbines were installed in the U.S. in 2011. While the U.S. small wind turbine market decreased 26 percent in 2011, exports drove a 13.4 percent increase in U.S. manufacturer sales, according to AWEA’s 2011 Small Wind Turbine Market Report, which was released in full this week. A fact sheet on the report’s results was released in the spring, and now the full report is available online. In the U.S., more than 19 MW of small wind systems were installed, with revenues totaling $115 million. More than 7,300 small wind turbines were installed in the U.S. in 2011 for the sixth consecutive year (for comparison purposes, almost twice the number of utility-scale turbines installed). More than 150,000 total small wind turbines have been installed cumulatively in the last decade, and in 2011, cumulative installed U.S. capacity increased to 198 MW. Four U.S. manufacturers reported annual sales greater than 1 MW, and 27 manufacturers with a U.S. presence reported sales of 60 turbine models. While domestic sales by U.S. manufacturers accounted for an 80 percent share of the U.S. market by capacity and 90 percent of turbines sold, 54 percent of U.S. manufacturers’ output went to foreign markets—a major increase from 2010.

Deal Reached on German Feed-in Tariff

The country has agreed to cap solar power installations at 52 GW. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government won agreement on cuts to solar-power subsidies and plans to store greenhouse gases underground, breaking a deadlock that threatened to hold up the country's energy transition. Under the deal reached with Germany’s 16 states in a panel of arbitration, the government will maintain a solar “growth corridor” of 2,500-3,500 megawatts a year, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told reporters in Berlin late yesterday. There will be a cap on subsidies at 52 gigawatts (GW), at which point a new formula will be found, he said. A new category will subsidize mid-size roof systems of 10- 40 kilowatts at 18.5 euro cents ($0.23) per kilowatt/hour, higher than planned, the upper house of parliament, where the states are represented, said in a separate statement after the panel met. Otherwise, new installations will be subject to subsidy cuts from April 1 as envisaged, it said.  

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