Harnessing the Sun's Power

KUKA Systems North America has made a successful entry into the burgeoning Canadian solar panel manufacturing sector, demonstrating in the process how it can adapt its extensive suite of automated production solutions to a panel maker’s unique requirements. KUKA Systems provides photovoltaic panel manufacturers around the world with fully automated production lines or any level of automation short of that, from cell layout through all stages of module assembly and quality control, regardless of type or dimensions. For its first Canadian customer, KUKA Systems is installing three partially automated, post-lamination framing lines for trimming, framing, testing and packout of photovoltaic panels, a $12 million contract. Each line consists of five robots, as well as applicators, conveyors and other handling and testing equipment. Installation began in the first quarter of 2011.

European Emissions Trading System Phase III
A First Overview

Several positives resulting from the Phase 1 "learning by doing" exercise assisted the ETS in making the Phase 2 process run more smoothly, including: (1) greatly improving emissions data, (2) encouraging development of the Kyoto Protocol's project-based mechanisms

Solar Installation Education

PV is a proven technology, and the industry is growing at a very rapid pace. Training is essential, and NABCEP certification is driving the industry to a high standard. Train, obtain your certification, align yourself with a company that offers quality products, and stay abreast of new products, methods, processes and code changes.

Improving Conversion of Solar Leads:
Simple tips for installers to increase sales

For most solar companies, an increase in lead conversion by 1 percentage point would have the same impact on sales as increasing your lead volume by 10 - 20% or more. In this 4 part series, we'll cover simple tips for installers to improve lead conversion through each stage of the sales process.

Taking On Your Competitors in a Crowded Energy Market

Traditional and new marketing tools will help companies stay ahead of the curve, connect with their audience in a meaningful way, and stand out among competition to grow their business.

Energy Conservation with Belkin Conserve

We're on track to have 10 billion people on the planet by the end of the century, and everyone is consuming more than ever before. We face imminent extinction if we don't find a way to support more people with less energy, water, and everything else we consume. It's a big challenge, but one Belkin is becoming very focused on addressing.

Green Technology Inspiration

As the Research/Marketing Analyst for IpAuctions, Inc.™, I have explored many industries and several aspects of the Intellectual Property field. Whether we are retained to assist in licensing or selling patents outright through our live on-line auctions or private offerings, I have had many opportunities to see into the windows of inspiration and the people who drive technology's growth that most individuals are unaware of.

A battery startup flows toward launch

Will flow batteries — large tanks of liquid batteries — be a key technology to help deliver more clean power for the grid? Flow battery startup EnerVault is getting closer to commercializing that vision; it has completed the design of its prototype battery and is counting on a demonstration project next year to help the company launch its technology into the market in 2013, EnerVault CEO Craig Horne told us. The Silicon Valley startup is developing rechargeable flow batteries that, unlike a lithium-ion battery, separate the energy storage materials and electrolyte from the cells in which the electrochemical reaction occurs. The design involves two tanks, each of which contains a different mix of energy storage material and electrolyte. EnerVault's design fills one tank of electrolyte with iron (the energy storing material) and another electrolyte tank with chromium. Pumps send the solutions from the tanks into separate chambers of a cell to generate electricity. Flow batteries can be scaled up and down easily because of the use of external storage tanks. Flow batteries are also rechargeable, the electrolytes can last a really long time, and typically use abundant materials, so can be a more affordable option.


The EDV-01 is the first of its kind. A stainless-steel container about 6 meters long, 2 meters wide and 2 meters high, is equipped with cutting-edge systems to provide water and electricity. A rooftop solar system and fuel cell generates power that is stored in lithium-ion batteries (developed by Elly Power Co), whereas another system collects up to 20 liters of potable water a day from the air, which enough for two adults to live on for about month. The container¹s main attraction is that it does not require any construction. With the flip of a switch, a hydraulic pump raises the walls in four and a half minutes to form a second floor. The first floor contains a kitchen that utilizes induction heating for cooking, a shower and a bio-toilet. The second floor has fold-away beds and an office space with a separate desk. Four hydraulic ³feet² automatically stabilize the containers on rough terrain. The unit is ecologically sound as the container itself does not generate any waste during the installation or dismantling process. Research and development for the EDV-01 took two and a half years. The developers were particularly concerned about design details. For example, the exterior can be used as a billboard and the punched-metal exterior walls are visible from great distances due to the inclusion of light-emitting diodes.

Hypersonic passenger jet to run on clean fuel is unveiled at Paris Air Show

Super-fast speed — think Tokyo to L.A. in 2 1/2 hours — isn't the only cool feature of the Zero Emission Hyper Sonic Transport proposed by EADS. At the Paris Air Show this week, the aircraft manufacturer and Airbus parent revealed its proposed passenger aircraft, which would be run on, among other sources, liquid hydrogen and biofuel. The aircraft, which EADS said could be standard by 2050, would cruise at Mach 4 speeds nearly 20 miles high — inside the Earth's atmosphere. Demonstration technologies could be ready by the end of this decade. Companies at the Paris show were buzzing about clean-fuel options. Airbus and Parker Aerospace said they would look into fuel-cell technology that converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and creates water as exhaust. The pair said that flight tests could happen by mid-decade. The Air Transport Assn. of America, the industry trade group, said a slew of member airlines signed letters of intent to partner with Solena Group. The company produces its GreenSky California fuel from biomass at a Santa Clara County facility.

New technology converts exhaust heat into cooling, electricity

It sounds a little counterintuitive, but the wasted heat from automobile tailpipe emissions could one day be used to cool and power your car. Researchers from Oregon State University developed a thermally activated cooling system that harnesses the energy in waste heat produced by cars, factories, and power plants, and converts it to cooling. The system works by combining a vapor compression cooling cycle with an "organic Rankine cycle," an existing energy conversion technology, to convert waste heat from a thermal source to generate power and cooling. By turning 80 percent of every kilowatt of waste heat into a kilowatt of cooling capability, the system recycles exhaust heat that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. The cooling system could be used to ventilate electronics systems that also require energy-intensive air conditioning to keep cool. The energy-recycling technology could also be used in vehicles to help power hybrid cars. Although less efficient than converting exhaust to cooling, the prototype can also be used to produce electricity to propel a vehicle. Only 15 to 20 percent of the waste heat can be converted to produce electricity, but it's better than letting the energy go to waste.

US Concentrated Solar Power Industry receives its biggest boost yet by American DoE

Following announcements for 2 loan guarantees in late 2010 to construct Ivanpah (a tower CSP plant by BrightSource Energy) and Solana (a parabolic trough with 7 hours storage by Abengoa), 2011 has come with an unprecedented levels of support by the DoE for the CSP industry. One of the companies who have recently secured DoE backing with a loan guarantee is celebrating their ground-breaking ceremony today. With over $2.1bl in founding, this plant will be the largest in the world at 1GW once it is complete. However, this journey to CSP market proliferation and support has been a turbulent one! 2011 has so far followed a positively similar trend, with $3.35bn having been announced by the DoE in loan guarantees for 4 different projects: Blythe (Solar Trust of America, 2x 240MW part of 1GW plant), Crescent Dunes (SolarReserve, 110MW tower project, The Mojave Solar Project (Abengoa, 280MW) and Genesis Solar Project (NextEra, 250MW trough project). The industry are waiting with baited breath to see whether 2011 will be the turning point in the US industry on its journey to market dominance.

Q1 2011 Solar Deal Volume Comparison

2011 is off to the fastest start from a transaction perspective since this activity has been tracked. The consolidations of solar project portfolios and sales of solar projects continue to dominate the transaction landscape. However, the increased availability of credit has generated a significant increase in private investment both through the acquisition of projects as well as companies within the supply chain.

Careers in Alternative Energy Industries

There's clearly a demand for engineering degrees, particularly mechanical engineers to work on the maintenance and design of wind power components. For the first time ever there's a career path for environmental engineers, as well, as we're witnessing a renaissance of excitement for a field that didn't even exist 5-8 years ago.

Install geothermal loop systems designed for tomorrow's needs

The right heat pump, the right loop system and the right-sized pipe will meet the heating and cooling needs of the entire house or business both now and in the future, ultimately generating proud and satisfied customers and reflecting well on the industry.

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Featured Product

Darfon G320 Microinverter

Darfon G320 Microinverter

The Darfon G320 is the microinverter solution for today's high-power solar modules. The G320 handles 60- and 72-cell modules up to 350W DC and outputs up to 300W AC. The G320's 3-phase configuration accommodates the electrical distribution systems of most commercial buildings and to reduce, if not eliminate, the need for expensive transformers. The G320 comes in four voltage/phase configurations, so it can be installed in residential, commercial or utility applications.