Michael Graham Richard for TreeHugger: Soon after SolarCity acquired solar panel maker Silevo in the summer of 2014, it announced the construction of a 1.2-million-square-foot 'Solar Gigafactory' in Buffalo, New York. The move had two main goals: 1) For the solar installer to get its own secure supply of high-efficiency solar panels (Silevo panels are currently 21% efficient, but the company claims that they can get to 24%) and 2) drive down the cost of the panels and of installing them. If the panels are higher efficiency, you need fewer of them per roof for a given capacity, lowering installation costs, and if you make them in very large quantities in a 'Gigafactory', you can further reduce costs through economies of scale. The Buffalo solar gigafactory, which can be seen in the photo at the top of this article, aims to start producing solar cells in 2016, with a ramping up to 1 GW of annual capacity by 2017. If all goes well, the facility could eventually be expanded to 5 GW/year at some point. The solar cells produced there have a target price of around $0.50/watt, which would make them very competitive with other power sources. Cont'd...
Firmly entrenched in the mainstream, alternative energy's momentum accelerates.
As battery storage solutions advance and become more available, our reliance on fossil fuels will decrease and grid reliability will increase, putting us on the right track to a sustainable future.
Orison, an energy storage company, announced today that the first true plug-and-play energy storage system is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter. Orison powers homes and businesses to reduce energy costs, provide backup energy during blackouts, and contribute to a clean energy future. The Orison Kickstarter Campaign can be found at: http://kck.st/1Kr9Zn5 Orison envisions a future with abundant, clean, and affordable energy for all. The networked, distributed energy storage solution gives consumers control so they can store energy from any electricity source, including grid or solar power, to access energy whenever it's needed. When powered by the grid, it stores energy when utility rates are low to power homes and businesses when rates are high. If connected to solar, Orison allows consumers to locally store the energy they produce so that it will not be sold at a loss to the utility. By localizing energy distribution, Orison helps to save money and reduce peak demand. Full Press Release:
Sollega supplied their FastRack 510 ballasted mounting system for the installation of a 645 kW rooftop solar array at San Juan, Puerto Rico Caribbean VA Hospital.
We are noticing a major shift in the way today's homeowners shop for solar. The era of the solar "hard sell" is coming to an end - solar shoppers are educating themselves about all their options beforehand, and placing more value in the ability to compare multiple quotes before they commit.
Overcoming the First Cost Barrier to Ground Source Heat Pump Technology: The Utility Ground Loop Service Provider Concept
Several utility CEO's and PSC/PUC regulators have all acknowledged the importance of GHP technology in the overall landscape of the energy industry.
Peter Dockrill for ScienceAlert: Urban environments are often hotter than rural areas due to the way city structures trap and generate excess heat. This phenomenon, called urban heat islands, was first observed in the 1800s, but a new way of gauging it could help us make the most of this untapped source of geothermal energy. Scientists in Germany and Switzerland have developed a means of estimating groundwater temperature hidden under the surface of our cities, based on surface temperatures and the density of buildings as measured by satellites. A range of factors, including population density, vegetation levels, surface sealing, industrial structures, and transport all contribute to why cities are often hotter than the country. But while scientists have long used satellites to measure heat on the surface, the relationship between ground temperatures and underground temperatures has not been fully explored. Cont'd...
Jim Sharkey for SpaceFlight Insider: NASA’s Juno mission has broken the record for distance traveled by a solar-powered spacecraft. Juno reached this milestone at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Wednesday, Jan. 13, when the spacecraft was approximately 493 million miles (793 million kilometers) from the Sun. The record was previously held by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft, whose orbit peaked at the 492 million-mile (792-million kilometer) mark in October 2012, during its approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. “Juno is all about pushing the edge of technology to help us learn about our origins,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “We use every known technique to see through Jupiter’s clouds and reveal the secrets Jupiter holds of our solar system’s early history. It just seems right that the sun is helping us learn about the origin of Jupiter and the other planets that orbit it.” Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate so far from the Sun. Generating sufficient power to operate the spacecraft requires a very large area of solar cells. The four-ton Juno spacecraft carries three 30-foot (9-meter) solar arrays festooned with 18,686 individual solar cells. At Earth’s distance from the Sun, the cells can generate about 14 kilowatts of electric. The further away from the sun the spacecraft is, the lower the power its solar cell will be able to generate. Cont'd...
Battery energy storage systems (ESSs) are becoming well established to help the grid integration of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy, particularly in remote and island communities. It is important to understand the different roles that energy storage can play, including controlling ramp rates, smoothing, shaping, peak shaving and frequency regulation.
A thank-you letter to SEIA members summarizing some of the accomplishments of 2015
Using battery systems for peak shaving is highly beneficial; enabling a constant load on the engine ultimately leads to high efficiency and energy saving at the engine level.
Claudia Assis for MarketWatch: Nevada has turned into a sunny battleground for the future of solar in the U.S., with regulators there moving to make solar power less attractive to homeowners and businesses and pitching utilities against solar-power companies. SunRun Inc. on Thursday said it was pulling out of Nevada, which the company said will result in “hundreds” of job losses. A day earlier, SolarCity Corp. announced the same move, saying that about 550 jobs would be lost. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that nearly 6,000 people in Nevada are employed in the solar industry. Besides affecting jobs, the new rules cut down on the savings that many homeowners count on from going solar. Cont'd...
Off grid living will become more common place as energy storage & solar generation become more ubiquitous.
As the business case becomes more apparent - with fuel cells delivering both economic and environmental value - the list of corporate customers continues to grow.
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The SolarEdge PV inverter combines sophisticated digital control technology with efficient power conversion architecture to achieve superior solar power harvesting and best-in-class reliability. The fixed-voltage technology ensures the solar inverter is always working at its optimal input voltage over a wider range of string lengths and regardless of environmental conditions. A proprietary data monitoring receiver has been integrated into the inverter and aggregates the power optimizer performance data from each PV module. This data can be transmitted to the web and accessed via the SolarEdge Monitoring Portal for performance analysis, fault detection and troubleshooting of PV systems.