Brad Plumer for VOX : Rooftop solar is expanding rapidly in the United States — by some estimates, a new system goes up every four minutes. There are plenty of reasons for that, from falling prices to generous federal subsidies to innovative leasing schemes. But there's another, little-discussed factor here: Residential solar power is contagious. Yep, contagious. Studies have found that if you install solar photovoltaic panels on your roof, that increases the odds that your neighbors will install their own panels. SolarCity, the largest solar installer in the United States, just published some fascinating data on this "contagion" effect. The company has installed 230,000 rooftop systems nationwide (often by allowing customers to lease panels rather than buy them upfront). It says fully one-third of customers were referred by a friend or neighbor. SolarCity has also made some neat animations showing the "contagion" effect in action. View here:
To make our list, your company had to be, first and foremost, innovative. Your company needed an innovative product, technology, or process to even have been considered for our rundown.
Phys.org: Wind energy is to have a major share in the future renewable energy mix. The Germany-wide TremAc project is aimed at improving the planning, development, and acceptance of wind power plants and at developing objective criteria for their emissions. For this purpose, experts will study the interaction of acoustic and seismic vibrations of wind power plants and plan to generate a model to compute both emissions. TremAc is funded with EUR 1.85 million by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. "We want to compute the complete chain of effects from the plant to the population," Theodoros Triantafyllidis, coordinator of the TremAc cooperation project and Head of the Institute of Soil Mechanics and Rock Mechanics of KIT, explains. Within the framework of the TremAc cooperation project, a single chain is to be developed for modeling all vibrating plant components and the surroundings, i.e. the rotating rotor blades, drive shaft, gondola suspension and tower structure, foundation, and the ground, various topographic terrains and airflows as well as adjacent residential buildings and workplaces.
Home ice batteries have the potential to transform the electric grid by enabling utilities to gain visibility and control over the largest residential peak load - cooling.
Julian Spector for CityLab: A lot has been said already about the success of the states that are leading the adoption of solar energy. There’s plenty to celebrate, as solar installationssmash records and as the industry grows 12 times faster than the U.S. economy. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that many people live in places where the government is either not facilitating a solar market or is actively smothering it. Solar obstructionism takes center stage in a report, aptly titled “Throwing Shade,” out Tuesday from Greer Ryan at the Center for Biological Diversity. The organization advocates for an energy system that’s clean, equitable, and wildlife friendly, so Ryan set out to rank the states based on how well their policies encourage rooftop solar panels. Then she analyzed the 10 worst-scoring states with the highest solar potential in order to better understand how the absence of state-level policies—or the presence of antagonistic ones—hampers the growth of solar markets. Cont'd...
John Downey for Charlotte Business Journal: A Charlotte energy executive surveying the scene at the third day of the Energy Storage Association’s Annual Conference and Expo expressed satisfaction and a little surprise at the bustle and buzz the event produced. On a large scale, the conference put top storage developers and vendors together with power producers and systems operators looking for sparks. But there were interesting stories on a smaller scale as well. Here are a few of those quick shots:
EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that wind generation will increase 16% in 2016, as significant capacity additions are expected to come online, adding another 6 GW, or 9%, to operating wind capacity in 2015.
There are several key differences between the Iron Edison Lithium Iron battery and the Tesla Powerwall. First, an Iron Edison Lithium Iron battery is available in traditional nominal voltages of 12V, 24V and 48V, making it fully compatible with common battery-based inverters and charge controllers from major manufacturers like Outback, Schneider Electric, Magnum, MidNite Solar and SMA.
David Szondy for GizMag : Sea-based wind farms are becoming a common sight in many parts of the world, but why not floating solar power stations? Engineers at the Vienna University of Technology foresee a future where platforms 100 m (330 ft) long and covered with solar panels float on even heavy seas thanks to a new floatation system called Heliofloat. Still under development, Heliofloat uses flexible, open-bottom floats that are capable of standing up to rough seas that would destroy such a platform sitting on conventional tanks. Solar energy has a great potential for helping solve the world's energy problems, but among the factors hindering its general application is that suitable land is not always available. Relocating panels offshore could make for installations of incredible size and generating potential, but the seas isn't always a placid place. Even relatively calm areas can suddenly become tempests with waves that can pound a floating platform to kindling in a matter of minutes. Cont'd...
As PMG+FPC drive trains outperform DFIGs from both a full-cycle cost-efficiency and reliability perspective, the turbine manufacturing industry needs to revise some of its old assumptions and obsolete turbine technology choices to embrace the generator technology that leads to better AEP.
Here is an account of something I stumbled upon on a visit to Munich last year which I hope will be of interest. The four laws without which nothing whatsoever throughout the universe that happens, happens.
Justin Worland for Time: Crescent Dunes looks and sounds a bit like an invention lifted from a science fiction novel. Deep in the Nevada desert more than 10,000 mirrors—each the size of a highway billboard—neatly encircle a giant 640-foot tower. It looks like it might be used to communicate with aliens in deep space. But the engineers and financiers behind the facility, located in the desert about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, say the power plant’s promise is anything but fiction. The solar power facility built and operated by the company SolarReserve can power 75,000 homes. What sets it apart from other big solar projects is that this plant can store power for use when it is most needed, including cloudy days and after dark—a major advance for renewable energy technology. Cont'd...
PEG BRICKLEY and ANNE STEELE for The Wall Street Journal: Solar-energy Company SunEdison Inc. on Thursday filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a dramatic move for a company whose market value stood at nearly $10 billion in July. SunEdison said its publicly traded entities, TerraForm Power Inc. and TerraForm GlobalInc., aren’t part of the filing. The two so-called yieldcos—separate entities that buy operating projects from developer SunEdison and pay out cash flow to their shareholders—said Thursday they believe they have sufficient liquidity to run their businesses and meet financial obligations, although SunEdison’s bankruptcy “will present challenges.” Bankruptcy has been a near-certainty for SunEdison for some time. The company borrowed heavily to buy up wind and solar developers, accumulating a pile of debt that worried investors. Disappointing earnings didn’t ease their fears about the pace of SunEdison’s growth, and an accounting move last year that reclassified more than $700 million worth of debt heightened anxieties. Cont'd...
According to the US Geological Survey, 66% of public water comes from surface water. Presumably some of that is pumped at some point, but even if only half of that were gravity fed, the potential for electricity production from municipal water pipes is significant.
Deterministic weather forecasts have their place, but probabilistic forecasts are the clear choice for alternative energy companies that take the weather seriously and need long-term data.
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