How They Clean Those Gigantic Solar Energy Plants Clean?

The world's largest solar plants sure look amazing, but for those with inquisitive minds they raise one big question: how the hell do they keep all those panels clean? Nowadays, using robots like this!   This video shows the newly installed robotic cleaning system at Ketura Sun Solar Park. Until now, the panels covering the 20-acre site were only cleaned about nine times a year—a laborious task, performed infrequently due to expense—which in turn led to sub-optimal plant efficiency.   Now, though, a robotic army—designed and made by Israel-based Ecoppia—swarm over the panels to keep them clean. The 100 centrally controlled automatons set to work at nighttime, using microfiber pads and controlled air flows to push dirt from the surface of the solar panels. The robots move up and down their own aluminum frames to avoid loading the panels, and during the day they sit at the bottom and charge using electricity generated by the plant. So, now you know. 

One-Third of Texas Was Running on Wind Power This Week

On Wednesday, March 27th, the largest state in the contiguous United States got almost one-third of its electricity by harnessing the wind. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the bulk of the Lone Star State's power grid, a record-breaking 10,296 MW of electricity was whipped up by wind turbines. That's enough to provide 29 percent of the state's power, and to keep the lights on in over 5 million homes.   ERCOT notes in a statement issued today that "The new record beats the previous record set earlier this month by more than 600 MW, and the American Wind Energy Association reports it was a record for any US power system."

Clean Edge Finds Global Solar Deployment Exceeds Wind for First Time

The global clean-energy picture for 2013 was a classic good news-bad news story, according to the Clean Energy Trends 2014 report issued today by clean-tech research and advisory firm Clean Edge, Inc. The industry saw dazzling growth, success, and rising stock prices in some sectors – most notably solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment – but downward trends and policy and finance hurdles in others.  Last year also marked a significant transition in the history of clean energy: for the first time since Clean Edge began tracking global markets in 2000, the world installed more new solar PV generating capacity, 36.5 gigawatts, than wind power (35.5 GW). Record levels of new solar deployment in China, Japan, and the U.S. combined with a down year in the wind industry to create this unprecedented crossover.  The global solar market's continued double-digit growth of 15 percent, plus a modest uptick in biofuels' market size, was not enough to overcome the wind industry's lackluster performance. As a result, combined global revenue for solar PV, wind power, and biofuels held nearly steady at $247.6 billion, down just slightly from $248.7 billion in 2012.  The full Clean Energy Trends 2014 report can be downloaded for free at www.cleanedge.com.

Much Energy Above the Treetops

Inland sites can offer sufficient wind yield for wind-farm operation. Initial results obtained from a TV SD test wind mast show that wind yield depends on the specific location.

Using Algae to Produce Four Key Fuels

At Algenol, algae is combined with carbon dioxide, salt water and sunlight in Algenol's proprietary photobioreactor system to produce thousands of gallons of fuel per acre.

The Benefits of Converting Waste Heat to Power

Waste heat to electricity uses less fuel to produce a given energy output, and avoids transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines. It also decreases the impact of outages when the power grid goes down.

From Selenium to Silicon and Beyond

The 60th Anniversary of the First Practical Solar Cell

Technology Increasing Wind Industry Competitiveness

The benefits of a centralized database and platform for managing data extend beyond the scope of one software product.

Considerations for Determining Energy Requirements and Technologies for Renewable Projects

Understanding the water needs for energy and power production is key for using a nexus approach. In a nexus approach, knowing the impact of water and the interlinkage is essential for determining optimum choices for energy technologies.

Unbiased, Comprehensive Solar Module Rating System

Although we have over 12, 000 PV modules in the database today, we are always searching for new modules. Manufacturers and consumers can contact us if they have modules that are not listed.

Solar Power is Growing at a Rate Faster than Silicon Valley

Already in the lead as the fastest-growing clean and renewable energy source in America, solar power is growing to account for 29% of new American electricity, trailing just behind natural gas at 46%.

PURE Energies Infographic Highlights Water Usage by Power Plants

The PURE Energies #WorldWaterDay infographic compares different energy generation methods and how much water each of them consumes.

Siemens to construct factory for offshore wind power in Great Britain

Siemens is investing more than EUR190 million (GBP160 million) in new offshore production facilities in Great Britain. Production of rotor blades for offshore wind turbines of the 6-megawatt class is planned, with a new logistics- and service centre slated for Hull. The British Prime Minister David Cameron and Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO of the Energy Sector will reaffirm their common dedication to these projects this afternoon in Hull.  "Our decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is part of our global strategy: we invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity. The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognizes the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production", stated Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO of the Energy Sector.  The offshore wind market in Great Britain has high growth rates, with an even greater potential for the future. Wind power capacity has doubled here within two years, to roughly 10 gigawatts. By 2020, a capacity of 14 gigawatts is to be installed at sea alone to combine the country's environmental objectives with secure power supply. Projects for just over 40 gigawatts are currently in the long-term planning. 

GE Taps Into The Coolest Energy Storage Technology Around

Batteries are far from being the only new energy storage technology out there and one of the more obscure and unlikely initiatives has just received a massive vote of confidence from GE.   A tiny UK company called Highview Power stores energy by using cheap, off-peak energy to cool air to -196°C using a conventional industrial refrigeration plant, turning 700 litres of ambient air into a litre of “liquid air” that can be stored in a simple insulated tank. When you need the energy, you simply open the tap, the liquid air turns back into a gas, expands in volume, drives a turbine and creates electricity. If you add heat when you release the gas, you make the process more efficient.   Highview says liquid air energy storage (LAES) has advantages over other emerging storage technologies in that it uses well-established technologies and doesn’t require any inputs such as the lithium that batteries need – the most exotic material involved in the process is stainless steel, the company says, while the extra heat can come from the process of cooling the air or from the waste heat of other industrial processes, including power stations. It is not geographically constrained like pumped hydro, it is long-lasting unlike many battery technologies and there is an existing global industrial gases infrastructure it can tap into. And unlike for a gas such as hydrogen, the storage tanks do not have to be specially reinforced or highly pressurised.

Fresh Breeze for Wind Power in China

Chinese wind-power stocks, once given up for dead in the investor doldrums, have roared back to life in recent weeks on expectations of government support for the renewable energy sector and overseas demand. Investors are betting on future Chinese government policy directives and subsidies that boost profits for manufacturers of wind power turbines, gearboxes, blades, towers and transmission equipment. They're also betting that multinational wind energy companies such as Vestas,  Siemens,General Electric and Senvion will step up orders for the Chinese-made equipment and parts that are used to build offshore and onshore wind energy farms worldwide. Contractors building big wind farms, particularly those off the European coast, often buy lower-rung products such as steel towers from China. And tower fabricators such as China's Titan Wind (002531:Shenzhen) are making good money on that demand. Shenzhen-listed Titan, which is only nine years old and listed in 2010, has seen its stock value climb 55% since the beginning of the year. The company has gotten major contracts from Vestas and GE. And it's currently planning to build a factory in India to complement existing plants in China and Denmark.

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