Solar Energy Storage About To Take Off In Germany and California

Visitors to last week’s Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco could not help but notice the presence of a benign invader: energy storage vendors. Half the second-floor exhibition space at the Moscone West convention hall had been rented by energy storage companies. According to Markus Elsaesser, CEO of Intersolar, the number of companies exhibiting energy storage technologies at Intersolar has increased from about a dozen just three years ago to more than 200 this year. The surge in companies entering, or expanding into, the energy storage space is no accident. Bankruptcies, a panel supply glut, and falling feed-in tariff rates have shaken the PV industry. Panel and system manufacturers are looking for ways to grow earnings, and one likely new revenue source is energy storage. According to Elsaesser, the PV industry expects to boost revenue by $10 billion by 2017 globally with storage. “The PV industry needs to look for future profit pools,” Markus Hoehner, founder of theInternational Battery and Energy Storage Alliance(IBESA), said at an Intersolar briefing. “When we look at the PV industry on the global level, most of it was feed-in tariff driven. It was about IRR [internal rate of return], making money out of the PV system. Now, due to the downturn in the feed-in tariff markets, and due to the much lower system cost, we’re talking about saving money.” Homeowners in markets with high retail electricity rates, he said, are looking to shield themselves from rising energy costs with storage. Take the example of Germany. Matthias Vetter ,  a researcher with theFraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems(ISE), who also spoke at the briefing, said that he pays 26 euro cents ($0.34) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for grid electricity in Germany.

Solar Impulse makes historic solar powered flight across U.S.

Solar Impulse has made history with the first aircraft to fly across the United States without a single drop of fuel. Instead, the innovative Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype made its segmented journey using renewable solar power. The ambitious coast-to-coast trip from NASA's Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City took two months to complete, landing safely on July 6. The aircraft draws its power from 11,628 solar cells and has an average flying speed of 43 mph. Its maximum altitude is approximately 27,900 feet, while it boasts an extremely light carbon fiber structure and an enormous wingspan equal to that of an Airbus A340. According to the project website, the solar powered HB-SIA was designed top to bottom to save energy, resist the hostile conditions facing the plane and pilot at high altitudes, and to marry weight restraints with the required strength. The Flight Across America mission was steered by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Swiss pilots and founders of Solar Impulse. The two men took turns manning the single passenger cockpit as it made its way across the U.S. making stops in Phoenix, Dallas Fort Worth and Washington D.C. before reaching its final destination in New York.

China to Back Solar Panel Makers With 35 Gigawatt of Installs

China, the world’s biggest maker of solar panels, plans to increase fivefold its installed solar capacity to more than 35 gigawatt by 2015 to support an industry faced with declining profits, slowing exports and a supply glut. The nation will add 10 gigawatt of solar-power capacity annually over the next three years, according to a statement from the State Council posted on the central government’s website today. The move will help reduce the industry’s reliance on exports and ease oversupply that contributed to a 20 percent plunge in the average price of solar panels last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China will provide credit support to profitable photovoltaic manufacturers and encourage restructuring and overseas investment, according to the statement, which didn’t specify what period the government will consider to measure profitability. Risen Energy Co. (300118) jumped 10 percent, its daily limit and the most since Feb. 18, to 6.71 yuan in Shenzhen trading. Hareon Solar Technology Co. (600401) rose as much as 6.8 percent and traded 4.6 percent higher to 6.49 yuan as of 1:25 p.m. in Shanghai. “While the Chinese government is determined to boost the domestic market, it is not sufficient to eliminate oversupply,” said Wang Xiaoting, a Beijing-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Panel prices will stay stable in 2013."

Intersolar 2013 - Tradeshow Report

AltEnergyMag.com has once again partnered with Intersolar to bring all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine and help our readers make sense of this key tradeshow. Here we have compiled a list of some product releases from this years show.

Heading for a collision course? Safety solutions for sea-going vessels and offshore wind farms

The regulatory requirement to prove collision-friendly foundation design need not be a cost-intensive mandatory additional measure, but may be an opportunity that significantly improves reliability and safety. It would increase the lifespan of the primary structure of the wind turbine, preventing subsequent time- and cost-intensive repairs.

Power for seaports may be the next job for hydrogen fuel cells

The hydrogen fuel cell barge bypasses the need for electrical infrastructure. The barge also has the capability of being moved from berth to berth as needed and to anchorage points to power vessels that are waiting for berths.

Alternative Energy on the Georgia State Grid

Solar Energy USA had the privilege of engaging in a solar power question & answer session with Tim Echols, one of the five Georgia Public Service Commissioners responsible for regulating large monopolistic entities in Georgia. This article showcases some important points about power generation and power delivery as they relate to Georgia residents.

Are Energy Free Homes Practical?

Energy free residences are not only practical but they are the dwellings of the future. Let's hope that home builders start thinking zero net energy as they design upcoming housing subdivisions.

Financing California's Electric Vehicle Future

California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, for example, is more than half way through implementing its target of supporting installation of more than 6200 charging stations, and Tesla, Nissan, and Rabobank/SolarCity have been developing their own charging networks in California.

US Reaches Milestone of 10 Gigawatt Solar Photovoltaic Capacity, According to NPD Solarbuzz

Solar PV has been one of the fastest growing energy sources in the US over the past six years, with a compound annual growth rate of over 50% since 2007.

Intersolar North America

19,000 visitors visited to learn about the latest technology innovations, financing models, business best practices and policy and incentive programs that are contributing to the growth of the U.S. solar industry. Products from nearly 600 exhibitors from 22 countries were on display on all three levels of Moscone West, representing the entire system of solar technology and showcasing advances in solar cell and module technology, balance of system components, solar heating and cooling and energy storage. AltEnergyMag.com has once again partnered with Intersolar to bring all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine and help our readers make sense of this key tradeshow. Here we have compiled a list of some product releases from this years show. Check out our special  Intersolar 2013 Newspage  for Exhibitor news. 

Solar Power International: The Full Spectrum of Solar Opportunity

The solar energy industry is in high gear and at Solar Power International 201 3 (SPI ’13), October 21-24, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, participants can plug into the technologies, personal connections and professional insights that give rise to new business and learning opportunities. Widely regarded as the can’t-miss industry event of the year, SPI draws over 15,000 professionals in solar energy and related fields, from 75+ countries. One in six attendees comes to this global event from outside the United States. Attendees include manufacturers, installers and contractors, distributors, engineering firms, utilities, government representatives and policy makers, investors and financiers, architects, builders and developers—anyone who needs to stay on top of the latest developments in solar energy. Nearly 700 companies representing the entire solar industry spectrum exhibit on 300,000 net square feet of space. Exhibits highlight the latest in PV cells and modules; balance of systems; material and equipment suppliers; distributors; integrators; installers and solar service providers; thermal solar technologies; concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar thermal electric and concentrating PV (CPV); publications; and an additional array of products and services. SPI presents a full range of opportunities to make connections in Chicago and throughout the solar energy industry. Build your network face to face in SPI’s general sessions, conference sessions, receptions and training workshops—or as you explore the dynamic exhibit floor. SPI is presented by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). Unlike other solar conferences, all proceeds support the expansion of the U.S. solar energy market through SEIA's and SEPA's year-round research and education activities, as well as SEIA's advocacy, research and communications efforts. Join SEIA or SEPA by October 18, 2013, to enjoy a membership discount on Solar Power International 2013 registration as well as many member benefits year round. For details on association membership, visit www.seia.org or www.solarelectricpower.org . For networking, ideas, making deals and discovering opportunities, solar energy professionals head to one event: Solar Power International 2013. Register today!

Canada's Largest Solar Thermal Cooling and Heating Installation

The Solar Thermal System at Oxford Gardens

Solar Likely on 20% of New Homes in California in 2013

CSI data shows that 4,000 new homes were built with solar in California last year. SunPower observes that that's 10 times the number built in 2006, when the housing construction market was booming.

The Word is "More" for Fuel Cell Buses

So far 2013 has been an exciting year for fuel cell buses, with a host of news reports from the U.S. and abroad.

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