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Energy Net

Municipal Solar Financing: The Biggest Revolution that You've Never Heard Of : Red, Gre... - 0 views

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    The whole thing is happening without flashy ad campaigns, so it's not surprising if you've never heard of municipal solar financing. But the financing program, also known as property tax financing, is a veritable underground solar revolution. It all started in Berkeley, CA with the Berkeley FIRST Program, which allows homeowners to pay for solar panels through property tax bills over a 20 year period. The bills carry a fixed interest rate and stay with the house, so there's no need to worry about paying for panels on a house you don't live in anymore. The Berkeley program was so popular that California passed the AB811 bill to let any interested city in the state launch a similar program.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: Cheaper Solar Concentrators - 0 views

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    Technology Review has an article on making solar power cheaper using concentrators combined with PV panels - Cheaper Solar Concentrators. Skyline Solar, a startup that today announced its existence to the world, has developed a cheaper way to harvest energy from the sun. The company's solar panels concentrate sunlight onto a small area, reducing the amount of expensive semiconductor material needed to generate electricity. The technology will bring the cost of solar power in line with the average cost of electricity, at least in sunny areas, says Ben Eiref, Skyline Solar's director of product management. Currently, solar power can be far more expensive than electricity from conventional sources; many governments have resorted to subsidies to increase its use.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: World's Largest Solar Power Tower Commissioned - 0 views

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    REW reports the world's biggest solar thermal tower has opened in Spain - World's Largest Solar Power Tower Commissioned. Abengoa Solar has begun commercial operations of the world's largest solar power tower plant, a 20 MW installation. The company claims that the performance of the power plant, the so-called PS20, has exceeded its design output in the wake of its three-day production and operational testing period. Located at the Solúcar Platform, near Seville, Spain, PS20 is the world's second power tower plant in commercial use and features a number of significant technological improvements with respect to its predecessor, PS10. These enhancements include a higher-efficiency receiver, various improvements in the control and operational systems, and a better thermal energy storage system. PS20 consists of a solar field made up of 1255 heliostats with a surface area of 1291 square feet each. This reflects the solar radiation it receives onto the receiver, located on the top of a 531 foot-high tower, producing steam which is converted into electricity generation by a turbine. Plant construction was carried out by Abener.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: Powerful Polymers: Pushing Plastic Solar Cells - 0 views

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    Technology Review has an article on plastic solar cells with "near-perfect internal efficiency" - Pushing Plastic Solar Cells. Plastic solar cells are lightweight, flexible, and, most important, cheap to make. But so far, these devices have been too inefficient to compete with silicon solar cells for most applications. Now researchers from a few institutions claim to have made polymer solar cells with record-breaking efficiencies. These cells still aren't good enough to compete with silicon, but polymer efficiencies have been increasing at a rate of about 1 percent a year. If they can keep this up, say researchers, plastic solar cells will be competing with silicon within a few years.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: Passive Solar Thermal Energy In Europe - 0 views

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    Renewable Energy World has an article on a plan to greatly expand the use of passive solar thermal energy in Europe - Action Plan for 50%: How Solar Thermal Can Supply Europe's Energy. The research efforts and infrastructure needed to supply 50% of the energy for space and water heating and cooling across Europe using solar thermal energy has been set out under the aegis of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP). Published in late December 2008, more than 100 experts developed the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), which includes a deployment roadmap showing the non-technological framework conditions that will enable this ambitious goal to be reached by 2050. A strategy for achieving a vision of widespread low-temperature solar thermal installations was first explored by ESTTP in 2006, but since then the SRA has identified key areas for rapid growth. These focus points include the development of active solar buildings, active solar renovation, solar heat for industrial processes and solar heat for district heating and cooling. Meanwhile, amongst the main research challenges is the development of compact long-term efficient heat storage technology. Once available, they would make it possible to store heat from the summer for use in winter in a cost-effective way.
Energy Net

Why Are Renewable Energy Systems for Homeowners Still So Expensive? - Renewable Energy ... - 0 views

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    Can you explain to me and the readers why solar panels are so expensive? Why can we not get the cost of this energy down to US $0.15 per kWh while we're paying off the equipment? Why are we paying for future production capability today? It is like the current electricity providers are saying, "Well, your house will use 12,000 kWh this year so we want our $1,800 now" or worse "give us 20 years up front" as the solar industry does today! If the solar market really wants to see a green planet then I feel they need to get the green out their eyes! Can they not see that they can truly make every home owner self sufficient if they bring their costs in line. It seems as though this renewable energy game is for the wealthy. If I want my home to be totally self-sustaining, it would cost me $80,000! A: Ian, I am happy to respond to your question since I have spent my own money on both my net-zero-energy home and my zero-energy office building - so I am acutely aware of the costs.
Energy Net

Calif. Desert Becomes Home For Renewable Energy : NPR - 0 views

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    California's utilities are in a tight spot. They're mandated to procure 20 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by the end of next year. Currently, renewable energy provides only 12 percent of the state's needs. Green energy is needed, and fast. Where to get it? The southeastern corner of California is becoming the state's Wild West of renewable energy. Five years from now this patch of desert will hold one of the largest solar thermal plants in the world. An area of 10 square miles will be filled with 38,000 "sun catchers," which look like enormous satellite dishes with mirrors.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: Solar Power At The Googleplex - 0 views

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    Solar Power Authority has a post on the solar powered Google headquarters - Googleplex Solar. The Googleplex headquarters located in Mountain View California has installed one of the largest corporate solar power structures of any other company to date. The array consists of 9,212 solar panels produced by Sharp Electronics and has a capacity of 1.6 Megawatts (MW) which cover's ~30% of the Google campus electricity needs, the equivalent of roughly 1,000 California homes. This installation is said to save Google $393,000 in electricity per year and can be monitored real time at this interactive page that contains data on the electricity being produced. One of the most unique features of the Googleplex array of solar panels is that it contains several clusters of solar trees. These parking lot covers are designed to keep cars cool while also producing electricity and serving it to both the Googleplex or plugin hybrid electric cars (PHEV's).
Energy Net

SunEdison Activates 1.2-MW Solar PV System - Renewable Energy World - 0 views

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    SunEdison has activated a 1.2-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system for Progress Energy Carolinas. Sited on 10 acres of land at Progress Energy's Sutton Plant near Wilmington, the 1.2-MW ground mount system is the largest in North Carolina. SunEdison financed, built, and operates the PV solar energy system. Progress Energy purchases electricity from SunEdison under a 20-year solar energy purchase agreement. Progress Energy also purchases renewable energy credits from SunEdison.
Energy Net

Economist.com: producing electricity with cheap Solar balloons - 0 views

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    SOLAR cells are expensive, so it makes sense to use them efficiently. One way to do so is to concentrate sunlight onto them. That means a smaller area of cell can be used to convert a given amount of light into electricity. This, though, imposes another cost-that of the mirrors needed to do the concentrating. Traditionally these are large pieces of polished metal, steered by electric motors to keep the sun's rays focused on the cell. But now Cool Earth Solar of Livermore, California, has come up with what it hopes will be a better, cheaper alternative: balloons. Anyone who has children will be familiar with aluminised party balloons. Such balloons are made from metal-coated plastic. Cool Earth's insight was that if you coat only one half of a balloon, leaving the other transparent, the inner surface of the coated half will act as a concave mirror. Put a solar cell at the focus of that mirror and you have an inexpensive solar-energy collector.
Energy Net

US Installs 342-MW of Solar PV In 2008 - Renewable Energy World - 0 views

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    The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released its 2008 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review, highlighting a third year of record growth for the solar industry. According to the report 1,265 megawatts (MW) of all varieties of solar power were installed in 2008, bringing total U.S. solar power capacity up 17 percent to 8,775 MW. California was the leader among state grid-tied PV installations with 178.6 MW, New Jersey followed with 22.5 MW installed, Colorado was next at 21.6 MW, Nevada installed 13.9 MW and Hawaii with 11.3 MW. The 2008 figure included 342 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, 139 MWTh (thermal equivalent) of solar water heating, 762 MWTh of pool heating and an estimated 21 MW of solar space heating and cooling.
Brian G. Dowling

Feinstein's desert protection plan - Los Angeles Times - 0 views

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has done a lot of admirable work protecting California's wild desert lands from development, but her latest plans for the Mojave threaten to split the state's environmental community and could stall clean- energy projects whose construction should be among the nation's highest priorities.
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    Even with those efforts we support we still have to make hard choices and it is not as easy when struggling against the giant oild companies.
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    Feinstein is working on legislation that would designate hundreds of thousands of acres of desert land as a national monument, which would put them off-limits for solar and wind energy projects. That could result in a green- versus-green confrontation, pitting those who want to protect the desert ecosystem against those who believe renewable-energy projects are a vital part of the struggle to avert catastrophic climate change.
eco20-20

Solar Buyer Beware - 0 views

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    My experience in the Florida solar energy business is that most contractors fail to apply for and receive permits.
Energy Net

The Associated Press: DOE approves loan support for solar plant - 0 views

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    The government announced approval Friday of the first loan guarantee for an energy project under a program that Congress approved four years ago, only to see it hamstrung by years of delay. Energy Secretary Steven Chu vowed as one of his top priorities to revamp and speed up the loan guarantee program, promising to cut the time it takes to review applications, many of which have been on file at the department for a year or more. On Friday, Chu announced approval of a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra Inc., a company in Freemont, Calif., that makes solar panels for commercial buildings. The company said the government guarantee will cover debt financing for 73 percent of the cost of a second manufacturing plant in Freemont.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: Solar Panels at Costco - 0 views

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    Jamais Cascio has a post on the widespread availability of DIY solar panels in the US - Living in the Green Future. Popped into Costco today to pick up a couple of items, and what did I see? Just in case you can't read that too well, it's a 60W solar panel setup, with inverter (allowing it to power 110V devices), junction box to hook the four panels together, cabling, and frame... for under $300. Stacked like tires at Costco. This is a beautiful example of why I talk about the banality of the future. Cheap solar power systems readily available to the unwashed masses was once something out of science fiction; today, it barely elicits a glance from shoppers stocking up on cases of pickles and TVs by the six-pack.
Energy Net

Salt-Free Solar: CSP Tower Using Air - Renewable Energy World - 0 views

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    Concentrating solar power (CSP) is an emerging technology that offers the potential to supply utility-scale peaking power competitively. In December 2008, a 1.5 MWe solar thermal central receiver system was declared operational by plant construction company Kraftanlagen Munchen. Although solar tower technology had been built as early as the 1970s and a second commercial tower is now close to completion (see REW magazine July/August 2008) the so-called Test and Demonstration Power Plant Julich, in Germany, is the world's first solar thermal power plant erected which uses air as the medium for heat transport. In all previous plants liquid media such as molten salt or oil have been used for the obvious reason of their high specific heat capacity, which in turn results in low volume flow rates and low pumping losses.
Energy Net

Solar panel industry achieves Holy Grail - $1 per watt grid-parity - 0 views

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    March 3, 2009 Arizona based First Solar has achieved a major milestone in reducing the manufacturing cost for solar panels below the $1 per watt price barrier - the target necessary for solar to compete with coal-burning electricity on the grid or grid-parity. Using cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology in its thin-film photovoltaic cells, First Solar claims to have the lowest manufacturing cost per watt in the industry with the ability to make solar cells at 98 cents per watt, one third of the price of comparable standard silicon panels. The efficiency is in part due to a low cycle time - 2.5 hours from sheet of glass to solar module - about a tenth of the time it takes for silicon equivalents.
Energy Net

Peak Energy: Cutting Coal Use with Solar Thermal Power - 0 views

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    Technology Review reports that the idea of hybrid gas-solar thermal power plants is being considered for coal fired plants now - Cutting Coal Use with Sunshine. Feeding heat from the sun into coal-fired power stations could turn out to be the cheapest way to simultaneously expand the use of solar energy and trim coal plants' oversize carbon footprints. At least that's what the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a nonprofit organization backed by the electricity industry, is hoping. Last week, the institute launched a nine-month, $640,000 study to pin down the scale of the opportunity and the engineering challenges involved with making these seemingly disparate technologies work together. The study will examine the potential use of solar-thermal technology at a pair of coal-fired power stations, in New Mexico and North Carolina.
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