quinta-feira, 29 de abril de 2010

CIGS record broken
Stuttgart solar researchers bring a world record to Germany with a 20.1 percent efficient thin-film solar cell. (...) The record-breaking solar cell, made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium - or CIGS for short - was produced in the ZSW research laboratory. (...) The US research institute NREL has held this record for 16 years. (...)
The area of the world record cell is 0.5 square centimetres. The solar cell was produced in a CIGS laboratory coating plant using a modified co-evaporation process, which in principle can be scaled up to a commercial production process.

Photon 2010 conference highlights

The traditional Siemens reactor process will continue to dominate the solar silicon supply sector [it now accounts for more than three-quarters total capacity], and costs are likely headed to less than $25 per kg within five years, (...) [S]upply, estimated at around 170,000 tons in 2010, will far outstrip demand.
[Regarding the inverters industry] the most important question was when the current scarcity, a situation that has existed since last fall, would subside. “At the end of 2010, supply could exceed demand again,” (...) [expecting] that delivery times for devices will drop to around 8 weeks towards the end of the year. Currently, installers have to wait more than 20 weeks to receive their orders, especially in the case of string inverters. (...) [The origin of the scarcity is due] to a temporary cooling of the market in the first half of 2009 – following the almost complete collapse of the Spanish market, and due to the fact that business in Germany only began to rebound in late spring

terça-feira, 27 de abril de 2010

Centro IBM abre hoje na Universidade do Porto
O primeiro Centro de Estudos Avançados (CAS) da IBM em território português é inaugurado hoje na Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP). A estrutura aberta a projectos de investigação nas áreas de transportes, energia, saúde, mobilidade e educação. (...) Até ao final do ano, o CAS espera albergar 20 investigadores, cerca de metade pertencente a uma equipa da própria Universidade do Porto e já envolvida em pesquisas das áreas em que a instituição quer investir. O CAS localiza-se no Porto, mas está aberto a todo o país.

sexta-feira, 23 de abril de 2010

Is China Putting the Brakes on its Solar Program?
Despite the fact that China led the world in clean energy investments last year, the Chinese government is now backing away from ambitious plans to plant megawatts of solar in the country.(...) The global financial crisis froze China's export-oriented solar industry from late 2008 to early 2009, pushing the government to create alternate solutions such as developing the domestic market. Since then, the international market has rebounded, reducing the need for a domestic program.
Already, the government's annual subsidy for solar PV projects has hit RMB 7 billion, or more than US$1 billion, according to Wang Sicheng from China's National Development and Reform Commission. (...) In addition to the financial burden, the government also wants to prevent the Chinese solar PV market from overheating.

quinta-feira, 22 de abril de 2010

German government approves solar R&D subsidy
Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved plans on Wednesday to grant 100 million euros in support for the solar power industry (...) over the next three to four years.

quarta-feira, 21 de abril de 2010

Energias renováveis reduziram importações de combustíveis fósseis
O secretário de Estado da Energia [Carlos Zorrinho] sublinhou hoje que Portugal importa agora menos 500 milhões de euros por ano em combustíveis fósseis, rejeitando críticas de que as energias renováveis não têm contribuído para reduzir a dependência energética externa. (...) Carlos Zorrinho defendeu ainda que Portugal tem nas energias renováveis uma posição pioneira e que, à medida que o recurso a estas tecnologias se massificar, Portugal irá colher benefícios não só em termos de custos de energia, como nos níveis de exportação de tecnologia e no número de empregos criados.
Governo vai lançar novos concursos para potência solar
O ministro da Economia, José Vieira da Silva, disse ontem no parlamento que o programa solar térmico, que criou facilidades na aquisição de painéis solares, "foi um bom programa, porque aumentou significativamente a área instalada de painéis". Mas foi o secretário de Estado da Energia, Carlos Zorrinho, que assegurou que a breve prazo haverá mais concursos para reforçar a potência solar no país. "Vamos avançar muito rapidamente com a microgeração, vamos avançar com um concurso de minigeração e em pouco tempo com grandes centrais", disse Carlos Zorrinho na Assembleia da República.
OPEL Solar and Tecneira Launch Partnership with One Megawatt Solar Plant
Opel Solar announced it has signed an agreement with Tecneira, the renewable energy company of the ProCME Group [part of the Spanish ACS Group]. The companies also announced (...) a one megawatt HCPV installation eligible for the Portuguese feed-in tariff (“FIT”) [to be] located in Alqueva in the Moura Region of Southern Portugal, a prime location for solar development. (...) OPEL Solar will build the installation with its Mk-I HCPV solar panels mounted on dual axis trackers.

sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2010

First Solar: the Greentech media analysis
First Solar (and others) developed a process for making solar cells with considerably less semiconductor material. (...) Still, for all the benefits of First Solar’s cells, they are inferior in many important ways to a polycrystalline cell. Their efficiency is lower -- which means you do not get as much solar energy off the constrained roof space. Secondly, while they save a lot on the semiconductor part of the manufacturing process they have to use more glass, more wires, etc., to generate the same amount of solar electricity. Each cell generates less electricity, as well, so inverters, connectors, and installations all cost more with thin film. Thin film also degrades over time. (...) Indeed, the main advantage of thin film is cost -- and that cost advantage has been driven by the cost of the semiconductor component. After all, ingot did cost $450 per kg at one point. (...) However, the price of ingot has fallen -– and spot prices are now $55 per kg, a lot less than $450. First Solar’s advantage is entirely dependent on the fact that they use much less semiconductor than wafers -- an advantage that disappears entirely as wafer prices fall (...) [and] the extra glass and other balance-of-system costs that First Solar panels have are now getting close to completely removing the advantage of low semiconductor material usage.
Activist fears solar plant influx
Brian Brown, a founding member of the Amargosa Conservancy, expressed fears over the cumulative impact of numerous solar power plants that might turn the Mojave Desert into an industrial park. (...) "If the load centers, where they need the electricity, are Las Vegas and Los Angeles (...) why don't you build it there instead of coming out to remote areas or undisturbed public land, scraping it clean, then piping electricity or wiring it and shipping it for 70 or 80 miles?" Brown asked. (...) "Imagine every Walmart parking lot covered with shade," he said. "On top of it you just put solar panels, and every mall parking lot and every piece of asphalt and everybody's home, you could put that over it and you generate electricity." (...) The result could be "thousands of miles of photovoltaic panels. Everyone would get to look at them and share the view instead of just the folks in just a few desert communities (...) A lot of people think the desert is pretty nice as a desert -- why don't we leave it like this?"
Solar Pixel Turns Building Facades into Artwork
Solar panels aren’t usually installed because they’re good-looking. But the Swiss design firm Drzach and Suchy thinks that solar power can be beautiful–literally. The pair have created “piksol”, a solar-powered pixel that lets architects and designers generate photovoltaic mosaics on building facades. [via Inhabitat and LandArt]

quinta-feira, 15 de abril de 2010

Solar panel factory sees the sun again
SilexSolar, a subsidiary of the Australian uranium enrichment group Silex Systems, bought the plant cheaply from BP Solar last year after the latter decided to obtain its solar panels from China. (...) SilexSolar's acquisition of BP Solar's assets followed the takeover of Australian solar energy pioneer Ausra by the world's largest nuclear power company, Areva. (...) But the purchase leaves households interested in buying solar panels with a dilemma: by buying Australian-made panels, they are indirectly investing in nuclear energy as well.

terça-feira, 13 de abril de 2010

Spanish Solar-Panel Trade Group Calls for Fraud Investigation
A Spanish trade group called on authorities to investigate possible fraud among solar-power generators after a news report said that some were getting paid for producing power at night. (...) Preliminary evidence shows some solar stations may have run diesel-burning generators and sold the output as solar power, which earns several times more than electricity from fossil fuels, El Mundo said, citing unidentified people from the energy industry. The power grid received 4,500 megawatt-hours of power from midnight to 7 a.m. in the months audited, El Mundo said.

sexta-feira, 9 de abril de 2010

Magpower estuda investimento em fábrica de painéis fotovoltaicos em Macau
A empresa portuguesa Magpower está a estudar a possibilidade de criar em Macau uma unidade produtiva da terceira geração de painéis fotovoltaicos para servir o mercado da China. (...) “Vamos usar a universidade para o teste do protótipo da segunda fase do nosso produto, que nos permita consolidar uma capacidade local tecnológica para, de uma forma mais consistente, trabalharmos o mercado chinês”, disse o responsável.

quinta-feira, 8 de abril de 2010

Manifesto por uma nova política energética em Portugal

Uma lista de notáveis subscreve um manifesto para uma nova política energética em Portugal, leia-se nucelar em vez de renováveis.
Reacções interessantes no ambio, que parece aceitar a reivindicação que a energia nuclear poderia ser mais barata, e Jorge Vasconcelos no jornal Público [reservado a assinantes; o texto completo está disponível aqui].
Também vale a pena ler o editorial do Jornal de Negócios de hoje: Não há mal em defender o nuclear. Ou um negócio. Mas há mal em ser sonso. E incoerente: há quem tenha assinado este manifesto sem que a tinta com que assinou outro, contra as obras públicas, tenha secado. Sendo que o anterior está contra grandes projectos que aumentem o endividamento e as importações na sua construção e este está a favor de grandes projectos que aumentam o endividamento e as importações na sua construção. Central nuclear é importação pura, da concepção à construção. Talvez fosse uma maneira de compensar os franceses dos submarinos que preterimos.

terça-feira, 6 de abril de 2010

Search engines' dirty secret

IT research firm Gartner estimates Google's data centres contain nearly a million servers, each drawing about 1 kilowatt of electricity. So every hour Google's engine burns through 1 million kilowatt-hours. Google serves up approximately 10 million search results per hour, so one search has the same energy cost as turning on a 100-watt light bulb for an hour.

texto completo

segunda-feira, 5 de abril de 2010

Morocco to Solar-Power Nearly Half its Kingdom
Morocco will invest $9 billion upfront to build 2 Gigawatts of solar power, distributed between 5 solar power plants, by 2020. The 2 GW is enough to supply 40% of the nation’s electricity. (...) The five plants are to be built sequentially, with the first one starting up in 2015, saving money right away, by beginning to cut Moroccan dependence on foreign oil and gas imports from nearby neighbours.(...) The Moroccan government is mobilizing multiple financing sources, and partnering with the World Bank, the European Commission and Desertec to bring about this promise for a future of clean solar power.
Autoeuropa vai ter central de concentração solar
A Volkswagen assinou um protocolo de colaboração com a WS Energia e a Academia de Formação da Autoeuropa (ATEC) para implementação de uma central de concentração solar na unidade de Palmela. De acordo com um comunicado emitido pela VW Autoeuropa, o equipamento que será instalado poderá concentrar até 10 megawatts e promover a racionalização e melhoramento da eficiência energética.