sexta-feira, 27 de junho de 2014

Cheap and enviromentally friendly: Tofu ingredient could revolutionize solar panel manufacture

The chemical used to make tofu and bath salts could also replace a highly toxic and expensive substance used to make solar cells, a new study has revealed. Cadmium chloride is currently a key ingredient in solar cell technology used in millions of solar panels around the world. This soluble compound is highly toxic and expensive to produce, requiring elaborate safety measures to protect workers during manufacture and then specialist disposal when panels are no longer needed. (Original paper)

The Rise of Solar Co-ops

Renewable Energy World
While many people associate cooperatives with a place for hippies to buy organic food, the cooperative movement has actually grown far and wide, creating sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and strengthen local economies.Today, there are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the United States, with more than 100 million members. From day care centers to hardware stores, cooperatives seem to be permeating every sector of society. So it’s no surprise that cooperatives are making their way into the renewable energy field as well.

Rooftop Solar Leases Scaring Buyers When Homeowners Sell

Renewable Energy World
For people who own rooftop power systems, solar adds value to the home -- about $25,000 for the average installation in California, according to a study in December by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative. Leased systems are another story because they’re considered personal property rather than part of a house. For many potential buyers, a solar lease is a liability rather than an asset, and may drive some people away.

quinta-feira, 26 de junho de 2014

Storm Clouds Gathering Over the US Solar Industry

Renewable Energy World
Tony Clifford, CEO of Standard Solar and a keynote speaker during PVAmerica 2014 spoke about three pitfalls that he sees in the coming years for solar. The first words of warning were regarding the solar trade case between the U.S. and China, which he attributes to a 12- to 16-cent-per-watt tariff overall already and that's before the new module-level tariffs have been factored in. (...) The second storm cloud that Clifford sees brewing is the battle between utilities and solar. He said that utilities see solar as a threat and have not yet begun to do the work involved in adapting to a changing electricity market. (...) The extension of the ITC is the third major storm cloud that awaits the industry, said Clifford.

terça-feira, 15 de abril de 2014

Panasonic's HIT solar cell hits record 25.6 percent conversion efficiency

Panasonic is reporting a 25.6 percent conversion efficiency for its HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cells. This is an improvement of 0.9 percentage points over the 24.7 percent conversion efficiency Panasonic achieved in February 2013, with the company claiming it as a world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells of a "practical size."(100 cm2) (...) The company says the new record was made possible through further development of its proprietary heterojunction technology, which involves laminating layers of high-quality amorphous silicon onto a monocrystalline silicon substrate. (...) Additionally, unlike the 24.7 percent efficiency solar cells, the new record holders have the electrodes placed on the reverse of the panel as back contacts, allowing the light hitting the cell's surface to be more efficiently directed to the monocrystalline silicon substrate where power is generated. Placing the electrodes on the reverse side has also allowed the resistive loss when the current is fed to the grid electrodes to be reduced.

quarta-feira, 9 de abril de 2014

Crowd-Funded US Rooftop Solar May Top $5 Billion in Five Years

Crowdfunding may supply the rooftop solar projects with $5 billion of investment within five years, more than 50 times the amount raised to date. That would represent more than a quarter of all annual investment in that segment of the solar industry, said Tim Newell, vice president of financial products for San Mateo, California-based SolarCity Corp., which is the biggest U.S. solar power provider by market value.
A growing number of rooftop solar developers are soliciting funds directly from retail investors, often through websites that tap a large number of small contributions. This so-called crowdfunding model has attracted almost $100 million in the U.S. to date, Newell said. It offers one of the few ways for individuals to back renewable energy projects, which give steady, long-term returns from selling electricity.

domingo, 16 de março de 2014

Two Thin-Film Solar Efficiency Records Broken Last Week

Renewable Energy World
First Solar, one of the world’s largest thin-film PV companies, announced that it set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV cells, converting 20.4 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity. The cell was built at the company's Perrysburg, Ohio, factory. (...)
Stion announced that it produced a 23.2 efficient copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS)-based thin-film cell. This technology puts it within striking range of the most-efficient silicon-based PV cells. The company said it’s already scaled this technology at or above 20.0 percent efficiency on a prototype module (20 cm x 20 cm) and anticipates that it will soon be able to scale it to a larger module. (...)
[T]hin-film embraces a variety of technologies, they’re at different levels of efficiency but all are competing to catch up with silicon PV, which is led as of February 2014 by Panasonic, which has produced silicon cells that convert 24.7 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity.

Cheapest Solar Ever? Austin Energy Buys PV From SunEdison at 5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Greentech Media
City-owned Austin Energy is about to sign a 25-year PPA with Sun Edison for 150 megawatts of solar power at "just below" 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. The power will come from two West Texas solar facilities, according to reports in the Austin American-Statesman. According to reports, around 30 proposals were at prices near SunEdison’s. Austin Energy has suggested that the PV deal will slightly lower rates for customers. (...) The 5-cent price falls below Austin Energy's estimates for natural gas at 7 cents, coal at 10 cents and nuclear at 13 cents. The utility points out that it approved a 16.5-cent price for the Webberville solar plant in 2009.

US Solar Market Grew 41%, Had Record Year in 2013

Greentech Media
According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, photovoltaic installations continued to proliferate, increasing 41 percent over 2012 to reach 4,751 megawatts. In addition, 410 megawatts of concentrating solar power came on-line.
Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. Additionally, the cost to install solar fell throughout the year, ending the year 15 percent below the mark set at the end of 2012. (...) “Perhaps more important than the numbers,” writes Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research, “2013 offered the U.S. solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status. The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms and public market successes displayed clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community.”

quinta-feira, 13 de março de 2014

Austria follows German lead on solar self-consumption fee

PV Magazine
The Ministry of Finance in Austria has voted to introduce a grid fee for mid-size PV systems installed for self-consumption, similar to the proposed changes outlined in Germany's Renewable Energy Act (EEG).
A levy of €1.5 per kWh will be charged to any PV system installed from March 1, 2014 that generates more than 5,000 kWh of solar power per year.
The move has been met with strong criticism from the Photovoltaic Austria Federal Association, which claims that a grid free will hit the country's commercial PV sector, particularly the nation's SME businesses.

sexta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2014

Sharp to Halt Solar Panel Production at Memphis Plant

Sharp, a Japanese electronics maker, will stop solar panel production at its factory in Tennessee as it reviews its photovoltaic panel business. Output will stop by the end of March, and the number of jobs to be cut at the plant in Memphis will be decided after talks with the labor union, said Miyuki Nakayama, a spokeswoman for Sharp. The Nikkei newspaper reported that as many as 300 employees are expected to be dismissed at the factory. The Osaka-based company is reconsidering its production capacity for solar products, Nakayama said. Sharp said last month that it will stop producing solar panels at its U.K. plant in Wales by the end of February and cut as many as 250 employees. “We are in the middle of structural reform for our solar business,” Nakayama said.

Autoconsumo aguarda decreto-lei mas já é possível

Edifícios e Energia
O decreto-lei para o auto-consumo está a ser ultimado e a sua fase de circulação “ocorrerá dentro de poucos meses”, estando prevista a criação de três novos enquadramentos legais: autoconsumo sem ligação de potência à rede, com ligação de potência à rede e em sistemas isolados da RESP (redes do Sistema Eléctrico de Serviço Público). Enquanto isso, a aprovação de projectos de autoconsumo, em paralelo com a rede, até 1MW é já possível. A informação foi anunciada hoje em comunicado pela Associação Portuguesa de Empresas do Sector Fotovoltaico (APESF), depois de uma reunião na última terça-feira com a  Direcção Geral de Energia e Geologia (DGEG) para debater o estado actual do sector.

quarta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2014

Fachadas fotovoltaicas

SIC Notícias
Uma equipa de investigadores da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa está a estudar o potencial fotovoltaico das fachadas dos prédios. O estudo conclui que a colocação de painéis nas paredes exteriores permite duplicar a radiação solar recebida anualmente.

terça-feira, 21 de janeiro de 2014

China sets final duties on U.S. solar materials

China hit the United States with final anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of solar-grade polysilicon on Monday, the latest move in what has been a contentious trade battle in the solar industry. The anti-dumping duties, announced by China's Commerce Ministry, were in line with initial levels levied last year of up to 57 percent on imports of the raw material used to make solar panels. (...) An investigation concluded that China's producers "suffered substantial harm" due to the United States and South Korea selling below cost in the Chinese markets, and also due to U.S. subsidies, the ministry said in statements on its website.
(...) Washington had called previously announced duties disappointing, and many in the U.S. solar industry saw the move as an attempt to protect China's struggling domestic firms. The United States has already imposed its own duties of about 30 percent on Chinese solar panels in a case finalized in 2012.

sexta-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2014

Campus Sustentável - SIC Notícias

SIC Notícias
A Universidade de Lisboa tem a maior central fotovoltaica em meio urbano do país. Ao mesmo tempo que poupa no consumo de energia, dá aos alunos uma oportunidade de aprenderem e investigarem in loco. Até já há teses de mestrado sobre o projecto.

Solaire: Paris et Berlin étudient un projet d’usine géante

Les Echos
La France et l’Allemagne planchent sur la création d’une usine de panneaux solaires pour concurrencer les Chinois. Un projet susceptible de répondre aux vœux de François Hollande de créer un « Airbus » de l’énergie.

segunda-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2014

Tarifas para o fotovoltaico com corte significativo

Edifícios e Energia
A remuneração da geração de electricidade renovável através da tecnologia solar fotovoltaica vai baixar significativamente neste novo ano: 66% no caso da microprodução e 29,8% para a miniprodução. O corte não agradou às associações do sector, que reclamam com urgência a publicação dos regulamentos para o autoconsumo.
Para as novas instalações fotovoltaicas em microprodução, a potência alocada para 2014 é de 11,45 MW e as tarifas a aplicar serão de 66 Euros/MWh para o primeiro período de oito anos e de 145 Euros/MWh para o segundo período de sete anos. As tecnologias não fotovoltaicas recebem 218 Euros/MWh (oito anos) e 115 Euros/MWh (sete anos seguintes). No caso da miniprodução, com 30,35 MW a atribuir, o valor da remuneração aos produtores fotovoltaicos será de 106 Euros/MWh e de 159 Euros/MWh para as restantes tecnologias.
Os valores foram publicados por Despacho da Direcção Geral de Energia (DGEG) a 27 de Dezembro e causaram uma reacção imediata junto das associações do sector, APISOLAR (Associação Portuguesa da Indústria Solar) e APESF (Associação Portuguesa das Empresas do Solar Fotovoltaico).
“As novas tarifas ameaçam condenar o sector fotovoltaico à inactividade em 2014 através de uma tomada de decisão claramente discriminatória para com a tecnologia solar fotovoltaica”, afirma a APESF no seu sítio online. “Esta tomada de decisão só fará sentido caso esteja preparado um decreto-lei, flexível e favorável ao sector, que tutele instalações em regime de autoconsumo”, acrescentam, garantindo que “o sector sobrevive sem tarifas bonificadas, sempre e quando existam condições e legislações que o regulem”.
Também a APISOLAR está descontente com estas notícias, manifestando “surpresa e indignação” pelo conteúdo dos Despachos e pedindo a intervenção urgente do ministro da tutela junto da secretaria de Estado da Energia (SEE) e DGEG. “Como é possível atribuir à energia solar uma tarifa 25% inferior à definida para a cogeração não-renovável, que continua a merecer uma protecção incompreensível?”, questiona a associação em comunicado.