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.