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  #281  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2013, 5:47 PM
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^Even if that's spam, that reminds me. Last night I had a dream that my parents started seriously considering putting solar panels on the roof.


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Stratosolar now a straight photovoltaic system halfway between space based and desert solar

Desert based solar power has energy utilization of 25% versus 15% for average solar power in Europe. Space based solar power can be considered To have 130% of earth based solar power utilization. There is more solar insolation in space and it is available at all times. However, microwave or laser transmission reduces the power delivered from space in half to about 65%. Stratosphere based solar power can 50% utilization with solar tracking and 40% without tracking.



http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/08/str...tovoltaic.html
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  #282  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2013, 5:45 PM
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US installation frequency hits one every four minutes
By Felicity Carus - 23 August 2013, 18:32In News, PV Modules, Power Generation, Market Watch

The uptake of residential solar PV systems has elevated installation rates to one installation every four minutes in 2013 and could rise to one system every 83 seconds by 2016, according to leading industry analysts.

Shayle Kann, vice president of GTM Research, said that although the data is taken from the first quarter of this year, the frequency of installations indicates a bullish few years ahead for the residential market.

"This is tracking is the frequency of installations which is a proxy for the number of installations," he said. "That goes up a lot year over year which can only happen if we have relatively bullish expectations for the residential market."

GTM Research forecasts that there will be 136,000 systems installed this year, 128,000 of which will be residential. This is a dramatic increase from 43,000 system installations in 2010 from 2006, when installers were putting up one system every 80 minutes.

In 2016, the industry analyst firm forecasts 381,000 individual installations in the US, 360,000 of them residential, raising the rate of installs to one every 83 seconds.

"That frequency would not be true if it weren't for the fact that we were expecting strong growth in the residential market. The commercial market and the utility scale market can't do that kind of frequency.

However, Kann said that the residential market is starting from a much lower base than the commercial or utility segments,
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/us_insta...y_four_minutes
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  #283  
Old Posted Aug 30, 2013, 7:41 PM
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Pentagon awards US$7 billion of solar contracts
By John Parnell - 28 August 2013, 12:30
In News, Power Generation, Project Focus

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded US$7 billion of contracts to 22 companies for the right to develop and sell solar energy to the US Army.

The winning companies include Gehrlicher US, Siemens and Sunpower.

Once projects are developed it is understood winning companies will bid against eachother to supply solar power with the remainder of the ring-fenced US$7 billion available for purchasing.
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/pentagon...olar_contracts

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BNEF: China to install up to 206GW utility-scale PV by 2030
By Andy Colthorpe - 28 August 2013, 12:38
In News, Power Generation, Finance

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has issued forecasts for the amounts of distributed PV and utility PV to be installed in China between now and 2030 under a range of four different scenarios.

The forecasts are published as part of BNEF’s ‘The Future of China’s Power Sector: From centralised and coal powered to distributed and renewable?’ report.

In the four scenarios, BNEF expects between 117GW and 206GW of utility-scale PV to be installed, with the prediction for distributed PV ranging from 191GW to 294GW. Under BNEF’s ‘new normal’ or ‘base case’ scenario, around 123GW of utility scale PV and 207GW of distributed PV would be installed between 2013 and 2030.
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/bnef_chi...nstalled_in_20

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Hydrogen Fuel From Sunlight:
Berkeley Lab Researchers at Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis Make Unique Semiconductor/Catalyst Construct

August 29, 2013
Lynn Yarris

In the search for clean, green sustainable energy sources to meet human needs for generations to come, perhaps no technology matches the ultimate potential of artificial photosynthesis. Bionic leaves that could produce energy-dense fuels from nothing more than sunlight, water and atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide, with no byproducts other than oxygen, represent an ideal alternative to fossil fuels but also pose numerous scientific challenges. A major step toward meeting at least one of these challenges has been achieved by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) working at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP).

“We’ve developed a method by which molecular hydrogen-producing catalysts can be interfaced with a semiconductor that absorbs visible light,” says Gary Moore, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and principal investigator for JCAP. “Our experimental results indicate that the catalyst and the light-absorber are interfaced structurally as well as functionally.”

Moore is the corresponding author, along with Junko Yano and Ian Sharp, who also hold joint appointments with Berkeley Lab and JCAP, of a paper describing this research in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The article is titled

“Photofunctional Construct That Interfaces Molecular Cobalt-Based Catalysts for H2 Production to a Visible-Light-Absorbing Semiconductor.” Co-authors are Alexandra Krawicz, Jinhui Yang and Eitan Anzenberg.

Earth receives more energy in one hour’s worth of sunlight than all of humanity uses in an entire year. Through the process of photosynthesis, green plants harness solar energy to split molecules of water into oxygen, hydrogen ions (protons) and free electrons. The oxygen is released as waste and the protons and electrons are used to convert carbon dioxide into the carbohydrate sugars that plants use for energy. Scientists aim to mimic the concept but improve upon the actual process.
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-st...from-sunlight/

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: August 28, 2013
Butterfly wings + carbon nanotubes = new ‘nanobiocomposite’ material
"Self-Assembled Carbon Nanotube Honeycomb Networks Using a Butterfly Wing Template as a Multifunctional Nanobiohybrid"

ACS Nano

Leveraging the amazing natural properties of the Morpho butterfly's wings, scientists have developed a nanobiocomposite material that shows promise for wearable electronic devices, highly sensitive light sensors and sustainable batteries. A report on the new hybrid material appears in the journal ACS Nano.

Eijiro Miyako and colleagues explain that Morpho butterfly wings have natural properties that are beyond the capabilities of any current technology to reproduce artificially. In addition to being lightweight, thin and flexible, the butterfly’s wings absorb solar energy, shed water quickly and are self-cleaning. Miyako’s group had been working with tiny cylinders of carbon termed carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and became fascinated with CNTs’ unique electrical, mechanical, thermal and optical properties. Miyako’s team set out to marry the wings and nanotubes to produce an all-new hybrid material.
http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pr...composite.html
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  #284  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2013, 8:01 PM
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US to supply 20% of global solar demand to 2018
02. September 2013 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news, Market & Trends | By: Max Hall

A 44 GW solar pipeline means the U.S. will supply 20% of global solar demand up to 2018, according to NPD Solarbuzz. The solar consultancy says California installed a state record 521 MW of PV from April to June.

Market forecaster NPD Solarbuzz is predicting the U.S. will supply 20% of global solar demand over the next five years.

With the solar consultancy estimating there are more than 2,300 utility and commercial scale solar projects of 50 kW and above in a U.S. pipeline of more than 44 GW, NPD Solarbuzz is predicting demand which is expected to rise 17% on 2012 this year to continue booming to 5.3 GW next year.

Unsurprisingly California is again the poster boy state in the consultant's latest North America PV Markets Quarterly report and the extent of the U.S. solar renaissance is demonstrated by the fact California set a state three-month record by adding 521 MW of solar from April to June, amounting to 53% of the 976 MW of new PV in the U.S.
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...018_100012594/

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Solar energy: A richer harvest on the horizon
Published online 28 August 2013

Theoretical simulations reveal that layered semiconductors with magnetic interfaces are potent catalysts for solar energy capture and conversion

Semiconductor nanostructures are poised to play a big role in future solar-powered hydrogen generation systems, according to a new study by researchers at the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing1. Hui Pan and Yong-Wei Zhang report that model interfaces made from gallium nitride (GaN) and zinc oxide (ZnO) semiconductors have tunable magnetic and light-harvesting capabilities — factors that can greatly improve the photocatalytic transformation of water into hydrogen fuel.

Most photoelectrochemical cells use titanium dioxide electrodes to absorb light and split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gas. But because this mineral has a large bandgap — a measure of energy needed to initiate photoreactions — these devices respond only to a tiny fraction of the solar spectrum. A promising way to boost this efficiency is with ‘superlattice’ materials that stack two different semiconductors into alternate, nanometer-thin layers. The two-dimensional channels that emerge from superlattices resemble conductive nanowires for swift charge-carrier movement. Bandgaps in these hetero-nanostructures have a demonstrated dependence on semiconductor composition and layer thickness.
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6725

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Discovery could make solar power cheaper, more accessible
UAlberta research paves way for nanoparticle-based 'ink' to make printable or spray-on solar cells.

By Bev Betkowski on August 29, 2013

(Edmonton) University of Alberta researchers have found that abundant materials in the Earth’s crust can be used to make inexpensive and easily manufactured nanoparticle-based solar cells.

The discovery, several years in the making, is an important step forward in making solar power more accessible to parts of the world that are off the traditional electricity grid or face high power costs, such as the Canadian North, said researcher Jillian Buriak, a chemistry professor and senior research officer of the National Institute for Nanotechnology based on the U of A campus.

Buriak and her team have designed nanoparticles that absorb light and conduct electricity from two very common elements: phosphorus and zinc. Both materials are more plentiful than scarce materials such as cadmium and are free from manufacturing restrictions imposed on lead-based nanoparticles.

“Half the world already lives off the grid, and with demand for electrical power expected to double by the year 2050, it is important that renewable energy sources like solar power are made more affordable by lowering the costs of manufacturing,” Buriak said.

Her team’s research supports a promising approach of making solar cells cheaply using mass manufacturing methods like roll-to-roll printing (as with newspaper presses) or spray-coating (similar to automotive painting). “Nanoparticle-based ‘inks’ could be used to literally paint or print solar cells or precise compositions,” Buriak said.
http://news.ualberta.ca/newsarticles...ore-accessible
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  #285  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2013, 4:26 PM
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NASA Wants to Beam Microwave Energy to Earth with a Solar Power Plant in Space
by Kevin Lee, 09/03/13

When we first heard about the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array (SPS-ALPHA) – a proposed flower shaped solar power energy collector that beams down concentrated microwave energy back to Earth – it sounded absolutely preposterous. Now in a recent interview with Motherboard, John Mankins, a NASA veteran from Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, divulged some more details on exactly how the world’s first practical orbital solar plant will work when it hopefully launches by 2025.

Mankins explains that the SPS-ALPHA is much more approachable than the idea of a solar plant in space first conceived in the 1970s. This new “21st century satellite employs much more efficient solar technology as well as smaller modules that act together like a swarm of ants. The SPS-ALPHA is equipped with a large array of thin-film mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight directly onto a central photovoltaic element on the back of the satellite’s array. Once the satellite processes the solar energy, it beams back the energy as microwaves in the form of radio waves.

Back on earth, Mankins says Artemis Innovation Management Solutions will build a massive microwave receiver dish about 3.7 to five miles in diameter, positioned three to six miles above the ground. Despite the collector’s massive size, Mankins says it would barely affect the surrounding wildlife. The dish could even be hung over farmland – like the Arecibo Telescope – without impacting the ecology underneath the dish.
http://inhabitat.com/nasa-wants-to-b...lant-in-space/

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This Satellite Could Be Beaming Solar Power Down from Space by 2025
By Becky Ferriera

Scientists have been aware of the edge the “space-down” approach holds over terrestrial panels for decades. An orbiting plant would be unaffected by weather, atmospheric filtering of light, and the sun's inconvenient habit of setting every evening. SBSP also has the potential to dramatically increase the availability of renewable energy.

I recently caught up with Mankins to discuss the SPS-ALPHA's progress and potential. “Because the power plant is in orbit, it can deliver power to any place on the ground that it can see,” he said. “A single solar power satellite would deliver power to on the order of a third of humanity—not all at the same time, but any of that market could, in principle, be addressed.” The SPS-ALPHA could revolutionize disaster relief, give developing countries access to reliable power, and provide the planet with an affordable green energy option. Plus, it's shaped like a margarita glass. What's not to love?



Since Mankins is dead-set on low-intensity microwave transmitters, the receiver on Earth will be large—about 6 to 8 km in diameter, positioned 5 to 10 meters above the ground. It will be constructed from millions of rectifier diodes—true quantum devices—wired together. When assembled, the receiver will look like a huge mesh, or a fishing net. The diodes are impressively efficient, and will utilize 80 to 90 percent of the energy beamed down from the satellite. And even though it covers a lot of ground, the receiver's environmental impact will be negligible. It could even be hung over farmland—like the Arecibo Telescope—without impinging much on the ecology of the area.

According to Mankins, the biggest obstacle that the development of the satellite faces is the widespread perception that all SBSP is inherently impractical and expensive. “There really is no significant technical difficulty in building the first prototype and flying it,” he said. But there are improvements that need to be made before the SPS-ALPHA can become not only a functional orbiting solar power plant, but a commercially viable energy source.
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/thi...-space-by-2025

Last edited by amor de cosmos; Sep 3, 2013 at 5:04 PM.
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  #286  
Old Posted Sep 4, 2013, 3:23 PM
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US solar capacity to total 50GW by end of 2016, says Deutsche Bank
By Andy Colthorpe - 04 September 2013, 12:22
In News, Power Generation, Market Watch

A team led by Vishal Shah at Deutsche Bank has predicted there will be nearly 50GW of installed solar capacity in the USA by 2017, with 20 to 30GW of installed distributed generation expected to be one of the key drivers for growth.

According to NPD Solarbuzz the installed capacity in the US, as of July 2013, was 10GW.

The September Deutsche Bank research note also predicted a rush of installations ahead of the reduction in investment tax credit (ITC) which will take place in 2016.

The analysis is based on levelised cost of energy (LCOE), gross lifetime cost of system and lifetime electricity production, with ITC inclusion also factored in.

The report asserts that grid parity has already been attained in 10 US states as system costs of solar have fallen below US$3 per Watt. Hawaii and California lead tables of states at or near grid parity in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

In 2016, when ITCs will still be at the 30% level, Shah expects up to 47 states to have attained grid parity, however, when the ITC is reduced to 10% this figure could drop to 36, which still represents 70% of the total number of states.
http://www.pv-tech.org/news/us_insta...ing_20gw_to_30
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  #287  
Old Posted Sep 5, 2013, 5:04 PM
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Cheaper Chinese solar panels are not due to low-cost labour
05 September 2013

A study of the photovoltaic industries in the US and China shows that China's dominance in solar panel manufacturing is not driven solely by cheaper labour and government support, but by larger-scale manufacturing and resulting supply-chain benefits.

But the researchers say a balance could be achieved through future innovations in crystalline solar cell technology, which have the potential to equalise prices by enhancing access to materials and expanding manufacturing scale across all regions.

The study is published today in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Energy & Environmental Science.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a bottom-up cost model to examine the underlying causes for the shift in the global manufacturing base of photovoltaics from the US and Europe to China.
http://www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/Pres...ost-labour.asp

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Laser Spectroscopy Helping to Measure Progress in Nanotech Design
PHILADELPHIA, September 3, 2013

Engineers working in the nanoscale will have a new tool at their disposal thanks to an international group of researchers led by Drexel University’s College of Engineering. This innovative procedure could alleviate the persistent challenge of measuring key features of electron behavior while designing the ever-shrinking components that allow cell phones, laptops and tablets to get increasingly thinner and more energy efficient.

“The interface between two semiconductor materials enables most of the electronic gadgets we use each day, from computers to mobile phones, displays and solar cells,” said Guannan Chen, a graduate student in Drexel’s Materials Science and Engineering department and the lead author of the group’s report, which was recently published in Nano Letters. “One of the most important features of the interface is the height of the energy step required for the electron to climb over, known as band offset. Current methods for measuring this step height in planar devices are not practical for nanoscale devices, however, so we set off to find a better way to make this measurement.”

Measuring the band offset faced by electrons jumping from one material to another is a key component of the design process because it guides the redesign and prototyping of nanoscale components in order to make them as efficient and effective as possible.

Using laser-induced current in a nanowire device and its dependence on the wavelength of the laser, the team devised a new method to derive the band offset. As they continuously change the wavelength of the laser, they measure the photocurrent responses. From this data they are able to determine the band offset.

“Using the interface within a co-axial core-shell semiconductor nanowire as a model system, we made direct measurements of the band offset for the first time in nanowire electronics,” Chen said. “This is a significant cornerstone to freely design new nanowire devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and high speed electronics for wireless communications. This work can also extend to broader material systems which can be tailored for specific application."
http://drexel.edu/now/news-media/rel...ing-band-gaps/
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  #288  
Old Posted Sep 7, 2013, 4:33 PM
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New Connection between Stacked Solar Cells Can Handle Energy of 70,000 Suns
Matt Shipman | News Services
Dr. Salah Bedair
Release Date: 09.06.13
Filed under Releases

North Carolina State University researchers have come up with a new technique for improving the connections between stacked solar cells, which should improve the overall efficiency of solar energy devices and reduce the cost of solar energy production. The new connections can allow these cells to operate at solar concentrations of 70,000 suns worth of energy without losing much voltage as “wasted energy” or heat.



This work is important because photovoltaic energy companies are interested in using lenses to concentrate solar energy, from one sun (no lens) to 4,000 suns or more. But if the solar energy is significantly intensified – to 700 suns or more – the connecting junctions used in existing stacked cells begin losing voltage. And the more intense the solar energy, the more voltage those junctions lose – thereby reducing the conversion efficiency.

“Now we have created a connecting junction that loses almost no voltage, even when the stacked solar cell is exposed to 70,000 suns of solar energy,” Bedair says. “And that is more than sufficient for practical purposes, since concentrating lenses are unlikely to create more than 4,000 or 5,000 suns worth of energy. This discovery means that solar cell manufacturers can now create stacked cells that can handle these high-intensity solar energies without losing voltage at the connecting junctions, thus potentially improving conversion efficiency.

“This should reduce overall costs for the energy industry because, rather than creating large, expensive solar cells, you can use much smaller cells that produce just as much electricity by absorbing intensified solar energy from concentrating lenses. And concentrating lenses are relatively inexpensive,” Bedair says.
http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wms-bedair-junction-2013/
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  #289  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2013, 3:23 PM
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What is the best percentage the solarpanels can provide now ?
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  #290  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2013, 4:04 PM
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  #291  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2013, 4:59 PM
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First uses of new solar energy technology: Killing germs on medical, dental instruments

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 8, 2013 — A revolutionary new solar energy technology that turns water into steam without boiling the entire container of water has become the basis for new devices to sanitize medical and dental instruments and human waste in developing countries, scientists said here today.

Prototypes of the devices, which need no electricity or fuel, were the topic of one of the keynote addresses at the opening of the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. The meeting, which features almost 7,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics, continues through Thursday in the Indiana Convention Center and downtown hotels.

Naomi Halas, D.Sc., pointed out that almost 2 billion people live in areas of the world without a regular supply of electricity. That electricity is key to using machines called autoclaves, which produce scorching-hot steam to sterilize medical and dental instruments. Without that basic machine, doctors must rely on chemicals, which can be costly and difficult to transport, to prevent the spread of germs and disease from medical and dental instruments.

“We have developed a solution, our solar steam technology,” Halas said. She is with Rice University. “It is completely off-grid, uses sunlight as the energy source, is not that large, kills disease-causing microbes effectively and relatively quickly and is easy to operate. This is an incredibly promising technology.”
http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pr...struments.html

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Stanford scientists calculate the energy required to store wind and solar power on the grid

Renewable energy holds the promise of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But there are times when solar and wind farms generate more electricity than is needed by consumers. Storing that surplus energy in batteries for later use seems like an obvious solution, but a new study from Stanford University suggests that might not always be the case.

"We looked at batteries and other promising technologies for storing solar and wind energy on the electrical grid," said Charles Barnhart, the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP).

"Our primary goal was to calculate their overall energetic cost – that is, the total amount of fuel and electricity required to build and operate these storage technologies. We found that when you factor in the energetic costs, grid-scale batteries make sense for storing surplus solar energy, but not for wind."

The study, which is supported by GCEP, is published in the online edition of the journal Energy and Environmental Science.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-ssc090913.php

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Penn Scientists Demonstrate New Method for Harvesting Energy from Light
September 9, 2013

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have demonstrated a new mechanism for extracting energy from light, a finding that could improve technologies for generating electricity from solar energy and lead to more efficient optoelectronic devices used in communications.

Dawn Bonnell, Penn’s vice provost for research and Trustee Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, led the work, along with David Conklin, a doctoral student. The study involved a collaboration among additional Penn researchers, through the Nano/Bio Interface Center, as well as a partnership with the lab of Michael J. Therien of Duke University.

“We’re excited to have found a process that is much more efficient than conventional photoconduction,” Bonnell said. “Using such an approach could make solar energy harvesting and optoelectronic devices much better.”

The study was published in the journal ACS Nano and was discussed at a press conference at the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exhibition in Indianapolis today.

The new work centers on plasmonic nanostructures, specifically, materials fabricated from gold particles and light-sensitive molecules of porphyin, of precise sizes and arranged in specific patterns. Plasmons, or a collective oscillation of electrons, can be excited in these systems by optical radiation and induce an electrical current that can move in a pattern determined by the size and layout of the gold particles, as well as the electrical properties of the surrounding environment.

Because these materials can enhance the scattering of light, they have the potential to be used to advantage in a range of technological applications, such as increasing absorption in solar cells.
http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/p...g-energy-light
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  #292  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2013, 10:16 PM
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NRL Achieves Highest Open-Circuit Voltage for Quantum Dot Solar Cells
09/13/2013 07:00 EDT - 86-13r

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) research scientists and engineers in the Electronics Science and Technology Division have demonstrated the highest recorded open-circuit voltages for quantum dot solar cells to date. Using colloidal lead sulfide (PbS) nanocrystal quantum dot (QD) substances, researchers achieved an open-circuit voltage (VOC) of 692 millivolts (mV) using the QD bandgap of a 1.4 electron volt (eV) in QD solar cell under one-sun illumination.

"These results clearly demonstrate that there is a tremendous opportunity for improvement of open-circuit voltages greater than one volt by using smaller QDs in QD solar cells," said Woojun Yoon, Ph.D., NRC postdoctoral researcher, NRL Solid State Devices Branch. "Solution processability coupled with the potential for multiple exciton generation processes make nanocrystal quantum dots promising candidates for third generation low-cost and high-efficiency photovoltaics."
http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-r...ot-solar-cells
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  #293  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2013, 5:46 PM
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Sandia Labs harnessing the sun’s energy with tiny particles
September 16, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, along with partner institutions Georgia Tech, Bucknell University, King Saud University and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are using a falling particle receiver to more efficiently convert the sun’s energy to electricity in large-scale, concentrating solar power plants.

Falling particle receiver technology is attractive because it can cost-effectively capture and store heat at higher temperatures without breaking down, which is an issue for conventional molten salts. The falling particle receiver developed at Sandia drops sand-like ceramic particles through a beam of concentrated sunlight, and captures and stores the heated particles in an insulated container below. The technique enables operating temperatures of nearly 1,000 degrees Celsius. Such high temperatures translate into greater availability of energy and cheaper storage costs because at higher temperatures, less heat-transfer material is needed.

Central receiver systems use mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a target, typically a fluid, to generate heat, which powers a turbine and generator to produce electricity. Currently, such systems offer about 40 percent thermal-to-electric efficiency. The falling particle receiver enables higher temperatures and can work with higher-temperature power cycles that can achieve efficiencies of 50 percent or more.
https://share.sandia.gov/news/resour...ling_particle/
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  #294  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2013, 6:46 PM
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Two Very Different Solar Investments: Nanowires and Organic Solar Cells
$9.4M for Sol Voltaics’ high-efficiency nanowires and $16M for DyeSol’s low-efficiency DSCs

Eric Wesoff: September 17, 2013

This week, two solar cell "startups" that couldn't be further away from one another in terms of their efficiencies or materials won funding from VCs and strategic investors.

Sol Voltaics claims its gallium-arsenide (GaAs) nanowires can boost a 17 percent efficient solar module to 22 percent. The company just won $9.4 million led by Umoe, along with Industrifonden, Nano Future Invest, Foundation Asset Management, Provider Venture, Scatec, and Teknoinvest. Umoe's CEO Jens Ullveit-Moe is the former chairman of REC Solar. Kang Sun, former CEO of JA Solar and current CEO of Amprius, joined the board of directors.

“With this closing, we now have the resources to take the company to pilot production," said David Epstein, CEO of Sol Voltaics. Epstein, a former VC at Crosslink Capital, moved to Sweden to helm Sol Voltaics. Commercial production of enhanced modules will begin in 2015 and move into volume production in 2016, according to the company.

We reported on the Swedish solar startup and its gallium-arsenide (GaAs) nanowires in April of this year. In June, the firm collected a $6 million conditional loan from the Swedish Energy Agency, Sweden’s national authority for energy policy issues.

"We're making an active ink to put on top of solar panels," said the CEO in our earlier report. Sol Voltaics plans to use GaAs nanowires to create another absorber layer on top of existing solar cells to extract more light and raise efficiency by 25 percent -- an enormous stride, as far as solar efficiency numbers go. This suggests that a 17-percent-efficient crystalline silicon panel has the potential to reach 22 percent efficiency with the addition of the nanowires.
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...ic-Solar-Cells
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  #295  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2013, 4:44 PM
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US solar power costs fall 60% in just 18 months
20. September 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Ian Clover

The cost of solar power in the U.S. is now 60% cheaper than it was in early 2011, according to a joint report by the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research.

The latest quarterly report from SEIA and GTM Research has revealed that solar panel costs in the second quarter of 2013 were down by 60% on the first quarter of 2011.

Overall, solar PV system prices have fallen by an average of 40% during that same period, and by as much as 50% when compared to 2010 prices, according to the report.

"Quarter-over-quarter, the national average price declined by 9.3% from $3.36/W to $3.05/W, while dropping 11.1% from $3.43/W one year ago," states the SEIA report. "From Q2 2012 to Q2 2013, residential system prices fell 11.5%… and non-residential system prices fell 14.7%. During the same period, installed costs decreased by 5.4%."
http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/deta...ths_100012797/
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  #296  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2013, 3:21 PM
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Sep 23, 2013
World Record Solar Cell with 44.7% Efficiency
Press Release 22/13, September 23, 2013

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns. This indicates that 44.7% of the solar spectrum's energy, from ultraviolet through to the infrared, is converted into electrical energy. This is a major step towards reducing further the costs of solar electricity and continues to pave the way to the 50% efficiency roadmap.

Back in May 2013, the German-French team of Fraunhofer ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin had already announced a solar cell with 43.6% efficiency. Building on this result, further intensive research work and optimization steps led to the present efficiency of 44.7%.
http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/pres...4.7-efficiency
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  #297  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 3:37 PM
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News Release NR-5013
NREL Calculates Emissions and Costs of Power Plant Cycling Necessary for Increased Wind and Solar in the West
September 24, 2013

New research from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) quantifies the potential impacts of increasing wind and solar power generation on the operators of fossil-fueled power plants in the West. To accommodate higher amounts of wind and solar power on the electric grid, utilities must ramp down and ramp up or stop and start conventional generators more frequently to provide reliable power for their customers – a practice called cycling.

The study finds that the carbon emissions induced by more frequent cycling are negligible (<0.2%) compared with the carbon reductions achieved through the wind and solar power generation evaluated in the study. Sulfur dioxide emissions reductions from wind and solar are 5% less than expected because of cycling of fossil-fueled generators. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are reduced 2% more than expected. The study also finds that high levels of wind and solar power would reduce fossil fuel costs by approximately $7 billion per year across the West, while incurring cycling costs of $35 million to $157 million per year. For the average fossil-fueled plant, this results in an increase in operations and maintenance costs of $0.47 to $1.28 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of generation.

“Grid operators have always cycled power plants to accommodate fluctuations in electricity demand as well as abrupt outages at conventional power plants, and grid operators use the same tool to accommodate high levels of wind and solar generation,” said Debra Lew, NREL project manager for the study. “Increased cycling to accommodate high levels of wind and solar generation increases operating costs by 2% to 5% for the average fossil-fueled plant. However, our simulations show that from a system perspective, avoided fuel costs are far greater than the increased cycling costs for fossil-fueled plants.”
http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2013/3299.html

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India To Build World’s Largest Solar Power Plant In Rajasthan
By Sreeja VN
on September 21 2013 10:02 AM

The Indian government will set up the world’s largest solar power plant in its northwestern state of Rajasthan, an official statement said on Friday, and the venture is expected to significantly reduce solar power taxes in the country.

The project, known as the "Ultra-Mega Green Solar Power Project," will have a total power generation capacity of 4,000 megawatts, which is more than double the total solar power generation capacity in India.

“This will be the largest solar-based power project in the world. Being the first project of this scale … this project is expected to set a trend for large-scale solar power development in the world," a government statement said.

The project will be spread across 23,000 acres of land belonging to the state-run Sambhar Salts Ltd, near the Sambhar Lake, which is about 47 miles away from Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital city. The first phase of the project, which will be for 1,000 megawatt capacity, is expected to be completed in three years and will be run by a joint venture of five state-run utilities, including BHEL, Power Grid Corporation of India and Solar Energy Corporation of India.
http://www.ibtimes.com/india-build-w...asthan-1409230
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  #298  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2013, 4:55 PM
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Australia waits for a $64 billion wind and solar boom
By Giles Parkinson on 26 September 2013

Investment bank Citi says there is a $64 billion market opportunity for solar and wind energy installations in Australia, which it says rates as the most attractive market for solar in the world based on costs.

A report by Citi into the global investment opportunity for renewables says $5.6 trillion of wind and solar energy could be invested around the world without added costs for extra infrastructure or back-up – which it describes as its “sensible investment” scenario, or its near term opportunity.

Its estimate for Australia suggests that up to 12GW of solar (an investment of $26 billion) could be absorbed into the Australian grid without added costs, and up to 16GW of wind ($38 billion).

Australia currently has about 2.6GW of solar and just under 3GW of wind capacity. Citi’s estimate is based on a 20 per cent “sensible wind penetration” – which is a global average. It notes that some economies will comfortably absorb 30 per cent with little added cost.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/aust...lar-boom-51737

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Wormlike hematite photoanode breaks the world-record for solar hydrogen production efficiency
Eunhee Song
2013/09/25

A research team of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, developed a “wormlike” hematite photoanode that can convert sunlight and water to clean hydrogen energy with a record-breaking high efficiency of 5.3%.

This research was published in Scientific Reports, a science journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. (Title: “Single-crystalline, wormlike hematite photoanodes for efficient solar water splitting” on 17 September 2013).

The previous record of solar hydrogen efficiency among stable oxide semiconductor photoanodes was 4.2% owned by the research group of Prof. Michael Graetzel at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

Solar water splitting is a renewable and sustainable energy production method because it can utilize sunlight, the most abundant energy source on earth, and water, the most abundant natural resource on earth. At the moment, low solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency is the most serious hurdle to overcome in the commercialization of this technology.

The key to the solar water splitting technology is the semiconductor photocatalysts that absorb sunlight and split water to hydrogen and oxygen using the absorbed solar energy. Hematite, an iron oxide (the rust of iron, Fe2O3) absorbs an ample amount of sunlight. It has also excellent stability in water, a low price, and environmentally benign characteristics.
https://www.unist.ac.kr/board/view.s...ataSid=2354163
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  #299  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2013, 4:10 PM
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  #300  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2013, 3:25 PM
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Solar Power's Future Brawl
Simulations Help North and South Dakota Researchers Decide Which Technology Would Make a Better Solar Collector, Quantum Dot or Nanowire

Released: 10/1/2013 1:45 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. Oct. 1, 2013 -- A trio of researchers at North Dakota State University, Fargo and the University of South Dakota have turned to computer modeling to help decide which of two competing materials should get its day in the sun as the nanoscale energy-harvesting technology of future solar panels -- quantum dots or nanowires.

Andrei Kryjevski and his colleagues, Dimitri Kilin and Svetlana Kilina, report in AIP Publishing's Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy that they used computational chemistry models to predict the electronic and optical properties of three types of nanoscale (billionth of a meter) silicon structures with a potential application for solar energy collection: a quantum dot, one-dimensional chains of quantum dots and a nanowire. The ability to absorb light is substantially enhanced in nanomaterials compared to those used in conventional semiconductors. Determining which form -- quantum dots or nanowire -- maximizes this advantage was the goal of the numerical experiment conducted by the three researchers.

"We used Density Functional Theory, a computational approach that allows us to predict electronic and optical properties that reflect how well the nanoparticles can absorb light, and how that effectiveness is affected by the interaction between quantum dots and the disorder in their structures," Kryjevski said. "This way, we can predict how quantum dots, quantum dot chains and nanowires will behave in real life even before they are synthesized and their working properties experimentally checked."
http://www.newswise.com/articles/sol...s-future-brawl

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News Release NR-5113
NREL Releases New Roadmap to Reducing Solar PV “Soft Costs” by 2020
September 25, 2013

The Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently issued a new report, “Non-Hardware (‘Soft’) Cost-Reduction Roadmap for Residential and Small Commercial Solar Photovoltaics, 2013–2020,”PDF funded by DOE’s SunShot Initiative and written by NREL and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The report builds off NREL’s ongoing soft-cost benchmarking analysis and charts a path to achieve SunShot soft-cost targets of $0.65/W for residential systems and $0.44/W for commercial systems by 2020.

Non-hardware costs — also referred to as soft, balance of system, or business process costs — include permitting, inspection, interconnection, overhead, installation labor, customer acquisition, and financing. The report also highlights that certain processes often categorized as soft costs, such as permitting and interconnection, may not appear significant when measured in terms of dollars-per-watt, but are costly in that they pose significant market barriers which slow PV deployment.

“Regardless of the specific path taken to achieve the SunShot targets, the concerted efforts of numerous photovoltaic (PV) market stakeholders will be required,” NREL Solar Technology Markets and Policy Analyst Kristen Ardani said. “This report illustrates how the required participation of each type varies substantially by soft-cost-reduction category while noting that roles and responsibilities will be complementary and evolve over time.”

“Soft costs are the majority of costs for residential solar and a large minority for commercial PV projects. They have remained stubbornly high in recent years despite impressive hardware-costs reductions,” said Jon Creyts, program director at Rocky Mountain Institute. “Aggressive soft-cost-reduction pathways must be developed to achieve the SunShot Initiative’s PV price targets.”

Soft costs account for more than 50 percent of total installed residential solar costs and more than 40 percent of commercial solar costs. The report covers strategies to overcoming market barriers and decreasing costs across four key areas: customer acquisition; permitting, inspection, and interconnection; installation labor; and financing. The report identifies residential installation labor, and permitting, inspection, and interconnection as facing the most uncertain near-term paths toward roadmap targets.
http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2013/3301.html
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