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Articles tagged with: clean energy

Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Government Policy, Smart Grid, Solar Power, SURE Energy »

[30 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
SundialWhat if electricity cost more when the sun was shining? Many utilities are using new electronic “smart meters” to adjust the price of electricity as often as every hour, to reflect supply and demand.  And charging more when electricity is in short supply can be good news, increasing the value of solar by 33% or more. Time-of-use (TOU) pricing is a different billing method for electricity, where the customer pays based on the time of day of using electricity rather than a flat rate per kilowatt-hour consumed.  The premise is that electricity is more expensive when in high demand (e.g. by air conditioners in the afternoon on hot, sunny days) and that pricing accordingly will help reduce demand. For example, customers in San Francisco on a TOU pricing plan pay more for electricity during peak hours (12 PM ...

Solar Power, SURE Energy »

[30 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]

Concentrating solar power, the rapidly-growing alternative to photovoltaic power, continues its expansion. A joint venture between two energy companies, one from Spain and one from Abu Dhabi, is set to build 6 GW of new CSP in the next three years in Spain, the US, and the Middle East. The company, Torresol Energy, is a joint venture between Spain’s Sener and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar. It recently opened two new 50-MW concentrating solar power sites in Spain. But its new plans put those stations in the, well, shade. Torresol Energy plans to invest up to $5 billion in new concentrating solar energy plants in Spain, the United Arab Emirates and wider Middle East, North Africa, and the sunny southwestern US. If it’s able to secure all the funding it’s looking for, it should be adding a total of 6,000 MW of ...

Energy Storage, Smart Grid, Solar Power, SURE Energy, Wind Energy »

[29 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
The intermittent, yet often complementary, nature of wind and solar energy has long been observed and increasingly remarked upon of late. Minnesota’s Ecos Energy is looking to take advantage of that by building the state’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) array on a 13-acre site in southwestern Minnesota, home to more wind farms than any other region state-wide, the StarTribune reports. At 2-megawatts (MW), the solar power array can’t be considered large by any stretch, but it’s expected to provide enough electricity for 340 homes, about as much as a single wind turbine. Yet more significantly, Ecos Energy’s Slayton project will provide some trailblazing data as to whether or not intermittent solar energy and wind turbine arrays can be used in tandem to provide a more consistent supply of power to the grid. More than 70 wind farms are up and ...

Energy Efficiency, Just Plain Cool, Solar Power, SURE Energy »

[28 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
It’s true—amazing solar tech innovations just keep coming. Some advances come in the form of new handheld devices and applications. Others promise to elevate solar into a mainstream energy source that may one day replace greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels. Here are five recent innovations that have left both solar experts and newbies in a daze. solar-kindle-solar-focus 1. The SolarKindle One of the products that garnered a lot of interest at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was a solar cover for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, presented by Solar Focus. With just one full hour of sunlight, the SolarKindle collects enough energy to power your device for three days. What’s more, the cover is advertised as being able to provide power to the tablet for three continuous months under “normal” sunlight conditions. Take your Kindle outside with you, and it’ll stay charged for free (with zero fossil-derived energy). Winner....

Just Plain Cool, Solar Power, SURE Energy »

[28 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]

Solar Cells on Windows

Astrowatt has developed a new manufacturing technique for solar cells that would enable them to attain the comparably high efficiency of traditional silicon wafer solar panels, but while using the silicon raw material much more efficiently. Thin-Film Solar Cells You’ve probably heard of thin-film solar cells by now. They are, literally, semiconductor ink that is printed using an inkjet printer on a substrate (surface) such as glass or plastic, and possibly encased in a protective solar panel. The ink used is usually an electricity-generating semiconductor material such as CIGS and cadmium telluride. This type of solar cell can be printed onto flexible surfaces, while traditional silicon wafer solar cells are brittle and, thus, require a rigid and strong surface to prevent breakage. But that’s not what Astrowatt’s innovation is about…. Astrowatt’s Efficient Solar-Cell Manufacturing The Astrowatt ...

Energy Storage, Smart Grid, Solar Power, SURE Energy, Wind Energy »

[27 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
Stuffed into the envelope with the electricity bill is sometimes a little pamphlet telling you where that energy comes from. Sometimes, it’s pretty detailed; other times, not so much. But the percentage of energy coming from renewable sources often isn’t that high, and part of the reason for that is that renewable energy is generated in bursts and is then hard to store. Energy storage on a large scale would help even out the intermittent nature of renewable energy; in fact, techniques such as batteries and fuel cells are used on smaller scales right now to manage grids with high percentages of renewable sources. The problem with wide-scale use is that energy storage systems are not cheap. The Falling Cost of Technology While energy storage tech is expensive now, any consumer will note that the price of technology (whether that’s computers, ...

Alberta Grown, Canadian eh, Government Policy, Solar Power, SURE Energy »

[24 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
A new study has found that being able to purchase a rooftop solar panel system is often a privilege of the affluent, but that leasing rooftop solar panel systems is an increasingly popular option for those who simply don’t have the money to pay up front. Asked time and time again what one can do for the environment, our answers are often dependent upon our income. In most cases, one of the biggest items — like installing solar panels — is for those who earn a lot (and can make a large up-front investment in a system that will earn them money several years down the road). However, if you have the money to lease a rooftop solar panel system, you’re not only helping the environment, but, within just a year after you start, you can start saving money. On the other hand, for those who have the money to make ...

Just Plain Cool »

[24 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
3M is an American multinational conglomerate located in Minnesota. 3M is responsible for over 55,000 different products, including abrasives, adhesives, laminates, dental products, passive fire protection, medical products, electronic materials, car care products, optical films and electronic circuits. With operations in over 60 countries, 3M products are available in over 300 countries. Some of the more popular products include the Post-it note, Scotch Tape, Scotchgard, and Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite. 3M has been very instrumental in the clean technology industry. 1 ) 3M Creates Renewable Energy Division. In 2009, 3M announced the creation of its Renewable Energy Division. Within it, there will be two distinct divisions – energy generation and energy management. Energy generation will work toward the development of materials to be used for geothermal, solar, wind and biofuels solutions, including coatings, tapes, films, and sealants and adhesives. The ...

Green Buildings, Solar Power, SURE Energy »

[19 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]

Co-operative Insurance Tower Clad with Solar Panels - From tj.blackwell on Flickr.

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation intends to start selling a material that enables the walls of buildings and various other structures (possibly wind turbine towers and nacelles) to generate electricity. One clear advantage of this is that solar panels would no longer be limited to the rooftops of these buildings. They can now be covered with solar cells. The company intends to start selling the material in 2013. Each square meter of the material is said to be capable of generating 80 watts of power and the efficiency of it is said to be 11%. 11% efficiency means that it can generate 110 watts per square metre. 80 watts per square metre translates to an efficiency of 8%. ...