Tag Archives: Solar Power

U.S. on track to double renewable energy capacity: Biden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government stimulus spending has put the country on track to double renewable energy production capacity by 2012 and halve solar power costs by 2015, Vice President Joseph Biden said on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama’s stimulus spending poured $814 billion into the U.S. economy, including more than $100

Reuters – Solar panels sit on the roof of SunPower Corporation in Richmond, California March 18, 2010.

billion for science, technology and innovation projects.

With Energy Secretary Steven Chu by his side, Biden unveiled a new White House report estimating the impact of the Recovery Act funding on American innovation in transportation, renewable energy, broadband, smart electrical grids and medical research.

Biden said the stimulus funding would lead to breakthroughs in many of those areas.

“The government plants the seeds. The private sector nourishes and makes it grow,” Biden said. “And in the process, if we’re as innovative as we’ve been in the past, we launch entire new industries.”

The report outlined a goal of doubling renewable energy capacity from the 28.8 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal sources installed as of the end of 2008 to 57.6 GW by the end of 2011, which would be enough to power 16.7 million homes, or 55 million electric cars, for a year.

The manufacturing goal is to double the 2008 level of output of 6 GW of renewable equipment like wind turbines and solar panels to 12 GW at the end of 2011.

Solar power now accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity generation, while wind power produces almost 2 percent.

The cost of solar power is expected to be on par with common grid electricity by 2015, while the cost of electric car batteries is expected to fall by 70 percent between 2009 and 2015 and be competitive with common car batteries.

In May, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the U.S. stimulus money put up to 2.8 million people to work and raised U.S. gross domestic product by up to 4.2 percent, but predicted the impact would taper off in 2011 and 2012, after peaking later this year.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Walter Bagley)


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Google Continuing Alternative Energy Push by Developing Prototype Mirror for Solar Thermal Power

By MB-BigB | March 14, 2010

Google.org, the company’s philanthropic group, has been investing in alternative power research for awhile now. Recently, Google came out with a pretty significant announcement – they’ve developed a prototype mirror that could cut the cost of solar thermal power in half. In any solar thermal plant, the mirrors are the most expensive part, and its the mirrors that do most of the work – they focus the sunlight on the liquid that powers the turbines. Bill Weihl, Google’s green energy czar, told Reuters that Google feels that these new mirrors could cut the cost of a solar thermal plant in half. While they’re not providing many details, Google is saying that the company has been using “unusual materials” for both the mirrored surface and the substrate – which might mean no metal and no glass in the Google mirrors. Weihl feels that their prototype could be market ready in one to three years, in which case the Google mirrors could certainly be used by both BrightSource Energy and eSolar – the two largest solar thermal companies in the US and two companies that Google has invested a substantial amount of money in.

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Colorado Home to New Solar Production Company

Based in Niestetal, Germany, The SMA Group recently announced they will open the German largest production facility for solar inverters in the United States here in Colorado.

Given a facility of that size, they needed a law firm that could manage all of the employment and labor laws that might come into play. They turned to Messner & Reeves to lead the way.

SMA will employ approximately 700 people (including temporary employees) in Colorado. With such a big, “green” task at hand, the German company needed an experienced legal partner such as Messner to help them protect their most important asset (people) as they opened their first U.S. manufacturing facility.

The SMA Group generated sales of more than 680 million Euros (approximately $985 million US dollars) in 2008 and is the worldwide market leader for photovoltaic inverters, a key component of all solar power plants. The company is represented by foreign subsidiaries in 12 countries on four continents. The Group employs a staff of over 4,000 (incl. temporary employees). In recent years, SMA has received numerous awards for its excellence as an employer. For more information, please visit http://www.SMA-America.com.

Welcome to Colorado, SMA!

Messner’s Employment Group has partnered with organizations for more than 15 years to develop a proactive approach to employment practices, which results in increased retention and reduces the frequency and severity of claims.


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Intel Plans 8 Solar Power Installations

Intel is installing solar panels at eight locations in four Western states as part of its larger power conservation program. The new solar panel installations will generate about 2.5 megawatts of power and will all be online within the next seven months. The infrastructure announcement coincides with Intel being named the country’s top purchaser of green energy by the EPA.

Intel in 2010 will continue its push to increase the proportion of renewable energy used in its global operations.

The chip maker is installing new solar panels at eight locations throughout the Western United States that will generate about 2.5 megawatts of power.

All eight solar power installations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Oregon will be online within the next seven months, according to Intel officials.

To take a look at the planned solar panel installations, click here.

Resource Library:

The new installations are part of a broader initiative by Intel to increase its use of alternative energy sources, such as wind, geothermal and biomass, and reduce its carbon footprint.

The company also is investing in “cleantech” businesses.

“Intel is committed to renewable energy to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as to spur the market and make renewables more economically feasible for individuals and businesses to deploy,” Brian Krzanich, vice president and general manager of manufacturing and supply chain for Intel, said in a statement.

All but one of the eight installations will have solar panels on the roofs of buildings. At the Folsom, Calif., site, the panels will be clustered into a 1-megawatt solar field that will cover almost 6 acres of land on the Intel campus.

The company kicked off its conservation program in 2001, and has since saved more than 650 million kilowatt hours worldwide.

Intel’s announcement Jan. 25 came at the same time that it was named by the Environmental Protection Agency as the No. 1 voluntary buyer of green power, buying more than 1.4 billion kilowatt hours.

Other technology companies also made it onto the EPA’s Green Power Partnership top 50 list. Dell was No. 6, with more than 431 million kilowatt hours of green energy purchased.

Cisco Systems was ranked eighth, Sprint Nextel was 40th, Sony was 44th, Motorola 46th and Advanced Micro Devices 48th.

In addition to spending more than $30 million since 2001 on its own renewable energy projects, Intel Capital—the chip maker’s investment arm—has invested more than $125 million in more than a dozen cleantech companies, including $10 million in five companies in July 2009.

by Jeffrey Burt

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China’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant

CALIFORNIAN concentrated solar power specialist eSolar has licensed its technology for the construction of China’s largest concentrated solar power plant.

eSolar signed the licensing deal with Penglai Electric, a privately-owned manufacturer of electrical power equipment. Penglai Electric intends to build 2 GW of solar thermal power plants in China by 2021. Construction on the first 92 MW plant will begin later this year and will be owned and run by China Shaanxi Yulin Huayang New Energy. All plants will be located alongside biomass electricity generation facilities. eSolar estimates that up to 15m t/y of CO2 emissions could be saved.

Thermal, or concentrated solar power plants, consist of a large field of heliostats (specially designed mirror-like panels), which track the movement of the sun and reflect its light to a central tower containing a thermal receiver. The concentrated heat raises steam within the receiver which is then used to drive a turbine. eSolar says the technology is modular and therefore easily scalable, and as modules are pre-fabricated they can be easily installed without the need for specialist labour.

Zhao Weikang, chairman and president of Shaanxi Yulin Huayang New Energy says: “To date, eSolar offers the only CSP tower technology that has demonstrated commercial maturity and economic feasibility. We’re excited to build our initial hybrid plant as part of the 170 km2 Yulin Alternative Energy Park, the first large-scale alternative energy park in China.”

Chinese solar thermal agreement for eSolar
Promises 2 GW of generation with licensed technology
by Helen Tunnicliffe
The Chemical Engineer

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Swiss Unveil World’s First Solar Powered Aircraft

(Source: Middle East Company News)The delegation attending the World Future Energy Summit from Switzerland will be unveiling the first ever solar powered aircraft. Bertrand Piccard, President and Pilot, Solar Impulse, will be exhibiting a model of the solar powered aircraft at the event later this month in Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre.

About WFES:
The 3rd edition of the World Future Energy Summit will be held from 18-21 January 2010, hosted by MASDAR, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre under the patronage of HH General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces
World Leaders, Policy Makers, Experts and Investors from 100 countries will meet in Abu Dhabi to identify real solutions for today’s climate change and energy challenges. Over 600 exhibitors from 50 countries will be exhibiting at the World Future Energy and Environment Exhibitions on a total space of 40,000sqm offering an unrivalled business and networking opportunities to over 20,000 attendees expected to visit the summit and the exhibition.

Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors is the principal sponsor of WFES 2010. Emirates Aluminium is Associate Sponsor, and Platinum Sponsors include BP Alternative Energy, Standard Chartered, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, Exxon Mobile, ABB, Oxy, the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipality Affairs and Terna.
For more information on the programme or to register, visit http://www.worldfutureenergysummit.com.

About DBCCA:
DB Climate Change Advisors group (DBCCA) is the institutional and alternatives investment management business of Deutsche Asset Management, managing assets of institutional investors and high net worth individuals. DeAM is one of the leading climate change investors in the world, with approximately $4 billion under management as of March 2009. With a world-class in-house research team focusing on this theme, DeAM is an investment industry thought-leader on a broad range of climate change dynamics.

In June 2009, DBCCA launched the world’s first scientifically valid, real-time carbon counter, a nearly 70-foot-tall digital billboard displaying the running total of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in New York.

Swiss to unveil world’s first solar powered aircraft at World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 5:52 AM

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Amazing Glitter-Sized Photovoltaic Cells Look Like Golden Snowflakes

As snowstorms sweep the country, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are warming up our winter blues with the creation of these gorgeous snowflake-shaped photovoltaic cells. The glitter-sized solar sequins are made from crystalline silicon and use 100 times less material to generate the same amount of electricity as standard solar cells made from 6-inch square solar wafers. Perfect for soaking up the sun’s rays on unusual shapes and surfaces, the solar cells are expected to be less expensive, more efficient, and have promising applications in textiles and clothing.

Sandia Labs‘ stunning new solar cells are created using cutting-edge micro-electric and micro-mechanical manufacturing techniques, which ensure their tiny size and a small margin of mechanical deformations. One benefit to their miniscule size is that if a single solar cell in an array were to die it would only marginally reduce the array’s efficiency – compare that to conventional arrays where a large faulty panel can cause a huge loss in power production.

The solar cells could be incorporated into unusual shapes and materials such as tents, building facades, and clothing, making it possible for people to recharge cell phones and other electronic devices as they walk around or rest. According to Sandia field engineer Vipin Gupta, their tiny size also means that they can be easily integrated into rooftop applications that have “intelligent controls, inverters and even storage built in at the chip level. Such an integrated module could greatly simplify the cumbersome design, bid, permit and grid integration process that our solar technical assistance teams see in the field all the time.”

As of now the solar cells are producing energy with 14.9 percent efficiency, which is pretty great compared to off-the-shelf commercial modules which range from 13 to 20 percent. As the technology is perfected and economies of scale pick up, these snowflake-shaped microcells will certainly be a hot technology to watch.

by Mike Chino, 12/23/09

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