Archive for the ‘Solar’ Category

Skyline Solar recently emerged from stealth mode, after an impressive 8-month R&D program from prototype to product, with the announcement of one of the first new high-gain solar (HGS) arrays on the market. The new HGS technology includes some well-known components of the more highly technical mega-arrays that brighten the arid regions of the globe, including motorized solar tracking, solar concentration, and thermal cooling.

According to Chief Executive Bob McDonald, the new arrays generate 10 to 50 times the yield of traditional systems as just a fraction of the cost. He also noted that this is accomplished using only one-tenth of the amount of silicon and less than half the parts of comparable systems. A trial installation is already generating electricity in San Jose, CA. This is one we’re definitely keeping an eye on!

For more information see: http://www.rdmag.com/ShowPR.aspx?PUBCODE=014&ACCT=1400000101&ISSUE=0905&RELTYPE=IDN&PRODCODE=00000000&PRODLETT=AI&CommonCount=0


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The EPA released its list of the top 50 purchasers of green power today, naming Intel as number 1 due to its purchase of 1,301,200,000 kWh of wind power a year in order to run 46% of its total operation. This is Intel’s second year in the number one spot. Other tech bellwethers on the list include Dell at number 4, Cisco at number 9, Motorola at number 44 and AMD at number 46.

Here are the Top 10 green power buyers listed by company, number of kilowatt hours bought, percent of energy needs met by green power, and kind of clean power used.

1. Intel Corporation 1,301,200,000 – 46% – Wind
2. PepsiCo 1,144,773,154 – 100% – Various
3. Kohl’s Department Stores 600,990,000 – 50% – Biogas, Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
4. Dell Inc. 553,708,000 – 158% – Biogas, Solar, Wind
5. Whole Foods Market 526,995,000 – 100% – Solar, Wind
6. The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. 470,216,838 – 100% – Various
7. Johnson & Johnson 434,854,733 – 38% – Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
8. U.S. Air Force 426,233,001 – 5% – Biogas, Biomass, Solar, Wind
9. Cisco Systems, Inc. 400,996,000 – 46% – Wind
10. City of Houston, TX 350,400,000 – 27% Govt. (Local, Municipal) Reliant Energy Wind

For more information see: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/purchase-green-power-top-50-buyers.php

Complete list: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top50.htm

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Governments world-wide are scrambling to find safe and efficient forms of alternative energy to combat global warming, rising fuel prices, and other ecological concerns. In this global race, Spain and Portugal are emerging as the surprising front runners – and not everyone is happy about it.

According to a recent article by Gabrielle Pickard, Spain is at the forefront in solar energy techniques, and is ahead of other countries in implementing concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. By the year 2015, Spain is expected to generate more than 2GW of electricity with more than 50 new CPS stations.

Portugal is also a leader in the hunt for clean power and ranks as one of the top five traiblazers in the world in developing alternative energy sources. Portugal’s plan for taming global warming comes in the form of a sea snake, which is the world’s first commercial-scale wave power station. At peak output, the wave machine will generate enough electricity for the annual needs of about 1,500 family homes in Portugal.

While this seems like great news, not everyone is enthusiastic about it. According to Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist, the fact that Portugal is taking advantage of technology invented in Britain should cause alarm within the British government.

“Wave technology invented in Britain is powering Portuguese homes and making money for Portuguese suppliers,” Parr explains, “because our government has consistently neglected the renewable industry.”

Read Pickard’s article at: http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-04-08/Race_for_renewable_energy_heats_up.html

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As the saying goes, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Or in this instance, it’s a case of artificial trees mimicking those found in nature. London-based SolarBotanic is banking on the concept of Biomimicry, which it describes as “innovation inspired by nature.” Attempting to capitalize on the designs and processes already found in nature, SolarBotanic has taken nature’s design and combined it with high-tech materials to engineer the Nanoleaf, which when put together with other Nanoleaves create a new tree species of sorts called Energy Harvesting Trees (EHTs). Capable of harvesting multiple energy sources, these EHTs take the sun, wind and heat collected in their tree canopies and convert the energies into clean electricity, without causing visual pollution or long-lasting damage to the environment or ecosystems.

The concept is promising, especially when you consider how far reaching the possibilities for this technology truly are. In late March, SolarBotanic announced a plan that would place its aesthetically pleasing EHTs along city highways throughout Europe.

“Each kilometre will be able to generate approximately 350,000 kWh per year, enough electricity to power approximately 60 average size houses and protect the environment by preventing the release of up to 500 tons of CO2 annually…Imagine if you can, highways and freeways lined with beautiful looking trees that not only create a barrier against the elements, but at the same time generate electricity 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”

Yes. Imagine, indeed!

Read more at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/03/prweb2246214.htm

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An innovation looking for a market – it happens more often than we’re taught to believe as marketing students.  Such is the case with black silicon.  First discovered and produced at Harvard in the late ‘90s, it emerged from a research project financed by the Army Research Organization / ARO ( http://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?Action=29&Page=219 ).  After nearly a decade, its story and potential market applications are finally being brought to the public’s attention by a VC-funded company called SiOnyx (New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/business/12stream.html?_r=2 ).  “SiOnyx is in a position to pioneer new types of solar cells that could capture the sun’s energy across a broader spectrum, achieving greater efficiency than today’s photovoltaic cells, wrote Xconomy’s chief correspondent, Wade Roush ( http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2008/10/12/sionyx-brings-black-silicon-into-the-light-material-could-upend-solar-imaging-industries/  ) . “Harnessing nuclear fusion energy arriving from Sol—solar energy at 1366 Watts per square meter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolation ) —is the most promising technology for meeting accelerating world needs for cheap and clean energy” and “promises to dramatically increase the photo-response (Amps per Watt) of silicon, and not just in the visible spectrum, but also in the infrared, where silicon currently misses half of Sol’s energy. Delivering on that promise is very exciting,” says Bob Metcalfe, father of Ethernet, a general partner at Polaris Ventures, and SiOnyx’s board member.


Unfortunately, the solar play is still a long-shot application for black silicon – in the shorter term, more practical applications include imaging applications such as night vision, surveillance, digital cameras, and medical imaging – but if that’s what will help bring this technology along, it makes sense to me.

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The True Cost of Solar Power: Race to $1/W

A report issued by Photon Consulting in mid-March “The True Cost of Solar Power: Race to $1/W” sums up the need to not only provide green alternatives, but to do it in a manner works economically.  Companies highlighted include First Solar, LDK Solar, Q-Cells, REC, SolarWorld, SunPower, Suntech and Yingli – compabneis that have “emerged as low-cost leaders.”  The take away, “solar electricity in sunnier areas will be <$0.10/kWh by 2012, creating a large addressable market that is the grand prize in solar’s race to $1/W.”   This is a sure sign the innovators, believers and investors in the solar space are winning the battle against the economic realities that it’s fighting.  Go to http://www.photonconsulting.com/files/true_cost_exec_sum.pdf for an executive summary – go solar go.

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