Solar Panel Bicycle Paths

The Netherlands, known for their massive sustainability projects, is now testing solar panels on bicycle paths. Their project named “SolaRoad” is underway this week, testing a new way to collect solar energy. The “cycle-crazy Dutch” are developing the first SolaRoad near Amsterdam. It is built of massive, “Lego-like modules” of solar panels into the concrete with heavy-duty glass on top to protect it. Another great aspect is the translucent plastic coating so bikers don’t slip. Each square yard of road generates about 50-70 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, almost enough for the initial strip of 70 years to supply power to one or two Dutch households. This first test is in Krommenie, said to run three years costing 3 million euros ($3.7 million), funded by the province of North Holland and a couple Dutch companies who are excited to commercialize solar roads. The project is already up and running, and generating electricity before it’s actual opening tomorrow. If this works like planned and brings a sufficient amount of profit against the initial installation costs, this project will hopefully open ideas to other countries willing to make the commitment.

The full article can be found here: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/dutch-installing-solar-panels-bicycle-path-26832160

By Molly Denson

Universities Make A Move Towards Solar Energy

SolarPV_300x2001

In a move to transition to more sustainable energy production American University, George Washington University and George Washington University Hospital are joining together in a plan to provide all three institutions with clean solar energy. The three joined together for a 20 year solar purchase that will supply 123 million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year. The clean energy will be supplied from several large scale solar farms in the surrounding North Carolina area comprised of 243,000 solar panels and will comprise the largest PV project on to the East of the Mississippi River. This partnership will remove roughly 15,000 metric tons of CO2 which equates to the removal of roughly 3,000 cars from the roads. This step forward in energy production by the three institutions will hopefully lay a blueprint for other universities who are wanting to switch to cleaner means of energy production.

Read the full report from the American University here: http://www.american.edu/finance/sustainability/au-to-source-50-percent-power-from-solar.cfm

Ohio State Researchers Invent Solar Battery

By Andre Merino

Researchers at the Ohio State University have invented a solar battery, which combines the applications of a solar cell and battery into one device. In the October 3, 2014 issue of Nature Communications, it is reported that researchers at Ohio State University have succeeded in combining a solar cell and a battery into one device. This solar battery is made possible due to the innovative mesh solar panel design, which allows air to enter the battery, and electrons are transferred between the solar panel and battery electrode. Ohio State University will license the hybrid device to industry, where Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, says the solar battery will help tame the costs of renewable energy. He and his students believe that the battery can bring costs down by 25 percent. The U.S. Department of Energy funds the project, and it will continue to advance as researchers find new ways to enhance the battery’s performance with different materials.

Read the full reports here: Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power

Integrating a redox-coupled dye-sensitized photoelectrode into a lithium–oxygen battery for photoassisted charging​

Wal-Mart Fights Back Against Renewable Energy

TSEA Walmart

A recent report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has indicated that the Walton family, majority owners of Wal-Mart, have donated millions of dollars to a handful of organizations over the past few years, many of which have a vested interest in restricting the growth of the solar and renewable energy sectors. Another Walton-owned company, First Solar, was instrumental in the decision to allow one of Arizona’s largest utility companies, APS, to begin imposing additional fees on owners of household rooftop solar systems. These changes caused a sharp decline in solar installations in Arizona despite the fact that Arizona is one of the most productive locations for solar energy. This should serve as a warning that although many corporations may appear to have “gone green”, how their money is spent is a better indication of where their true interests lie.

Full report can be found here.

Solar shows strong growth in second quarter.

Every Tuesday our interns here at TSEA will post and abstract and link to a recent article on news about the solar industry. This is the first of (hopefully) many. Check back often for solar news, info, tips, etc. Also, be sure to follow us on @TNSolarAssoc for updates every week and info about TSEA!

Solar shows strong growth in second quarter.

By William Giese

Solar in general is seemingly more and more like a good investment. According to a recent CBS article (linked below) solar photovoltaic (PV) installations surpasses the gigawatt produced energy mark for the third consecutive quarter. Additionally, significant growth has been seen in the residential solar market, as home solar systems are becoming increasingly more common. Solar energy cost decrease combined with more accessible and efficient systems lead to solar taking the majority share (53%) of new energy generation capacity in 2013. Not only that, but the solar industry is creating more jobs for Americans as our economy continues to recover, adding upwards of 142,000 jobs this year! Even governmental institutions are considering the solar option by adding solar “micro grids” to insulate buildings and facilities from power outages. Please read the CBS article posted below for further information about solar and feel free to contact TSEA as well.

@TNSolarAssoc

will@tnsolarenergy.org

Link: US Solar Power Industry Small But Growing Rapidly

How much fuel does it take to power a 100 watt light bulb for one year?

How much fuel does it take to power a lightbulb

Good Magazine performed an interesting experiment which underscores the benefits of renewables while simultaneously showing off the shortcomings of coal, nuclear and natural gas. It calculated how much energy it would take to keep a 100 watt light bulb burning for an entire year. The results are charted in the infographic below but here is a quick rundown:

Coal: 714 pounds.
Natural Gas: 143 pounds.
Nuclear: 0.35 pounds.
Solar: 8 days, 8 hours and 14 seconds of energy from 100 square meters of solar panels.
Wind: 2 hours, 20 minutes and 9 seconds from a 1.5 MW turbine at 25% capacity.
Hydroelectric: 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Yes, it is an incandescent light bulb.
Forbes Magazine

Congressman Denies Climate Change, Says Scientists Are In It For The Money

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday voted down an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring.

E&C Committee members voted 24-20 against the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. That bill, if it makes it through Congress, would put an end to EPA regulations on emissions for new power plants until technologies like carbon capture and storage are commercially viable in at least six states for one year. It passed in Tuesday’s committee, but the amendment, which would have placed on the record that the committee accepts that climate change is happening and is caused by greenhouse gas pollution, did not.

Twenty-four E&C members — all Republicans — voted against the amendment. Among them was E&C Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has said before that he doesn’t think climate change is caused by human activity, and Joe Barton (R-TX), who also questions humans’ role in climate change. In total, the Republicans who voted to deny climate change have accepted about $9.3 million in career contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, according to analysis by the CAP Action War Room.

original reference:

Knoxville Solar Tour Set for October 18th, 2014

Knoxville Solar Tour 2014

The solar tour will consist of six separate stops throughout Knox county, both within Knoxville city limits as well as outside. A description of each stop will be given to the audience as well as an idea of what to expect at the particular stop. The audience is encouraged to ask questions at any point during the tour except during certain brief presentations.

SolarTourPic1

Stop #1: Immediately outside of the Knox Area Transit (KAT) transit center is a rooftop solar array consisting of 24 solar panels contained in a mount. This array supplies the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) with the power it produces. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar City report on Knoxville, “The 4.68-kW installation at the newly constructed downtown transit center—Knoxville’s first municipally owned PV system—was fully funded by the TVA through a cost-share agreement.”1 The array was installed by David Bolt, president of Sustainable Futures, LLC.

SolarTourPicture2

SolarTourPic3Stop #2: Across the street from the transit center is the Civic Coliseum Parking Garage. The garage has 24 electric vehicle charging stations along with two companion solar arrays that provide power to the chargers. These solar panels were installed by Efficient Energy of Tennessee, and the charging stations were installed by ECOtality, a San Francisco based electric transportation company.

SolarPic4

Stop #3: The next stop on the tour is the historic Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park near downtown Knoxville. The 57,000 square foot building has a 50 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic solar array installed on it’s roof. This array offsets approximately 47 tons of CO2 annually.2 It was installed by ARiES Energy, a Knoxville based solar energy installer.

Stop #4: Following the Jacob Building is the SPECTRUM solar farm exhibit located in the East Town Mall in east Knoxville. The SPECTRUM exhibit serves to educate the public on “exciting things happening in the Tennessee solar world”3 like the 5 megawatt West Tennessee Solar Farm, one of the biggest solar farms in the southeastern US, located in Stanton, TN. The SPECTRUM exhibit is sponsored by the West Tennessee Solar Farm, the University of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.SolarTourPic5

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Stop #5: Our second to last stop is a private residence owned by Tom Meek. It is an advanced, off-grid solar home system. This is a system with battery back-up as well as a natural gas generator. This allows Mr. Meek to operate independently of the main electrical system for several days.

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Stop #6: Our final stop is at the offices of the Green Earth Solar LLC. Green Earth Solar is a local solar systems installer for both residential and commercial systems. Green Earth was also one of the first solar Installers in the state of Tennessee to receive NABCEP certification for installing solar systems. They have installed systems on a wide range of buildings and facilities including the Knoxville Convention center, Calhoun’s Restaurant in Turkey Creek, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Knoxville Solar Tour 2014

10:10 – Transit Center Array (301 Church Ave., Knoxville, TN 37915)

10:25 - Coliseum Parking Garage

10:30 - Mount on buses

10:55 - Jacobs Building, Chilhowee Park(3301 E Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN 37914)

11:45 - SPECTRUM East Town Shopping Center (3001 Knoxville Center Dr. Knoxville TN)

12:35 - Meek Residence (8208 Nubbins Ridge Road, Knoxville 37919)

1:00 – Green Earth Solar (9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite 120, Knoxville TN)

1:30 – Return to Transit Center

The bus should be located near the solar installation on the parking garage to facilitate loading.

Our special thanks go to Mayor Madeline Rogero, Erin Gill, Director of the Knoxville Office of Sustainability, and Brian Blackmon, Project Manager at the Knoxville Office of Sustainability.

List of Local Solar Installers: Efficient Energy of Tennessee, ARiES Energy, Sustainable Future , Twin Willows Construction, Green Earth Solar

Knoxville Solar Tour 2014

The 2014 Knoxville Solar Tour was brought to you be the City of Knoxville and the Tennessee Solar Energy Association.

SolarTourPic8

SolarTourPic9

Lunch was generously donated by ARiES Energy and will be provided to participants of the tour free of charge and will be served in-transit between the SPECTRUM exhibit and the Meek Residence. We will be able to collect any trash.

China just got serious about global warming. Now we’re really out of excuses.

China and Global Warming1Over the weekend, China announced it was moving forward with plans for a massive, nationwide cap-and-trade program intended to help combat global warming. Here’s why China is doing this now, and what we know about the plan so far.

China is about to go green in a big way.

At least that’s what Sun Cuihua, a climate change official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s main economic planning body, suggested this week. He confirmed that Beijing in 2016 would introduce a nationwide cap-and-trade program, in which carbon emissions are limited and polluters are incentivized to reduce emissions. Meanwhile, the U.S.’s own efforts to pass a similar system nationwide have long been dead in the water.

The Chinese have six pilot cap-and-trade programs that operate in select cities and provinces, which the NDRC trumpeted as part of the country’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change. If fully implemented, the move has the potential to be a significant step for one of the world’s largest economies — though important questions remain about the project’s future direction.

Are we loosing respect in the world? Do our politicians still deny global warming has a human factor that needs to be addressed. If Congress does not act, what choice do we have?

more information

SolarCity to hire 600 for jobs in Arizona, California, Delaware, Maryland and Massachusetts

SolarCity to Expand in Seven States, Open 20 New Operations Centers

SolarCity logo1Sep 04, 2014
SAN MATEO, Calif., — SolarCity (Nasdaq: SCTY), the nation’s #1 solar power provider and largest solar employer, is expanding again. Following a quarter in which it more than tripled the number of new customers it added as compared to the same period the prior year, SolarCity plans to open 20 new operations centers in seven states . The new regional operations centers are expected to create more than 600 additional jobs in Arizona, California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada and New York. The new locations will reduce operations costs by decreasing service and installation drive times, and will contribute to state and local economies by creating new jobs in a range of disciplines. SolarCity expects to open new operations centers in the following areas by the end of the year -