Archive for February 8, 2012

Energy Department Announces Over $12 Million to Spur Solar Energy Innovation

February 08, 2012

As part of the Obama Administration’s blueprint for an American economy built to last, today U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced over $12 million to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace through the Energy Department’s SunShot Incubator program. The funding will accelerate American innovation in solar energy and manufacturing by supporting advancements in hardware, reductions in soft costs, and the development of pilot manufacturing and production projects.



SPX Announces installation of ArgusON Solar Power Management Solution in Jackson, TN

ArgusON an SPX Brand announced the installation of its Solar Power Management (SPM) solution on a 5.0 MW solar pv array in Jackson, TN. The system was designed and built by Signal Energy LLC and is owned by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.
The Solar Power Management solution combines automated solar power monitoring, remote alarm troubleshooting and site management services. Flash Technology’s National Operation Center will provide 24/7/365 active monitoring for the site to help ensure energy production performance guarantees are achieved.
See for details

Concentrated Solar Startup Sets a New Efficiency Record

Solar tracker: This array of solar modules was built by Semprius for testing. The modules are mounted on a two-axis tracker that keeps them aimed at the sun. Semprius

Semprius, a startup that makes miniscule solar cells capable of capturing concentrated sunlight without costly cooling systems, announced this week that it had made the world’s most efficient solar panel.

The company’s solar panels use tiny solar cells made of gallium arsenide—the record-breaking solar module contains hundreds of such solar cells, each about the width of a line drawn by a ball-point pen, arranged under lenses that concentrate sunlight 1,100 times.

Whereas a silicon solar cell only efficiently absorbs a narrow band of sunlight, the solar cells in this module are made of three layers of gallium arsenide, each modified to convert a different part of the solar spectrum into electricity.

Tests by a third-party certified the efficiency of Semprius’s solar panel at 33.9 percent, marking the first time any solar module has been able to convert more than one-third of the sunlight that falls on it into electricity.

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“The Great Unknown”

‘2012 looks to be a year of healthy PV growth in North America, but many questions remain’

Photon magazine has predicted the outlook for PV capacity growth and decline for all U.S. states in a recent published article.

Tennessee appears to be one of the largest growth states for the year of 2012, with a predicted capacity of 55.0 MW to be added. In 2011, there was an estimated 18.0 MW installed in the state of Tennessee.

Most sections of the U.S. are showing steady growth for this year, except for most Midwestern states.

Refer to the January 2012 Photon magazine for more detailed information.

PV Tech Newscast – Feb 3, 2012

Solar panels to be installed at 11 Hawkins schools

The installation of energy efficient lighting at all Hawkins County schools, which was completed last month, is already beginning to show significant energy savings including more than $65,000 at three schools alone between May and December of last year.

But two more projects discussed by the Hawkins County Board of Education Thursday evening will drive down the system’s energy costs even further.

Those projects include the installation of solar panels at 11 Hawkins County schools by Morristown-based TerraShares, which will sell electricity back to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Installation will be at no cost to the county, and the school system will receive a projected $70,000 per year in revenue from the electricity generated during the 10-year life of the contract.

Those 11 schools are Bulls Gap, Church Hill Elementary, Church Hill Intermediate, Hawkins Elementary, Joseph Rogers Primary, Keplar, McPheeters Bend, Mooresburg, Rogersville Middle, St. Clair and Surgoinsville Elementary.

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DIY Solar Panels Made Out Of Grass Clippings

After years of tweaking by other scientists, researchers at MIT have figured out how to chemically stabilize plant-derived photosystem-I (PS-I), the structures inside plant cells that perform photosynthesis, on a substrate that creates electric current when exposed to light–all using readily available materials.

Full Article and Video

Solar Decathlon moves to Irvine, CA for 2013

Last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the international event, which challenges 20 university teams from around the world to build asolar-powered home and compete in 10 events, will take place at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., in 2013.

Since the first event in 2002 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., it has been held in the nation’s capital. And it has spawned sister events in Europe and China.

The new location is on former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which Irvine is turning into sustainable parkland, according to the DOE.

The teams will build their homes on the runway, which will make it easier for teams to set up their homes and won’t damage the land—as the competition had done to the National Mall, since the homes were built on grassy land.

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