Archive for February 21, 2013

Renewable Energy Provided 100% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity In January

Renewable energy – including wind, solar and biomass resources – accounted for all new generating capacity added in the U.S. in January, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) latest Energy Infrastructure Update.

The 1.231 GW of new U.S. electrical generating capacity entering service in January represented nearly a threefold increase in new renewable energy generating capacity compared to January 2012, when wind, solar and biomass provided 431 MW of new capacity.

Wind energy accounted for the largest share of the new capacity in January, with six new units providing 958 MW, followed by 16 units of solar (267 MW) and six units of biomass (6 MW). No new generating capacity was reported for any fossil fuel (i.e., natural gas, coal, oil) or nuclear power sources.

Renewable sources now account for 15.66% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity, and wind energy represents 5.17% of the total. Other renewable resources include water (8.5%), biomass (1.29%), solar (0.38%) and geothermal (0.32%). In comparison, natural gas accounts for 42.37% of total operating generating capacity, followed by coal (29.04%), nuclear (9.23%) and oil (3.54%).

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Solar Training – Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) in Knoxville Scheduled for April 8 thru 12th

Sustainable Future is excited to help with Solar Energy International (SEI) training in Knoxville April 8th, 2013 – April 12th, 2013. This five day course is great for those wanting to get into the solar industry or those that need to prepare for the NABCEP entry level test. Included in the course will be some “hands on” exercises at the Sustainable Future solar park, with class room work being held at a local hotel. This course will be taught by two very seasoned solar installers who have installed systems all over the country. This course will provide an overview of the three basic PV system applications, primarily focusing on grid-direct systems. The goal of the course is to create a fundamental understanding of the core concepts necessary to work with all PV systems, including: system components, site analysis, PV module criteria, mounting solutions, safety, and commissioning. The course will also cover the basics of sizing a residential grid-direct system, wire sizing, overcurrent protection, and grounding – all of which will be expanded upon in PV202.

Prerequisites: Before participating in the PV101 in-person workshop, students are required to complete the self-paced PV 101 PREP online component (included in price of PV101, you will automatically be enrolled in PV PREP Online at the time you register for PV101).

Date: April 8 through April 12, a five day course
Location: Knoxville, TN
Instructors: Joe Villacci, Kyle Bolger
Tuition: $995.00

More information

Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island – RFP Announced For Renewable Energy Project

The Carbon War Room (CWR), Homer Energy, and Reznick Think Energy, LLC (RTE) launched a request for proposals (RFP) today on behalf of Virgin Limited Edition for the provision of renewable energy and energy services on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, home of Sir Richard Branson.

The Request for Proposal has two phases of bids:

Phase 1: Engineering and design solutions for a 750 kW of solar PV in an open field, 8 kW of PV on the Great House, and Solar Carports.

Phase 2: Indicative bids sought for a wind turbine, significant load controls and batteries, and an overall energy supply and management contract.

Virgin Limited Edition will purchase all services and products from one party or multiple products and services from a variety of parties, and the selected bidders will have the ability to take advantage of significant marketing opportunities throughout the project’s lifecycle and beyond. All respondents will be able to access the entire RFP or sections of the RFP after signing a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) and paying an administration fee.

Interested parties should use the following link to learn more about the RFP: http://reznickthinkenergy.com/news-events

Policies to enhance economic feasibility of a sustainable energy transition

A commentary reported in this month’s Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states a unique concept to provide an incentive for shareholders of energy generation industry stocks. Thought is was worth mentioning in our blog because of the what strikes at the hearts of investors: profit and accountability. S. Levy

An important task of contemporary academic research is the design of policy that promotes a sustainable energy transition. Dangerman and Schnellnhuber (1) (D&S hereafter) explain theoretically, and show empirically, that it is very difficult to move away from unsustainable technologies. The role of investment funds that go disproportionally to dominant, pollutive technologies is emphasized. The policy suggestion of D&S is modifying corporate law to make shareholders legally liable for environmental impacts of firms in which they invest. The resulting “legal negative feedback loop” to shareholders’ decisions will alter the allocation of capital investment in favor of cleaner “niche” technologies. According to D&S, this would “balance the shareholders’ zest for unrestricted expansion.” They add that it can have a precautionary effect by discouraging investment away from pollutive industries in an early development phase.

Studies on environmental policy tend to focus on changing the behavior of consumers and producers and give considerably less attention to investors. The D&S proposal is therefore a welcome addition to the literature. Investors receive more notice in research on “environmental innovation” and “sustainability transitions”. A central policy finding here is that a combination of environmental regulation and innovation support is needed to foster a sustainable energy transition . The first will change the costs and benefits of production and thus the profits in the positive feedback cycle of both the dominant and alternative technologies.

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42nd National Solar Conference, SOLAR 2013, in Baltimore, April 16-20

Register today at the American Solar Energy Society for the conference details and sign up.

Highlights of the technical session include:
New techniques for making high-performance quantum-dot and nanoparticle photovoltaic cells.

The status of the High Definition PV project, an industry-wide program to reduce the cost of solar installations through plug-and-play standardization.

Several new techniques to reduce the cost of dispatchable power from concentrating solar thermal (CSP) plants, a key development in providing cheap, clean solar power to run municipal grids through the night.

Solar-powered furnaces that generate hydrogen or syngas fuels at high efficiency.

A wide variety of simplified techniques for minute-to-minute and hour-to-hour forecasting of solar farm output, useful for balancing loads across geographic regions.

Efficient new ways to store solar-heated hot water – and use solar heat to drive air conditioners.

Cheap feedstocks for cheap biodiesel.

Hybrid light rail that runs when the grid goes down.

Driving large desalination and waste-water recovery systems with renewable energy.

Promoting Solar PV Deployment Through Micro-Investments

This conference is hosted by the American Solar Energy Society to which TSEA is the Tennessee State Chapter. Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and advocates. Our mission is to speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy.

New Thin-Film Solar Cell May Provide Electricity at Grid Parity Using Gallium Arsenide Solar Cells

Global Photonic Energy Corp. (GPEC), has created a thin-film solar cell that has the ability to provide electricity at grid parity or the cost of traditionally provided electricity.
Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) is a better photovoltaic candidate than silicon reaching 30% or better efficiency. Problem with Gallium Arsenide cells is that they are very expensive to manufacture in large sizes. Instead these cells are used in concentrating solar PV arrays where the sun image is concentrated some 500 times focusing the light onto a small millimeter sized GaAs cell.

Dr. Stephen R. Forrest of the University of Michigan said the breakthrough, presented at the Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society, is the result of substantially reduced production costs. It is based on a patent-pending invention that reuses the same Gallium Arsenide wafer multiple times to produce solar cells. This unlimited wafer reuse approach to conventional “epitaxial lift off” technology that typically leads to wafer damage, and hence only a very limited number (1 to 2) of wafer reuses, has the potential to reduce the cost of a typical Gallium Arsenide solar cell to below $1 per Watt (peak).

“This exciting development implies that ultra-high efficiency solar cells based on Gallium Arsenide can eventually produce electricity at or below grid parity.” Dr. Forrest stated. “Using integrated solar concentrators and our adhesive-free, cold-weld bonding technology to plastic substrates, we estimate electricity could be produced as low as $0.45 cents per Watt, compared to traditional grid parity of $1 per Watt.”

GPEC is excited by the discovery. With this new discovery, the cost structure is dramatically reduced and can be used in numerous applications. The high efficiency, light weight and flexible solar cells are deployed on roll up plastic sheets. GPEC anticipates their use in spot powering vehicles, mobile military equipment and satellites, and off-grid locations. The company has big plans and want to license its intellectual property in order to commercialize the technology. To date, GPEC has a total of 425 patents.