Archive for Energy Storage

Team claims highest efficiency for quantum dot photovoltaic battery

A research group at the University of Tokyo and Sharp Corp developed a quantum dot-type photovoltaic (PV cell with a high efficiency.

Its cell conversion efficiency is 18.7% without light condensing and 19.4% at the time of 2x light condensing. The research group is led by Yasuhiko Arakawa and Katsuaki Tanabe, who are professor and specially-appointed associate professor, respectively, at the Institute for Nano Quantum Information Electronics, the University of Tokyo.

The 18.7% efficiency is the industry’s highest efficiency for a quantum dot-type PV battery that is not concentrating light, Arakawa said. Before the achievement was made, the highest efficiency had been 18.3% achieved by a research group at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The latest quantum dot-type PV battery was developed by using the “intermediate band method,” in which conversion efficiency is improved by forming a superlattice structure (in which quantum dots are three-dimensionally arranged) and a miniband (intermediate band) that absorbs infrared light.


Energy IS National Security says Wesley K. Clark

This guest post was written by Wesley K. Clark, the retired Army general and former NATO supreme allied commander. Clark is a senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles. Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

By Wesley K. Clark
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for the U.S. to “double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.”

Solar, wind and other clean energy technologies played a central role in the president’s address because of their importance to American economic competitiveness and prosperity – and rightly so, the sector is already providing a welcome spot of job and market growth with the opportunity for much more with further U.S. commitment. But while all eyes are on the economy, let’s not forget that those same clean energy investments are mission critical to another top national priority: to strengthen American energy security.


President’s 2013 Budget Revives 1603 Solar Tax Credit, Eliminates $4B in Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Here are some of the highlights of the energy portion of the budget:

  • The budget provides for an extension of the Section 1603 Treasury Program, a program that addresses the scarcity of tax equity for financing solar projects.
  • The budget proposes the repeal of over $4 billion per year in “inefficient” tax subsidies to oil, gas, and other fossil fuel producers.
  • The budget proposes funding the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $2.33 billion, an increase from 2012 figures.
  • $310 million for the SunShot Initiative to make solar power at grid parity without subsidies by 2020.
  • $95 million for wind power, including offshore wind technologies.
  • $65 million for geothermal power and enhanced geothermal energy technology.
  • $770 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy, including funding to research and develop small modular reactors (SMRs).
  • The DOE receives $27.2 billion under the budget request, a 3 percent increase from 2012 levels.
  • The Office of Science would receive $5 billion to fund basic research.
  • The beleaguered DOE loan guarantee program would not win any expanded funding, though the budget does call for maintaining the current loan portfolio.


Oak Ridge National Labs Developing Charging Of Electric Vehicles While They Are Out On the Road

A handful of researchers are even working to extend the concept to allow charging of electric vehicles while they are out on the road. Researchers at Oak Ridge and Stanford recently developed detailed concepts for such a system. In a $2.7 million federally funded project, researchers at Utah State University are installing a system to charge buses as they stop along a route in Salt Lake City.
In the Oak Ridge model, 200 coils would be embedded in a section of the roadway and controlled by a single roadside device; successive coils would be energized as electric vehicles pass over them, providing enough power for the vehicle to reach the next series of coils a mile down the road.
John Miller, a research scientist at Oak Ridge, estimates that each series of coils plus the controller would cost less than a million dollars. “Wireless chargers for electric vehicles are so convenient. You don’t have to mess with plug cables. You don’t care what the weather is. You don’t even have to think about it. I think it’s going to catch on superfast,” Miller says.

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.



The Sunflower: Secret to Solar’s Efficiency Success?

Finding inspiration in the structure of a sunflower, a group of scientists has designed a concentrated solar power plant (CSP) that will require 20 percent less land than existing plants while increasing theamount of sunlight its solar mirrors are able to collect. To read mor eplease follow this link: Sunflower is key to solar

Lamar Advertising Begins Use of Renogy Solar Panels in Louisiana Solar PV Project

Renogy LLC—a Louisiana based solar panel manufacturer, is one of the two solar panels suppliers for Lamar Advertising’s “Renewable Louisiana” Project. Lamar and Renogy have begun with a 30KW installation, and look forward to a successful trial. Renogy solar panels will be incorporated onto many of Lamar’s billboards throughout the state, returning energy to the grid during peak consumption hours. “Incorporating Renogy’s products onto billboards containing LED lighting will definitely help Lamar save on energy costs. Besides, our products’ high PTC rating plus efficiency will allow Lamar’s billboards to solely rely on renewable energy”, said Yi Li, president of Renogy. “Our products are a perfect match for such a novel combination, and we are more than happy to participate in such a significant project that sets the bar for Louisiana’s green movement”.

full article here

(comment from TSEA: With the reduction of federal and state support of solar systems, the industry needs to look for the boutique applications that can take advantage of providing power to applications that are either isolated from the commercial power grid, or provide a more economical package that is free of monthly power bills. I will have a paper on boutique applications for paid members this month. The paper covers all vistas of potential applications of solar PV. We need to build our membership so join us and keep our organization going.)

Reauthorization Update of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

By Alexander Hecht

On December 14, 2011, Congress passed the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a six-year reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These are three-phase grant programs that direct federal research and development dollars to small firms. This reauthorization represents a major victory for the small business community, which has been working toward a long-term reauthorization. Since September 2008, these programs have survived only through a series of 14 consecutive temporary extensions.

The Final Senate/House Deal

The final SBIR reauthorization passed through the NDAA reauthorizes the program for six years and includes language that permits small firms that are majority-owned by venture capital firms to compete for up to 25% of SBIR funds at the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. For other agencies that participate in these programs, including the Defense Department, the threshold is 15%. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also directed to promulgate a rulemaking, with public notice and comment, within one year to determine eligibility requirements for firms that are majority-owned by venture capital.

other key highlights of the final SBIR reauthorization include:

·         Increasing the annual allocation for the SBIR program within qualifying federal agencies (the final deal increases allocation from 2.5% to 3.2% of federal R&D dollars over the length of the reauthorization, allowing more access for small businesses to compete for R&D funds);

·         Increasing the annual STTR program allocation, from .3% to .45% of federal funds each year;

·         Raising grant award levels, allowing for annual inflation adjustments, and providing waivers for critical research;

·         Increasing small business collaborations with federal laboratories;

·         Shortening the time for final decisions by federal agencies and the amount of time between decision and release of funds; and

·         Increasing congressional oversight to reduce fraud and abuse.


Original article


Solar Energy Becomes GE Industrial Policy

Memphis TN

There are distinct phases in the development of a new technology.

The first phase is the era of the start-ups. The second is the era of big
capital. America is now into that second phase.

Spurred by fears that we’re losing “the green energy race” big players like Warren Buffett and General Electric (GE) are replacing older,
entrepreneurial companies as leaders of America’s solar industry.  The fear is that even American production of solar panels may be dominated by
foreign companies like Sharp, which is adding workers at its Memphis solar panel
factory. The companies are willing to take a short-term hit on earnings in order to make sure America has a shot at the “next big thing.”

Complete article


U.S. grant pays for solar farm at Chattanooga’s Lovell Field airport

Take off over the solar installation at Chattanooga airport

The biggest solar energy farm at an airport in Tennessee will go on line later this month, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport officials said Monday.

The facility will sell to EPB and the Tennessee Valley Authority about $100,000 worth of electricity annually, said Terry Hart, the airport’s interim chief executive.

Complete article