Archive for Solar Performanc

Policy for Water Conservation for the Power Sector “doesn’t exist”

Water cooling leading to increased water temperature and loss of water as fog

“There are cost effective things that the power sector can do that would conserve water that will also reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Paul Faeth, director of energy, water and climate at the CNA think tank’s Institute for Public Research.

CNA Corporation in its July 2014 report, “A Clash of Competing Necessities” documents the use of water for generating electric power as follows: an estimated 40% of all freshwater withdrawal in the US is used for thermal cooling. Coal with carbon capture and storage (CSS) came out top, using 4.3 cubic metres of water for every MWh.
Nuclear is a close second using 4.2, coal alone uses 2.3, natural gas 1, wind uses zero, and PV uses 0.1 cubic metres per MWh.

For ‘consumption’ of water, whereby water is completely removed from the local environment, CCS uses 3.2 cubic metres per MWh, nuclear 2.5, coal 1.9, natural gas 0.7 – and again wind uses zero and PV uses 0.1.

Water concerns “for policy makers and for many people are also a higher priority than climate change,” he said, adding that in drought it “doesn’t matter what the cause of drought is you still have to respond, and if you can respond in a way that is cost effective and mitigates emissions, such as using wind and PV, then that is a real plus.”

Living Light Solar House moves to Oak Ridge’s Children’s Museum

The Living Light Solar House, designed by more than 200 UTK students, has been donated by the University of Tennessee to the Oak Ridge Children’s Museum. The home is 750 square feet and is a zero-energy structure, providing an example of what energy efficient housing could look like in the future. Originally produced to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, the house will now serve as an educational and inspirational tool for children and visitors to the museum.

More information here and here.

More Affordable Solar PV Systems by Richard Swanson

In answer to the question What new technology will it take, Dr. Swanson replied.

Richard Swanson1“Solar panels now account for less than half of the cost of a solar panel system. For example, installers spend a lot of time and money designing each rooftop solar system. They need to have a certain number of panels in a row, all getting the same amount of sunlight. A bunch of companies are automating the process, some with the help of satellites. One of the most exciting things is microinverters [electronics that control solar panel power output] that allow you to stick solar panels anywhere on a roof—it’s almost plug and play.

To almost everyone’s surprise, silicon is still chugging along. The new developments are pretty amazing. Panasonic just announced a record solar cell efficiency. We need to do things like keep improving efficiency with new solar cell architectures, like the one Panasonic used. There are three basic new cell structures, and all of them are nearing or are already in production. We need to make thinner silicon wafers, improve ways of growing crystalline silicon. We need to switch to frameless solar panels because the cost of the aluminum frame hasn’t been going down much. We need to get rid of silver electrical contacts and replace them with cheaper copper. It’s tricky, but it can be done.”

Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, here at U.T. Friday, April 25th to Deliver Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy

moniz-240x300Secretary Moniz coming to Tennessee U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will deliver the Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy and the Environment on Friday, April 25 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the UT College of Law, Room 132, located at 1505 W. Cumberland Ave.

As energy secretary, Moniz leads the U.S. Department of Energy in support of President Barack Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security, and protecting the environment.

The event is free and open to the public. Paid public parking will be available in the Volunteer Hall Garage.

The lecture will also be streamed live online. More details are available here.

Electrochemical Energy Storage ASM Educational Symposium

Energy Storage is the key to large scale solar plants as well as the smart grid. Here is an opportunity to find out where we are in energy storage and what will the future bring. More importantly, when low cost energy storage will hit the Walmarts of this world.

WHAT: This educational symposium will bring together speakers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to review the state of the art of lithium ion batteries and the future of electrochemical energy storage within the materials and device level and advances in characterization techniques for these devices and materials. There will also be a tour of the DOE Battery Manufacturing R&D Facility at ORNL. Electrochemical energy storage has become more and more important. In the past, electrochemical energy storage has been limited in size and energy density. Associated with its high cost for higher energy density, consumer electronics was the sole market for electrochemical energy storage until recently. Now, electrochemical energy storage transforms power tool, automotive, and electricity grid markets. Power tools benefit from the tremendous power capabilities of newly developed lithium ion batteries, automotive and grid scale storage which has become more available with new manufacturing technologies for large format devices. This educational symposium will bring together speakers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to review the state of the art of lithium ion batteries and the future of electrochemical energy storage within the materials and device level and advances in characterization techniques for these devices and materials.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
TIME:
WHERE: National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) and Manufacturing Demonstration Facility
2360/2370 Cherahala Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37932
COST: General – $100
Student – $30
Retirees – $50
REGISTER: Registration deadline is March 27
RSVP/
QUESTIONS: Claus Daniel
danielc@ornl.gov
Melanie Kirkham
kirkhammj@ornl.gov

Apply now for 2014 Rural Energy for America Funding

solar farming2Farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses can apply now for grants and loan guarantees for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program – or REAP. REAP was renewed in the 2014 Farm Bill and supports a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, including wind, solar, biogas, biomass, small hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric technologies.

An official notice of funding availability is expected in early April, with an application deadline 60 days later. This notice would be for funds from the 2014 appropriation plus funds carried over from previous years (total about $28 million). When the final REAP rule is announced, possibly in June or July, a second funding announcement will be issued for the 2014 mandatory funding ($50 million) from the new Farm Bill. Applications submitted but not funded in the first round will be considered in the second round.

Applicants should also be sure to check in early with the state staff of USDA rural development. They can answer questions, provide useful advice and may need to visit the project during the application process.

For more information go to: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Home.html

Free Workshop On Benefits And Incentives Available For Solar To Area Residents

Do-It-Yourself Workshop. Ours will be comfortably indoors

Do-It-Yourself Workshop. Ours will be comfortably indoors

green|spaces in partnership with Aries Energy, is providing a free workshop to local residents that are interested in solar for their homes. The workshop will take place on March 19 at green|spaces, 63 E. Main Street Chattanooga, Tn. 37408 from 8-9 a.m.

Attendees will learn about the Tennessee Solar Program including incentives, credits, federal tax credits and applications. Additionally, the workshop will cover information on the typical grid-tied system and other unique solar installations. TVA has an annual cap on the solar programs it offers. The residential program is filling rapidly.

To r.s.v.p., individuals may contact Dawn Hjelseth at 423 648-0963 or email dawn@greenspaceschattanooga.com.

A One Megawatt Project Planned for Oak Ridge

Restoration SevicesRestoration Services Inc. is partnering with Vis Solis to build a one megawatt solar farm at the East Tennessee Technology Park, former K-25 site, on a site leased from Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET). The solar power generated electricity will go to the TVA grid to run the equivalent of nearly 150 homes. Gil Hough, manager of the renewable energy division of Restoration Services says that is almost a done deal. Construction is expected to start in April. What makes this solar installation unique is the use of Vis Solis tracking of the sun to always keep the panels pointed towards the sun for maximum performance. The increase in power production can be as high as 30% over the conventional fixed arrays.

Installers and Solar Distributors Having Products for Farming Applications Should Attend No-Till Day

Milan No till field day
Visitors from around the world come to Milan on the fourth Thursday in July to learn the latest about no-tillage crop production techniques. In 2012, attendance at this event included 2,748 visitors from 65 Tennessee counties, 21 states (AL, AR, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA), and three international countries (Brazil, Lesotho and Mozambique). If you are interested in participating in their exhibition area, please contact me (Steve at 865-074-9218). If I do not answer, leave a message with your name, company, phone number and email address. I will respond via email with more information. They have an extensive industry/educational trade show and I will give you details.

What’s the Story of Snow Covered Panels

Assume you live in the upper reaches of Minnesota and you are told that solar panels won’t work in cold, snowy climates. Wrong!! Yes, admittedly you have to do some clearing of snow off your panels but there are some preventive measures you can take to keep the solar power production at its peak. First, realize that though the sun’s rays are not as strong in the winter as during the summer; the sun does not rise as high. But the colder temperatures increase the efficiency of the panels that help boost the output power of the system. With that in mind, here are some tips for improving the power delivery of your system:
1. Bounce a tennis ball off snow-covered panels.
Homeowners who have rooftop solar panels installed can surprisingly increase the energy output by bouncing a tennis ball off the snow-covered panels. The small divots created by the tennis ball help begin the snow shed process and allow sunlight to reach the modules and begin converting energy.

2. Install solar panels at the largest angle possible.
A higher angle lessens the accumulation of snow on top of the panel. Everyone that is in a very snowy place, like in northern Michigan, should be aggressive in your tilting angle. So if you have a decision to make between something like 30 degrees or 40 degrees, it’s better to go 40 degrees.

3. Don’t set up panels in a way that allows snow to gather at the bottom.
Installing panels in a way that allows the snow to fall freely from the array greatly reduces the impact of snow. When snow slides off the panel at an angle and gathers at the bottom of the module, the losses can significant. In those cases, when you have a very low tilt angle and a dam [of snow], you can lose all of the solar energy associated with the winter.