The Carport of The Future

With more than 40 percent of the pavement in an average city tied up in parking areas, it’s safe to say that garages and carports are all around us. Many urban areas are changing the way these concrete blocks are being viewed–one solar panel addition at a time. Solar panel carports have the ability to incredibly impact energy-production all while looking like something straight out of the future.
Certain high-profile corporations and universities have given the special carports a whirl and have since generated an abundance of power. Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, currently houses the largest solar parking canopy project in the U.S. With a 28-acre installation, it is no wonder over 60% of the campus’ annual electricity is provided for by the plant. With such incredible amounts of energy produced at Rutgers University by way of “solar parking”, many are left to wonder why similar additions have yet to be started in their area. The discouraging factor for such projects, as stated by Chase Weir of TruSolar, is money. Weir goes on to say, such projects are “The most expensive type of system to build”. Solar carports may be impressively beneficial and aesthetically awing, however there is no denying they are also incredibly expensive…“So at least for now, the market remains relatively niche.”

Read the article here.

Another Step For Solar

For CEO Brad Mattson and CTO Markus Beck of Siva Power, producing gigawatts’ worth of thin-film solar panels through domestic manufacturing is a real possibility. This San Jose, California solar startup company is newly funded and developing the world’s largest-scale and least-expensive thin-film CIGS production line.

The company has received $10 million in new funding, including $3 million DOE SunShot grant, a $3 million conversion of debt financing from Trident Capital, DBL investors, Medley Partners and Acero Capital, as well as $4 million in new capital form the city of Wuxi, China and existing investors DBL, Medley, and Acero.

After focusing on research and development, experimenting with different photovoltaic materials and production processes, Siva has decided on co-evaporated CIGS on large glass substrates. Mattson called the technology “a gift of physics” offering the highest thin film efficiencies and fastest production process.

Siva is in need of $120 million to $150 million to launch is factory. It would be the “world’s first solar giga factory” built on California soil, helping the state reach its new 50 percent renewable goal.

Read the article here.

By Molly Denson

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.

Read the article here.

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​