September, 2014Archive for

Benefits of solar panels clear after two years

My wife and I considered installing solar power in our Silver Spring home after a renovation focused on energy efficiency still left us with large electric bills. The renovation included geothermal heating and cooling, energy efficient windows and insulation throughout our 1920s bungalow, and sealing all air leaks with the assistance of infrared testing. Our starting point for educating ourselves on solar power was the DC Solar Tour in October 2011, which offered a great opportunity to visit sol...

Property tycoon reveals $20-billion solar-led portfolio

The Hong Kong property tycoon who gathered almost $20-billion U.S. in Chinese solar manufacturing assets is expanding his reach in other green energy technologies and may seek Wall Street money to do it.Zheng Jianming, chairman and founder of Asia Pacific Resources Development Investment Ltd., is considering a public listing for the holding company he created to manage what may be the biggest collection of solar-manufacturing businesses. The Hong Kong-based company is also investing in batt...

New York's Bold New Plan To Expand Solar Energy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported a ramp-up in his state’s solar capacity Friday, an announcement that rounded out a big week for the state’s environmental initiatives. The governor announced new NY-Sun awards for large solar electric projects that will increase the solar capacity in New York State by 68 percent, or more than 214 megawatts. Cuomo in April had announced a commitment of $1 billion to NY-Sun, the state’s initiative for increasing solar energy. The plan announced...

Another Utility Solar Charge Bites The Dust

September 30th, 2014 by Cynthia Shahan  Solar Love. Black Hills Power was considering a special demand rate for all renewable energy customers instead of a reward for installing solar panels that help with grid security, grid reliability, energy independence, the environment, and public health. The idea for the charges didn’t make customers happy, however. As such, the solar charge was withdrawn by the South Dakota-based utility. Black Hills Power, a subsidiary of Blac...

New Solar Cells Use Perovskite to Turn Water into Energy

Perovskite sample. Credit: Kelly Nash via Wikimedia Commons A new, highly efficient process for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen has been demonstrated by researchers in Switzerland. The process combines a stable catalyst with a highly efficient perovskite solar cell. The perovskite solar cells do have a major drawback in that they breakdown after a few hours, but the researchers believe further advances in solar cell technology should take care of this problem. As the most ab...

A spacewalk selfie, the Giant Squid Nebula and an origami solar

On 24 August a flare erupted from the sun, seen on the left edge of our home star in this image from Nasas Solar Dynamics Observatory above . Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, which cant penetrate the Earths atmosphere to harm humans but can disrupt the layer through which GPS and communications signals travel. This one was classified as an M-class flare, 10 times weaker than the most intense type, known as X-class flares. Credits: Hubble Space Telescope/Nasa/Esa This is a globular...

Race is on to perfect solar-powered drones

A mechanical engineer, Bailey cofounded a startup that is trying to build an unmanned solar-powered drone that could remain aloft for extended periods, serving as an airborne Internet or communications station, for example, or as a surveillance or surveying vehicle. The drones will have solar cells arranged along the upper surfaces of the wings that will continuously recharge the electric motors so the drones can fly nonstop for as long as two years. The model built by his company, Global Flight...

Solar, wind cost-competitive for peak energy, study finds

Solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional forms of electrical power, including coal and nuclear, even without subsidies, according to a new study. The economics of alternative energy have changed dramatically in the last decade, said George Bilicic, global head of the power energy and infrastructure group at Lazard Ltd. and author of the report. Utilities still require conventional technologies to meet the energy needs of a developed economy, but they are using alt...

Solar energy: a sunflower solution to electricity shortage

Game changer: IBM and Airlight Energys 30ft concrete sunflower was inspired by the branched blood supply of the human body.

Solar power is growing so fast that older energy companies are

If you ask the people who run America's electric utilities what keeps them up at night, a surprising number will say solar power. Specifically, rooftop solar. More Americans are installing rooftop solar and buying less electricity from their utilities