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Standards Not Sufficient for Preventing Failure

Standards Not Sufficient for Preventing Failure | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
The insulation performance of PV modules is vital for sustained field operation and personnel safety. Yet, despite international standards for dry-insulation resistance test procedures, field failures remain prevalent. For some time PV module manufacturers and customers alike have been troubled by the following problem: Why do PV modules occasionally operate uncharacteristically in the field, yet operate normally when returned to a controlled laboratory environment?.
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Solar Power – Should You Buy or Lease?

Solar Power – Should You Buy or Lease? | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Leasing solar panels is a lot like leasing an automobile. Private companies install the system and maintain the equipment for the length of the lease, usually 15 to 20 years. You pay the company a fixed monthly fee, all the while saving on your utility bills because the sun, rather than coal or oil, is providing the power. In almost all cases, the sum of your lease payments and new utility bill is less than your old utility bill.

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Adding an electric car cut the payback point of our solar panel investment in half

Adding an electric car cut the payback point of our solar panel investment in half | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

When we discussed our home solar panel project in mid-2011 with friends, one of the first questions everyone asked was, “What’s the payback period before you break-even?” The second question was unsurprisingly, “How much is it costing you?” but the focus always ended up on the payback.

 

After all, if you’re going to invest in green technology, you’re hoping that at some point in the near future, you get ahead of the game. It turns out that something we didn’t plan for — our Chevrolet Volt — is actually helping us boost the ROI and cut our payback time in half.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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All solar efficiency breakthroughs since 1975 on a single chart

All solar efficiency breakthroughs since 1975 on a single chart | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
The National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV), which is part of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), maintains a chart that shows efficiency records for all kinds of research solar technologies, from more vanilla to very exotic flavors.
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Suzette Jackson's curator insight, April 11, 2013 6:03 PM

This provides a great insight into the technological development of solar panels globally

Jan Lagast's comment, April 13, 2013 12:06 PM
sharp info
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Solar Companies Ripe To Add Energy Efficiency Focus?

Solar Companies Ripe To Add Energy Efficiency Focus? | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Residential solar companies have a unique opportunity to engage the energy efficiency market. Because a contractor is already talking to an energy-conscious consumer, a conversation about simple efficiency retrofits is a natural next step. It also doesn’t make a lot of sense to slap solar panels onto an energy-inefficient house.

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Equitable solar

Equitable solar | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

The French speaking part of Belgium has passed what may be the world's first PV support policy with different rates based on household income. Furthermore, recent reports from Denmark and Australia show that more attention is being paid to infrastructure costs in implementing PV support policies.

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V-Tent is a Solar-Powered EV Charger That Protects Your Car

V-Tent is a Solar-Powered EV Charger That Protects Your Car | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
The V-Tent is a new solar-powered charging station for electric vehicles designed by Hakan Gürsu that doubles as a protective cover for cars.
Hans De Keulenaer's insight:

More gadget than solution, but good that entrepreneurs are thinking out of the box.

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Mercor's curator insight, February 11, 2013 2:03 PM

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Why Solar Panel Installation Is Three Times Costlier in the U.S. than in Germany

Why Solar Panel Installation Is Three Times Costlier in the U.S. than in Germany | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

In 2011, residential solar system installers paid a little over $1.80 per watt for solar panels in both Germany and the United States. In Germany, installers added $1.20 to the cost of the solar panel to complete an installation. But in the U.S., they tacked on $4.36 per watt, more than three times as much.

A report released this month by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explains why.

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Automated Quantification of Solar Photovoltaic Potential in Cities

Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy conversion offers a sustainable method of producing electricity to maintain and improve the standard of living within cities.
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Stanford Researchers Make Flexible Solar Cells that Stick to Just About Any Surface

Stanford Researchers Make Flexible Solar Cells that Stick to Just About Any Surface | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Researchers led by Xiaolin Zheng, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, demonstrated a way to transfer the active materials of the solar cell from a rigid substrate onto another surface, such as a sheet of paper or plastic, the roof of a car, or the back of a smartphone. As with other solar cells, wires would then be connected to deliver power, but flexible solar cells could be used on curved surfaces, and, because they’re lightweight, they would be easier to install than conventional panels.

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Ten Ideas for Slimmer Solar PV Cells : Greentech Media

Ten Ideas for Slimmer Solar PV Cells : Greentech Media | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
With the dramatic plunge in polysilicon feedstock prices, the motivation to go thinner may not be worth the hassle for manufacturers; this is due to the problems of increased yield-loss from breakage, difficulties with handling and processing bowed cells after metallization firing, and an increased percentage of cracked cells within modules, which may translate to lower nameplate power ratings and worse degradation rates in the field.

Still, savings on the order of $0.10 per wafer or more are possible from thinning down the wafers, particularly if module performance can be maintained or actually improved. Briefly described below are 10 technologies that can help enable thinner solar cells, listed roughly in order of the ease of implementation.
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UK Survey – More Would Invest In Solar If They Knew The Financial Benefits

UK Survey – More Would Invest In Solar If They Knew The Financial Benefits | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
The real picture — solar PV power is a good venture to invest in, surveys predict. However, there isn’t much publicity of what may be the actual financial benefits, so many are left simply guessing what they could save… if they are even asked or ask themselves. And, apparently, the large majority of citizens don’t realize how much money they could save if they installed a solar power system on their roof.
Hans De Keulenaer's insight:

Good implementation of policy is as important as good policy design.

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Panasonic développe une ville 100% énergies renouvelables au Japon

Panasonic développe une ville 100% énergies renouvelables au Japon | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
Neuf industriels s’associent sous la direction de Panasonic pour construire 1 000 foyers qui redéfiniront l’urbanisme écologique. Construit sur un ancien site industriel japonais, ce projet ambitieux s’appuiera sur un florilège de technologies propres. Cette ville côtière nommée Fugisawa est située à 50 km à l’ouest de Tokyo.

Via Stephane Bilodeau
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Solar PV can support the grid, and at a reasonable price

Solar PV can support the grid, and at a reasonable price | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

New IEE research project results show that PV can support the grid with levels of uncertainty equivalent to those accepted by TSOs for conventional power.

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Solar Energy and Durability Testing

Solar Energy and Durability Testing | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

This first report covered tests of five of 2012′s top eight crystalline silicon PV modules, from among SunPower (SPWR), Suntech (STP), Yingli (YGE), Trina (TSL), Canadian Solar (CSIQ), Sharp (SHCAY), Hanwha SolarOne (HSOL), and Kyocera (KYO).

The results showed “a substantial spread in thermal cycling durability, while all tested module types proved very good stability in the damp heat/UV test sequence.” And though some participants wanted to remain anonymous, all the data acquired under the PVDI will continue to be used to provide a comprehensive comparison in years to come.

Hans De Keulenaer's insight:

Since the massive use of solar photovoltaics is a relatively recent trend, there is little information on the long-term performance of PV panels. This report provides a welcome piece to the sustainable energy puzzle.

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New solar-cell coating could enable a major boost in efficiency

New solar-cell coating could enable a major boost in efficiency | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
Throughout decades of research on solar cells, one formula has been considered an absolute limit to the efficiency of such devices in converting sunlight into electricity: Called the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, it posits that the ultimate...
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Does a High Penetration of Solar and Wind Energy Cause -- Or Prevent -- Grid Instability?

Does a High Penetration of Solar and Wind Energy Cause -- Or Prevent -- Grid Instability? | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Given that solar and wind are intermittent, our usual notion of these most common forms of renewable energy is that they create grid instability – perhaps even blackouts – stemming from unpredictable clouds covering the sun or changing patters in the winds in a given region.  But according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) in Kassel, Germany, these fears may be unfounded; when better understood, a high penetration of solar and wind may actually prevent power outages.

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No Utility Incentives? No Problem: How To Get Returns From Your PV System

No Utility Incentives? No Problem: How To Get Returns From Your PV System | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

In some areas, the best incentive for investing in a residential solar power system may come from the local utility. On top of federal tax credits, improved resale value, and various state incentives, some consumers can benefit with additional credit from the local utility when they are able to sell back power they generate with a PV solar energy system. This arrangement not only saves them more money, it also accelerates system payback and return on investment.


But what happens if or when these incentives are limited or even ended? If a consumer has a simple grid-tied system, he doesn’t have many options if the utility won’t take the power back; he has to either use it or lose it. But if a grid-interactive system with energy storage is installed with a smarter inverter/charger at the heart of it, the consumer has a lot more control over his energy destiny with technology that can mitigate or offset the need to purchase utility power.

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The real cost impact of grid parity

The real cost impact of grid parity | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Solar is a bit different in that the overall grid needed does not decrease when we have more solar. Indeed, it is doubtful that photovoltaics will be able to reduce peak power demand, which comes at a time of total darkness in Germany anyway – at around 8 PM on November workday evenings – some four hours after the sun has gone down, and hence long after daily power storage in home battery systems will make much of a difference.

Proponents of solar, especially distributed power, rightly point out that the grid does not have to be expanded when distributed solar and wind generators go up. That statement is true, but it is not the same as the one in the previous paragraph. Distributed solar does not require the grid to be expanded as much as large solar arrays; and indeed, we have reached 4.6 percent solar power without expanding the grid much at all. It does not follow, however, that distributed solar allows us to make the grid smaller.

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Figures for PV in Flanders and RE in France for 2012

Figures for PV in Flanders and RE in France for 2012 | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Last week, the statistics for solar installations in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium were published, as were statistics for renewable electricity in France. The Flemish now nearly have two gigawatts of PV, while the French have crossed the three-gigawatt threshold.

Hans De Keulenaer's insight:

Well - almost as much PV installed in the mighty Flanders as in the whole of France.

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French Firm Launches Floating Solar Power System to Market

French Firm Launches Floating Solar Power System to Market | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

The Hydrélio system will be best used in unused stretches of water, such as quarry lakes, irrigation ponds, water treatment plant lagoons and dams, Ciel et Terre said. “This new floating solar power generation concept addresses the problems of land availability and landscape impacts that large-scale land-based solar power generation projects come up against,” it said. “It makes it possible to conserve land that can be put to other uses, and to convert unused stretches of water into spaces dedicated to renewable electricity production. These stretches of water cover substantial areas.”

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Kyocera’s Solar Panels Seems to Degrade Slower

Kyocera’s Solar Panels Seems to Degrade Slower | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Solar panel systems from the Japanese manufacturer Kyocera that were installed in a small French near Lyon has been up and running for exactly two decades now.

This about how long the warranty for solar panels lasts. What is remarkable about the 20-year old solar panels is that they show much less degeneration than what is expected – 8.3% reduction in performance when output levels were measured and compared to original levels. In other words, these solar panels still performed at 91.7% of their original maximum power output! 

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Plug and Save DIY Solar Power System Makes Residential Green Energy More Accessible Than Ever

Plug and Save DIY Solar Power System Makes Residential Green Energy More Accessible Than Ever | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Solar power is a great option for those who want to generate green energy for their own home, but unfortunately, renters and apartment dwellers don’t always have the option to install solar panels. All of that is about to change, though, with Sun Invention’s Plug & Save Solar System, the world’s first mobile solar panel with built-in battery storage and inverter.

Hans De Keulenaer's insight:

Gadget power.

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Record US Solar PV Installations of 1.2 GW in Q4: GTM Research

According to GTM Research, the U.S. will install 1.2 gigawatts of photovoltaics in the fourth quarter of 2012.

That healthy quarterly number will bring the annual U.S. solar total to 3.2 gigawatts for the year and set the U.S. up for 3.9 gigawatts of solar deployed in 2013, according to GTM Research.

The analysts at GTM forecast the U.S. solar market at 8 gigawatts in 2016.
Hans De Keulenaer's insight:

Very impressive growth, and without strong financial incentives.

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Solar panel breaks "third of a sun" efficiency barrier

Solar panel breaks "third of a sun" efficiency barrier | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Embattled photovoltaic solar power manufacturer Amonix announced on Tuesday that it has broken the solar module efficiency record, becoming the first manufacturer to convert more than a third of incoming light energy into electricity – a goal once branded "one third of a sun" in a Department of Energy initiative. The Amonix module clocked an efficiency rating of 33.5 percent.

 

During a period of testing by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory back in May, a peak efficiency of 34.2 percent was achieved, which Amonix claims is the highest ever reached by a PV module under real-world conditions. However, Amonix is only now drawing attention to the breakthrough, which saw its own record of 30.3 percent efficiency broken.

 

Amonix modules employ concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) technology, which add optical whizbangery such as mirrors and lenses to concentrate more direct sunlight onto individual solar cells. The technology is not to be confused with concentrated solar power, which applies similar optical technology to solar thermal systems which heat water, but also generate electricity with the addition of a heat engine.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc, eosfuturedesign
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