The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown.
A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy - or ways in which to convert light into power.
They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent.
The second leg of Solar Impulse 2's epic solar-powered flight across the Pacific has been postponed until 2016 while the plane undergoes repairs to its damaged batteries.
The plane’s batteries, which provide power for night flying, overheated during its recent five-day, 4,480-mile flight from Japan to Hawaii, forcing the Solar Impulse team to push the next leg of the journey to April 2016.
Pol Bacquet's insight:
Solar batteries technology remains a weak piece in the solar puzzle and slows down progress and confidence on solar energy potential future. We are still on prehistoric ages. This is an extraordinary opportunity for young talents to really innovate and get rid of the "dinosaurs" !
Solar Impulse 2 is stuck on the ground in Hawaii after suffering "irreversible" battery damage caused by overheating during its record-setting, five-day flight from Nagoya, Japan, project leaders said. The solar-powered airplane, with Swiss pilot André Borschberg at the controls, landed safely in Hawaii on July 3, completing the longest leg of its around-the-world attempt and breaking the record for the world's longest nonstop solo flight. The team's euphoria quickly faded, however, when they realized the seriousness of Si2's battery damage.
Pol Bacquet's insight:
Solar Batteries are a major challenge on solar projects and important innovations are welcome ASAP
Solar hasn’t historically been a hot industry in Florida, but short- and long-term efforts are underway statewide and locally that could pay huge economic and environmental dividends.
Florida ranks third in the nation for rooftop solar potential, but comes in 13th for cumulative solar capacity installed. That’s according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade association, which asserts that the state’s solar policies lag behind many other states.
Ok, that was a smart-aleck answer. But I’ve got a point: When people talk about a “backup,” they tend to think of a one-for-one replacement. I remember when my kids were in diapers, and I had to carry four diapers for a long day out, just in case. That’s three “backups” actually!
But for a large utility, solar and wind power do not need a special “backup” generator. Utilities can plan their system to anticipate what additional generation they will need to ensure reliability, and it is very rare that they need a one-for-one generation backup for solar and wind.
Dans notre société moderne, l'énergie est devenue indispensable non seulement pour assurer la croissance de nombreux projets à vocations technologiques, mais aussi, et plus important encore, pour sa survie.
Le soleil est une source d'énergie abondante et pratiquement infinie. Aussi, des chercheurs du monde entier sont entrés en compétition pour créer de nouvelles approches afin de "récupérer" l'énergie à partir du soleil ou de la transférer vers d'autres sources.
Still in their infancy, battery-based intelligent storage systems haven't built up the performance track record most banks and investors like to see when committing capital to a new technology, project or company.
There's been plenty of good news about solar power lately - not only are governments around the world using it more and more, we're now able to harvest the Sun's energy more cheaply and efficiently than ever before. But there's still one big problem: traditional solar cells simply don't work that well unless they're in direct, bright sunlight.
To rectify this, researchers have been working on creating structures called black silicon solar cells, which absorb way more light and are useful even on overcast days. But they've never been efficient enough to be real players in the solar race - up until now, that is.
Chile will be the largest Latin American PV market with over 1 GW of newly installed PV capacity this year, according to the report Latin America PV Playbook from GTM Research. The second largest PV market, however, will not be Mexico, as previously expected, but Honduras. The small country, in fact, will be able to add a new PV capacity of approximately 460 MW in 2015, while Mexico will install only 195 MW of PV power. Guatemala and Honduras will be the fourth and fifth largest markets with 98 MW and 62 MW of new PV capacity installed this year, respectively.
A Dutch project to turn the nation's bike paths into energy-generating solar roadways has just cleared its first major test with flying colors.
Al Jazeera reports SolaRoad's 70-meter test track near the town of Krommenie outside Amsterdam has generated over 3,000 kilowatt-hours over its first six months of operation, or "enough to provide a single-person household with electricity for a year." That translates to 70 kwh per square meter of solar road per year, which the designers predicted as an "upper limit" during the planning process.
Renewable energy technologies have made outstanding progress in the last decade. The cost of solar panels has plummeted. Wind turbines have become massively more efficient. In many places some forms of renewable energy are cost competitive. And yet…just as these exciting changes are taking place, the renewables movement seems to be shifting its focus to something that has little or no connection to the fundamental environmental goals: distributed generation, particularly at the residential level. In practice, this means rooftop solar PV.
Shared solar, where multiple parties share the benefits of on- or off-site PV arrays, has the potential to dramatically expand solar energy access for residents and businesses across the U.S., as well as open avenues for utilities to play a greater role in the U.S. transition to a low-carbon economy
AT AN AIRFIELD somewhere in the UK, there’s a drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 737. And it belongs to Facebook.
This enormous unmanned aerial vehicle is called Aquila—a nod to the eagle who carried Zeus’s thunder bolts in Greek mythology—and it’s part of Facebook’s rather ambitious effort to deliver Internet access to the more than 4 billion people on earth who don’t already have it. The idea is that Aquila will circle in the stratosphere, above the weather, wirelessly beaming Internet signals to base stations in underdeveloped areas of countries like Nigeria and India.
Solar energy is now so cheap that it's beating fossil fuels, putting it on a path for growth that can't be stopped.
When the SunShot Initiative was launched by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011, even I thought it was a little crazy to think the goal of $1-per-watt solar energy was within reach. In this article from April 2011, I said that $1 per watt by 2017 had a "fighting chance" at best, but it was a long way off at the time.
With the growing threat of climate change due to the excessive release of carbon emissions, many nations are looking to clean energy alternatives to replace traditional fossil fuels. Of all the clean energy alternatives, solar has arguably been the most expensive. However, after considering the pros and cons along with the 80% drop in solar panel prices over the last five years, the future of solar energy is looking rather bright.
Driven by rapid expansion in developing countries, renewables are becoming a significant source of the world’s power. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) 9th “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015,” investment in developing countries was up 36 percent in 2014, totaling $131.3 billion.
China ($83.3 billion), Brazil ($7.6 billion), India ($7.4 billion) and South Africa ($5.5 billion) were all in the top 10 of investing countries while more than $1 billion was invested in Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya and Turkey. As renewables continue to expand into developing nations, it is incumbent upon developers to understand the risk features of some of these environments.
Romande Energie et l'EPFL ont construit ensemble, sur le campus de l'EPFL, le plus grand parc solaire de Suisse intégré à un complexe de bâtiments existants. Inauguré mardi dernier, ce parc, d'une surface de 15.500 m2, couvre plus de 25 toitures, à l'image d'une seule centrale sur tous les toits d'un quartier. Mais c'est également d'un important laboratoire de recherche et d'enseignement que se voit dotée la Haute Ecole.
Annoncée en 2009, la construction du parc solaire Romande Energie – EPFL a été menée par étapes pour atteindre, avec sa mise en service finale aujourd'hui, la production de 2,2 millions de kilowattheures par an, soit l'équivalent de la consommation annuelle de 610 ménages.
LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 19 May 2015 - Brazil will spearhead renewable energy additions in South America to 2017, with the country's cumulative installed capacity expanding from 19.8 Gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to over 32.9 GW by 2017, representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.17%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The company's latest report* also states that Chile will see the fastest increase in renewables over the forecast period, with cumulative installed capacity rising from just 1.06 GW in 2013 to 5.37 GW by 2017, at an impressive CAGR of 50.12%.
From deep down in the Earth, 300,000 barrels of oil a day are filled in the Autonomous Republic of Bashkortostan. Nevertheless, this oil-wealthy majority Muslim nation is expanding its economic energy in the direction of up. High up into the sky to be specific. Turning its energy and attention to the bright, shining sun, Bashkortostan’s solar power industry is on the rise.
When it comes time to upgrade gadgets to the latest and greatest versions, most device manufacturers don’t even think twice about trashing old parts. According to Wired, network upgrade initiatives are slated to produce 93.5 million tons of electronic waste in 2016. Telecom equipment and cabinets in particular undergo rapid innovation, leaving older models obsolete and in need of a responsible end-of-life solution that reuses, repurposes or recycles the legacy network equipment. Genesis...
Using recyclable natural resources in construction plays a large part in green architecture. But that’s not all. Sustainable architecture also facilitates natural ventilation and lighting and reduces dependency on external resources. For example, one could use green roof systems, which can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs at home. Green architecture also goes a long way in controlling pollution. Sustainable residential landscapes include the use of planting trees for shade, clean energy resources like solar power, high performance windows “tuned” to the sun, tightly sealed construction, recycling bins, compost, rooftop water catchment systems, avoiding ozone-depleting materials and using salvaged building material.
Using California's rooftops, parking lots, and other developed land, the state could power itself up to five times over.
Solar plants keep getting bigger: The new Topaz Solar Farm, in a remote part of southern California, sprawls over an area about a third of the size of Manhattan. In February, another solar farm of roughly the same size—with 9 million solar panels—opened in the Mojave Desert. Later this year, an even larger project will open in Antelope Valley.
Ségolène Royal lance un nouvel appel d’offres portant sur une capacité de 50 MW pour les installations solaires de grande taille (puissance minimale de 100 kWc, soit environ 600 m⊃2;), situées dans les Départements d’outre-mer (DOM) et en Corse.
L’objectif de cet appel d’offres est de déployer l’énergie solaire qui est particulièrement adaptée aux systèmes électriques insulaires, en mettant en œuvre des projets innovants qui allient des technologies de stockage (des batteries seront associées aux panneaux photovoltaïques) à des solutions d’autoconsommation permettant de limiter la consommation d’électricité aux moments où la demande est la plus forte.
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