The solar industry is booming. The millionth set of solar panels in the United States was installed sometime in the last two months, and industry leaders expect the number of solar-powered systems to double within two years. That’s a huge deal, experts say. While solar still only makes up 1 percent of the country’s energy mix, the swift rise in solar capacity portends a bright future for an energy source that, less than 10 years ago, a leading solar tech scientist dismissed as “green bling for the wealthy.”
It has taken 40 years for the US to hit 1 million solar energy installations, but it will take only another two years for that figure to double. Meanwhile, the current total solar capacity of 27 GW is expected to triple by 2020. In short, officials said Wednesday, solar's future is bright as the sun. Climate Nexus, a New York-based strategic communications organization that promotes clean energy solutions, hosted an online conference call to mark the major milestone of 1 million solar installations.
Dubai received bid of $.0299/kWh for 800MW of solar power. This price represents the lowest yet recorded for solar power. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has received 5 bids from international organisations for the third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, said HE Saeed Mohammed AlTayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. The lowest recorded bid at the opening of the envelopes was US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour. The next step in the bidding process will review the technical and commercial aspects of the bids to select the best one.
'Zero-energy' buildings -- which generate as much power as they consume -- are now much closer after a team at Australia's University of New South Wales achieved the world's highest efficiency using flexible solar cells that are non-toxic and cheap to make. Until now, the promise of 'zero-energy' buildings been held back by two hurdles: the cost of the thin-film solar cells (used in façades, roofs and windows), and the fact they're made from scarce, and highly toxic, materials.
The energy world is changing fast. Investments into renewable energy are outpacing investments into conventional energy. The incumbents, unused to this pace of change and tied down by large asset bases and long-term investment strategies, are struggling. The first to be hit were the utilities in developed countries with a high share of renewables in the electricity mix.
Thanks to advances in technology and greater economies of scale, the price of solar panels and the power they produce is lower than it’s ever been. According to Dan Whitten, the vice president of communications at the Solar Energy Industries Association, “By the end of 2020, the amount of installed solar capacity will be 300 percent higher than today. Nationwide, it grew 10 times between 2008 and 2015.” The benefits of solar power are hard to deny. Users can effectively free themselves from the grips of utility companies, and often wind up supplying excess energy back to the grid.
It's easy to get ridiculously excited about solar power these days. The panels keep getting cheaper and cheaper as technology improves. Large photovoltaic arrays are sprouting up around the globe. Sure, solar still produces only 1 percent of the world's electricity, but it's growing at double-digit rates each year. So with all this momentum, you'd think the solar industry could kick back and celebrate, right? Domination is only a matter of time!
For some areas of the world, the push toward clean, renewable solar energy has faced an uphill battle due largely to climate constraints and regional weather patterns. With environmental experts predicting that solar energy could account for two-thirds of all new energy generated in the next 25 years, these areas are increasingly at risk for missing out on this largely untapped goldmine.
Solar power is making huge strides as a reliable, renewable energy source, but there's still a lot of untapped potential in terms of the efficiency of photovoltaic cells and what happens at night and during inclement weather. Now a solution has been put forward in the form of producing energy from raindrops.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory said that rooftop solar panels have the potential to generate nearly 40 percent of electricity in the U.S.
Many people ask when the cost of producing power from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be equal to or less than buying from the grid—a point called “grid parity” that could accelerate solar adoption.
Everyone likes renewables, but how do we like them: centralized or distributed? More to the point, what role do we see the utilities playing as we move into a clean energy future? Will we become self-sufficient energy pioneers, with solar panels on our roofs and backup batteries in the basement, in a world where we won’t need utilities anymore, thank you very much? Or perhaps we should keep them around, to provide backup, so we don’t have to buy those expensive batteries.
New research shows that it won't necessarily take super storage to scale renewable energy, but it will take a mix of locally-generated and utility-scale power.
‘Historically, energy usage grows tenfold every century,’ Freeman Dyson once told me during a chat we had at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies, a few years ago. ‘So we are not far from becoming a Type I civilisation on the Kardashev Scale, perhaps within this century, or just a little later on,’ claimed the great physicist.
The scale, proposed by the Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev, designates a Type I civilisation as one capable of harnessing its own planet’s available energy, while a Type II can control the energy radiated by its own star and a Type III by its whole galaxy.
The growth of solar energy will be driven by three factors. First and most important, costs are falling sharply. Solar module costs have fallen roughly 80 percent since 2007 and are projected to keep falling. Already, solar power is cheaper than the competition in many sunny places. Solar power’s competitive strength will continue to grow in the years ahead.
If in the future you find yourself selling your excess solar panel energy to your neighbor via secure blockchain, you'll have one startup's actions on President Street in Brooklyn to thank. That’s where experimental microgrid provider TransActive Grid has posted its first two TransActive Grid Element meters inside residential units so that residents can exchange energy via a nascent blockchain marketplace.
Researchers from Rice University in the US have found a more effective way of harvesting sunlight for energy through the use of tiny light-activated gold nanoparticles. New technologies such as this are contributing to the falling costs of solar power implementation, which could solidify its place in future energy production.
Researchers are using new technologies such as magnetic brakes and sleepers made from recycled tyres to make the next generation of rail travel greener, quieter and more durable. Image courtesy of Greenrail Electricity-generating tracks, longer-lasting brakes and more energy-efficient trains could help to decrease the environmental footprint of the billions of railway journeys taken across Europe each year.
San Fransisco has introduced a green building code. A new city ordinance will now require all new buildings to have solar panels. It’s the first requirement of its kind seen in a major city in the United States, and it means San Francisco is just that much closer to its plans for the city to run on renewable energy by 2020. The city ordinance was voted on last week by its Board of Supervisors and passed unanimously. The building code will go into effect in January of 2017. It builds upon a state law, which requires all new buildings to make 15 percent of roof space “solar ready.”
Organic Photovoltaic industry is a rapidly developing industry that is witnessing a paradigm shift from research phase towards commercialization owing to growing demand for eco-friendly photovoltaic technology. The organic solar cells provide a way to transform the solar energy into the electric form. Organic solar cells are more beneficial than conventional solar cells as they can be easily converted into different shapes and colors that make them a preferred choice when the application focuses more on design and flexibility rather than the efficiency.
Engineers have developed a way to make a magnetic material that could lead to lighter and smaller, cheaper and better-performing high-frequency transformers, needed for more flexible energy storage systems and widespread adoption of renewable energy.
The world human population is already more than 7 billion — a number that could exceed 11 billion by 2100, according to projections from the United Nations. This rising populace, coupled with environmental challenges, puts even greater pressure on already strained energy resources. Granted, there’s no silver bullet, but Georgia Tech researchers are developing a broad range of technologies to make power more abundant, efficient, and eco-friendly.
This is Morocco’s Noor 1 concentrated solar power plant, the first phase of what will eventually be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. It is an impressive sight—visible even from space–and it holds the promise of supplying over 500 megawatts of power to over a million Moroccans by 2018.
In theory, subsidies for solar power and other so-called renewables were sold as a short-term measure to jump-start the transition to a clean energy future. Forget the fact that solar energy has been the energy of the future ever since the early 1970s. In theory — borrowing phrasing from Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of Clemson University's Department of Economics — the "bootleggers" who pushed for these subsidies as a way to get rich by embracing the green energy dogma of the "Baptists," believed that subsidies begin, but never end.
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