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News that effects the sustainability of life on Earth
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INFOGRAPHIC: How it Works, the Solar Decathlon Microgrid

INFOGRAPHIC: How it Works, the Solar Decathlon Microgrid | Sustain Our Earth |

The Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. 

The houses are built over a two year period on campuses across the world, and are then shipped to Irvine, California- the competition itself consists of 10 contests, one being on Energy Balance, measuring the net energy each house produces and consumes.

One of the most important aspect to this concept is the micro-grid solution — the connection between the houses and the local utility to provide excess solar energy to the grid.  Each team’s house is equipped with a bidirectional utility meter that enables power flow to and from the electrical utility and a net metering system to record energy consumption and PV energy production.

Here's how it works...

Via Lauren Moss
David Parr's curator insight, October 22, 2013 1:35 PM

Always wondered how this competition was organised. Pretty cool way of trying to set a benchmark for designs.

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High-Voltage DC Breakers Could Enable a Renewable Energy Supergrid | MIT Technology Review

High-Voltage DC Breakers Could Enable a Renewable Energy Supergrid | MIT Technology Review | Sustain Our Earth |
A high-power circuit breaker makes it possible to create highly efficient DC power grids.

"ABB's circuit breaker changes that. Within five milliseconds it can stop the flow of a huge amount of power—equal to the entire output of a nuclear power plant, ABB says. The breakers could be used to nearly instantaneously reroute power in a DC grid around a problem, allowing the grid to keep functioning. “Ordinarily, if something goes wrong anywhere, all the power goes off,” says Claes Rytoft, ABB’s chief technology officer. “The breaker can cut out the faulty line and keep the rest healthy.”


Researchers have been trying to develop high-voltage DC circuit breakers for a century (see “Edison’s Revenge: The Rise of DC Power”). Mechanical switches alone didn't work—they shut off power too slowly. Power electronics made of transistors that can switch on and off large amounts of power offered a possible solution, but they proved far too inefficient. ABB's solution combines power electronics with a mechanical switch to create a hybrid system that's both fast and efficient. The new circuit breaker could also be far less expensive than systems that use only transistors.


Via Arno Neumann
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