Friday, February 24, 2012

“Invisible” Solar Panels are on the Way

Window gazers of the future may soon find themselves looking right through an energy-producing transparent glass solar panel, if the folks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are on the right track. Working with the company New Energy Technologies, Inc., the lab has produced a transparent photovoltaic module that is 14 times bigger than its last attempt.

Windows that double as solar panels

At 170 square centimeters (about 26 square inches), the new module is about the size of a small window. If the technology can be ramped up to a more useful scale, practically any glass window could double as a clean energy generator, with the embedded photovoltaic cell all but invisible.
The largest device of its kind produced at NREL, the new module represents a breakthrough in organic photovoltaic cell (OPV) technology according to a statement by Dr. David S. Ginley of NREL, who said that integrating solar technology into window glass represents a “promising avenue for OPV deployment.”

Organic photovoltaic technology set to rise

In contrast to conventional solar technology based on silicon, OPV cells can be made from a variety of inexpensive polymers (plastics), which can be produced in liquid form and sprayed onto a substrate, or applied using a high volume, inexpensive roll-to-roll manufacturing process.
The two sticking main sticking points so far have been increasing the size of the solar module, and increasing its efficiency. The solar energy conversion efficiency of other solar technologies has been trending up in the double digits but OPV efficiency is currently stuck around eight percent according to NREL.
Though OPV is starting from a lowly place on the conversion efficiency totem pole, its potential for building-integrated usage puts it in a strong position in the solar industry. The relatively low conversion rate could be counterbalanced by the potential for extremely low installation costs compared to other solar technologies. See-through glass solar panels could simply be substituted for conventional window glass at a marginal increase in cost, rather than being treated as an expensive add-on.

A place in the sun(shot) for OPV

Lowering the overall installed cost of solar power is a primary goal of President Obama’s SunShot Initiative, which aims to make solar energy compete on price against fossil fuels within the next few years. That partly explains why NREL is so gung-ho on OPV technology despite its low efficiency.
It should be noted, though, that the focus on OPV predates the Obama Administration. OPV was part of the Solar America initiative under the Bush Administration. Despite a conversion efficiency of only five percent at the time, a 2007 Department of Energy draft report identified some key benefits of developing OPV technology, including “the inherent low materials cost and low-energy, high-throughput processing technologies, and because of the huge variety of possible organic systems.”

OPV and American-made energy

Another aspect of NREL’s interest in OPV has to do with reliability and stability of price and supply, which are key elements in President Obama’s broader “American-made energy” pitch.
The use of a variety of polymers would enable the U.S. solar industry to overcome a major obstacle that derives from reliance on silicon-based solar technology, and that is the price fluctuation of a single key material – silicon – on the open market.
According to a report last week in Bloomberg News, China, which it describes as the “biggest…
supplier to solar-panel manufacturers worldwide,” has shut down almost a third of its polysilicon production after prices fell by 60 percent, a move that is expected to result in a quick return to higher prices.
However, it’s too soon to say good-bye to silicon forever. NREL is also working with another small company, Innovalight, to develop solar modules based on a low cost, nano-engineered spray-on liquid silicon process.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Apple reveals details on solar-powered data center Apple reveals details on solar-powered data center

Apple says it’s building the nation’s largest end user-owned onsite solar array on the land surrounding its massive $1 billion data center in Maiden, North Carolina, according to an environmental report released today by the company. Hat tip to CNET for first spotting the solar details in Apple’s environmental footprint report.
Apple’s secret solar farm leaked out back in October when the Charlotte Observer reported Catawba County had approved permits to allow the company to reshape some of the vacant land it owned in preparation for a solar array. Apple never shared details about the solar farm — that is, until now. Granted, the “details” are vague. Still no information on the type of solar tech the company will use. But, hey it’s a start.
The details:
  • 20-megawatt solar installation;
  • Located on 100 acres;
  • Will supply 42 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year.
Solar won’t be the only renewable energy powering the Maiden data center. According to the report, Apple is building a 5-megawatt fuel cell installation that will be located adjacent to the data center. The fuel cell installation, which is scheduled to come online later this year, will be powered by 100 percent biogas and provide more than 40 million kWh of baseload renewable energy annually, Apple said in the report.
Apple revealed a few other energy-efficient features that will be found in the Maiden data center including:
  • The facility earned the LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Apple says it knows of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification.
  • Chilled water storage system designed to improve chiller efficiency by transferring 10,400 kilowatt hours of electricity consumption from peak to off-peak hours every day;
  • Outside air is funneled into the building at night and during cool-weather hours. Use of outside air and the water storage system allows chillers to be turned off more than 75 percent of the time;
  • White cool-roof to reflect sun’;
  • High-efficiency LED lighting equipped with motion sensors;
  • Power distributed at higher voltages to increase efficiency by reducing power loss.
Photo: Duke Energy (Blue Wing Solar project)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Solar Panel Installation in Chennai

My name is Jebaraj Samuel. S,(IT Consultant by profession)

I have come up with a Solar energy start-up, "Solar 7 solutions". 

Vision: Powering a greener future for India

Mission: To place Solar panels in every home in India. 

God said, "let there be light" and light came down at 1,86,000 miles per second, and it even comes today. 

Lets harness the power of the "Sun" to run our homes and industries. 

Below is the link to the photos - Solar Panel Installation Photos - 

Photos of a 2KwH system(6x100 watt panels), uses thin film technology. 

What is CIGS Thin Film?   - Solar PV business of Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide ("CIGS") thin film technology. 

Solar Panel Installation video

The cost of the Solar panels, Solar Charge Controller, Rocket batteries(4), Inverter is 1.60 Lacs. 

Please do come and take a look at the installation. 

Address: no. 52, 7th cross street, Shenoy nagar, Chennai - 30

Jebaraj Samuel. S
Solar 7 Solutions, Chennai, India
skype ID: jebarajsamuel

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Plan for Growth in the North American PV Market

Sharp reductions in market prices combined with the impact of regional and national policies pushed the North American PV market to a new quarterly peak with 0.93 GW installed in Q4’11. In 2012, 60% growth is expected in North America. Downstream companies will need to adapt to changes in the end-market.

The North American PV Markets Quarterly report provides detailed data and analysis for the US and Canada. Clients of this report can:
  • Develop growth strategies with rolling 5-year forecast PV installations by country
  • Identify the most promising North American markets to target
  • Learn about the key federal and local incentives driving PV projects
  • Understand the competitive landscape and identify opportunities by learning about important ongoing PV projects
  • Identify potential business relationships by getting a list of customers and distributors in different countries and states