Thursday, January 16, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 16 January 2014

5 Reasons for New York Solar Greatness
January 13th, 2014 - For more than 5 years, Vote Solar and our partners have tirelessly advocated for big, bold solar policy in New York State. Today, we’re thrilled to see that vision becoming reality! Just last week, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) petitioned state regulators to extend the state’s landmark NY-Sun Initiative through 2023. Governor Cuomo and the State of New York have demonstrated true commitment to making the Empire State a solar powerhouse.

Along the way we’ve taken big steps forward, we’ve hit walls, and we’ve even had a toe on the goal line a time or two (or four). But through all the ups and downs, there have been some constants – New Yorkers love solar and want to see more of it in their communities. In the spirit of 5 years of tireless solar campaigning, here are our top 5 reasons for New York’s solar greatness: read more>>>

Massive 579MW Solar Star Power Plant Goes Online in California
01/13/14 - MidAmerican Solar and SunPower have announced that the first portion of one of the largest solar power plants in the United States is now feeding into the California independent service operator (ISO) grid. The photovoltaic Solar Star project, a co-located facility in Kern and Los Angeles Counties, is currently supplying 57MW to the grid, and will ultimately provide enough electricity to power 255,000 homes when all 579MW goes online in 2015.

Construction began on the Solar Star projects in early 2013, and upon their completion the 579MW facilities will include more than 1.7 million panels installed across 3,230 acres. read more>>>


EV sales growing in surprising places
January 14, 2014 - The market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) is growing in high numbers in predictable places like California, New York and Florida, in part, because they have some of the highest gasoline prices in the United States. However, more surprisingly, North Carolina and Texas are also showing significant sales.

In fact, according to Navigant Research, even the least populated states will see cumulative PEV sales in the thousands by 2020, and a total of nearly 2.6 million PEVs will be sold nationwide between 2013 and 2022. read more>>>

Energy assurance only a microgrid away
01.14.2014 - Methane-powered generators first started at the Miramar Landfill, June 14, 2012, in order to create a sustainable, yet renewable, energy source for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and now installation officials and energy managers are looking forward to making the air station completely self-sufficient when it comes to its energy needs.

Mick Wasco, energy manager aboard the air station, his team and installation officials are currently working on a project to begin making the air station its own microgrid. read more>>>

Make America green: Time for a worldwide peaceful revolution
January 14, 2014 - Thinking about the place of the U.S. in the world focuses around its imperial reach, military spending, nuclear arsenal and misguided foreign policy. Who can overlook what the U.S. warfare state means today?

Behind the military might lies of course an industrial economy with a global base; U.S. political power relies on its economic strength.

More and more people are catching on: the American economy is not producing for its citizens. Standard accounts show lagging employment, slow to no GDP growth per capita and increasing inequality. read more>>>

“The Sun Rises, and the Sun Sets”: 14 Religious Communities Using Solar Power
If I asked you to provide a one or two word answer to the question “What do you call a group of people who live together, share work and living space, and power their lifestyle with renewable energy?” you’d likely answer with “commune,” or “ecovillage,” or maybe even “intentional community.” “Monastery” or “convent” probably wouldn’t come immediately to mind, but perhaps they should: like their earthier brethren, numerous religious communities are now powering at least a portion of their buildings and groups with solar power.

The reasoning for this choice often involves a dedication to “creation care” by the men and/or women of the community, as well as the order/organization to which they belong. There may be more practical reasons for going solar, as well: a purchased array of solar panels will eventually pay for itself and deliver “free”energy. If there’s an excess of electricity created, the community may take advantage of net metering options, or even sell the power to nearby homeowners and businesses. read more>>>

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Researchers Harness Sun's Energy During Day for Use at Night
Jan. 14, 2014 — Solar energy has long been used as a clean alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil, but it could only be harnessed during the day when the sun's rays were strongest. Now researchers led by Tom Meyer at the Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have built a system that converts the sun's energy not into electricity but hydrogen fuel and stores it for later use, allowing us to power our devices long after the sun goes down.

"So called 'solar fuels' like hydrogen offer a solution to how to store energy for nighttime use by taking a cue from natural photosynthesis," said Meyer, Arey Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UNC's College of Arts and Sciences. read more>>>

Scientists Develop a More Efficient and Economical Solar Cell Based On Graphene and Perovskite
Jan. 14, 2014 — The Group of Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Devices (DFO) at the Universitat Jaume I in Castell√≥, led by the professor of Applied Physics Juan Bisquert, together with researchers from the University of Oxford, have created and characterized a photovoltaic device based on a combination of titanium oxide and graphene as charge collector and perovskite as sunlight absorber. The device is manufactured at low temperatures and has a high efficiency.

The results of this study were recently published in Nano Letters. The article is the result of the research work carried out the last year by the Group of Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Devices on the topic of photovoltaic solar cells based on solid pigments with perovskite structure. read more>>>

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New Software Allows Developers to Create Super Efficient Solar Parks
01/14/14 - In 2012, Siemens developed a software that allowed them to design ultra-efficient solar parks in just a few seconds, but at that time only Siemens had access to the tool. Now Siemens has announced that they are making this software available to other photovoltaic facility construction firms so that everyone can benefit. The software is called PVplanet and it allows developers to generate the best layout for their specific space, reducing planning time by up to 80% and making each solar park more efficient.

The planning tool works by calculating weather, location, cost to build and predicted output. It can also calculate how far apart each panel should be placed to avoid casting shadows that could impact output and it can tell developers what the ideal angle is for each panel. In addition to all of that, the software generates hundreds of layout options so that the planner can pick the best one, all in the blink of an eye. read more>>>

Rebuilding and going green in 2014
Repair efforts continue at Fort Irwin after last summer's monsoon storm

January 14, 2014 - As 2014 begins, construction workers at Fort Irwin are still repairing major damage from last year’s flood season.

The Army base was battered by a series of thunderstorms in July and August of 2013, with the most damage coming in the aftermath of an Aug. 25 storm that flooded a significant part of the installation.

Leslie Ozawa, Public Affairs Specialist at Fort Irwin, spoke with Muhammad Bari, director of Fort Irwin’s public works department, about the damages in a December article on the Army’s official website. read more>>>

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