Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 11 March 2014

Wesleyan Finishes Upgrades To Microgrid, First In State Power Reliability Program
March 4, 2014 - The head of Wesleyan University's physical plant on Tuesday walked into the small electrical switching station that links a more than a quarter of the campus's buildings to the electric grid.

"If I flip this switch it goes dark," said Alan Rubacha, his hand almost touching a nearby breaker panel.

In October 2011, he did hit the switch, when a massive snowstorm knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut, including those in Middletown and at Wesleyan. The simple move cut the campus from the power grid and turned the university over to an on-site gas generator for electricity. read more>>>

Duke students using solar power while camping for UNC tickets
4 March 2014 - In Krzyzewskiville, the rules are many, the accommodations are barebones and the fans are ... dedicated. Some might even call them crazy.

Duke students, the Cameron Crazies, camp out in tents in the lawn area right by Cameron Indoor Stadium -- sometimes for months in advance, depending on how hardcore the "tenters" are -- just for the right to get the best seats for the North Carolina-Duke game each year.

And yes, at least one or two tenters in each group (depending on the level of tenting, of course) have to spend the night out there, only getting exceptions in the case of extreme weather. There are bathrooms, but they are port-a-potties. There are electrical outlets, but they are on the other side of the sidewalk. read more>>>

Trina Solar awarded EPC contract for Jordan's largest solar power project
28 February 2014 - Trina Solar Limited has announced the signing of an EPC contract with Fresh Fruits Company, a food storage and logistics company in Amman, Jordan, for a 2 MW rooftop solar power plant on the company's stores and warehouses

Under the contract, Trina Solar will be responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project which will use Trina Solar TSM-PC05A Honey 260 Wp high efficiency modules. These are especially well adapted to dry and high temperature environments prevalent in the Middle East according to a Trina spokesperson. read more>>>

Tier 1 PV manufacturers boost expansions to support increasing demand, analyst says
21 February 2014 - After a slowdown in capital spending, confidence has returned to the photovoltaic sector as demand growth and stabilized pricing has led to improved market dynamics, according to Jon Campos, analyst for solar research at IHS.

Campos predicts global capital spending in 2014 by producers of photovoltaic (PV) ingots, wafers, cells, modules and polysilicon will rise by a robust 42 percent to reach $3.37 billion and another 25 percent to $4.22 billion by 2015.

After an industry shakeout in 2012, "the market has come closer to equilibrium," Campos says. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

Artificial photosynthesis: Key intermediate steps in artificial photosynthesis reaction identified
March 4, 2014 - Artificial photosynthesis, in which we emulate the process used by nature to capture energy from the sun and convert it into electrochemical energy, is expected to be a major asset in any sustainable energy portfolio for the future. Artificial photosynthesis offers the promise of producing liquid fuels that are renewable and can be used without exacerbating global climate change. A key to realizing commercial-scale artificial photosynthesis technology is the development of electrocatalysts that can efficiently and economically carry out water oxidation reaction that is critical to the process. Heinz Frei, a chemist with Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, has been at the forefront of this research effort. His latest results represent an important step forward.

"The oxidation of water to molecular oxygen is a four-electron process involving multiple steps," Frei says. read more>>>

Solar power: Making it less expensive and more efficient
March 4, 2014 - University of Cincinnati researchers are reporting early results on a way to make solar-powered panels in lights, calculators and roofs lighter, less expensive, more flexible (therefore less breakable) and more efficient.

Fei Yu, a University of Cincinnati doctoral student in materials engineering, will present new findings on boosting the power conversion efficiency of polymer solar cells on March 3, at the American Physical Society Meeting in Denver.

Yu is experimenting with adding a small fraction of graphene nanoflakes to polymer-blend bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells to improve performance and lower costs of solar energy. read more>>>

Transparent, color solar cells fuse energy, beauty
March 4, 2014 - Colorful, see-through solar cells invented at the University of Michigan could one day be used to make stained-glass windows, decorations and even shades that turn the sun's energy into electricity.

The cells, believed to be the first semi-transparent, colored photovoltaics, have the potential to vastly broaden the use of the energy source, says Jay Guo, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering at U-M. Guo is lead author of a paper about the work newly published online in Scientific Reports. read more>>>

Solar on the path to mainstream status
March 5, 2014 - The U.S. solar market is going mainstream, according to a new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which cites continuing explosive growth and a record-shattering year in 2013.

In 2013, photovoltaic (PV) installations proliferated increasing 41 percent over 2012 to reach 4,751 MW, according to the research, and 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came online. Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. Additionally, the cost to install solar fell throughout the year, ending the year 15 percent below the end of 2012. read more>>>

New study to boost business case for green buildings
March 11th 2014 - The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has launched a global project aimed at defining the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings.

Jones Lang LaSalle, Lend Lease and Skanska are corporate sponsors for the project and the Green Building Councils of Hong Kong, the UK, USA and Colombia are also partners.

Even modest improvements to staff health and productivity can have a dramatic impact on organizational profitability, it said. read more>>>

UN-led Global Partnership to Help Green 30 National Economies by 2020
12 Mar, 2014 - Countries such as Burkina Faso, Peru, Mauritius, Mongolia, and Senegal are set to boost their economies through a shift of investment and policies towards a new generation of assets that include clean technologies and resource efficient infrastructure, green skilled labour, well-functioning ecosystems, and good governance. Such a transformation, supported by the UN-led Partnership for Action on a Green Economy (PAGE), will pay significant dividends in social, environmental and economic terms. PAGE aims to extend its support to a total of 30 countries by 2020.

Well over US $11 million were announced in support of PAGE activities by donors including Finland, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and Switzerland. read more>>>

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