April 4, 2014 - The town council has approved a plan to put solar panels on the roofs of two school buildings and to send the proposal to the board of education for approval.
The solar panels would be put on top of Avon Middle School and Avon High School. Officials said Thursday that the panels could save the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility costs.
"This is more than about saving money," said council Chairman Mark Zacchio. "This is a step in a new direction for Avon." read more>>>
April 1, 2014 - Researchers in China have found a convenient way to selectively prepare germanium sulfide nanostructures, including nanosheets and nanowires, that are more active than their bulk counterparts and could open the way to lower cost and safer optoelectronics, solar energy conversion and faster computer circuitry.
Germanium monosulfide, GeS, is emerging as one of the most important "IV-VI" semiconductor materials with potential in opto-electronics applications for telecommunications and computing, and as an absorber of light for use in solar energy conversion. One important property is its much lower toxicity and environmental impact when compared to other semiconductors made with cadmium, lead and mercury. read more>>>
April 1, 2014 - In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, states in the Northeast U.S. have been putting the weight of government policy and budgets behind microgrids, self-sustaining islands of electric power to keep hospitals, emergency responders and critical services running in the midst of broader grid blackouts.
That’s an important goal for grid resiliency, and one that could play a role beyond blackouts. After all, networked aggregations of distributed green power, energy storage, backup generation and demand-side management are convenient building blocks when developing a green-energy-integrated grid.
But that’s harder than it sounds. read more>>>
March 31, 2014 - Microgrids seem to be the new buzz word all around the country from California to Connecticut, but what exactly is a microgrid and is it the future of energy?
According to GTM Research, a true microgrid encompasses four parts: Virtual Power Plants, Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems, Back-up Generators and Uninterruptable Power Sources, and Behind the meter and DG storage. However, it has also been defined as, “empowers[ing] a geographic area to use its own electricity when it’s available and to rely on the existing utility grid when it’s not.” The latter definition appears to be more popularly used and the one that addresses a major issue for many — reliability. For instance, Connecticut lost power to 625,000 homes and businesses after Hurricane Sandy. It now has a fund to set up nine microgrids. These microgrids will power police stations, hospitals and Wesleyan University to name a few. read more>>>
April 1, 2014 (ENS) – A new global program was launched today that aims to harness the trillions of dollars that governments spend each year on procurement of everything – from computers to food to travel – to fund a more resource-efficient, low-carbon world.
The new Sustainable Public Procurement Programme aims to help governments redirect public spending to purchase goods and services that bring environmental and social benefits by expanding knowledge and access to experts and tools.
The initiative is co-led by the UN Environment Programme, the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. read more>>>
April 2, 2014 - Arizona Public Service has submitted its Integrated Resource Plan with the Arizona Corporation Commission, which it files every two years. The report identifies three major trends shaping Arizona's energy future.
First, the report predicts that energy from renewable sources will double by 2029 with rooftop solar tripling over the same time period. Savings from energy efficiency measures, intended to reduce customer demand, are forecast to triple by 2029. read more>>>
April 2, 2014 - Utilities continue to make unprecedented investments in transmission to upgrade an aging infrastructure and build upon information technology (IT) solutions for things like customer billing, outage response, and protection and control functions. Today, IT also plays a critical role as the old infrastructure evolves from one-way network to two-way communications to enable the smart grid. In fact, cumulative utility spending on IT systems for the smart grid will total $139.3 billion from 2014 through 2022, according to Navigant Research.
"A dizzying array of solutions has emerged to meet utilities' IT needs for the smart grid," said Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "This is a period of rapid change, and the difficulties associated with legacy system replacement and new system integration are not minor -- but the potential benefits are real and increasingly measurable in terms of grid efficiency, reliability, and financial viability." read more>>>
April 2, 2014 - A new approach to studying solar panel absorber materials has been developed by researchers in France. The technique could accelerate the development of non-toxic and readily available alternatives to current absorbers in thin film based solar cells.
The development of solar panel materials that are both non-toxic and made from readily available elements rather than rare and precious metals is a priority in developing a sustainable technology. Sulfide materials containing the relatively common metals copper, tin and zinc, so called kesterites, have been proposed as solar cell absorber materials because they comply with these two demands. Experimental solar cells using Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) have demonstrated energy conversion efficiencies of 8.4% and 12% for a seleno-sulfide analogue. New structural information is crucial to improving on these figures still further. read more>>>
April 2nd, 2014 - By the end of the decade, private investment in the green and sustainable economy will almost double, reaching $10 trillion (£6 trillion), according to new research. The scale of investment by 2020 will reduce the costs of green technologies and drive innovation.
The Green Transition Scoreboard (GTS) report from Ethical Markets states that since 2007, $5.3 trillion (£3.1 trillionn) has been committed to the green economy. The GTS tracks investment in the water, renewable energy, energy efficiency, green construction, green research and development (R&D) and cleantech sectors. read more>>>
03/10/2014 - After braving a "perfect storm" of construction challenges—including mucky conditions and seismic- and wind-load concerns—the builders behind Clemson University's first-of-its-kind wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility in North Charleston, S.C., have finally found safe harbor as the university prepares to begin commissioning.
"We had heavy loads on muck in a seismic area with flooding potential and high wind loads due to hurricanes on a brownfield site," says James Tuten, program manager for the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI), the project owner. Indeed, project officials would have been hard-pressed to find a more challenging site for constructing the roughly $100-million testing facility, which was financed in part by a $47-million Dept. of Energy grant using stimulus funds. read more>>>