Hot Stories

Subpar Solar Irradiance Undermines East Coast Project Performance

Submitted on 04/01/15, 05:19 AM | Click Here for the full article: Vaisala

Subpar Solar Irradiance Undermines East Coast Project Performance Subpar Solar Irradiance Undermines East Coast Project Performance

The East Coast of the U.S. experienced up to 5% lower than average levels of solar irradiance in 2014, negatively impacting overall performance of solar sites in the region. Concurrently, the West Coast enjoyed irradiance levels up to 10% higher than average, widening the productivity gap between projects in the country's two areas of highest solar development.  
 
This disparity is clearly seen in the 2014 Solar Performance Maps of the United States, released today by Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. 
 
While it is well-established that the solar resource of the East does not match that of the West, the Atlantic Coast has a large volume of operational capacity and it is therefore of critical importance for project operators in the region to understand the reasons behind below average energy output and whether it is due to malfunctioning equipment or weather variability. 
 
Vaisala's 2014 study illustrates the impact of short-term, month-to-month weather variations on performance at U.S. solar projects and places them into a long-term context. This reveals frequent and significant deviations from long-term average irradiance conditions and highlights the clear requirement to analyze the effect of solar resource variability on both over and underperformance.
 
From an annual perspective, this year's weather patterns had an adverse effect on a large number of installations along the Atlantic Coast from Florida to Massachusetts, as well as Texas, while the bulk of projects in California and the Southwest saw an uptick in solar irradiance that may have increased overall 2014 production at many sites. 
 
However, these annual variations only offer a high-level view of project performance. Vaisala also conducted a monthly analysis that gives a much more robust understanding of how specific weather conditions affected solar production throughout the year. 
 

View Comments | Leave Comment

CloudSolar Helps Renewable Energy Fans Who Can't Install Their Own Solar Panels

Submitted on 03/30/15, 06:33 AM | Click Here for the full article: TechCrunch

CloudSolar Helps Renewable Energy Fans Who Can't Install Their Own Solar PanelsCloudSolar Helps Renewable Energy Fans Who Can't Install Their Own Solar Panels

Catherine Shu for TechCrunch:  Solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable, but many people still face barriers to harnessing the power of the sun for their own homes. For example, they might live in an apartment or in a house where the roof is angled or structured improperly for solar panel installation.
 
A new Boston-based startup called CloudSolar is offering an intriguing solution. Founded by a team including two electrical engineering Ph.D. candidates and currently raising funds on Indiegogo, CloudSolar lets people buy a solar panel, or a share in one, on a farm that is expected to be completed by 2016 (erecting the solar panels will only take a couple of months, but the company also has to deal with utility and land permits, which will take longer).
 
Once the farm is up and operating, electricity generated by the solar panels will be sold to local utilities. Solar panel owners are promised 80 percent of the total proceeds created by the panels over the next 25 years, and help with applying for whatever tax credits they are eligible for. They can monitor how much energy their panel is producing, and how much carbon dioxide emissions it is estimated to offset, through an app.

View Comments | Leave Comment

These States Are the Early Leaders in the US Energy Storage Market

Submitted on 03/26/15, 03:32 PM | Click Here for the full article: GreenTech Media

These States Are the Early Leaders in the US Energy Storage MarketThese States Are the Early Leaders in the US Energy Storage Market

Eric Wesoff for GreenTech Media:  Energy storage is a small market experiencing fierce growth. The U.S. installed 61.9 megawatts of energy storage in 2014, and GTM Research is forecasting 220 megawatts to be installed in 2015. But, as with the U.S. solar industry, energy storage projects are clustered in states with incentives or in regions where markets are able to place a value on storage. 
 
So it's no surprise that California, Hawaii, and New York have assumed early leadership in energy storage by virtue of their unique incentives, mandates and markets, according to the inaugural GTM Research and Energy Storage Association U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report.  Cont'd...

View Comments | Leave Comment

See-Through Solar Is Tomorrow’s Threat to Oil

Submitted on 03/24/15, 02:04 PM | Click Here for the full article: Bloomberg

See-Through Solar Is Tomorrow’s Threat to OilSee-Through Solar Is Tomorrow’s Threat to Oil

The engineers at Ubiquitous Energy are developing solar panels that are completely transparent and as thin as a laminate. They can do this by creating see-through solar cells that absorb only the invisible parts of the solar spectrum—ultraviolet and infrared radiation.

The technology still has a way to go because the cells must become more efficient to prove cost-effective, but their promise is big: solar cells that could become a part of any glass or plastic surface. They could sit, invisibly, atop a smartphone’s display, allowing the phone to charge itself under natural or artificial light. And if the process became part of glass and window manufacturing, homes and skyscrapers could draw power from the sun without the spatial and aesthetic limits of current, opaque solar panels.

View Comments | Leave Comment

US Energy Storage Market Could Triple This Year

Submitted on 03/23/15, 05:39 AM | Click Here for the full article: OilPrice.com

US Energy Storage Market Could Triple This YearUS Energy Storage Market Could Triple This Year

The energy storage market is poised for substantial growth over the next five years, with installed capacity this year expected to more than triple to 220 MW from last year’s 62 MW.
 
A recent report from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association, ‘U.S. Energy Storage Monitor,’ projected that the market will grow from $128 million last year to $1.5 billion by 2019, when more than 800 MW will be installed.
 
Moreover, non-utility storage – residential and non-residential – will grow from just 10% of installed capacity last year to 45% over the same period.
 
This is a bullish forecast for downstream residential vendors identified in the report, such as Schneider Electric, Outback Power, Sunverge, and Solar City.

View Comments | Leave Comment

Solar eclipse illuminates importance of energy storage

Submitted on 03/20/15, 05:23 AM | Click Here for the full article: Edie.net

Solar eclipse illuminates importance of energy storageSolar eclipse illuminates importance of energy storage

Friday's solar eclipse highlights the importance of energy storage to the continued growth of solar, experts have claimed. 
 
Energy consultancy Frost & Sullivan estimate that by covering 85% of the sun; the eclipse removed 35GW of solar power from the European grid - equivalent to 80 conventional power plants. 
 
This sort of instability will drive generators to invest in better storage facilities to ensure a constant security of supply, according to the consultants. 
 
"Dealing with events like this one requires investment in various storage tools and monitoring techniques which create a certain amount of flexibility in the energy system," said the report. 
 
The nascent technology of pump storage - pumping water uphill into large reservoirs when power is abundant and then letting it flow down again to generate power when needed - will reportedly be valuable in preparing for the eclipse in Germany. 

View Comments | Leave Comment

Texas City Pulls Plug on Fossil Fuels With Shift to Solar Power

Submitted on 03/18/15, 06:45 AM | Click Here for the full article: Bloomberg

Texas City Pulls Plug on Fossil Fuels With Shift to Solar PowerTexas City Pulls Plug on Fossil Fuels With Shift to Solar Power

Christopher Martin for Bloomberg:  A Texas city just north of Austin plans to begin weaning its residents from fossil fuels.
 
The municipal utility in Georgetown, with about 50,000 residents, will get all of its power from renewable resources when SunEdison Inc. completes 150 megawatts of solar farms in West Texas next year. The change was announced Wednesday.
 
It will be the first city to completely embrace clean power in the state, which is the biggest U.S. producer and user of natural gas. More will follow as municipalities seek to insulate themselves from unpredictable prices for fossil fuels, said Paul Gaynor, SunEdison’s executive vice president of North America. Burlington, Vermont, made a similar move with its purchase of a hydroelectric plant last year.
 
“This will be the first of many,” Gaynor said in a telephone interview. “The city is making a judgment that they want to enjoy a stable electricity price.”

View Comments | Leave Comment

Harvesting solar power in space one step closer

Submitted on 03/16/15, 09:39 AM | Click Here for the full article: Engineering & Technology Magazine

Harvesting solar power in space one step closerHarvesting solar power in space one step closer

From Tereza Pultarova for E&T Magazine:  Japanese engineering giant Mitsubishi has successfully demonstrated wireless power transmission over a larger distance paving the way for harvesting energy in outer space.
During the test at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works facility near Osaka, the engineers managed to beam 10kW of power through a microwave transmitter across a 500m distance.
 
As the beam of microwaves hit the receiver and got converted back into energy, its LED lights turned on using the received power.
 
Mitsubishi said the test ‘marks a new milestone’ in terms of both, the distance and power load, and verifies the firm’s space solar power systems (SSPS) concept.
 
Mitsubishi envisions SSPS will take solar energy generation to an entirely new level. Solar panels would be placed at geostationary satellites, which hang above a fixed spot above the Earth’s surface at the distance of 36,000km, and unhindered by Earth’s atmosphere would generate energy much more efficiently.
 
The wireless transmission system, freeing energy generation from the reliance on cables and wires, would then beam the energy to Earth using a microwave or laser technology.
 
Mitsubishi believes space-based solar power will revolutionise renewable energy generation and will in future become the world’s number one source of clean renewable power.

View Comments | Leave Comment

NEXT PAGE

Featured Hot Product

Array Technologies, Inc. - DuraTrack™ HZ single-axis solar tracker

Array Technologies, Inc. - DuraTrack™ HZ single-axis solar tracker

With more than 2 gigawatts shipped around the world and 25 years of experience, Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) ensures value, reliability, and bankability for your solar project through its proven ground mount tracking and racking solutions. ATI's leading products, DuraTrack HZ single-axis horizontal solar tracker and DuraRack fixed-tilt rack, combine a minimization of materials with rugged reliability to promote rapid installation times and project longevity. From the frozen tundra of Alaska to the deserts of Chile, ATI provides high quality solar tracking and racking solutions for every location and environment. ATI's industry-leading engineering and project management is included with each utility-scale and commercial project to provide a fully-supported and customized solution for your project. For more information on our products and services, please stop by Intersolar North America booth 9725.

Alternative Energy Partners and Sponsors

 

 

More Technical eMagazine from LJB