Solar Power - Selected Content
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We’ve invested $168 million in an exciting new solar energy power plant being developed by BrightSource Energy in the Mojave Desert in California. Brightsource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) will generate 392 gross MW of clean, solar energy. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant, projected to be more than 25 years.
Apr. 5, 2011 — Using minute graphite particles 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, mechanical engineers at Arizona State University hope to boost the efficiency -- and profitability -- of solar power plants. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are popping up more and more on rooftops, but they're not necessarily the best solar power solution. "The big limitation of PV panels is that they can use only a fraction of the sunlight that hits them, and the rest just turns into heat, which actually hurts the performance of the panels," explains Robert Taylor, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University. An alternative that can make use of all of the sunlight, including light PVs can't use, is the solar thermal collector. The purpose of these collectors -- which take the form of dishes, panels, evacuated tubes, towers, and more -- is to collect heat that can then be used to boil water to make steam, for example, which drives a turbine to create electricity.
Researchers at Wake Forest University have developed a new type of polymer solar-thermal device that combines photovoltaics with a system that captures the Sun's infrared radiation to generate heating. By taking advantage of both heat and light , researchers say the device could deliver up to 40 percent savings on the cost of heating, as well as helping reduce power bills by producing electricity. The hybrid cell is designed with an integrated array of clear tubes, five millimeters (approx 1/4 inch) in diameter. Lying flat, visible sunlight shines into the clear tube which is filled with an oil blended with a proprietary dye, heating the oil which then flows into a heat pump to transfer the warmth inside a home.