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Experimenting with a new technology: PowerWall. Over the years I’ve enjoyed experimenting with new technologies as they appear.

Experimenting with a new technology: PowerWall

Which is appropriate for a futurist. This week we started another such pilot, and I wanted to blog about it. We now have a Tesla PowerWall installed in our house. Main unit on center-left. Inverter, control panel, etc. to left. A little context: my family are homesteaders in Vermont, our house up on the Green Mountains about half off the grid. Enter Green Mountain Power, our state’s electricity utility. So they called us, having selected our home at random, and asked us if they could trial one with us. The inverter and friends, freshly arrived, unattached. I think we’re the 3rd installation in the state of Vermont. So, how does it work? Inventor and Robert Heinlein novel reenactor Elon Musk describes is as being like a backup generator.

These PowerWalls are designed for solar. We tested it by turning off power to the entire house. Some stats: the manual claims the Wall will give 3.3kW of power each day. Why Tesla’s new solar roof tiles and home battery are such a big deal. On October 28, Tesla unveiled its new solar roof tiles.

Why Tesla’s new solar roof tiles and home battery are such a big deal

Few of us in attendance, if any, realized the solar roofing tiles were actual functional solar panels until Elon Musk said so. Sure, it’s a neat trick, but what’s the big deal? Why does it matter that Tesla is making a fashion statement when the point is green power and a future where we aren’t so dependent on fossil fuels? I’ve heard from some people suggesting that this is nothing new, because of other similar previous projects, including Dow Chemical’s canned solar shingle project, for example. Solar panels surpass coal-fired electricity in previously ‘unthinkable’ feat. Solar panels generated more electricity than coal in the past six months in a historic year for getting energy from the sun in the UK, according to a new analysis.

Solar panels surpass coal-fired electricity in previously ‘unthinkable’ feat

Research by the Carbon Brief website found that solar generated nearly 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity between April and September, about 10 per cent more than the 6,300GwH produced by coal during the same period. The figures represent a dramatic turnaround in the UK’s electricity supplies. The first ever day when solar produced more than coal was only on 9 April – when there was no coal-fired electricity for the first time since 1882. But then May became the first ever month when this happened. Solar capacity nearly doubled in 2015, but has been hit hard by cuts to Government support, which is currently needed to persuade investors to build any kind of power generation, including fossil fuels. National laboratory scales up quantum-dot solar windows that can power entire buildings. Imagine a future where a building’s energy comes from its windows.

National laboratory scales up quantum-dot solar windows that can power entire buildings

Many scientists have worked towards that future in the lab, but now five scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated solar window technology can indeed be scaled up. Instead of palm-sized models, they created solar windows large enough to power entire buildings. “Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs)” are a key component of the team’s solar windows,” according to a statement from the National Laboratory. One of America's most famous highways is about to become an awesome science experiment. There's a highway in America that's so famous, it has its own rock song which goes like this: "Well if you ever plan to motor West, just take my way, that’s the highway, that’s the best…” (That's the Chuck Berry version, obviously.)

One of America's most famous highways is about to become an awesome science experiment.

Image by Vincente Villamon/Flickr Designated in 1926, Route 66 traversed almost 2,500 miles, starting in Chicago, Illinois, and ending in Santa Monica, California. It was the most direct path for many folks traveling west during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. As such, it was one of the first official highways in America. After 90 years, ol' Route 66 is making history — again.

Tesla Merges With SolarCity, Announces Plan To Build Solar Roofs. Houses of the future may be outfitted with solar roofs - rather than solar panels - which seamlessly integrate with Tesla technology.

Tesla Merges With SolarCity, Announces Plan To Build Solar Roofs

Credit: electrek.co Approximately 5 million roofs are constructed each year in the United States, which is why Tesla Motors is merging with SolarCity to bring something new to the market. Rather than sell solar panels that can be placed on someone’s roof, the visionaries behind both companies seek to develop entire roofs made of solar which will seamlessly integrate with Tesla’s home battery storage technology. This will allow homeowners to effortlessly use solar power even at night. BusinessInsider reports that during a second quarter earnings conference call for SolarCity, the chairman of SolarCity and Elon Musk introduced the revolutionary concept: Tesla is Buying SolarCity, And It's Costing Them $2.6 Billion.

In Brief A major deal involving Tesla Motors and SolarCity has just been finalized.

Tesla is Buying SolarCity, And It's Costing Them $2.6 Billion

The two companies are set to become one, and it is going to cost $2.6 billion. Automaker Tesla has just announced that they have finalized their merger with rooftop solar installer SolarCity. The price tag? A hefty $2.6 billion. The merger will ultimately create a company that offers renewable energy and battery storage options for home and electric vehicles under a single brand. CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, also serves as chairman of SolarCity; and Musk’s cousins, Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive, are the company’s co-founders. News surrounding the merger of both companies first circulated back in June.

“Now is the right time to bring our two companies together: Tesla is getting ready to scale our Powerwall and Powerpack stationary storage products and SolarCity is getting ready to offer next-generation differentiated solar solutions. How Blockchain Helps Brooklyn Dwellers Use Neighbors' Solar Energy : All Tech Considered. Eric Frumin (right) stands in front of his solar panels on the roof of his Brooklyn home alongside architect David Cunningham (left) and AeonSolar's Allen Frishman (center).

How Blockchain Helps Brooklyn Dwellers Use Neighbors' Solar Energy : All Tech Considered

Courtesy of Eric Frumin hide caption. Solar plane makes history after completing round-the-world trip. Solar Impulse 2 has completed the first round-the-world flight by a solar-powered aeroplane, after touching down in Abu Dhabi early on Tuesday.

Solar plane makes history after completing round-the-world trip

The final leg of the feat, aimed at showcasing the potential of renewable energy, was a bumpy one, with turbulence driven by hot desert air leaving the solo pilot, Bertrand Piccard, fighting with the controls. The plane, which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747 and carries more than 17,000 solar cells on its wings, began the circumnavigation in March 2015 in Abu Dhabi. It has since crossed both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans using no fossil fuel and has spent more than 23 days in the air. Speaking to the Guardian from the cockpit shortly before landing, Piccard said he was feeling emotional as he neared the end of the journey: “It is a very, very special moment – it has been 15 years that I am working on this goal. Gizmodo. Cheapest power in 2030: solar PV. The world is about a decade away from reaching the point of "peak fossil fuels" in the electricity-generation sector, after which less will be burned each subsequent year.

Cheapest power in 2030: solar PV

That's according to BNEF New Energy Outlook (NEO) for 2016, released to subscribers on Monday. NEO is a comprehensive annual look-ahead focused on the development of global clean energy markets and technologies. The turnabout is happening "not because we're running out of coal and gas, but because we're finding cheaper alternatives," Bloomberg.com writer Tom Randall wrote in a summary of NEO 2016's main findings. No gas era There are several major shifts coming to power markets. The reason: Wind and solar power costs are falling too quickly for gas to ever dominate on a global scale. "You can't fight the future," said Seb Henbest, NEO 2016's lead author. Solar sets British record for May, producing more electricity than coal.

Solar power in the UK produced more electricity than coal across the whole of May, the first ever month to pass the milestone, according to research by analysts at Carbon Brief. Solar panels generated 50% more electricity than the fossil fuel across the month, as days lengthened and coal use fell. Solar generated an estimated 1,336 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in May, compared to 893GWh output from coal. Coal was once the mainstay of the nation’s power system but the rapid rise of solar panels and of climate change concerns has seen its use plummet, leading to a series of milestones in recent weeks. Solar surpassed coal over a whole day for the first time on 9 April, while the electricity produced by coal fell to zero several times in early May, thought to be the first time this had happened since the late 19th century.

Solar Panels Could Be Twice As Efficient With New Tech Breakthrough. Solar power has always seemed on its surface to be the perfect solution to the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. After all, sunlight is free and abundantly available. University of New South Wales hits record 34.5% normal sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency which beat the old 24% record. Australian engineers have edged closer to the theoretical limits of sunlight-to-electricity conversion by photovoltaic cells with a device that sets a new world efficiency record. A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% – establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device. The record was set by Dr Mark Keevers and Professor Martin Green, Senior Research Fellow and Director, respectively, of UNSW’s Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, using a 28-cm2 four-junction mini-module – embedded in a prism – that extracts the maximum energy from sunlight.

It does this by splitting the incoming rays into four bands, using a hybrid four-junction receiver to squeeze even more electricity from each beam of sunlight. US solar firm SunEdison files for bankruptcy protection. Image copyright Getty Images US solar energy firm SunEdison has filed for bankruptcy protection after years of rapid-fire acquisitions. The company's strategy of buying smaller firms to grow its market-share left it with large amounts of debt.

SunEdison is also facing investigations by US regulators. "Our decision to initiate a court-supervised restructuring was a difficult but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues," said chief executive Ahmad Chatila. "The court process will allow us to right-size our balance sheet and reduce our debt, providing the opportunity to support the business going forward while focusing on our core strengths," he said. The company had $18bn (£12.6bn) in liabilities on 31 December according to papers it filed with the US bankruptcy court. Dubai Makes a Strong Push for Clean Energy, Will Make Solar Power Mandatory by 2030. In Brief Dubai announces commendable initiatives focusing on the use of clean and renewable energy for 2030. Solar power from hydrogen filled balloons could gather cloudless solar power and provide hydrogen fuel cell power at night. Uk.businessinsider. Apple's first Singapore store will be powered entirely by renewable energy.

Apple wants to end its dependence on fossil fuel for all of its global facilities and the upcoming store in the city-state of Singapore will be one of the first in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy. The Cupertino consumer electronics giant has partnered with Singapore's largest clean energy provider, Sunseap Group, who will provide power to Apple's 2,5000-person corporate campus and retail store. Will Solar Energy Plummet if the Investment Tax Credit Fades Away? The sun is setting on solar, but there’s still time to scoop the feed-in tariffs. Around 655,000 homes – less than 3% of the UK’s housing stock – have solar panels, but if government plans to slash the industry subsidy go ahead, further installations could be halted, campaigners are warning. The solar industry, backed by at least 35 MPs, is proposing an alternative plan to encourage further installations while adding just £1 to the average electricity bill.

Archive

Leading solar entrepreneur to put business into liquidation. One of Britain’s leading solar entrepreneurs is set to announce that his business has gone into liquidation, in the third high-profile casualty for the sector this month. Howard Johns, the former chairman of the Solar Trade Association and a government adviser on renewable energy, is expected to blame the collapse of Southern Solar on the government for failing to support the industry properly. PSEG Completes Construction of Waldorf Solar Energy Center. Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG) is a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of approximately $11 billion. Its operating subsidiaries are: PSEG Power, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and PSEG Long ...

Solar Overtakes Wind As Australia’s Number One Renewable Energy. This glass sphere might revolutionize solar power on Earth. German architect André Broessel, of Rawlemon, has looked into his crystal ball and seen the future of renewable energy. Blowing Up The Off-Grid Solar & Cleantech Market. The World's Largest Solar Plant Started Creating Electricity Today. Conventional fuels from concentrated sunlight. Turning fossil fuel into energy is easy: You just burn it. And live with the carbon dioxide byproduct.

What if we could reverse the process and turn water and carbon dioxide back into fuel? A dream solution, but it may seem like trying to put the genie back in the bottle. The perovskite lightbulb moment for solar power. Photovoltaic Solar-panel Windows Could Be Next For Your House. "Green" Jet Fuel From Sunlight Developed. New Solar Farm Produces Enough Electricity for 140,000 Homes. If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help. It's official: Everybody loves the idea of roads that generate solar power. World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’ How Much Room Do We Need To Supply The Entire World With Solar Electricity? Barclays Downgrades Electric Utility Bonds, Sees Viable Solar Competition - Income Investing. Zambia Set To Adopt Feed-in Tariffs For Renewable Energy.

California Approves Distributed Energy Resource Providers To Aggregate Renewable Energy Generation - Renewable Energy World. Elon Musk to Build a Solar Power Super-Factory in New York. Scientists Create Transparent Solar Concentrator. How solar can become the world’s largest source of electricity. New Solar Cells Use Perovskite to Turn Water into Energy. Batteries Included: A Solar Cell that Stores its Own Power. The Netherlands Gets The World's First Solar-Powered Bike Lane. How Solar Power Could Slay the Fossil Fuel Empire by 2030. U.S. Solar Installations Soar in Q3; Total Capacity Hits 17.5 GW. Margot Krasojevic's Fresnel Hydrofoil Trimaran is a solar-powered perpetual-motion vehicle. Is the solar panel & battery combo ready to change energy markets? Apple's Biggest Project Ever Is A $850m Solar Farm.

Minnesota Group Works To Help Low-Income Families Go Solar. Tesla's New Battery Could Solve One of Solar Power's Biggest Problems. Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1% Breakthrough in solar cell research results in patent. This New Coating Makes Solar Panels Super-Powered. How Cheap Can Solar Get? Very Cheap Indeed. India reveals world’s first 100 percent solar-powered airport.

Revolutionary new solar windows can generate 50 times more energy than conventional photovoltaics. South African team may have solved solar puzzle even Google couldn't crack. Supramolecular nanofibers could create super efficient solar energy. Lightweight solar cells track the sun, providing 40 percent more energy than fixed cells. Tesla Is Betting on Solar, Not Just Batteries.