background preloader

What if solar got fossil fuel subsidies?

What if solar got fossil fuel subsidies?
Related:  Solar

Solar goes Hyper in the U.S. As the U.S. government continues to heap billions in subsidies to the world's wealthiest coal and oil companies, the solar industry has been struggling to make it in the United States. This is sad for many reasons, not the least of which is that we're missing out on one of the biggest growth industries in the world. Currently there are 16 gigawatts of installed solar power globally. That number will grow to about 1,800 gigawatts in the next 20 years, making it one of the best job creators. U.S. engineers invented the solar panel, and the U.S. should be dominating that market. Fortunately HyperSolar, a new U.S. company, offers a ray of sunny hope on the clean energy frontier. The company does not manufacture solar panels. I saw an early prototype for such a magnifying optical layer a few years back, but the company was "dark" at the time, so I couldn't write about the innovation. Theoretically that means cutting the installation cost of a solar array in half.

Hot solar cells are the cool way to water and power - tech - 14 April 2011 PUMPING water through micro-channels on the surface of a solar panel not only makes it more efficient but can also make seawater drinkable. Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) cells use lenses to focus large areas of solar energy onto a relatively small section of photovoltaic material, so it is not surprising that they can reach temperatures of 120 °C. These high temperatures make the cells less efficient, reducing the amount of electricity they can produce. That is why keeping them cool is so important, says Bruno Michel, head of advanced thermal packaging at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory in Switzerland. So with this in mind IBM has developed the "ultra-high concentrated PV", a hybrid solar panel that incorporates technology originally developed to help cool computer chips. In arid areas where power generation is difficult this can solve two problems at once, producing electricity and clean water, says Michel. Share on wordpressShare on hootsuiteShare on email More From New Scientist

The GoSun Solar Stove really is a revolutionary way to cook. When I first wrote about the GoSun solar cooker I was really excited; it seemed such a logical move, to take the evacuated tube developed for heating water and adapting it for cooking. © GoSun The GoSun evacuated tube lets the infrared radiation in through its special coatings and because it is a vacuum bottle, doesn't let it out. The interior gets hot really fast and stays that way as long as it is in the sun. The real intuitive leap that is so important is the realization that who cares, if you can't bake a cake or do a whole roast. I should declare here that my wife, Kelly Rossiter, wrote about for TreeHugger and MNN, and we eat a lot of chinese food, most of which we get from Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbooks. Lloyd Alter/ Kelly puts meat in the tray/CC BY 2.0 The Gosun people must have liked my first post on the stove, because they sent me one to try. © Lloyd Alter/ Keep away from that stove! Setting up the stove is a breeze; just open it up and aim it at the sun. Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Cultured people happier, less stressed People who go to museums and concerts or create art or play an instrument are more satisfied with their lives, regardless of how educated or rich they are, according to a study released Tuesday. But the link between culture and feeling good about oneself is not quite the same in both sexes, according to the study, published in the British Medical Association's Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. For men, passive activities such as taking in a concert or museum exhibition are associated with an upbeat mood and better health, it found. For women, though, the link is active, in that they were less likely to feel anxious, depressed or feel unwell if they played music or created art. Researchers led by Koenraad Cuypers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analysed information culled from 50,797 adults living in Norway's Nord-Trondelag County. Even more surprising was that wealth and education were not an issue.

6 Cents Per kWh: World's Largest Solar Project Unveiled Stirling Energy and Southern California Edison have announced they plan to construct a 4,500-acre solar generating station in Southern California. When completed, the proposed power station would be the world's largest solar facility, capable of producing more electricity than all other U.S. solar projects combined. They promise a cost of electricity of 0.06$/kWh. The dish collectors are unique because they make no use of photovoltaics, instead they use mirrors to focus the sun's rays on a Stirling engine. This heats hydrogen gas inside the engine which expands. The pressure created by the expanding gas drives a piston, crank shaft, and drive shaft assembly much like those found in internal combustion engines but without igniting the gas. The 20-year power purchase agreement signed today, which is subject to California Public Utilities Commission approval, calls for development of a 500-MW solar project 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles using innovative Stirling dish technology.

Turn Steel Into Solar Panels With Photovoltaic Spray Paint No, it's not a joke or a crazy awesome futuristic concept . It's real. Tata Steel Europe (formerly Corus) and Swansea University in Wales, UK are collaborating to develop a spray-on technology that would transform steel sheets into solar panels. The technology has significant applications since it is highly efficient even in diffused sunlight. If extended, the technology can find its way to the automobile industry where photo-sensitive dyes can be applied to cars to generate electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for fuel cells. Imagine the applications of such a product. The power options could be limitless. And if you think the spray-on solar technology is years away from reality, think again. The technology gains significance because the process of 'printing' these dyes on the steel sheets has already been mastered by Tata's European subsidiary Corus which is working on a new plant for the production of these steel sheets. [Photo: Jaredmoo /Flickr]

Super Cheap Solar Cells Just Got Cheaper, Switch Gold For Nickel One of the major drawbacks of most renewable energy sources is high cost. In order to see a huge rise in the use of renewable energy sources, prices must come down. In the world of solar there have recently been some major breakthroughs in cost advantages and efficiency increases. Scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada have come up with a way to reduce colloidal quantum dot solar cell prices by up to 80%, by swapping out costly conductive gold for cheap nickel. Quantum dot solar cells consist of a silicon substrate that has a thin film coating of nanocrystals — or quantum dots. The team at University of Toronto published their findings in a paper in the July 12, 2010 issue of Applied Physics Letters and noted that with further research they believe that they will be able to increase the efficiency of their extremely inexpensive quantum dot solar panels and make them look attractive to consumers when they eventually hit the market. Via Science Daily

How to make a 'perfect' solar absorber 30-Sep-2014 [ Print | E-mail ] Share [ Close Window ] Contact: Andrew 617-253-1682Massachusetts Institute of Technology@MITnews CAMBRIDGE, Mass--The key to creating a material that would be ideal for converting solar energy to heat is tuning the material's spectrum of absorption just right: It should absorb virtually all wavelengths of light that reach Earth's surface from the sun — but not much of the rest of the spectrum, since that would increase the energy that is reradiated by the material, and thus lost to the conversion process. Now researchers at MIT say they have accomplished the development of a material that comes very close to the "ideal" for solar absorption. The creation of this material is described in a paper appearing this week in the journal Advanced Materials, co-authored by MIT postdoc Jeffrey Chou, professors Marin Soljacic, Nicholas Fang, Evelyn Wang, and Sang-Gook Kim, and five others. Written by David Chandler, MIT News Office [ Print | E-mail

A Lesson on Forgiveness The Buddha was sitting under a tree talking to his disciples when a man came and spit on his face. He wiped it off, and he asked the man, “What next? What do you want to say next?” The man was a little puzzled because he himself never expected that when you spit on somebody’s face, he will ask, “What next?” He had no such experience in his past. He had insulted people and they had become angry and they had reacted. Buddha’s disciples became angry, they reacted. Buddha said, “You keep silent. “If you think on it deeply,” Buddha said, “he has spit on his own mind. The man was even more puzzled! Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. The next morning he was back there. The man looked at Buddha and said, “Forgive me for what I did yesterday.” Buddha said, “Forgive? “And you also are new.

Colossal Magnetic Levitation Wind Turbine Proposed It's a vision of a magnetically levitated wind turbine that can generate one gigawatt of power (enough to power 750,000 homes). This is the device proposed by a new Arizona-based company, MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies. The company claims that it can deliver clean power for less than one cent per kilowatt hour using this wind turbine. Magnetic levitation is a very efficient method of capturing wind energy. The blades of the turbine are suspended on a cushion of air, and the energy is directed to linear generators with minimal fiction losses. The company also points out that building a single huge turbine like this reduces construction and maintenance costs, and it requires less land space than hundreds of conventional turbines. There has been speculation that turbines like these would use "full-permanent" magnets, meaning there are no electromagnets, only cleverly placed permanent ones (probably Halbach arrays). Web site: MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies :: Via Business Wire

Scientists Develop Affordable Solar Panels That Work In The Dark It's about damn time, don't you think? Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced Wednesday that they have been able to confirm a new high-efficiency solar cell design that utilizes nearly the entire solar spectrum. Translation: They figured out a way to make solar panels generate electricity in the dark. CleanTechnica says , In earlier trials, the researchers used different alloys that achieved full spectrum responses but involved very high production costs. The Lawrence Berkeley breakthrough represents just one path to increasing the efficiency and lowering the cost of solar cells. In the meantime, you could just turn any metal surface into solar panels with photovoltaic spray paint . [Photo: Norby /Flickr]

Think Big! Arizona Solar Tower 2X Taller Than the Empire State Building Will Produce 200 Megawatts Image: Enviromission 2625 Feet Tall! Solar towers, which are kind of big funnels that generate electricity by using the fact that hot air rises, are too often forgotten when we discuss solar energy. Solar PV and CSP get all the press, but solar towers have attractive power-generating characteristics and I wish more companies were working on perfecting them. EnviroMission is an Australian company working on that very thing, and they've announced that they want to build a gigantic 2625 feet/800 meters solar tower in the Arizona desert that would produce about 200 MW, enough to power 150,000 US homes. Read on for a video, more photos, and more details. How a Solar Tower Works There are 3 main components. -The Tower The Tower is the thermal engine of the Solar Tower technology. -The Canopy The canopy converts a large percentage of the insulation into heat, which in turn, heats the air trapped under the canopy roof or is stored in the ground soil thermal storage system. -The Turbines

Solar power is growing so fast that older energy companies are trying to stop it If you ask the people who run America's electric utilities what keeps them up at night, a surprising number will say solar power. Specifically, rooftop solar. More Americans are installing rooftop solar and buying less electricity from their utilities That seems bizarre at first. But many utilities don't see it that way. To avoid that fate, many utilities are pushing for policies that could slow the breakneck growth of rooftop solar — by scaling back or modifying those "net metering" laws. The battle over solar is now raging in more than a dozen states — from Arizona to Utah to Wisconsin to Georgia. How cheap solar could lead to a utility "death spiral" (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) Solar panels are still a niche product. If rooftop solar reached 10% of the market, utility earnings could fall by 8% to 41% So even though solar provides just 0.4 percent of America's electricity, it's growing at a shocking rate. To electric utilities, this poses a potential problem. Further reading

Kiev's Topless Protestors: 'The Entire Ukraine Is a Brothel' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International The Rock is New Zealand's most beloved radio station, although not necessarily the country's most sophisticated. "Music is the ONLY thing we take seriously," is the station's fitting motto. Recently, The Rock offered its male listeners the chance to win a trip to an exotic vacation spot in eastern Ukraine. In addition to 12 paid nights, the prize includes 2,000 New Zealand dollars (€1,000) in pocket money. The grand prize, however, has to be chosen on location by the winner himself: a wife. "Win a trip to beautiful Ukraine," announces the contest title, "And Meet Eastern European Hot Lady Who Maybe One Day You Marry." The contest logo shows the pixelated face of a bleach-blonde beauty. A beefy man in his mid-30s, Greg, won the trip. The New Zealander is set to fly via Moscow to Donetsk, the regional capital of eastern Ukraine. Topless Protest against Sex Tourism and Prostitution Some travel agencies offer "Romantic Tours," in German and English, of eastern Ukraine. Women's Lib

Related:  SolarEcologyRenewable energyinfographics