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A new dimension for solar energy

Innovative 3-D designs from an MIT team can more than double the solar power generated from a given area.
Intensive research around the world has focused on improving the performance of solar photovoltaic cells and bringing down their cost. But very little attention has been paid to the best ways of arranging those cells, which are typically placed flat on a rooftop or other surface, or sometimes attached to motorized structures that keep the cells pointed toward the sun as it crosses the sky.

Now, a team of MIT researchers has come up with a very different approach: building cubes or towers that extend the solar cells upward in three-dimensional configurations. Amazingly, the results from the structures they’ve tested show power output ranging from double to more than 20 times that of fixed flat panels with the same base area.
The biggest boosts in power were seen in the situations where improvements are most needed: in locations far from the equator, in winter months and on cloudier days. The new findings, based on both computer modeling and outdoor testing of real modules, have been published  in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

First Uses of Solar Power

Vanguard 1 Satellite
Solar power was first used in space applications. In 1958 the Vanguard 1 satellite used six small solar cells to generate electricity to allow it to continue transmitting after its chemical battery was emptied. its small suite of instruments provided valuable information on Earth’s temperature ranges, size, shape and air density.

The Vanguard 1 was a pioneer of solar power
The success of Vanguard 1′s use of solar power resulted in solar cells being used by Russian and American satellites. By the late 1960s photovoltaics had become a standard source of power for satellites.

World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Plant

Once completed, the 280 MW Solana facility in Arizona will be the world’s largest concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. Abengoa will develop the solar project near Gila Bend.
The plant will use parabolic trough technology and thermal storage using molten salts. Solana, meaning “a sunny place” in Spanish, will also use solar trackers with high precision parabolic mirrors that follow the sun’s path and concentrate its energy, heating a fluid to more than 700 degrees Fahrenheit and using that heat to turn steam turbines. The solar plant will include a thermal energy storage system that allows for electricity to be produced as required, even after the sun has set.

Designing Geothermal-Solar Home

Faren Dancer, a green builder and activist, has announced his latest and award-winning project – a geothermal-solar electric home that produces enough of its own energy to be considered a zero-carbon residence. This is the first home in Northern New Mexico to utilize geothermal for radiant heating, cooling and hot water. It uses no propane or natural gas.
The home, which recently won the 2012 Sustainable Santa Fe Award for “Clean Renewable Energy Project,” uses a 3.6 KW photovoltaic solar tracker, which tracks the sun throughout the day, while providing a 20% increase in efficiency beyond a typical roof or ground mount installation. Dancer’s radio show, Unicopia Green Radio, is a featured on Hutton Broadcasting radio station Talk 1260 KTRC. Hutton Broadcasting is the parent company of

The Capitalist Case for Solar

With solar costs on a strong decline, this clean renewable energy has emerged as a viable power partner for generating cost-effective peak electricity generation, which is projected to increase to 5,000 billion kWh by 2030 from its current level of 4,361 billion kWh gross.
According to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, 42% of the nation’s electricity is generated from coal-fired plants, 25% from natural gas, 19% nuclear and 6.5% from hydroelectric.
This paper examines the recent past and potential future of photovoltaic (PV) solar in terms of how it has compared with traditional generation and how, even without government subsidies, solar utility-scale projects will reach a price per KWh that will be at — or less than — traditional generation, possibly as soon as 2014.
Now is the time for traditional conservative thinking to re-examine the facts about solar energy and explore its potential for not only delivering more efficient and less costly power, but also for creating jobs and opportunities that jump-start economic growth.
This jump-start would be possible because electricity drives almost every part of the economy, and cheap abundant electricity keeps industry competitive.

New Stored Energy Solutions

EnerSys has recently announced its entrance into the large-energy storage systems segment for utilities and large industrial applications with the introduction of its OptiGrid Stored Energy Solutions. A flexible, turnkey, utility-scale capacity optimization system, OptiGrid Stored Energy Solutions is available in the full range of battery chemistries offered by the manufacturer.
“EnerSys and its predecessor companies have been manufacturers of industrial batteries for over 100 years,” explained Mike Kulesky, EnerSys director of marketing for telecommunications, utility and new technologies. “This accumulation and diversity of experience allows us to create just the right platform and correct use of chemistries to match each customer’s requirements.”

Solar Auto-That Charges On Petrol !

Source: EFY Magazine

The vehicle utilises petrol to recharge its battery and can also be charged via plug-in.           
At times, when petrol as a fuel is being used abundantly, the need for innovation is apparent and this requirement has been met by EEE students of PSNA College of Engineering and Technology, Dindigul, who have designed a hybrid auto rickshaw powered by solar and wind energy, further aided by use of petrol, which is used only to recharge battery of the vehicle. While, plug in charging facility is also available.
The auto can run for about 80 km continuously on full charge carrying four passengers and it can travel up to 96 km with solar energy and wind energy. Interestingly, this auto results in fuel emission cut by 90 per cent.

Facts about Biofuel *

Ethanol is another name for ethyl alcohol, or “grain alcohol” (CH3CH2OH). The alcohol in a glass of wine, beer, or liquor is ethanol. Fuel ethanol is “denatured” by the addition of 2-5% gasoline, which makes it undrinkable. In the U.S. today fuel ethanol is mostly made from the starch in corn kernels; in Brazil it is made from the juice in sugar cane. Commercial production of ethanol from cellulose (plant fiber) is expected within the next few years

How is Biofuel Made

          With rising greenhouse gas emissions, increasing pollution, steadily depleting natural resources, and spiking oil prices, we now have a much greater need for alternative fuel and energy sources than ever before. Biofuel is the next generation of fuels that can possible provide us with this type of sustained alternative energy. Keep reading for more information to answer the question of how is biofuel made.

Inverters for renewable energy applications

The invertor industry is facing a very pivotal point in its history. It is going through the intense phrase of advance technological innovation, but also contention. Inverters are increasingly a focal point for investors, regulators, and project developers looking to find a balance between functionality, reliability, and safety. The increasing number of technical standards and requirements for connecting to the AC electric grid are formidable, but companies are, for the most part, rising to the challenge.

Incumbent inverter manufacturers SMA, Fronius, Satcon, Power-One, KACO new energy, and Ingeteam have the advantage of size and market reach. However, disruptive technological innovation by well-funded startups and early-stage companies is rapidly changing the face of the industry. Many see microinverter technology as the future of distributed

Latest SMF batteries in the Market

Sealed maintenance free (SMF) batteries, which are also pollution free, are becoming popular for a host of applications
systems to large systems deployed in huge industrial plants. Currently, this technology is widely used in solar, telecom and power sectors, and to some extent in the railways. Despite its price being on the higher side, SMF batteries are becoming popular as customers are now more aware and do not mind spending a few hundred rupees more for these batteries, as they are safer than conventional batteries.

What’s available in the market?

The plates of SMF VRLA batteries are made of lead calcium, which offers a longer life and higher efficiency due to low self discharge. SMF batteries are also environment friendly, require less space, and can be used in any position. Based on their rated capacity, SMF VRLA batteries broadly fall into three segments—small, which is 3 to 17 Ah; medium: 26 to 200 Ah; and large single cells: 2V 100 Ah to 2V 3000 Ah.

Tough year ahead for PV inverter manufacturers

Although 35 GW of installed PV capacity has been predicted for 2013, inverter manufacturers are set for yet another challenging year with global revenues forecast to remain flat.

According to the recently released quarterly update to World Market for PV Inverters report, IMS Researchers forecast that the top 10 PV inverter manufacturers are likely to suffer from declining inverter prices and, as a result, may turn to new markets such as Japan, China, India and the US to make up for the losses in the core markets of Italy and Germany.

Specifically, cuts in feed-in tariffs in mature inverter markets such as Germany and Italy are pushing manufacturers towards growth markets in Asia and the US. However, these new markets are not easily accessible and manufacturers may find it difficult to penetrate into these markets in order to gain market share..............