Cleaning Solar Panels Often Not Worth the Cost

If you believe cleaning your solar panels makes a lot of sense economically, read this study from UC San Diego. Don’t hire someone to wash your dirty solar panels. That’s the conclusion of a study recently conducted by a team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego. Their findings were published in the July 25 online issue of Solar Energy. Researchers found panels that hadn’t been cleaned, or rained on, for 145 days during a summer drought in California,…

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Stained Glass Windows Capture Solar Energy

No, I’m not talking about letting sunlight into the room. These windows actually generate electricity! They are being installed in the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatechewan, and they are connected to the local electricity grid. Solar panels are usually connected to the local electricity grid to supply the grid with electricity using net metering. It is done by solar panel owners to offset their energy usage. In this case, it powers the Cathedral, and leftover power is…

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First Solar to Deliver 155MW of Solar Power Projects for AGL Energy

First Solar announced yesterday that AGL Energy Limited (AGL) has achieved financial close for two utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. First Solar has executed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to supply the projects with its advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules and provide EPC services. In addition, First Solar will provide maintenance support for a period of five years once the solar farms are operational.

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Solectria Renewables to Power the Largest College Solar Installation in North America

Patricia C. Donohue, MCCC President, said the solar farm moves MCCC forward on many fronts. “The solar farm will save critical dollars and enable us to restore to our budget many cuts in programs and services we have made over the past two years. It also helps us fulfill our sustainability goals. We have committed to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality.”

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On Rooftops, There Is A Growing Rival For Utility Companies

People have been installing solar panels on their rooftops to avoid paying utility companies for electricity. Utility companies are not pleased with that, and, for every person that does that (a full solar installation), that is one less paying customer for utility companies. According to NBC News: “Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power.…

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Lawrence Livermore Engineering Team Breakthrough in Solar Energy Research

The LLNL Materials Engineering Division (MED) research team has made breakthroughs experimenting with black metals. These nanostructured metals are designed to have low reflectivity and high absorption of visible and infrared light. The MED research team recently published their black metals research results in a cover-page article in the May issue of Applied Physics Letters titled “Plasmonic Black Metals in Resonant Nanocavities.

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China Gives Small-Scale Solar a Subsidy Boost

Small-scale solar is getting a big boost in China thanks to a new subsidy for distributed solar projects below 6 MW. The new solar subsidy works out to CNY0.42/kWh — or US$0.07/kWh — according to local press reports. The new subsidy is part of a larger push by the Chinese government — one aiming for increased installation rates with regard to small-scale solar PV. Other aspects of the push include exemption from grid connection costs for small-scale solar PV, waived…

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Transparent Solar Film — Efficiency Of Novel Solar Cell Doubled By Researchers At UCLA

A novel, transparent, two-layer solar film — possessing an impressive solar conversion efficiency of 7.3% — has been created by researchers at the University of California–Los Angeles. The solar film can be placed on windows, buildings, sunroofs, electronics displays, etc; harvesting energy while still at the same time allowing light to pass through and visibility/transparency to be maintained. The new solar film is essentially an improved form of the “breakthrough photovoltaic cell design” that the same researchers unveiled last year…

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Finally! An Integrated Solar Power Supply

Bosch has decided to step up to the plate and construct an integrated solar power supply system called the BPT-S 5 Hybrid. Almost everything is integrated into it. The company integrated an inverter, Saft lithium-ion batteries, and an energy management system (charge controller) into a single unit which is certified and safety tested  for domestic installations. This system was launched in 2012, but has now been fully commercialized. It is being sold in Germany’s residential photovoltaic (PV) market. This reminds me of…

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