The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has voted to approve a $447 million expansion on PV projects in the state of New Jersey. This landmark decision helps establish the goals Governor Christie laid out in his Energy Master Plan.
Minnesota’s governor Mark Dayton has hit a home run for the state’s solar power industry. A new bill introduced called the “Solar Energy Jobs Act” is set to increase Minnesota’s solar capacity from 13 MW to more than 450 MW.
With strong leadership, governor Dayton has made it clear that he supports a clean energy future for Minnesota. During his State of the State address that he gave earlier this year, he said: “Are we doing all we can to utilise other renewables, such as solar, and also to make Minnesota the best place to locate these new industries and their jobs?”
He went on to say to his legislature:
I challenge this legislature to work again with our state’s visionary clean energy advocates, large energy providers, large energy users, other stakeholders, and my administration to use your past achievements as springboards for Minnesota’s next big leap toward a sustainable energy future.
In an effort to increase its renewable energy generation, Malta has started a photovoltaic subsidy and rebate scheme worth €21 million. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is co-financing the fund and will pay a feed-in tariff (FiT) rate of €0.22/kWh for each unit generated from PV panels and fed into the national grid.
A report issued by Spain’s National Energy Commission (CNE) has found that the PV sector did not contribute to the increase in the country’s power tariff deficit in 2012.
The annual report was issued on April 18. It analyzed the massive power tariff deficit seen in Spain’s electricity sector in 2012. Spain’s cumulative tariff deficit has risen to €35.6 billion. Just 0.03% of that was due to the PV sector.
According to CNE’s figures, last year, the deficit reached €5.6 billion, thus representing a 45.7% increase compared to 2011. The increase was primarily attributed to the costs of the special regime (renewables and cogeneration), which, at €8.6 billion, ran 19% over budget (excluding PV); and for offshore power subsidies (Balearic Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla), which, at €1.6 billion, ran 27% over budget.
While the PV sector subsidies only deviated from €2.610 billion to €2.611 billion, other renewables played a key role in the tariff deficit. Solar thermal went 68% over its budget of €553 million, cogeneration went 51% over budget at €1.23 billion, and wind went slightly over at 5% with a budget of €1.9 billion.
Here’s a table that shows the breakdown of each:
|Technology||Installed capacity (MW)||Energy production (GWh)||Premium (€ cents/kWh)||Total premium (€ millions)||Total cost (€ millions)||Deviation|
Source: Adapted from CNE
On January 27th, the Spanish government approved Royal Decree Law 1/2012 to handle the deficit. The Royal Decree Law imposed the suspension of financial incentives for new electricity generation systems using co-generation, renewable energy sources, and waste; and a fee for the pre-allocation register for projects.
Then, on February 1st, the Spanish government enacted Royal Decree Law 2/2013, which included a premium for special regime installations that sell energy to the market. This RDL hoped to reduce costs in the electricity sector and save, according to government, an estimated €600-800 million per year.
Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union has just released the latest figures that highlight the development of renewable energy sources in energy consumption in the EU27 and the member states for 2011.
The new figures show that renewable energy covered 13% of the European Union’s energy consumption in 2011.
Going back to 2004, the results showed that renewable energy covered just 7.9% of the European Union’s energy demand at that time. A significant increase was reported by 2010, where it had risen to 12.1% and the latest report for 2011 shows that renewable energy covered 13%.
As the authority states, the share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption is one of the key indicators of Europe’s 2020 strategy, which aims to generate 20% of its energy from renewables by 2020.
According to the current figures, almost all EU member states increased their share of renewable energy between 2010 and 2011.
While some remained stable between 2010 and 2011, such as Luxembourg with 2.9%, there were a few that saw slight declines in their renewable energy (Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden).
Even though Sweden showed a loss, it still held the highest share of renewable energy generation, with 46.8%. The Scandinavian country was followed by Latvia (33.1%), Finland (31.8%), and Austria (30.9%). Meanwhile, the lowest levels were observed in Malta (0.4%), Luxembourg (2.9%), the UK (3.8%), Belgium (4.1%), and the Netherlands (4.3%).
Amonix Inc. is no stranger to setting peak efficiency records with its concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems. As a matter of fact, it just set a new record that successfully converted more than 36% of direct sunlight into electricity. This new achievement breaks the old record Amonix established in May 2012 of 34.2% peak efficiency.
Amonix has been the leading designer and manufacturer of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems for quite some time. This result continues Amonix’s long history of leading the world in solar module efficiency, having been the first to convert over ⅓ of the sun’s energy in May 2012, and the first to break 30% module efficiency in 2011.
Amonix’s latest-generation CPV technology started in late February with outdoor testing, and ran until April of this year. The results from this period showed a peak operating efficiency of 36.2% measured on March 14, 2013, with a DNI of 876 W/m2, an ambient temperature of 16°C and instantaneous wind speed of 1 m/s.
MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. have just marked the start of the 579-Megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects with a community celebration.
The huge three-year construction project is expected to employ around 650 workers and generate more than $500 million in regional economic impact.
Split into two projects located in Kern and Los Angeles counties (California), the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will be the world’s largest solar power development under construction.
Once completed, the solar projects are expected to produce enough energy to power approximately 400,000 average California homes with clean, renewable solar power.
According to Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar:
The Antelope Valley Solar Projects are already creating needed jobs and economic opportunity in local communities, while at the same time, providing direct, long-term environmental benefits. We look forward to continuing our involvement in the Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale communities and, as we move forward, in the surrounding areas.
A new study by the Reiner Lemoine Institut and Solarpraxis AG has found that solar and wind power generation complement each other better than previously thought.
The study examined the surface area where solar photovoltaic systems and wind turbines were installed together. In that same surface area, twice the amount of electricity was being generated, and the shading produced by the wind turbines accounted for a mere 1 to 2% loss in the photovoltaic system — which is much less than previously thought would be the case.
One of the strong benefits is the construction of these types of power plants do not require grid expansion since the plants generate wind and solar power at different intervals and during complementary seasons. This helps ensure that the level of energy being fed into the grid is more steady than that of wind or photovoltaic power plants alone.
For you next afternoon DIY project, why not create a Hot-Box Solar Oven? This is one project that can really come in handy during a power outage or on a camping trip. This sun-fueled solar oven can bake your favorite dishes in no time and is a great way to conserve energy on those sunny days.
The great thing about this DIY solar oven is that most of the materials can be found lying around in the garage or home. If you’re like me and always keep scraps (… because you never know when you might need them), now’s your chance to justify to the little lady why you have been keeping that stuff for so long.
1) Parts you will need:
- ¾-inch and ½-inch plywood
- 4d trim nails
- a 6-foot length of 1½-inch-wide flat wood trim
- 36 inches of ¼-inch-square molding
- a half-sheet of ½-inch rigid foam insulation
- a half-sheet of ½-inch drywall
- two white ceramic knobs
- eight 3-inch mending plates
- construction adhesive
- high-temperature flat black spray paint
- heavy-duty aluminum foil
- No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts
- a piece of ¼-inch plate glass cut to 13 x 14½ inches, with the edges sanded smooth
2) Building the Box:
Construct an open-top box using ¾-inch plywood for a 14 x 15½–inch bottom. Use ½-inch plywood to make four 7-inch-tall sides. With a vise and pliers, bend the mending plates to 135-degree angles.
Fasten two plates to each box side with 1-inch No. 8 bolts, washers, and nuts. Cut pieces of rigid foam insulation to line the box interior. Glue the foam to the plywood using construction adhesive.
Cut and glue drywall panels to fit on top of the foam. Paint the interior black.
3) Prepping the Top
Nail wood trim over the edges of the foam and drywall. Cut the molding into four 9-inch lengths. Center the glass pane over the opening.
Put the moldings around the glass perimeter. Nail them down to steady the pane. Glue the knobs to the glass.
4) Making the Reflectors
Cut rigid foam to four 12 x 24–inch panels. Wrap the foam in aluminum foil. Bolt the panels to the plates.
5) Using your newly built solar oven
Prep food in a black enamel pot with a lid. Set the pot in the box. Replace the glass. Prop up the oven at an angle so the sun and reflectors shine directly on it.
Use an oven thermometer to gauge heat.
Note: This oven does not bake as quickly as a regular one. Double note: Wear oven mitts to handle the ceramic knobs—they get hot!
As with any DIY guide, feel free to make your own alterations and experiment with your own designs. Always try to make use of the scraps you do have lying around and enjoy the rewards of building it yourself.
Please feel free to share your own designs or experience with building this great DIY solar oven project!
h/t: WV Outpost
Image Credit: Popular Mechanics
Recently, Time Magazine recognized Elon Musk as one of the 100 most influential people in the world — an honor that is deserving of Mr. Musk for all that he has done to help solve environmental, social, and economic challenges.
Elon Musk is an engineer and entrepreneur who holds a physics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a business degree from Wharton.
Musk got his start when he co-founded Zip2, an Internet software company that he sold to Compaq in 1999 for over $300 million. Soon after, he co-founded and formed PayPal, which was purchased by eBay in 2002 for an astounding $1.5 Billion.
But he didn’t stop there. He has since gone on to create SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and he helped co-found SolarCity, all of which have seen success under his leadership.