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Archive for the category “photovoltaics”

Solar Carpet

This could only have been invented in the Netherlands, notorious for lack of space. The idea to cover artificial grass sports fields with rollable thin film solar during the many hours the fields aren’t used. They are working on a solution to fully automate the idea.

Back-of-an-envelope calculation: hockey-field 100 x 60 meter = 6,000 m2 = 3,750 standard 300 Watt solar panels. One such panel in the Netherlands yields 0.85 x 300 = 255 kWh/year. The loss due to horizontal position is merely 10% –> 220 kWh/year. Entire field: 825,000 kWh/year. Consumer electricity price equivalent = 825,000 x 22 eurocent/kWh = 181,500 euro/year.

The chap in the video claims that in the small town of Zwolle, there are 70 sports fields, with half of them equipped with artificial grass. 60% of the time, these fields are not in use. One such field can provide sufficient energy to power 85 households (electricity + heating).

[] – Zonnetapijt wint Innovation Challenge Energieneutrale Sportaccommodaties
[] – Zonnetapijt winnaar van de Energy Pitch Overijssel
[] – De Ideale Hellingshoek (only 10% loss for horizontal positioning)

The idea could perhaps look a little like this:

Agro-Photoivoltaics or how to make 86% More Money from the Same Land

Farmer’s dilemma: should I use my land for electricity production or should I stay with farming. Do both! says the renowned German Fraunhofer Institute. In a time of global warming, growing crops actually get too much sun, even in Europe. A little shade won’t harm crop yield but will bring extra revenues from electricity harvesting.

[] – Agro-Photovoltaics
[] – Fraunhofer Reports Combining Farming With Solar 186% More Efficient In Summer Of 2018

Easy choice to make: either 100% crop or 100% solar? Wrong! Go for a combined 103% solar and 83% crop instead!

Rapid Growth Global Solar

From 40 GW in 2010 to 640 GW in 2020.

[] – The Solar Future: einde aan dalende elektriciteitsprijzen

Dutch Grid Can’t Take More Solar Power

Ameland, 6 MW

The Netherlands has 3.7 GW nameplate solar power, but the grid in its present shape can’t absorb much more new power and network operators refuse to take solar power from larger parties, like companies or private associations. Private households are still welcome. The problem is the largest in the North of the country, where land prices are relatively lower and much private money is available for new solar parks. It could take years to install new cable capacity.

[] – Geen plek voor nieuwe zonneparken op stroomnetwerk
[] – geen nieuwe zonneparken, het net kan het niet aan
[] – Het netwerk is te krap

Perhaps the parties that are shunned by the grid should contemplate producing hydrogen off-grid:


In preparation:

– Hoogezand-Sappemeer, 103 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Zonnepark Midden Groningen B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Borsele, 55 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Solarpark Scaldia B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Steenwijkerland, 51.3 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Herbo Groenleven B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Heerenveen, 51.3 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Herbo Groenleven B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Tynaarlo, 32.06 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Herbo Groenleven B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Delfzijl, 30.8 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Sunport Delfzijl BV. Inmiddels gerealiseerd.

[] – Map of solar projects in Holland, realized and planned

Frisian village Garyp is self-sufficient with largest solar park in the Netherlands

The Scale of the Global Energy Transition

[source] An area in the Sahara with the size of Bulgaria, covered with solar panels and all the world’s present day energy needs would be covered.

The Sahara is associated with strong solar irradiation. How much Sahara surface area would be required to power the entire world with pv-solar? Mehran Moalem, PhD, UC Berkeley, Professor, expert on Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Fuel Cycle, did the calculation.

How much energy is the world consuming anyway?

The total world energy usage (coal+oil+hydroelectric+nuclear+renewable) in 2015 was 13,000 Million Ton Oil Equivalent (13,000 MTOE) – see World Energy Consumption & Stats. This translates to 17.3 TW continuous power.

OK, so how much of the Sahara would be required to generate these 17.3 TW? Surprisingly little:

Now, if we cover an area of the Earth 335 kilometers by 335 kilometers with solar panels, even with moderate efficiencies achievable easily today, it will provide more than 17,4 TW power. This area is 43,000 square miles.

For Europeans, that’s 111,370 km2 or relatively small European countries like Bulgaria, Iceland or Greece. For Americans, think Tennessee or Virginia.

[] – We Could Power The Entire World By Harnessing Solar Energy From 1% Of The Sahara
[] – List of countries and dependencies by area

PV-Solar Global Installed Base

Note that the European installed base grew from 45 GW in 2010 towards 120 GW in 2017. That’s 85 GW in 7 years. Linear extrapolation to 2030 would imply an extra 134 GW. In reality it could be (much) more as the price of solar panels is expected to further reduce significantly, think $100/m2 soon. Let’s say 300 GW nameplate in total in 2030, which would be equivalent to 30 GW average power 24/7/365 (see explanation of “nameplate power” in the previous post). From this it is obvious that wind power will be dominant in Europe for years to come.

[] – EU PV Status Report 2017

NOOR – World’s Largest Solar Power Plant in Morocco

The countries of Northern Africa have one of the best solar resources in the world, lots of space and additionally close proximity to one of the economic power houses of the world, Europe. Additionally, the Maghreb has a weak economy. As part of the international division of labor nothing would be more logical than that Northern Africa would concentrate itself on producing renewable energy, like electricity and/or hydrogen, for European markets, replacing Arabia as an important oil-energy supplier to Europe.

Airborn Solar Panels

“Liftoff, we have a liftoff!”. Europe, one of those territories eagerly absorbing photo-voltaic energy generation, has a little bit of a space problem, being one of the most densely-populated areas in the world. A field covered with solar panels unfortunately can’t be used for agriculture. Or can it? The Fraunhofer Institute has found out that it is very well possible to use land for both agriculture and energy generation by stacking both functionalities.

Upshot agricultural yield: corn slightly negative, but grass and shadow-loving potatoes make no difference.

Influence partly shadowing on different crops

[] – Agrivoltaic
[] – Agrophotovoltaics Goes Global: from Chile to Vietnam
[] – 20 slides Fraunhofer Institute
[] – Fraunhofer Experiments In Chile And Vietnam Prove Value Of Agrophotovoltaic Farming
[] – Combining Solar Panels With Agriculture Makes Land More Productive

The State of Solar

[] – Countries That Use The Most Solar Power
[] – Electricity-production in Germany

Solar Panel Array Automatic Cleaning

This is NOT what you want, because of the water:

Solar Road in China

[] – China Opens 1-Kilometer Long Solar Road

Printing Solar Cells

Solliance from Eindhoven, The Netherlands, wants to mover away from standard solar panels towards thin film solar and apply those to surfaces like cars, windows, curved building surfaces or even glasshouses:

They are close to printing cheap roles of hundreds of meters of solar thin film cells, with a conversion efficiency of 12.2-13.5 % on the basis of perovskites.

[] – Solliance dichterbij drukmachine voor zonnecellen op rol

Read more…

Solar Panel Automation Production Line

LG 365 Watt Solar Panel

LG Efficiency breakthrough 21.1% resulting in a 365 Watt panel or 26% more power than the regular 290 Watt panels of the same size (1686 x 1016 x 40 mm / 66.38 x 40 x 1.57 inch).

Power output warranty:

First 5 years : 95%
After 5th year : 0.4% annual degradation
25 years : 87.0%

[] – LG NeON R LG365Q1C-A5 365W Solar Panel
[] – LG introduces 365-W solar panel to residential market
[] – LG Corporation

Energy Problems? What Energy Problems?

If you realize that the annual influx of solar irradiation has a larger energy content than all fossil and nuclear energy cumulatively consumed in history; if you realize that thin film solar has an EROI of ca. 35, than you know that once the energy storage problem has been solved, as it will be solved since the entire world is working on it, the world’s energy problem will have been solved as well and with it a lot a climate problems.

[cassandralegacy] – Our Photovoltaic Future: The Metabolic Revolutions of the Earth’s History.

Thin film solar has EROI values in the thirties range, enough to silence those rear-guard critics who keep claiming that renewable energy can’t work because its “not energy intense enough”

The yellow area represents the magnitude of annual solar energy reaching earth. It is larger than the cumulative energy contained in all fossil and nuclear energy consumed throughout human history. An area the size of Spain plastered with solar panels would suffice to replace all energy consumed globally today. It can be done.

Transparant Solar Panels

Dutch language video

prof. dr. Dave Blank explains his work on transparant solar panels, where he made considerable progress. Means: nano-technology. Vision: windows and roof tiles as solar panels.

Read more…

LightYear Solar Car

Youtube text: Introducing the electric car that charges itself with sunlight. Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear announces our mission. Dutch company Lightyear launches four-wheel drive solar-powered car able to drive for months without charging. Currently, all cars of the world combined drive one light year, every year. That is 9.500.000.000.000 km. Every year. Powered by fossil fuels. Our goal is to accelerate the adoption of electric cars so that by 2030, one light year will have been driven electric. To that, we are providing a scalable solution.

[] – TU/e startup Lightyear launches solar powered car
[] – Dutch Startup Puts First Solar Powered Family Car On Market
[] – Dutch Startup Promises a Solar Car For Around $130,000
[] – Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range
[] – Creators of record-breaking solar car launch startup to sell street-legal version

Most Efficient Solar Cells and Panels in 2017

Solar cells efficiency ranking:

10. [] – Organic solar cell (11.5%)
09. [] – Dye-sensitized solar cell (11.9%)
08. [] – Perovskite solar cell (21.1%)
07. [] – Polycrystalline silicon (21.3%)
06. [] – Cadmium telluride photovoltaics (22.1%)
05. [] – Copper indium gallium selenide solar cells (22.6%)
04. [] – Monocrystalline silicon (27.5%)
03. [] – Gallium arsenide (28.8%)
02. [] – Multi-junction solar cell (38.8%)
01. [] – Concentrator photovoltaics (46.0%)

[] – Multijunction solar cell could exceed 50% efficiency goal

Price Utility Solar to Drop with 27% in 2022

Already prices for utility solar are below $1/Watt in 2017. According to a new report by GTM Research price will fall further with 27% over the coming 5 years time.

[] – PV System Pricing H1 2017: Breakdowns and Forecasts

Floating Solar in China


An artificial lake located near Huainan, Anhui, China, was used to install 40 MW worth of floating solar panels. The lake was a result of abandoned coal mining activities in the past. Advantages floating solar: cooling of the panels, no land use, which is important for overcrowded countries like China.

[] – World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant Opens in China
[Google Maps] – Huainan, Anhui, China

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