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.
[hightechcampus.com] – Solliance dichterbij drukmachine voor zonnecellen op rol
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%
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.
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.
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.
[tue.nl] – TU/e startup Lightyear launches solar powered car
[nltimes.nl] – Dutch Startup Puts First Solar Powered Family Car On Market
[digitaltrends.com] – Dutch Startup Promises a Solar Car For Around $130,000
[treehugger.com] – Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range
[electrek.co] – Creators of record-breaking solar car launch startup to sell street-legal version
Solar cells efficiency ranking:
10. [wikipedia.org] – Organic solar cell (11.5%)
09. [wikipedia.org] – Dye-sensitized solar cell (11.9%)
08. [wikipedia.org] – Perovskite solar cell (21.1%)
07. [wikipedia.org] – Polycrystalline silicon (21.3%)
06. [wikipedia.org] – Cadmium telluride photovoltaics (22.1%)
05. [wikipedia.org] – Copper indium gallium selenide solar cells (22.6%)
04. [wikipedia.org] – Monocrystalline silicon (27.5%)
03. [wikipedia.org] – Gallium arsenide (28.8%)
02. [wikipedia.org] – Multi-junction solar cell (38.8%)
01. [wikipedia.org] – Concentrator photovoltaics (46.0%)
[phys.org] – Multijunction solar cell could exceed 50% efficiency goal
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.
There is an alternative for choosing between buying kWh’s from your utility company, with a few % “green electricity added to the mix” or having solar panels on your own roof, namely running your own small energy company with a few hundred neighbors.
An example of this approach is “Zonneweide Bergen” (“solar meadow”) in Bergen in the Netherlands.
Area: 1.9 hectare
Panels: 9.234 of 125 Watt
Power: 1.15 MW (peak)
Financial return: 5-6% (possibly 8-9%)
CO2 reduction: 635 ton/year
Lifespan: 25 years
Share unit: 870 euro or 6 panels
Payback time: 10 years
Max. share: 15-25 units
Precondition: you need to live in the ZIP-code area of the solar meadow.
At least 15 years energy tax reduction.
Capital: 20% private participants, 80% bank loan, to be paid back from kWh’s in 10 year.
Customer electricity: grid
Upshot: after 10 years the installation has paid itself back and the remaining 15+ years of free electricity are yours. It is a safe investment of 5-6%/year or more in case of increasing electricity prices.
[bergenenergie.nl] – Zonneweide Bergen Fase 2
[trouw.nl] – Een blauwe zonneweide maakt Bergen weer een stukje groener
[trouw.nl] – Zonneweide Bergen staat klaar voor mooi weer
[duurzaambouwloket.nl] – Bouw Zonneweide Bergen Begonnen
[Google Maps] – Location: Bergerweg, Bergen, the Netherlands
The Dutch national news reported today that there is a spectacular growth in demand for corporate solar installations in the Netherlands, measured by subsidy applications: 1 billion euro in the 2nd half of 2016 and 3.2 billion so far in 2017.
The demand is so high that China is unable to deliver the required quantity and now the production of solar panels will return to the Netherlands, where it left Europe completely since recently the last German manufacturer SolarWorld went bust. China has always massively supported the buildup of a domestic solar sector, but Europe not so much.
The knowledge of building solar panels has always been present in the Netherlands, that preferred to build solar panel factory lines for export, rather than operating these lines themselves. The Frisian company Powerfield will build a new factory in the Groningen province that will produce 1 million panels per year, half of them for the construction of large “in-house” solar parks.
So far 2% of Dutch electricity production originates from solar, but this is expected to increase rapidly soon. With solar system payback time of 7-9 years, followed by 20 years of free electricity, investing in solar panels gives far more return than leaving money in a savings account.
Exasun produces solar panels like roof tiles in the Netherlands as as niche product. Works with German and Belgian parts only.
De firma Powerfield uit Dokkum bouwt binnenkort een fabriek voor zonnepanelen op het industrieterrein van Delfzijl (“Energy Valley”), om te beginnen met een capaciteit van 1.2 miljoen panelen per jaar, gerealiseerd door een personeelsbestand van 100-150 man. Bouwkosten 15-20 milljoen. Het gaat om assemblage van panelen, niet om de productie van cellen.
[trouw.nl] – Zonnepanelen straks ook ‘made in Groningen’
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has laid the foundations for an entirely new type of photovoltaic cell. In this new method, infrared radiation is converted into electrical energy using a different mechanism from that found in conventional solar cells. The mechanism behind the new solid-state solar cell made of the mineral perovskite relies on so-called polaron excitations, which combine the excitation of electrons and vibrations of the crystal lattice.
[phys.org] – Scientists lay foundations for new type of solar cell
[onlinelibrary.wiley.com] – Evolution of Hot Polaron States with a Nanosecond Lifetime in a Manganite Perovskite
[cleantechnica.com] – Holy Hot Polarons, Batman! New Perovskite Solar Cell Shows Promise
Forget everything you know about solar cells and check this out. A research team based at the University of Göttingen in Germany has come up with something they call an “entirely new” way to harvest energy from sunlight. In effect, the new solar cell puts the brakes on excited electrons, extending their lifetime. The result is a more efficient solar cell, with less energy lost in the form of heat and more energy converted to electricity.
[wikipedia.org] – Polarons
A polaron is a quasiparticle used in condensed matter physics to understand the interactions between electrons and atoms in a solid material. The polaron concept was first proposed by Lev Landau in 1933 to describe an electron moving in a dielectric crystal where the atoms move from their equilibrium positions to effectively screen the charge of an electron, known as a phonon cloud. This lowers the electron mobility and increases the electron’s effective mass.
Location: Delfzijl [Google Maps]
Capacity: 7500 households
Owner: German energy company Wirsol
Size: 65 soccer fields
Coming Spring the title “largest solar park in the Netherlands” will move from Delfzijl to Vlissingen [Sloehaven], with 140,000 panels.
In general, investment in solar energy is booming in the Netherlands. In 2016 500 MW new capacity was installed, 100 MW more than in 2015.
[source] Same park
In the Netherlands space is scarce… but there are many roads. The idea is to let traffic drive over solar panels. In 2014 a bicycle path was created to test the concept. Meanwhile the results are in.
Solar panels where installed earlier this week and despite grey November weather, today the first kWh is produced, meaning the energy required to pull a standard car up the Eiffel tower.
[deepresource] – One Kilowatthour
The panels should generate 1.5 times the electricity required on a yearly basis, for a relatively modest standard consumption pattern to power desktop computer + monitor, fridge, freezer and television. The converter has a build-in wifi and can send the solar production data via the internet router to a server. Via a browser actual and cumulative data can be displayed, see screenshot above.
Additionally, the smart meter bridging the household with the grid operator also has a wifi, enabling to read consumption data, see iPhone-6 screen shot below.
In other words, at 11 o’clock on a half-clouded morning in November, the panels already produce more than is consumed. The rest is fed into the grid.
Later this month a gardening center will deliver a few m3 compost to upgrade the soil of the garden, that next season will be fully utilized for food production.
[deepresource] – Not in my Backyard?
Next prepping investment will be focused on producing ‘hot air’. The idea is to install 8 or so 100*165 cm solar panels (for electricity) against a palisade and additionally put glass plates in front of them, leaving a space of 5-10 cm. The panels are black and hence absorb all radiation. 10-15% will be converted into electricity, the rest into hot air that can be pumped into the living room with simple desktop computer ventilator.
*** UPDATE ***
After 13:00 MET the sun began to shine, 2.15 kwh on one November day with only two hours of sunshine.
[buienradar.nl] With solar panels on your roof the weather becomes more interesting than ever. A good cloud front can cost you half a euro.
In densely packed cities in overcrowded north-western Europe, space is the real scarce commodity, more than money. The consequence is that if this scarce (roof) space is used for solar energy, preference is usually given to solar panels over thermal solar collectors. In fact, when we visited the 2014 Munich Intersolar exhibition, there were hardly any producers of solar thermal collectors present.
It is premature however to write-off thermal solar completely. If sun rays hit a solar panel, ca. 15% is converted into electricity and the rest is lost in heating up the panel, which degrades performance. The idea of hybrid solar is to use the same (scarce) surface for both electricity and heat:
[source] Robust two-edged sword