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Archive for the category “solar”


The Swiss team that traveled around the globe in a solar plane, now wants to reach the stratosphere with a solar plane next year.

[] – Official project site
[] – SolarStratos

Nuna 9 Revealed

The Delft University has revealed its new model to participate in the Australian Solar Challenge cross continental race in less than two months time.

[] – Nuna9 – A lion in the shape of a solar car
[] – World Solar Challenge
[] – Nuon Solar Team
[deepresource] – TU-Eindhoven Presents Stella Vie

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Solar EROI

Detractors of renewable energy like to state that the Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI/EROEI) to too low to be workable. And it is true that the EROI of the installed base of solar panels is much lower than that of say hydro power or 1950s oil from Saudi-Arabia. Our estimate would say around EROI=10.

However, there are developments in the works that should make it clear that a vast improvement of EROI is very well possible, if not realized already. Thin film solar is basically an extremely thin layer of a few nanometers active material on an ultra-cheap substrate of for instance plastic. It is not difficult to understand that the energy input of thin film solar will require much less energy than old-school silicium crystal-based solar cells.

As the graph shows EROI values realized for thin film solar is already in the 34 range with further improvement to be expected.

[] – Energy returned on energy invested
[] – Thin-film solar cell
[] – Cadmium telluride photovoltaics

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Stanford on the State of Solar Technology

Upbeat assessment about the state of photo-voltaic technology from Stanford University in California. Solar efficiencies of 33% at a price of $100/m2 becoming the norm soon.

Solar is doing fine in the “sunshine state” California: from 0 to 5 GW in 15 years, with exponential growth and no end in sight.

[] – California is getting so much power from solar that wholesale electricity prices are turning negative


In Tourouvre, Normandy, NW-France the road building company Solas has constructed one km of solaroad, this time for cars, not just bicycles like in the Netherlands. The “photovoltaic road” comes two years after the completion of the solaroad project in Krommenie in the Netherlands.

The French government (#MakeThePlanetGreatAgain) has ambitious plans to construct 1000 km solaroad over the next five years.

[] – Wattway/Colas company site
[] – Smart highway
[] – France announces plans to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels

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SolaRoad Project Still Alive

Space is scarce in the Netherlands, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, hence the drive to push back water and acclaim new land. But still…

From this background it is understandable that a company by the name of “SolaRoad” came up with the idea to add a new function to bicycle paths: electricity generation via built-in solar cells. The Solaroad is a 73 m bicyclepath, inaugurated in 2014 by the Dutch minister of economic affairs, Henk Kamp. Since then the project has been expanded to include thin film solar cells. Additionally several stretches consist of coating only to study wear. Expected yield: 11700 kWh/year or 70 kWh/m2/year.

In a period of a year 150,000 bicycles passed the Solaroad, leading to considerable wear of the top layer that partially needed to be replaced with better materials.

A competing idea is to cover roads or rail tracks with a solar roof, like has happened in South-Korea and Belgium.

Meanwhile the Solaroad consortium has a solaroad-kit on offer, that is standard stretches of 10 m long bikepaths, aimed at municipalities keen on giving their communities a “green image”. In the province of Groningen a similar bike path has been installed.

The US state of California has signed a letter of intent to have a solaroad constructed there as well.

[] – Dutch Solar Bike Path SolaRoad Successful & Expanding
[] – SolaRoad

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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.

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Solar Panels and Heat Pump

Solar panels powering a heat pump for space heating.
17 panels in total, 7 for the heat pump.
The heat pump produces an input water temperature of 45 degrees Celcius, which suffices for most of the heating season.
Result: electricity neutral and more than 1000 m3 natural gas saved annually.

Dutch government 5 kW heat pump national subsidy: 1000 euro.

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

Solar Fuel

The great advantage of fossil fuels is its storage aspect. It will wait patiently in a tank until somebody needs the energy and decides to burn it. With wind and solar no such luck. For this reason some researchers try to combine the advantages of solar and fossil fuel. Enter solar fuel. The most obvious source of solar fuel is biomass, created from water, oxygen and sunlight, producing sugars with enzymes as catalysts. The essence of solar fuel research consists in circumventing natural processes occurring in plants and create fuel in a more direct way. Solar light is converted into chemicals, using water, oxygen and CO2 as “base materials” and adding some catalyst(s) to speed things up, c.q. enable the process.

Solar fuels are carbon neutral in the sense that they recycle CO2 from the atmosphere before they are released again into the atmosphere.

Solar fuel production methods can be either direct (H2) or indirect (biomass).

Direct solar fuel production. TiO2 photocatalyst for water splitting. H2 bubbles are generated from the catalyst surface only by sunlight irradiation.

[] – Solar fuel
[] – Solar Fuels: How Close, How Real?
[] – The Wild and (Potentially) Wonderful World of Solar Fuels
[] – How solar energy can be transformed into fuel
[] – Solar Fuels: How Planes And Cars Could Be Powered By The Sun
[] – The Road to Solar Fuels Hits a Speed Bump
[] – SOLARH2 (EU)
[] – Scientists May Be a Step Closer to Creating Solar-Fueled Vehicles
[] – Solar fuels: materials breakthrough could open new chapter

[] – Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Solar Fuels
[] – UMC Utrecht – Solar Fuels

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7 Solar Power Innovations

1. [] – ‘Pure Tension’ Volvo pavilion
2. [] – MS Tûranor PlanetSolar
3. [youtube] [] – Hot air Baloon
4. [] – GoSun Ovens
5. [] – Solar reserve
6. [] – Solar Impulse
7. [] – Rawlemon Solar

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

Windrail – Solar and Wind from a Roof in Berlin

Swiss innovation: Windrail, combining solar and wind power in a single module, to be placed on buildings with a flat roof. The module weighs 250 kg, is 3 m high and 2 m wide and exploits the increased pressure along the roof (Venturi effect). The building functioning like a dam for air. Module name plate power: 2.5 kW. The higher the building, the higher the yield; 7 m minimum. Densely build environments are best. An estimated 1 in 100 buildings are suitable for this installation. The more modules are installed next to each other, the higher the yield per module. The C30-module can produce between 1500-3000 kWh year, depending on location. Current price module ca. 5000 euro.

10 so-called “windrails” and additional solar panels generate a 95,000 kWh/year.

[] – Windrail home site
[] – WindRail technology
[] – So gewinnt man Energie aus Sonne und Luftströmungen
[] – Volle Kante Energie
[] – Zürcher Windturbine WindRail
[] – Windrail nutzt Wind und Sonne am Hausfirst
[] – WindRail kombiniert Wind und Sonne für private Energieerzeugung
[] – Windkraft ohne Windrad, kombinierte Wind-Sonnenkraftwerke für Hausdächer

[source] C30 module

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

Solar Team Twente Presents “Red Shift”

This year the University of Twente in the Netherlands will again participate in the World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The students have presented their new solar car called “Red Shift” at the Twente Airbase in the presence of the Australian ambassador, who returned home with a bottle of “Twent’s bier” [0:57]. In 2015 Twente ended second. Twente is confident that they will win this year.

[] – Official site
[] – Solar Team Twente
[] – Solar Team Twente presenteert Red Shift-zonneauto



Weight 139 kg and achieves 90 kmh with the energy of a small water-cooker.

TU-Eindhoven Presents Stella Vie

The Technical University Eindhoven in the Netherlands (and alma mater of yours faithfully) has played a prominent role in designing solar cars and scoring successes in participating in the World Solar Challenge in Australia. This week Solar Team Eindhoven presented its new model the Stella Vie, for the 2017 edition of World Solar Challenge (8-15 October), an event Eindhoven won twice before. This is the third Stella, after the 2015-Stella Lux and 2013-Stella.

Stella Vie:
Range, on a Dutch sunny day: 1000 km
Max. speed: 130 kmh
Motor in the wheels
Motivation: fighting climate change

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Sion Solar Cell Car

A Munich-based German startup has designed a e-car, with the coach work covered with solar cells. Range: 120 km, Price: 12,000 euro. Battery: 14.4 kWh. For 16,000 euro you will get an 30 kWh battery and 250 km range. The solar cells will on average contribute to ca. 30 km/day, which is sufficient for many commuters, making the car “energy neutral”. Planned production start: 2019. Sono Motors has 15 employees. Start capital 500,000 euro, mostly via crowd-funding. The actual production will be done by Roding Automobile GmbH.

[] – Company site
[] – Sonne tanken zum Schnäppchenpreis
[] – Sion: Ein revolutionäres Elektroauto für 12.000 Euro
[deepresource] – Stella Lux

Kamuthi Solar Power Plant Construction Documentary

Location: Kamuthi
Power: 648 MW (2nd largest in the world)
Commission date: 13 June 2016
Panels: 2.5 million
Annual generation: 1.3 TWh
Project: 8,500 workers completed the project in 8 months
Contractor: Adani Power
Grid connectivity: ABB Group

[] – Kamuthi Solar Power Project
[Google Maps] – Kamuthi Solar Power Project

Solar Power Plant in Abakan, Russian Federation

Russia is not exactly a front runner in renewable energy, which is not surprising, given Russia’s vast fossil fuel reserves. If local initiatives do occur it is almost always without federal subsidies. On December 15, 2015, the Abakan solar power plant of 5.2 MW was commissioned.

Local Shaman appears to give his blessing to the new solar power plant. Now the waiting can begin for the first sun rays to arrive. Abakan has 310 sunny days per year.

[] – Solar Power in Russia Emerges From the Shade
[] – Abakanskaya solar power plant
[] – Abakan
[] – Solar power surges – slowly – in regulation-heavy Russia
[Google Maps] – Abakan

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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