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Archive for the category “solar”

Spectacular Growth Solar Installations in 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.

[nos.nl] – Straks weer ‘made in Holland’ zonnepanelen
[powerfield.nl] – Powerfield home page

Exasun produces solar panels like roof tiles in the Netherlands as as niche product. Works with German and Belgian parts only.

Netherlands – Family Will Test Solar Family Car

Rain and wind are big in the Netherlands and few foreigners will visit the country for a beach holiday. Nevertheless, a family from the city of Eindhoven, home of the Technical University TUE, was invited to test a car, designed and produced at the TUE, entirely driven by solar energy.

A predecessor model of this solar car won the Solar Challenge Race in Australia:

[deepresource] – TU Eindhoven Wins Solar Challenge 2013 (Cruisers)

Bye bye petrol station!

Drone Used for Solar Panel Inspection in China

Parameters Baofeng Solar farm: 700 MW, 6.6 km2

Panels trace the sun.

[Google Maps] – Yinchuan, Ningxia, China

[wikipedia.org] – Yinchuan, Ningxia

Read more…

Cheap Electricity Storage for Households Underway

[source] “MyReserve”, 93% efficiency. 4,4 kWh; 6,6 kWh; 8,8 kWh; 11 kWh units

Solar installation company Solarwatt from Dresden/Germany has announced that it will offer batteries for substantially lower prices in the Summer 2017.
Price 4.4 kWh unit: 5.499 Euro

German price context:

1 kWh from the grid: 30 cent
1 kWh grid feed-in compensation: 12 cent
1 kWh cost from panel: 10 cent

Under these (very German) price conditions does it pay to install this Solarwatt battery.

This btw is still a far cry from the promised $100-200/kWh.

[spiegel.de] – Warum sich Solaranlagen in Privathaushalten demnächst rechnen könnten
[solarwatt.de] – Stromspeicher
[de.wikipedia.org] – Solarwatt

The World Doesn’t Have a Long-Term Energy Problem

[source]

Terra-Watts solar is coming, replacing Giga-Watts. This is the conclusion prominent scientists from the German Fraunhofer Institute (ISE) and US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) arrive at. They predict that by 2030, the global cumulative installed solar capacity will be 10-30 fold of what it is today. Solar panel producer “First Solar” predicts that as early as 2020, the price of solar panels will decrease to as little as 25 cents/Watt. That would mean that a standard 100 cm x 164 cm, 300 Watt panel costing € 300,- will cost € 75 in 2020. Solar panels as block-board.

Currently Abu Dhabi is able to produce solar electricity for a staggering low 2.4 cent/kWh.

There is no long-term global energy problem.

[spiegel.de] – Forscher prognostizieren gigantischen Solarboom
[science.sciencemag.org] – Terawatt-scale photovoltaics: Trajectories and challenges

Solar Figures

[cleantechnica.com]

New Perovskite Solar Cell

polarons[source]

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.

Read more…

Solar Project Completed in the Netherlands

delfzijl-zonneparkLargest solar park in the Netherlands, ironically covered in snow

Location: Delfzijl [Google Maps]
Capacity: 7500 households
Panels: 120,000
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.

[nos.nl] – Delfzijl heeft grootste zonnepark van Nederland
[nu.nl] – Grootste zonnepark van Nederland geopend in Delfzijl

zonnepark-delfzijl[source] Same park

790 GW Renewable Energy Potential SE-Europe

renewable-energy-potential-south-east-europe

The report underscores that SEE possesses vast technical renewable energy potential – equal to some 740 GW.” This renewable energy potential is dominated by wind and solar. “The region’s wind energy (532 GW) and solar PV (120 GW) potential is largely untapped, and 127 GW of this overall renewable energy potential could be implemented in a cost-competitive way today.”

[irena.org] – Cost-competitive renewable power generation: Potential across South East Europe (pdf 124p)
[cleantechnica.com] – 790 Gigawatts of Cost-Cutting Renewable Energy Potential in South East Europe

Track Side Solar Panels in UK?

Belgium giving the good example: railway tracks covered with solar panels.

Great-Britain is a mid-sized country with high population density. Not strange then that a study has been started to see if space near railway tracks can be used to place solar panels.

[solarlove.org] – UK Studying Track Side Solar Panels To Power Electric Trains

Read more…

Israel Building Giant CSP Facility In Negev Desert

Tower height: 240 m
Power: 121 MW
Cost: $700 million

[solarlove.org] – Israel Building Concentrated Solar Power Facility In Negev Desert
[wikipedia.org] – Ashalim Power Station

Solar Air Heater

Private preparations for a ‘sustainable future’ are progressing satisfactorily:

– Solar panels gave me 1450 kWh in the first year on a household consumption of 1550 kWh; that’s almost full coverage.
– Three seasons of running a vegetable garden, making substantial progress every season. Coming season the full garden will be available, providing 100% of potatoes and vegetables. Additionally a greenhouse will be installed in February after the last tree stubs will have been removed and 100 m2 will be available for gardening, enough for two persons.
– Freezers and generator backup are in place.

Motivation: anticipating a global financial “Big Reset“, as well as creating a pension plan not (entirely) based on paper assets. “Peak oil” is of secondary concern only.

The last item on the prepper todo list is space heating support. For that purpose 10 m x 1.6 m garden fence facing South-West is available. The idea is to construct a huge solar air heater, consisting of a large black plate, covered by double glass, so that during the day, air hotter than 21 C (if any) can be pumped into the living room. At a later stage, air from the collector can serve as input for an electric heat pump for temperatures < 21 C. Ideally the black backside solar radiation absorber will consist of black solar panels to gain extra electricity, to be used for the electric heat pump. In the Summer the glass cover needs to be removed to prevent over-heating of the solar panels. At a later stage a heat storage, like a vessel of 1 m3 filled with pebbles, could be added to the system.

Read more…

Solar Energy in Plants Retail

2,000 panels producing 520,000 kwh/year and reducing the energy bill to almost zero.

[google maps] – Celieplant Aalsmeer
[celieplant.nl] – Celieplant Aalsmeer
[aalsmeer.nl] – Celieplant met 2000 zonnepanelen duurzaamste gebouw Aalsmeer en regio

Read more…

SolaRoad Project Update

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.

[deepresource] – SolaRoad Finally Launched (Oct 2014)
[deepresource] – SolaRoad Operational (Nov 2014)
[wikipedia.org] – SolaRoad

Read more…

Utility Scale Solar for 5 cent/kWh

solar-apple

An upbeat report from a stakeholder: utility solar in the US is doing fine and reaching grid parity, if one includes tax incentives, scheduled to last until 2021. But reduced tax benefits maybe compensated by continued price decline of large scale solar installations. Several large utility scale PV power stations came online this year, such as the 550-megawatt (MW) Topaz Solar plant in San Luis Obispo County, California and the 550MW Desert Sunlight plant in Desert Center, California.

The first reported contract for solar power under five cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) occurred in 2014: Austin Energy’s 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunEdison for 150 MW of solar power. The trend continued in 2015, when Nevada Energy secured a 4.6 cent per kWh PPA with SunPower.

Editor: articles like this explain why we have lost interest a little in energy problems, because the initial fear, which prompted us to start this blog nearly four years ago, namely a world running out of energy fast, has been pushed to the background and replaced with worries about the state of the economy and international finance, the destabilizing refugee crises and the threat of war.

Personally, it costed merely 3000 euro to have a solar installation on the roof that will annually produce almost twice as much electricity as needed for the next 25-30 years.

Now that utility solar has reached grid parity, the only remaining energy related problem is storage, to overcome daily and most important seasonal demand and supply fluctuations. Potential solutions: pumped hydro and perhaps fuel production from electricity. But there is little doubt that a 100% renewable energy base is feasible within a few decades.

[blogs.edf.org] – A Sunny Future for Utility-Scale Solar

European Solar Transition Losing Steam

europe-solarVery bad news for the solar energy transition: it is stalling in Europe. Although per capita Europe clearly leads globally in both solar and wind, solar expansion is clearly on the wane.

[countercurrents.org] – Can We Afford The Future? By Richard Heinberg

solar-ranking

wind-ranking

[cleantechnica.com] – Solar Power Per Capita & Wind Power Per Capita Leaders

The First Kilowatthour

solar-panels

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.

stroommeter

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.

panels2

buienradar[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.

Wafer-Thin Silicon Discs on Leading Edge of German R&D

Drittelzellmodul_Detail[source]
The German Fraunhofer Institute continues to make progress in reducing the cost of wafer used to produce solar cells.

Roughly a third of the costs for a silicon solar module is accrued before production of the wafer even starts… Holding a wafer-thin silicon disc between his two index fingers, Schönfelder explained that it is the industry standard, roughly 180 micrometres thin. He said that his research project is about producing even thinner silicon wafers, as well as reducing the breakage rate… Fraunhofer’s DiaCell project… DiaCell refers to the name of the diamond wire saw involved in the research… Reducing costs for the entire value chain is the mission of the DiaCell research project… This sawing gap created by the wire cutting process is incredibly expensive, representing a nearly 50% material loss… another research effort is developing wafer-splitting strategies to produce zero material loss. Instead of sawing the wafer into slices, with wafer splitting, a special polymer is glued to both sides of the wafer. When in a frozen state, the special polymer layer contracts, developing a strong enough force to split the wafer into slices.

[solarlove.org] – Wafer-Thin Silicon Discs on Leading Edge of German R&D
[invest-in-saxony-anhalt.com] – Highly coveted in the solar industry: wafer-thin silicon discs

Thin Film Solar Efficiency Record 18.6%

Thin_Film_Flexible_Solar_PV_Installation_2Thin film solar cells are flexible

The record was accomplished by US company First Solar. In general, thin film solar cells are less efficient, but cheaper, certainly if you integrate thin film solar in the roof of new houses.

In 2013 thin-film technologies accounted for about 9% of worldwide deployment, while 91% was held by crystalline silicon

thinfilmForecast of Thin Film Solar Cell Production and Market Share (2006~2015). Date: 2011

[cleantechnica.com] – First Solar Sets New Conversion Efficiency World Record Of 18.6% For Thin-Film Solar Module
[wikipedia.org] – Thin film solar cell

MIT Upbeat About Prospects Solar Power

Les-Mees-solar-farm
[source] Siemens solar plant, Le Mées, France

MIT comes to the conclusion that with existing solar panel technology, the world can very well be powered. The real bottleneck is not technology, but investment. By 2050 a large chunk of the current overall power consumption of 15 terawatts could be replaced using solar power. 15 terawatts represents the power equivalent of 15,000 standard 1 GW power plants.

MIT expects battery technology to play a key role in the development of the solar economy.

[rt.com] – Solar panels can power the world
[MIT study] – pdf, 356p, complete report

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