Solar Power Update for December 8, 2008

December 8, 2008 at 6:21 pm 2 comments

There are so many solar power news stories this week I don’t know if I can get them all in one post, but I will give it a try!

First off I have a local ( I live in Southern California) story about our Public Utilities Commission okaying a very large solar thermal contract between Southern California Edison (SCE) and eSolar who has plans for power plants that could generate up to 245 MW of power. The story is on Greenbang.com (http://www.greenbang.com/6800/california-oks-solar-thermal-contract/).

Excerpt: ” Under the 20-year contract, inked earlier this year, Southern California Edison will purchase energy from a planned eSolar plant in the state’s southern Central Valley. The 105-megawatt Gaskell Sun Tower Project is being backed by Google.org, Idealab and Oak Investment Partners.

Also here in California another company is looking for approvals to build an 850 MW solar power plant.  It is a solar thermal type application and it is to be built in the Mojave Desert by Stirling Energy (http://www.stirlingenergy.com/default.asp) and the story can be found at Treehigger.com( http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/850-megawatt-solar-thermal-plant-seeks-california-approval.php).

Excerpt: ” Built in two stages, the 850 MW Solar One project will occupy about 8,230 acres and consist of about 30,000 solar thermal collectors (called SunCatchers by Stirling). Construction should start in 2010 and take 40 months to complete. The first phase of the project will be 500 MW in capacity, with an additional 350 MW to be completed at a later date. All of the power output of the facility will be sold to Southern California Edison under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Next we have the currently largest CIGS solar power array going live in Tuscon Arizona.  The story on Cleantechnica.com (http://cleantechnica.com/2008/12/04/world%E2%80%99s-largest-cigs-thin-film-solar-array-goes-live/) has all of the details. Please note I gave you the disclaimer about “currently” the largest as I am sure it is only a matter of time until a bigger one is built!

Excerpt: ” The 750-kilowatt system, located at Global Solar Energy’s Tucson, Arizona, manufacturing facility, features a ground-mounted solar array consisting of 6,600 thin-film solar cells generating more than 1.1 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity annually. Owned, operated, and financed by MMA Renewable Ventures, the plants power will be sold to Global Solar under the terms of a long-term commercial financing agreement.

Lastly on the bigger is better front we have the plans to build a 1 Gigawatt solar power plant in Jordan. The story on Treehugger.com is self explanatory: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/1-gigawatt-solar-power-plant-planned-jordan.php

Excerpt: “The plan is over the next three years to build the 200 MW thin-film solar PV factory (producing amorphous silicon, CIGS and related hybrid PV modules), with 22 MW being completed by the end of 2009. The output of this factory will then be used to build a 1 GW solar power plant which will reach full capacity by 2017. The factory will also produce solar modules for use in other Amelio Solar projects around the world, as well as for sale in the open market.

Every day I read somewhere about businesses adopting solar and other alternative energy sources to help run their sites. This week on Environmentalleader.com (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2008/12/08/california-growers-processors-tapping-sun/) we have a story about the boom in this practice in the California agricultural economy, especially among the state’s wineries.

Excerpt: ” A small but growing number of California growers and processors are tapping the sun to help power their operations, San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Bernadette De Chiaro, a clean energy advocate with Environment California, told SFC that she has seen a growing number of agricultural companies install solar panels over the last five years. The trend has been particularly visible among wineries and packing plants that have high refrigeration and air conditioning costs.”

Not to be left out is the state of Texas, already in the news for potenially getting some very large wind farms says that it wants to have 4000Mw of solar generated power by 2020. The story on Sustainablebusiness.com (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/17271) is all about the state’s desire to once again become a global leader in energy.

Excerpt: ” A coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and community groups announced a plan to revitalize Texas’ economy through state investments in solar power and energy efficiency. The group called on the Legislature to renew Texas’ leadership as the energy capital of the world by adopting policies to boost manufacturing and installation of clean energy products.

Now we go on to the area of research and prototype products!  First into the ring is a story out of MIT (http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21755/?a=f) talking about how a new thin film type cell using photonic crystals is showing promise.

Excerpt: ” The design combines a highly effective reflector on the back of a solar cell with an antireflective coating on the front. This helps trap red and near-infrared light, which can be used to make electricity, in the silicon. The research team is licensing similar technology to StarSolar, a startup in Cambridge, MA.

Among the more strange news items comes one on Treehugger.com (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/thermal-storage-concrete.php) where concrete is being looked at to become the solar storage medium of the future.

Excerpt: ” Their plan is to create and test high-performance concrete. They will observe different mixes of concrete, discover which mixes can store the most thermal energy and attempt to use those mixes to create a super-solar-energy-storing concrete. To evaluate the super-concrete, scientists will expose their creation to high temperatures, paying close attention to the rates of thermal loading and the effects of temperature cycles. Computer models will also be used.

Lastly and finally tonight is a story about using the technology that helps with SETI and the Quake Catcher Network (https://askthefm.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/can-your-laptop-help-with-earthquake-research/) to help design the next wave of solar cell technology.  Harvard and IBM want to employ distributed computing networks to help with the computational needs for this project. The full stories can be found on Cleantechnica.com (http://cleantechnica.com/2008/12/08/ibm-harvard-use-distributed-computing-to-find-ultra-powerful-solar-cells/) and on Greenbang,com (http://www.greenbang.com/6819/your-computer-could-help-develop-a-better-solar-cell/) as well as the original story on Reuters.com (http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4B70QS20081208).

Excerpt: “NEW YORK (Reuters) – Scientists at Harvard University and IBM are hoping to harness the power of a million idle computers to develop a new, cheaper form of solar power that could revolutionize the green energy world.

Researchers have launched the project using IBM’s World Community Grid, which taps into volunteers’ computers across the globe to run calculations on a myriad of compounds — potentially shortening a project that could take 22 years to just two years.

I plan on contributing my extra cycles how about you?

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Solar Power, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ray  |  December 8, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    We seriously need to get on with the business of becoming energy independent. While we are doing the happy dance around the pumps with the lower prices OPEC is planning yet more production cuts and will not quit until they achieve their desired price per barrel. The record high prices this past year have done serious damage to our economy and society. WE must move forward with energy independence. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents a gallon to charge and drive an electric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drivetrains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. Why not use some of the billions of stimulus and bailout money to get some alternative energy projects set up on the national level? We could create badly needed new green collar jobs, produce clean cheap energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation this would be for our nation! We have the knowledge, we have the technology, what America lacks is a plan. Jeff Wilson has a new book out that is beyond awesome. The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW. He walks you through every aspect of oil, what it is used for besides gas, our depletion of it. The worlds increased need ie 3rd world countries becoming more modernized and consuming more. He explains EVERY alternative energy source and what role they can play to replace oil. His research is backed up with hard data and even includes a time frame and proposed legislative agendas to wean America off oil.

    http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

    Reply
  • 2. Mat Nayie  |  December 31, 2008 at 2:45 am

    Hi..great info..also don’t forget to pay a visit in my site that talks about solar cell in hybrid car technology

    Reply

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