Solar Events

Solar Energy

Google Solar Power Plans

Google plans a solar-powered electricity system at its Silicon Valley headquarters that will rank as the largest U.S. solar-powered corporate office complex, the company said on Wednesday.

The Web search leader said it is set to begin building a rooftop solar-powered generation system at its Mountain View, California, headquarters capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 1,000 California homes.


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Sun Powered Robots try Indian Rope Trick

On 21st - 22nd October, New Mexico will host the second of NASA’s annual Beam Power Challenge competitions, for a $150,000 prize.

The idea is to progress the technology required for “Space Elevators”, a projected method for achieving space travel by starting off taking an elevator up a rope into the sky. Yes, really ! The top end is held up not by a structure, but by the centrifugal (or “outward-flinging”) force of the earth’s rotation.

Since it is impractical to climb so far carrying fuel, the competing robot climbers (with a 200m rope to climb) must be powered by light.

The current favorite is from British Columbia and claims that it will win using sunlight alone, avoiding the complexity of lasers shone from below. Link

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Californian Company gets within 2% of Silicon max efficiency

SunPower, which makes solar cells and panels, has announced at Solar Power 2006 that it has boosted the efficiency of its solar panels from 20% to 23%. They state that this brings it within 2% of the theoretical limit of monocrystalline silicon cell efficiency, which is about 25 percent.

News Item here

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Shortage of silicon could hold back progress

A worldwide shortage of solar-grade silicon, the key material that turns sunlight into electricity in most solar-power systems, is constraining market growth.

According to a report by Photon Consulting, the research and consulting arm of trade magazine Photon International, there’s worldwide demand for 5 gigawatts of solar power, but only enough silicon to supply between 2.2 and 2.4 gigawatts.

Solar manufacturers and integrators are trying to ensure they will have enough products to grow by signing long-term agreements for silicon and solar modules. On Thursday, for example, PowerLight announced it signed a five year, $150-million agreement to buy solar cells from Q-Cells, a large German solar cell manufacturer (see PowerLight Snaps Up Solar Cells).

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New process offers prospect of more efficient solar cells

The efficiency of solar cells today is limited, among other reasons, by the fact that the longwave, low-energy part of the sunlight cannot be used. A process that increases the low level of energy in the light particles (photons) in the longwave range, shortening their wave length, would make it possible for the solar cells to use those parts of light energy that, up to now, have been lost, resulting in a drastic increase in their efficiency.Such an innovative process has now been demonstrated by a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and at the Sony Materials Science Laboratory in Stuttgart.

The successful outcome of this process could lay the foundation for a new generation of more efficient solar cells.

Link here

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Start of Solar Power 2006 Conference

Tomorrow sees the start of the largest solar conference so far in the United States.

It runs from October 16th-19th, in San Jose , California.

More than 3,500 attendees have pre-registered for Solar Power 2006, and the Solar Energy Industries Association is expecting on-site registrations to bring that number to at least 5,000, said Noah Kaye, the association’s director of public affairs, Friday.

Link to conference

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Milestone for Solar Farm

New Solar Ventures announced the completion of the first-phase for its Solar 1.0 Deming solar farm in New Mexico, the Power Transmission Study, which is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for power providers that intend to place their privately generated power on the grid.

Link to RenewableEnergyAccess article

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An offer we can’t refuse ?

World Bank is willing to offer loans to consumers who use renewable solar energy technology to generate power for use at home or the workplace.
The only stipulation with the announcement of the “renewable energy credit” is that the building must face the sun.
Half of the financing for suitable projects will come from the World Bank.

Link to article

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Facts about Solar Energy

See our newly posted article giving a variety of interesting facts about solar energy and its capabilities at Facts about Solar Energy.

Fascinating stuff.

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New Article on Solar Energy History

Filed in “Powerful Sun”. Reveals how things started back as far as 1838. Read it now at Solar Energy History.

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