New Jersey is the nation’s second largest solar market behind California thanks to the state government’s commitment to increase the amount of electricity derived from renewable energy sources over the next decade.
But where are the other leaders in solar energy?
1. California: 47 percent with 971 megawatts
2. New Jersey: 14 percent with 293 MW
3. Colorado: 5 percent with 108 MW
4. Arizona: 5 percent with 101 MW
5. Nevada: 5 percent with 97 MW
6. Florida: 4 percent with 73 MW
7. New York: 3 percent with 54 MW
8. Pennsylvania: 3 percent with 54 MW
9. New Mexico: 2 percent with 45 MW
10. North Carolina: 2 percent with 42 MW
Mechanical engineers at Arizona State University are experimenting with graphite as a cheap way of augmenting the efficiency of solar thermal systems by improving the heat-absorbing properties of liquid used for generating steam.
“We estimate that this could mean up to $3.5 million dollars per year more revenue for a 100-megawatt solar power plant,” said Robert Taylor, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University.
The team from Arizona State University turned their attention to the solar thermal collectors, an essential part of a solar thermal power system, also known as concentrating solar power systems. The collectors focus sunlight to heat liquid that makes steam which drives a turbine to generate power.
“The big limitation of PV panels is that they can use only a fraction of the sunlight that hits them, and the rest just turns into heat, which actually hurts the performance of the panels,” said Mr. Taylor. In contrast, solar thermal collects and uses the heat which would be lost by PV.
Rising Opportunities “SOLAR BALKANS 2011” – 1st Solar Business Forum for the Balkans, 14-15 April 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria
The solar sector in Europe has been very dynamic recently, accounting for 70 percent of the entire solar market. There was a reported increase in demand last year, resulting in 13 gigawatts from newly added PV projects. In terms of earnings, the German solar sector holds the spot as the world’s biggest global solar market; their top solar companies reporting substantial increases in their revenue. With factors like lower installation costs, enhanced technology, continued investor interest, and political support, experts agree that interest in solar energy, PV in particular, can only continue to grow.
The Balkans show promise as a potential solar market in the near future. At Rising Opportunities “SOLAR BALKANS 2011” – The 1st Solar Business Forum for Balkans to be held on 14 and 15 April 2011 in Sofia, Bulgaria, major players in Balkans solar and international solar industry will have the opportunity to get together and explore possibilities for mutually advantageous cooperation in the solar business. Big names in the Balkans solar sector like Heliosphera, Bisol, SunService or Solarpro, as well as international companies such as Satcon Technology, Canadian Solar, BP Solar, Martifer Solar, MAG, Upsolar, Jinko Solar have already confirmed their participation in this business-to-business initiative.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded 3M $4.4 million as part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative. SunShot aims to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent, so that they are cost-competitive with other forms of energy without subsidies. SunShot calls for achieving this goal by the end of the decade. The sum of the 3M award is estimated at $4.4 million over three years.
The goal of 3M’s project is to accelerate efforts toward further development and commercialization of 3M™ Ultra Barrier Solar Film. The funding will support a reliability test program to validate the lifetime performance of the film as well as development of second-generation 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film with enhanced performance and reduced costs.
As part of the initiative, 3M will collaborate with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to test the performance and durability of Ultra Barrier Solar Films. NREL recently confirmed moisture vapor transmission rates in the range of 2*10-5 – 8*10-5 g/m2/day for 3M’s current Ultra Barrier Film 9L product using its electrically based calcium moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) test. “Technology for economical production of transparent barrier films has been a missing link in the flexible CIGS photovoltaic supply chain for a long time, and we are looking forward to working with 3M in the development of this technology,” says NREL senior scientist Mike Kempe.
“We are delighted that DOE has recognized the relevance of 3M’s Ultra Barrier Solar Film toward achieving its goals for driving down the cost of solar,” says Derek DeScioli, business development manager for the 3M Renewable Energy Division. “High-efficiency flexible solar modules manufactured with 3M’s Film not only have the potential to significantly reduce the total system costs for rooftop solar installations, but also have an array of niche applications where our customers can take advantage of the unique module form factor.”
Designed to address the needs of flexible thin film solar manufacturers, 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film acts as a replacement for glass with high light transmission, moisture barrier performance and strong weatherability.
Architects around the world have escalated efforts to build energy-efficient buildings that make the most of natural resources for energy and water. While some building rely on the use of solar energy to reduce grid electricity consumption, designers at Rolf Disch have created a net positive city in Freiburg, Germany that produces up to four times the amount of energy it consumes.
The French Environment and Energy Management Agency will provide 450 million euros in subsidies and 900 million euros in low-interest loans to support the development of emerging clean technologies, such as solar, marine and geothermal energy, as well as carbon capture and storage projects and green chemistry for biofuel development.
A total of 190 million euros are earmarked for 2010 and 290 million for each of the next four years. The French government is also seeking to attract about 2 billion euros in private investments to support the program.