A Toys “R” Us distribution facility in New Jersey will soon be home to the largest solar rooftop installation in the country. The huge installation will feature 37,000 solar panels producing 5.38 MW of power.
Toys “R” Us has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Constellation Energy Group — the builders of the project — and will meet 72 percent of the facility’s energy needs with the solar power system. The facility’s carbon footprint will be reduced by 4,569 tons.
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
General Electric says it’s going to build the nation’s largest solar panel factory, part of a $600 million dollar bet on the future of solar power in the United States. The new plant will employ 400 people and produce enough solar panels to power 80,000 homes per year, GE said Thursday. The company isn’t saying where the plant will be located, but it does say that there are multiple locations being scouted.
GE says its thin film solar panel has been certified as the most energy efficient of its kind by the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado. The technology for the panel, called CdTe thin film, lends itself to low-cost, large-scale manufacturing.
GE recently acquired PrimeStar Solar Inc. a maker of thin film solar panels based in Colorado.
Like its stablemate the Domespace house, David Fanchon’s eco-friendly design is aimed at maximizing passive solar energy – though unlike the Domespace there’s no rotating option. Dubbed “The Pearl,” the standout features of the elegant domed structure are its integrated solar panels which can be adjusted to different angles to provide additional shade and optimize energy collection through the changing seasons.
The pictures tell the story of the way in which The Pearl takes advantage of passive solar principles. Large south-facing (or north-facing if you reside below the equator) bay windows fitted with an automated venting system soak up the winter sun and allow light to enter every room, while the white steel roof reflects the sun in summer.
Some additional energy saving options are not as apparent from the designs – the roofing shell can be insulated with a layer of air and cork beads (>R28), external walls are made of 12″ thick compressed straw and the design can incorporate geothermal and wood pellet fed heating systems. There’s also a rain water storage tank located at the base of the northern pedestal.
The aerodynamic dome shape delivers protection from high winds and wild weather and the arch shape also provides resistance to earthquakes.
The timber is FSC certified and the interior layout is fully customizable – the trick would be to make sure your property’s best views lay to the south so you can make the most of the full 180 degree view from the main living area.
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.
The windows called high power density photovoltaic glass units are being made by Pythagoras Solar. They will retain views and daylighting for the floor, reduce heat and produce as much electricity as a traditional solar panel. The windows consist of monocrystalline silicon solar cells sandwiched between two layers of glass with an internal prism that directs the sunlight onto the solar cells, while letting diffuse light through. The result is a cooler, natural lighting environment inside the skyscraper and a more efficient solar panel.
The windows are part of a bigger project by the tower’s owner and Pythagoras to show the benefits of a building integrated PV system (BIPV). For large towers all over the world, this could be a key component in both energy efficiency and renewable energy production.
According to Akihabara News, Panasonic recently unveiled a solar table at Tokyo’s Security Show that harnesses QI technology to wirelessly charge your gadgets whenever you place them on the countertop! The solar panels located at the center of the table power a system of wireless charging pads. QI’s technology supports Cell phones, mobile devices and PDAs, so users needn’t lug their heavy wall-wart chargers around anymore.