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Solar Power

Higher Efficiency with Quantum Dot Solar Cells

Photovoltaic technology has taken another step forward as researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated a photocell with an external quantum efficiency over 100 percent using quantum dots. The new cell uses a process called Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) that produces more than one electron-hole pair per absorbed photon, and reached a level of 114 percent.

This development offers the possibility of increased efficiency in solar panels, and the technology is able to be manufactured using high-throughput roll-to-roll manufacturing. With the use of quantum dots, photocells could theoretically see as much as a 35 percent increase in power conversion efficiency above contemporary cells. The research cell was constructed as a "layered cell consisting of antireflection-coated glass with a thin layer of a transparent conductor, a nanostructured zinc oxide layer, a quantum dot layer of lead selenide treated with ethanedithol and cialis philippines hydrazine, and a thin layer of gold for the top electrode."

Note that this does not mean that the entire panel would have a total efficiency above 100% (which would be thermodynamically impossible). The quantum efficiency means only that the number of find cialis on internet electron-hole pairs created in the viagra official website cell is recommended site viagra in uk greater than the number of photons that are absorbed. Nonetheless, the advance provided by MEG could lead to the next generation of even more efficient solar energy collectors.

image: Lawrence Berkeley Lab and CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Opticks3

 

Google Invests $94 Million in Four Solar Projects


Google has really been cranking out the solar energy investments this year.  Just a few months ago, the company put up $75 million toward rooftop solar installations out West and in the spring they made headlines by investing $168 million in Brightsource Energy's huge Mojave Desert project.

Now, in time to make us feel all warm and fuzzy during the holiday season, the tech giant has announced that they're investing $94 million in a group of four solar projects by Recurrent Energy.  This latest investment brings the total of the company's renewable energy investments to almost $1 billion.

The four solar photovoltaic projects will have a combined capacity of 88 MW and will be located near Sacramento, California.  The projects will provide enough power for 13,000 homes.  A power purchase agreement has already been signed by the levitra uk Sacramento Municipal Utility District for 20 years.

via Treehugger

 

Solar Power Making Its Way to www.aldentheatre.org Prisons


When we think of all the businesses and institutions that we'd like to see embrace renewable energy, prisons don't immediately pop to mind, but huge correctional facilities require a lot of electricity to run and the large flat spaces they most often occupy make them perfect for solar power.

Most recently, two Illinois correctional facilities in Merced County have announced that they'll be running on solar power.  Two arrays consisting of 6,272 solar panels located on land adjacent to the two facilities have a capacity of 1.4 MW and will be able to provide 70 percent of cialis in usa the facilities' peak electricity consumption and all of the power during off-peak times.

The arrays plus new energy-efficient lighting systems being installed will reduce CO2 emissions by 999.85 tons.  The cost savings will be substantial too.  The county expects to save $300,000 a year on energy costs creating a positive cash flow that could total $9 million in 25 years.

Four California correctional facilities announced in October that they'd be installing solar arrays as well.  All put together the four arrays will have a capacity of 25 MW and save taxpayers $57 million over 20 years.

via Care 2

 

Warren Buffett's Utility Buying 550 MW Solar Farm


MidAmerican Energy, a utility owned by Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway, is purchasing a large solar farm in California.  The 550-MW Topaz Solar Farm is being sold by First Solar for an as-yet-unknown price, though construction costs are estimated at about $2 billion.

The solar farm, located in the Carrizo Plain, is currently under construction and http://lifeinabundance.org/buy-levitra-in-canada-no-prescription should be up and running by 2014.  It will use First Solar's thin-film technology and generate enough electricity to power 160,000 homes.

The Topaz solar farm is MidAmerican Energy's first solar energy purchase, but the utility has already been big on wind, ranking as the #1 utility in America for wind power by controlling 2,909 MW of capacity.

via Treehugger

 

Renewable Energy Projects Around the World: How Much is Installed and Where


The Economist has put together a nice graphic using data from Enel showing exactly how many gigawatts of each type of renewable energy were installed as of 2010 and where that power was located. As of the end of last year, the world had a total of 1,313 GW of installed renewable energy projects.

As of 2010, hydropower was still the global leader of renewable energy sources with 1,005 GW installed, but that could change in the coming years.  Hydropower only increased in installed power by 3 percent from 2009, but solar power had the http://www.airatlanta.ie/levitra-pharmacy biggest year over year increase with a jump of it's great! online pharmacy levitra 70 percent from 2009 to 40 GW.

Wind power also added a nice 24 percent in installed capacity from 2009 to 2010 and comes in second place globally, albeit a pretty distant second.  If those trends continue, solar and wind power could catch up in the near future.

The greatest concentration of renewable energy projects are located in Europe, which accounts for 433 of the 1,313 GW.  Asia is a close second with 420 GW and will likely eclipse Europe soon.  Asia had the biggest growth in renewable energy installations with a 30 percent increase from 2009.

North America had 251 GW of renewable energy projects installed at the end of 2010.

via The Economist

 
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