Lots more solar energy news from the past couple days or so:
Solar Projects & Policy
Russia To Get 25MW Solar Power Plant: “A new 25MW solar power plant is being planned in the Orenburg region of Russia by Avelar Solar Technology. The company, which is a subsidiary of the Swiss Avelar Energy Group, has already begun the process by making an investment agreement with the Ministry of Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade in the Orenburg region.”
Oregon State University Planting Seeds for “Solar Farm” on Campus as Part of OUS Program: “SolarCity has begun construction on two large arrays of solar panels on agricultural lands operated by Oregon State University as part of ‘Solar by Degrees,’ a large-scale, photovoltaic power program coordinated by the Oregon University System.”
Qatar: Gulf state plans 200 MW solar project: “With commentators questioning the appropriateness of staging the latest UN Climate Change Conference in the capital of Qatar, a country with one of the world’s highest levels of GHG emissions per capita, plans have been unveiled for the country’s first solar power plant.”
UK Confirms February FiT: “Ofgem has confirmed the feed-in tariff (FiT) rates for solar photovoltaic technology beginning February 1, 2013. The rates will remain the same, as reported by Solar Power Portal last month, following disappointing levels of installs across all capacity bands.”
Phase Two Of India’s Solar Mission: “A draft version of phase two of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has been released, targeting 9 GW of grid connected solar by 2017. The draft proposes reverse auctioning 1.65 GW of photovoltaic projects by April 1, 2013 and 870 MW in 2014.”
France Installed Solar Capacity Hits 4,000 MW, Wind Energy Now Cheaper Than Nuclear There!: “According to French General Commission on Sustainable Development (CGDD) data, France’s solar PV capacity was up to 3,923MW at the end of September (2012). There was a 241 MW increase in solar power capacity in Q3 of 2012, 34% higher than Q3 2011. Over 1,ooo MW of solar were added in the first 9 months of this year. Unfortunately, that amounted to a 24% decrease from what was installed in the first 9 months of 2011. Hopefully the Q3 increase is a sign of a shift.”
Report: Solar Module Price Declines To Continue Into 2013 As German Installs Fall: “Solar module prices across most regions of the world declined in October due to weak demand in Germany, a trend set to continue into 2013, according to market research firm IHS.”
Next Step Living Gets $18.2M for Community-Scale Home Efficiency, Solar: “Boots-on-the-ground, community-based home efficiency retrofits and solar installs gets a VC boost.” This looks like a promising new startup. Will be keeping our eye on it.
New Solar Tech
Uncovering Unique Properties In A Two-Dimensional Crystal: Potential For Optoelectronics, Solar Cells, Valleytronics: “When the dry lubricant, molybdenum disulfide, is stripped down to a single layer of atoms, a tightly bound quasi-particle composed of two electrons and a hole forms with unique spin and valley properties, researchers from Case Western Reserve University and colleagues discovered.
“These charged quasi-particles, called negative trions, can be manipulated to change the light absorbed and emitted from this two-dimensional semi-conducting crystal, opening it to potential use in new solar cells and other electronic devices that are controlled by light or designed to control light.”
Cambridge Race Team Look To Live The Solar Dream: “The Cambridge University Eco Racing team (CUER) has unveiled designs for its latest solar powered racing car. Codenamed ‘Daphne’, the prototype is being developed to take part – and with any luck win – the 2013 World Solar Challenge, an arduous 3,000km road race from north to south Australia in cars powered by the sun.”
Natcore Technology To Produce Second AR-Box Solar Cell Processing Station: “Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK) has commissioned the construction of an upgraded AR-Box™ solar cell processing station that will include black silicon capability.
“Like the original AR-Box, this second-generation device will be manufactured by MicroTech Systems, Inc., of Fremont, CA, a 12-year-old Silicon Valley company that designs and manufactures wet-bench manufacturing equipment for solar, LED, semiconductor, biomedical, data storage and other high technology applications.”
How to Make a Solar Light Bulb? 1 Million Homes Lit Up by Liter of Light: “A Solar Light Bulb can bring easy day-lighting impoverished housing developments around the world. Millions of people in developing countries live in temporary settlements that are so close to each other that they lack adequate lighting even during the day. Electricity is not an option for many and they resort to kerosene, candles, or inventive wiring for light, that are not only risky but also expensive.” (Perhaps an even better idea: one of our friends and readers recommended using white plastic hockey pucks embedded with strontium aluminate – “It glows for 20 hours after exposure to sunlight-light, and lasts pretty much forever. Which means light during the day and night with no batteries or hi-tech.” Interesting…. He added that they use it at the Pentagon for exit signs.)
Solar & Seawater Turns Desert Into A Greenhouse: “Today I ate my first solar cucumber. (It was delicious). Its seed was planted two weeks ago just before the formal opening of a unique pilot facility in Qatar, in the massive industrial zone that generates the Gulf state’s unbelievable riches. It was grown in a greenhouse cooled by seawater and irrigated by water desalinated by solar thermal energy. The electricity to drive various machines and facilities came from solar PV.”
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.