REBA: More businesses than ever want to buy clean power

May 10, 2017 by  
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It’s the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance’s one-year anniversary. Here’s what the business coalition has accomplished, plus some thoughts about what’s ahead.

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REBA: More businesses than ever want to buy clean power

Does the power grid have enough juice to keep up with EV sales?

May 10, 2017 by  
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EV sales can surge 75 percent this year, but concerns are growing that installation of public fast-charging points may not be keeping pace.

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Does the power grid have enough juice to keep up with EV sales?

Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

March 22, 2017 by  
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Solar panels just got a lot slimmer. Zhengrong Shi, a.k.a. the Sun King, is now marketing eArche, a super flexible, ultrathin solar panel that could stretch along building facades, atop buses, or on top of carports to charge electric cars. According to Shi, the groundbreaking panel has unlimited potential, and 40 kilowatts (kW) of the new technology has already been installed in three locations throughout Australia . eArche draws on a composite material like that utilized in airplane windows that is almost 80 percent lighter than conventional photovoltaic panels, according to RenewEconomy. Shi is distributing his new products through Australian company Energus and Hong Kong company SunMan , and believes eArche is the biggest innovation in over 10 years in the solar industry . He told RenewEconomy, “Most of the cost reductions we have seen come from manufacturing, growing efficiency, and supply chain. There has been very little innovation on products and applications, so we have decided to focus on the panel itself, which has been very rigid and heavy.” Related: SolarWindow unveils new energy-generating glass that bends Some companies haven’t been able to install solar because panels are too heavy for their buildings’ roofs, but Shi’s technology could remove that issue. Rooftop solar systems typically weigh around eight metric tons for a 100 kW array, according to The Daily Advertiser, but eArche weighs just around two metric tons for 100 kW. Shi said eArche can be custom-shaped for building roofs or walls. He told RenewEconomy, “We think governments should require all new buildings to have solar panels integrated into their structure. With this panel, it is easy to do.” SunMan also envisions the technology on RVs, yachts, vending machines, and more. Time will tell if eArche is as revolutionary as Shi thinks. The technology stands in contrast to Tesla’s proposed solar tiles , which Shi said is “the wrong way of doing it” largely due to expense and weight. Via RenewEconomy and The Daily Advertiser Images via Sunman Energy Facebook

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Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

March 22, 2017 by  
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This ultra-green house for a Seattle family of four has achieved an exceptional level of sustainability without compromising on aesthetics. Shed Architecture & Design designed the Madrona Passive House as a net-zero residence for former Microsoft program manager and renowned environmental advocate Jabe Blumenthal. With a super-insulated envelope and passive design features such as heat recovery systems, photovoltaics, green roofs and stormwater and rainwater harvesting, the house minimizes its energy consumption and act as a stellar example of climate-friendly living. The 3,700-square-foot home relies on solar panels , high-performance construction and a contemporary design for its energy efficiency. A well insulated envelope which includes a Zehnder ComfoAir heat recovery ventilator that pumps fresh air into the interior contributes to its low energy consumption . This technology also recovers 90 percent of thermal energy from exhaust air for reuse inside. Rainwater from the home’s roof and the green roof on the garage goes into two cisterns via permeable pavers, while mechanical shading system and triple-pane windows regulate solar gain . The owners can also tap into the building’s real-time consumption by using the circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring system with dashboard. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home Achieving the world’s most demanding building energy standards – Passive House – the building is expected to also receive the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready and Living Building Challenge’s Net Zero Energy Building certifications. The project was recognized by Green Builder Media as winner of the 2016 Green Home of the Year Award in the Best Energy Efficiency category. + SHED Architecture & Design Via Green Builder Media Photos by Mark Woods

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Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

Amazon to install large-scale solar systems on 50 facilities by 2020

March 3, 2017 by  
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Amazon just announced plans to install 41 megawatts worth of solar power on the roofs of its US facilities this year. The project is part of amazon’s larger initiative to install solar systems on 50 of its order fulfillment facilities around the globe by 2020. “As our fulfillment network continues to expand, we want to help generate more renewable energy at both existing and new facilities around the world in partnership with community and business leaders,” said Dave Clark, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations. “We are putting our scale and inventive culture to work on sustainability—this is good for the environment, our business and our customers. By diversifying our energy portfolio, we can keep business costs low and pass along further savings to customers. It’s a win-win.” The solar projects planned for this year will see a total of 41 megawatts installed on the rooftops of Amazon facilities in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware. Depending on various factors, the solar installations could provide the facilities with up to 80% of the energy needed to run. Related: Amazon’s new Prime Air delivery drone is part helicopter, part airplane https://youtu.be/R7tMiQcF9tY According to Amazon, the company is also working on other clean energy projects – including a wind farm in Texas and a network of wind and solar farms in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. It’s also possible some of this power could be used to energize other initiatives Amazon is working on – such as the eventual delivery of orders by drones , and the company’s plans to build a giant floating warehouse in the sky from which the drones would work. Via Businesswire Images via Amazon/Businesswire

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Amazon to install large-scale solar systems on 50 facilities by 2020

Portable solar unit fits into a steel drum for off-grid events

February 24, 2017 by  
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The Solar Charging Can fills the gap between large-scale residential photovoltaics and portable solar chargers for your smartphone. The unit unpacks quickly for camping, outdoor events, and other off-grid functions and is ready to use after just a half hour of assembly. In addition to recreational use, the unit can provide crucial power to mobile medical clinics, disaster relief areas, and refugee camps. Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd developed the Solar Charging Can to be an impressively versatile unit that is easy to put together in a pinch. The basic model includes a 180W/18v 5.5A solar panel , which is both flexible and waterproof, on a retractable telescoping pole, as well as two batteries, a voltage regulator, and all other necessary equipment for the unit to run smoothly. An included anchor secures the can to the ground, but the added sand bags provide an extra dose of security. Upgraded versions can be purchased to include a WiFi router, additional panels, a remote CCTV camera, and LED lighting . Related: Portable smartflower POP solar system produces 40% more energy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8yoDfVzWfU The entire unit can be assembled in a half hour by two people, according to the website. And they can be custom ordered to meet the needs of the event it will serve. This is especially helpful for organizations that provide disaster relief support or intend to power housing for refugees for an extended amount of time. One Solar Charging Can starts at about $2,235 (£1,795). + Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd Via Treehugger Images via Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd, YouTube (screenshot)

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Portable solar unit fits into a steel drum for off-grid events

Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

February 24, 2017 by  
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High Line Art , the arm of Friends of the High Line that manages its public art projects, reviewed more than 50 proposals before shortlisting 12 for the inaugural Plinth commissions. The artists, who hail from all corners of the globe, include veterans such as Haim Steinbach and Charles Gaines, mid-careerists like Matthew Day Jackson and Cosima von Bonin, and emerging talents such as Minerva Cuevas, Lena Henke, and Jonathan Berger. “The High Line Plinth will provide artists with an opportunity to work on a larger scale than ever before possible on the High Line, and to engage with the breathtaking vistas that open up around this new site,” said Cecilia Alemani, director and chief curator of High Line Art. “As a new landmark to this space, the High Line Plinth will create a new symbol of this incredible nexus of horticulture, art, and public space in the ever-evolving metropolis that is New York City.” For the 2.3 million visitors the High Line receives annually, the Plinth provides an opportunity unlike any other: “free, world-class artwork 365 days a year,” according to Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the High Line. “The High Line Plinth will expand the program’s impact by creating a one-of-a-kind destination for public art on the Spur, a new section of the park with even more space for public programming and dynamic horticulture,” he said. The Fourth Plinth has served as a stage for subversive, politically charged, or otherwise controversial pieces that have fueled debate. The High Line Plinth is expected to be no different, Alemani said. Ascent of a Woman , an entry from New York’s Lena Henke, is a “singular, gigantic, upturned” breast that will slowly erode in the face of the elements. The breast’s outer layer of soil, sand, and clay will eventually give way to new forms cast into the inner mold. Unapologetically sensual, the work pits the city and the body in a “surreal entanglement … challenging New York City’s rational and modernist approach to public space.” Los Angeles–based Sam Durant proposes an abstract representation of an unmanned Predator drone, rotating like a wind vane atop a 20-foot column. In the shadow of the aircraft, visitors may imagine the specter of surveillance casting a creeping, growing influence across the world. Paola Pivi, who was born in Italy but lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska, suggests a 20-foot-high reproduction of the Statue of Liberty wearing an inflatable cartoon-style mask in the guise of someone who has gained his or her freedom in the United States, or seeks to do so. The stories of the individuals featured would be made available to visitors online. Less polarizing, perhaps, is Londoner Jeremy Deller’s slide, which takes the form of a giant chameleon. “There is something magical about chameleons; they can do things that we can only dream of,” he explained. To start with, High Line Art wants to whittle the proposals down to two—you can vote for your favorites , or, if you prefer, recommend something else altogether. “I am excited to work with artists who think critically about the meaning of public space and public life, and create artworks that not only respond to the site, but also spark conversations among a wide audience,” Alemani added. + The High Line Plinth + The High Line Via Curbed

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Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

India doubles down on solar power with huge park capacity increase

February 14, 2017 by  
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India just made a huge commitment to solar power . They’re doubling the planned capacity in their solar parks program from 20 gigawatts (GW) up to 40 GW. The government has also given a green light to the program’s second phase. India Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley said the government will move forward with the solar parks program’s second phase in a union budget speech. According to CleanTechnica the government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has identified multiple solar energy projects that possess a cumulative capacity of 20 GW, and will add an extra 20 GW of capacity under the second phase. Related: India just fired up the world’s largest solar plant to power 150,000 homes Solar parks could be a huge win for India. CleanTechnica reports it seems many consumers aren’t aware of the benefits of rooftop solar , but also utilities aren’t well equipped to handle rooftop systems. But the government seems to recognize solar energy could be a perfect fit for the growing country that needs a renewable source of energy and also enjoys around 300 days of sunshine yearly. According to a 2014 MNRE document titled Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects , “Solar power projects can be set up anywhere in the country, however the scattering of solar power projects leads to higher project cost per MW and higher transmission losses…The solar park is a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects, by providing to developers an area that is well characterized, properly infra-structured, and where the risk of the projects can be minimized as well as the facilitation of the permitting process.” According to The Indian Express , the government has approved 33 solar parks in 21 states. CleanTechnica notes while the government has expanded the current solar parks program, the target for overall installed capacity by March 2022 in India is still the same at 100 GW. Via CleanTechnica Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Jimmy Carter built a new solar plant on his old peanut farm

February 14, 2017 by  
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Jimmy Carter is once again pioneering solar energy projects. The former president who almost 40 years ago installed solar panels at the White House just unveiled a solar power project on his Plains, Georgia farm, where he once cultivated soybeans and peanuts. The 3,852 solar panels on his land can generate enough renewable energy for more than half of the 683-person town where Carter was born. Carter leased 10 acres of land for a 1.3 megawatt solar array to Georgia-based SolAmerica Energy , who first approached Carter’s grandson Jason Carter regarding the project. The panels, which can move to follow the sun, will provide power to the grid through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with Georgia Power . The New York Times reports the family will make under $7,000 a year from the solar project. Related: White House Solar Panels Fire Up for the First Time Since Jimmy Carter Left The former president, who is now 92, invested time in the solar project making notes in the lease agreement’s margins and regularly visiting the farm. Carter promoted solar power nearly four decades ago with his White House array, and although the next president, Ronald Reagan, removed the panels, Carter didn’t give up on clean energy. He recently said in an interview at his old high school, “I hope that we’ll see a realization on the part of the new administration that one of the best ways to provide new jobs – good-paying and productive and innovative jobs – is through the search for renewable sources of energy. I haven’t seen that happen yet, but I’m still hoping for that.” Carter’s wife Rosalynn said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, “It’s very special to me because I was so disappointed when the panels came off of the White House, and now to see them in Plains is just terrific.” Experts and the former president have said the farm array, while small-scale, could still offer an example for other areas of agrarian America. Via The New York Times Images via SolAmerica Energy

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Jimmy Carter built a new solar plant on his old peanut farm

Worlds northernmost plus-energy office could spark an energy revolution

January 18, 2017 by  
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Building the first office in Norway that produces more energy than it consumes is already a hefty goal, but real estate developer Emil Eriksrød wants to take it another step further. The young entrepreneur has a vision for inspiring the rest of the world with a plus-energy office building, the northernmost of its kind in the world that will be located in Porsgrunn, a tiny Norwegian town with a population of less than 35,000. Designed by Snøhetta , the Powerhouse Telemark features a unique diamond shape optimized for harvesting solar energy and minimizing energy expenditure. Eriksrød and Snøhetta see the ambitious Powerhouse Telemark project as an opportunity to put Norway on the map for energy solutions. It’s also part of Eriksrød’s goal to inspire commercial real estate developers worldwide to invest in energy-plus buildings in cities of all sizes. “I hope we will be plagiarised and copied, replicated in all seven continents,” said Eriksrød. “This building should do wonders in lowering the bar for daring to do both spectacular and environmentally forward buildings, hopefully in a combination. Just imagine, when Porsgrunn has the customer base for such a building, imagine how many other places that have the same potential. There are tens of thousands of cities with a bigger population in the world.” Related: Ultra modern PV+ House boasts scissored solar panels for a super energy boost The $17 million Powerhouse Telemark has a site-specific design with a diamond-shaped form optimized for harvesting solar energy . Heat exchangers and heat pumps will also produce electricity and heat for the building. The 11-story office building will comprise 6,500 square meters of space with modern office facilities, a foyer, gym, canteen, and a roof terrace surrounded by climbing plants. “This project proves that energy positive buildings can pay off commercially. It took us about a year to have the renters needed to make the building profitable. The world needs a lot of energy positive buildings. Hopefully this great building in our little town, can be the start of thousands of similar Powerhouses,” said Eriksrød. The project is slated for completion in 2019. + Snøhetta Photo illustration by Loft Visual Group/Snøhetta, renderings by Snøhetta

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