Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

July 14, 2017 by  
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We’re so excited to announce that the Hungarian startup Platio , which designed a modular energy-harvesting paving system made with recycled plastic , has now installed their first three systems. Within a span of just two months, they developed projects in Hungary, Sweden, and Kazakhstan. And it’s not just sidewalks that now boast the solar pavers, but pontoons providing energy for ships, and benches where passerby can charge their smartphones. Platio is helping to shape the future of cities with their solar paving systems. One creative use of their technology can be found in Budapest , Hungary, at Városháza Park, where their solar system stretches across a wooden bench. The smart bench allows park-goers to power their phones or tablets with clean energy , using either a USB cord or QI wireless charging. Local design studio Hello Wood installed the park’s wavy wooden benches. Related: New recycled plastic sidewalk harvests energy from the sun Platio’s very first permanent installation was indeed constructed on a sidewalk, in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in front of a mall in the new Green Quarter. Near the shopping entrance, around 861 square feet of the sidewalk is covered with Platio paving, offering a total peak output of 11.7 watts. The electricity will help power the mall. Strong, anti-slip glass tiles top the recycled plastic solar paving system. Two specialists were able to put together the mall installation in just a few days thanks to the modular design and a built-in electrical network. And it’s not just urban infrastructure that can benefit from Platio’s technology. The company partnered with engineering firm SF Marina to install the solar pavers on around 86 square feet of pontoons at SF Marina’s Swedish factory. The solar energy generated by the Platio systems will help power port facilities and ships. According to Platio, as recently as last year they only had a prototype of their technology, but they’ve now successfully installed it in the real word. The three Hungarian engineers who started Platio want to help make future cities sustainable and energy-independent . + Platio Images courtesy of Platio

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Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

Germany generated 35% of its electricity with renewables in first half of 2017

July 11, 2017 by  
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Good news! In the first half of 2017, Germany derived 35.1 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources , according to the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE). In a press release , the country’s trade body announced that Germany has successfully met its 2020 target for “share of gross electricity consumption.” It helped that from April 30 to May 1, the country generated 85 percent of its energy needs using renewable wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power. Germany has steadily increased its production of clean electricity over the past few years. In the first half of 2015, for instance, the country generated 32.7 percent of its energy needs from renewables , and 32.7 percent in the first half of 2016. Though the new record is positive news , progress in other sectors has been slow, specifically in the transportation and heating sectors. Said Haraold Uphoff, the acting director of BEE, “The power generation in Germany is progressing far too slowly.” Fortunately, the country is well on its way to producing 45 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2040, and 60 percent by 2050. The report details a jump in offshore wind energy in the first half of 2017. As Clean Technica reports, onshore wind energy grew “from 34.08 TWh in the first half of 2015, to 34.71 TWh a year later, but jumping to 39.75 TWh in the first half of this year. Offshore wind also jumped, from only 2.15 TWh in the first half of 2015 to 8.48 TWh this year.” Solar PV, as well, has seen incremental increases in growth. In 2015, output has increased from 19.50 Two in 2015 to 21.74 in the first half of 2017. Related: Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade Time and again, Germany has proven its commitment to bettering the environment by taking action to meet goals outlined at the Paris Climate Change Conference . Their most recent effort includes signing a joint statement on climate cooperation with California earlier this month. The agreement was a “reaffirmation of joint ties” between the two to continue working on the persistent issue of global warming. Via Clean Technica Images via Pixabay

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Germany generated 35% of its electricity with renewables in first half of 2017

Abandoned nuclear power plant given new life as a solar farm

July 10, 2017 by  
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Solar farms can pop up in unlikely places – like the site of an old, unfinished nuclear power plant in Tennessee . The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant was abandoned in 1981, but today nearly 3,000 solar panels rest on the site. The new one megawatt (MW) farm provides clean energy for around 100 homes. The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant has scarred the landscape since it was abandoned in 1981. Popular concern over the Three Mile Island incident and increased costs to meet regulations prompted the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors to stop building the nuclear plant, which was once expected to re-energize the local economy. Phipps Bend was never operational, and for decades was utilized only for safety training exercises. Related: China is building a giant solar plant at Chernobyl That was until Birdseye Renewable Energy and United Renewable Energy came along. Birdseye already boasts over 430 MW of clean energy greenfield projects. They installed solar panels on around four acres on the old nuclear plant site. The panels rotate throughout the day to maximize the energy they absorb from the sun. Holston Electric will purchase the electricity to power homes in eastern Tennessee. The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant would have been large if completed, offering more than 2,400 MW and powering around 1.8 million households. The new solar farm at Phipps Bend won’t be able to meet that, but it will generate around 1,100 to 1,400 megawatt-hours per year, and it will be operational for at least 30 years. United Renewable Energy executive vice president Keith Herbs said in a statement, “Due to its location, this project visibly demonstrates how clean, efficient solar energy matches other forms of power generation to meet our country’s growing energy needs.” The United States has around 100 cancelled nuclear power plants – perhaps some of them could receive new life as solar farms as well. Via PRNewswire and Electrek Images via United Renewable Energy and Wikimedia Commons

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Abandoned nuclear power plant given new life as a solar farm

Worlds largest rotating solar plant to be built in South Korea

July 10, 2017 by  
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South Korea is known for its workaholic culture and for hosting an enormous LEGO tower . But soon, the country may be known for something even more impressive: installing the largest rotating solar plant in the world. Solkiss, a South Korean solar developer, has plans to install a proposed 2.67 MW PV project at the Deoku Reservoir. Not only will the plant float on top of the water, it will follow the sun’s movement throughout the day. Solkiss’ technology enables solar power stations to float on water and rotate in unison with the sun’s movements. According to the developer, the technology delivers 22 percent extra solar energy yield compared to a fixed installation on land, as well as a 16 percent increase in yield compared to a typical floating solar array. The installation on Deoku Reservoir isn’t the only floating solar array Solkiss has planned. Two additional solar plants are planned for the Myeoku Reservoir. All three installations are expected to be completed by the end of November. When combined, they will add 3MW of solar PV capacity to the solar developer’s portfolio. Related: World’s cutest solar farm in China is shaped like a panda The company has made great progress since its first floating solar development , which was installed in 2014 at a reservoir in Anseong, south of Seoul. Using its patented rotating motors, Solkiss was able to generate 465 kW from the array. To help South Korea shift away from “dirty energy” sources, such as nuclear and coal , Solkiss will be installing more rotating solar plants at viable reservoir sites across the country. + Solkiss Via PV Magazine Images via YouTube screenshot , Solkiss , Pixabay

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Worlds largest rotating solar plant to be built in South Korea

100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs

July 10, 2017 by  
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An off-grid Spanish winery is harnessing the full power of the sun to ripen grapes and turn the fruit into wine. Local studio Munarq Arquitectes designed Son Juliana’s winery that’s entirely powered by renewable energy on the Spanish island of Majorca. The low-lying building comprises a prefabricated concrete structure built in just 15 days and uses natural materials to blend into its surroundings. Built facing the Tramuntana mountains in the distance, the off-grid winery lies low to the flat, clay terrain in a linear shape informed by the landscape and wine production process. The grapes enter the entrance to the east, where it then passes through several processing rooms until the wine is bottled and labeled and finally put on display and tasted in the sales room at the west entrance. The 1,300-square-meter facility can produce 40,000 liters of wine each year. The winery’s prefabricated concrete structure is clad in marés, a local sandy stone, for the facade and lined in ceramic bricks for the interior. Powered entirely with renewable energy, the winery keeps cool with passive ventilation and use of concrete and stone walls, as well as the sloping cork -lined roof, for insulation. Taking advantage of the earth’s thermal mass, the architects built the winery in the basement to meet the special temperature and humidity requirements. Related: Mexican winery built from recycled wood and rammed earth blends into the valley landscape “The retaining walls are stone gabions to take advantage of the thermal mass and soil moisture that remained during the summer,” wrote the architects. “The contribution of ventilation and temperature is carried through pipes connected to geothermal heat pumps.” + Munarq Arquitectes Via Dezeen Images via Munarq Arquitectes

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100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs

Hong Kongs Skypark is an urban oasis for millennials

July 10, 2017 by  
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A gorgeous green oasis has surfaced in one of the world’s most densely populated areas in Mongkok, Hong Kong . New World Development’s Adrian Cheng teamed up with Dutch architecture studio concrete to craft Skypark, an innovative luxury development where like-minded millennials can connect in beautiful co-living spaces. The project’s crown jewel—and the inspiration behind the development’s name—is the unique rooftop park, as well as the rooftop solar and wind turbines. Partially powered by clean energy , Skypark paves the way for local developers to take a more eco-friendly approach in construction. “Inspired by the crowded and narrow streets of Mongkok, where space is limited and people bump into each other, concrete created a place for residents to escape the chaos and for people to truly connect,” wrote the architects, which designed the residential complex with young professionals in mind. “Almost literally, by ‘breaking down the walls’ of a generic clubhouse , an open and transformable public space was made.” Garden designer Adrian L Norman created the Skypark roof garden using principles from New World Development’s Artisanal Movement concept that combines creativity, craftsmanship, and community. The sky park is distinguished by its large lawned garden, called The Lawn, that offers residents the luxury of picnicking next to stunning panoramic views. A wealth of other social spaces are available, including private nooks and an outdoor kitchen with a grill. Below the rooftop garden is The Aurora, a modern clubhouse on the 28th floor with an indoor swimming pool, poolside bar, library, and a gym. The Sky Stairs, a set of oversized steps with colorful cushions that double as seating, connect The Lawn with The Aurora. Related: A Lush Living Wall Skirts Aedas’ New Composite Building in Hong Kong The rooftop wind turbines generate electricity for some of the lighting, while solar energy is used to heat the clubhouse showers. Recycled rainwater is used for rooftop irrigation. The Skypark was completed in March 2017 and comprises mostly studio and one-bedroom apartments. + New World Development + concrete Via Dezeen Images via concrete

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Hong Kongs Skypark is an urban oasis for millennials

World’s cutest solar farm in China is shaped like a panda

July 3, 2017 by  
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Who says solar panel installations can’t be adorable? The Panda Power Plant in Datong, China is shaped like the country’s treasured animal – and the first phase offers 50 megawatts (MW) of clean energy . Panda Green Energy installed the array under an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to advocate for renewable energy . The first phase of the giant panda solar station was just connected to the grid . There’s a new contender for the cutest solar farm in the world: the Panda Power Plant, which will have an aggregate installed capacity of 100 MW. The black parts of the panda, such as the ears and arms, will be comprised of monocrystalline silicone solar cells, with the grey and white tummy and face composed of thin film solar cells. Related: China is now the largest producer of solar power in the world In addition to providing clean electricity , the panda solar stations are part of an effort to promote sustainable development among China’s young people. A youth activity center at the Panda Power Plant targeted at schoolchildren will detail the benefits of solar power . The 100 MW Panda Power Plants will be able to offer 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of green power in 25 years, according to the company, saving 1.056 million tons of coal and reducing carbon emissions by 2.74 million tons. Panda Green Energy plans to install more panda plants in the upcoming five years as part of their Panda 100 Program in Belt and Road areas, which are part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s economic development strategy also known as the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. As the strategy is targeted at cooperation among Eurasian countries, some of the panda plants could be built outside China. The UNDP also plans to promote renewable energy in China with China Merchants New Energy , the largest shareholder of Panda Green Energy, through summer camps and design competitions. Via pv magazine , Panda Green Energy , and United Nations Development Programme Images via China Merchants New Energy and Panda Green Energy

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World’s cutest solar farm in China is shaped like a panda

This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets

June 30, 2017 by  
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New Yorkers looking for a place to cool off during the summer will do well to duck into Long Island City’s MoMA PS1 – and it’s not just because the museum’s galleries are air-conditioned. A new interactive installation there, called Lumen , is an experience well-worth the trip. Lumen feels like a bright underwater landscape with 250 jellyfish-like tubular structures that interact with light, heat and movement. As the sun sets, colorful solar-powered lights come on, transforming the entire courtyard with an otherworldly vibe. Designed by Jenny Sabin Studio and debuting to the public June 29, Lumen is the winner of The Museum of Modern Arts and MoMA PS1’s 18th edition of the Young Architects Program and will serve as the setting for the 20th season of the Warm Up outdoor concert series this summer. The project integrates various disciplines, including biology, materials science, mathematics, engineering and design, to produce an artistic micro-climate that is both environmentally responsive and beautiful. The canopy is made of over 1,000,000 yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber. During the day, the sun shines through the gaps in the canopy’s fabric to create murals of light and shadows against the concrete walls.Because the design requirements called for shade, water and seating, a responsive water system was incorporated into the hanging fabric tubes. Called stalactites, the tubes spray a fine mist when bodies draw near. In addition, 100 recycled spool stools (also robotically woven) provide a place to rest tired feet after a day roaming through the galleries, meeting another criteria that designs incorporate sustainability and recycling in its elements. The recycled fabric absorbs solar power over the course of the day and then emits it at night. Related: MoMA PS1 unveils futuristic solar canopy that reacts to heat, sunlight, and movement Lumen appeals to the senses; the soft white fabric is juxtaposed against the hard wooden seats and floors engraved with white geometric patterns. The installation invites visitors to play among the hanging fabric as water hits their skin. Lumen exudes both weightlessness and levity as the canopy sways in the breeze during the day and then almost an eeriness when it morphs into a photoluminescent wonderland. Once the Warm Up music series kicks off July 1, custom lighting incorporated into the installation’s design will complement the shows to provide both a visual and aural experience. All of which should make for one vibrant summer. Lumen will be on view at MoMA PS1’s courtyard from June 29 though August 27. + Jenny Sabin Studio All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets

Lightyear unveils solar-powered car with a 500-mile driving range

June 29, 2017 by  
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A little-known Dutch startup called Lightyear just unveiled plans for a solar-powered electric car with a 500-mile driving range. The Lightyear One features a four-wheel drive powertrain that can handle rough terrain – and thanks to its solar panels, it can drive for months without having to be charged. “You can think of the Lightyear One as being as an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars.”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun”. Related: The world’s most efficient 5-seater car is powered entirely by the sun The solar-powered Lightyear One can travel up to 500 miles on a single charge. Other automakers have unveiled electric cars with solar panels on the roof, but none of them have been able to propel a car as far as Lightyear’s new vehicle. The integrated solar cells on the roof of the Lightyear One will generate enough energy to recharge the battery during the day, rendering charging virtually unnecessary. In sunny climates, the car can drive for months without charging, but if you need to travel further, you can also charge it using a standard power socket. Since the Lightyear One doesn’t need to rely heavily on charging infrastructure , the solar-powered car is a new option for drivers that don’t have access to a charger. “The Lightyear One is a statement to show that electric cars are ready for every corner of the planet”, Hoefsloot says. “It is the first step in our mission to make electric cars available for everyone”. The Lightyear One will be unveiled in early 2018, with the first deliveries in the United States and Europe expected to arrive in 2019. Pricing starts at 119,000 Euros, and reservations are already being taken on Lightyear’s website . Images @Lightyear + Lightyear

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Lightyear unveils solar-powered car with a 500-mile driving range

Pollution cuts solar energy production by up to 35%

June 29, 2017 by  
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We may be sabotaging our efforts to generate clean energy . New research from a team led by Duke University found polluted air may be reducing our solar energy output – by 25 percent. And areas with some of the highest investment in solar power are those impacted the most: China , the Arabian Peninsula, and India . Dust and airborne particles may be harming our ability to generate as much solar energy as we can. Duke University engineering professor Michael Bergin said, “My colleagues in India were showing off some of their rooftop solar installations, and I was blown away by how dirty the panels were. I thought the dirt had to affect their efficiencies, but there weren’t any studies out there estimating the losses. So we put together a comprehensive model to do just that.” Related: Students Create Award-Winning Robot That Cleans Solar Panels Joined by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison , Duke University scientists found pollution accumulation is indeed impacting solar energy output. They measured the decrease in energy from IITGN’s solar panels as they got dirtier. Each time the panels were cleaned after several weeks, the researchers noted a 50 percent boost in efficiency. China, India, and the Arabian Peninsula are the areas of the world impacted the most. Even if their panels are cleaned monthly, they still could be losing 17 to 25 percent of solar energy production. And if the cleanings happen every two months, the losses are 25 or 35 percent. Reduced output costs countries not just in electricity but money as well. Bergin said China could lose tens of billions of dollars yearly, “with more than 80 percent of that coming from losses due to pollution.” He pointed out we’ve known air pollution is bad for health and climate change , but now we know it’s bad for solar energy as well – all the more reason for politicians to adopt emissions controls. The research was published online this month by the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters . Via Duke University Images via Duke Engineering on Twitter and Pexels

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