Tag - solar power

Patent filing claims solar energy ‘breakthrough’

This is very interesting, to say the least.  I take it seriously because Greg Gordon is one of the best investigative reporters for McClatchy.  When a senior journalist with a great track record bites at this story twice in the same day, I can indulge my fantasy that there is a technological solution that will let us off the hook in many areas.

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Patent filing claims solar energy ‘breakthrough By Greg Gordon, McClatchy Washington Bureau, May 8, 2013’

WASHINGTON — In a U.S. patent application, a little-known Maryland inventor claims a stunning solar energy breakthrough that promises to end the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels at a fraction of the current cost – a transformation that also could blunt global warming.

Inventor Ronald Ace said that his flat-panel “Solar Traps,” which can be mounted on rooftops or used in electric power plants, will shatter decades-old scientific and technological barriers that have stymied efforts to make solar energy a cheap, clean and reliable alternative.

“This is a fundamental scientific and environmental discovery,” Ace said. “This invention can meet about 92 percent of the world’s energy needs.”

An inventor’s winding path to solar energy By Greg Gordon, McClatchy Washington  Bureau,  May 8, 2013

Global solar industry a net energy producer, Stanford researchers find

By Mark Golden
Video by Mark Shwartz
Stanford News

By Mark Golden

Video by Mark Shwartz

Despite its rapid growth rate, the photovoltaic power industry is producing – or is on the cusp of producing – a net energy benefit for society, Stanford researchers say.

The rapid growth of the solar power industry over the past decade may have exacerbated the global warming situation it was meant to soothe, simply because most of the energy used to manufacture the millions of solar panels came from burning fossil fuels. That irony, according to Stanford University researchers, is coming to an end.

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Breakthrough for Solar Power – New Fabrication

Science Daily Science News

solar1Feb. 27, 2013 — A novel fabrication technique developed by UConn engineering professor Brian Willis could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for to vastly improve today’s solar energy systems.

For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.

The technology would be a vast improvement over the silicon solar panels in widespread use today. Even the best silicon panels collect only about 20 percent of available solar radiation, and separate mechanisms are needed to convert the stored energy to usable electricity for the commercial power grid. The panels’ limited efficiency and expensive development costs have been two of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power as a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels. Read More

Feds plan ginormous solar power in California deserts

Mojave desert. Credit: usgs.gov

Sure, we need renewable energy and lots of it but the feds apparently want to have solar power on 19 million acres in the Mojave. This will change the Mojave forever, and not in a good way. Inquiring minds will note that California has mandated 33% in-state renewable energy by 2020. Thus, any big solar that gets built in California by then will have captive customers who must buy from them.How cozy is that for hedge funds, VCs, and investment banks?

Incentives to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of U.S. land in the West will be offered and an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert opened for new facilities.

Massive solar will need massive numbers of roads and roads and transmission lines to support it. The wildlife and habitat in the Mojave will survive as is with such disruptions. Some think the desert is useless and barren. It’s not. The desert is full of life and almost certainly performs important functions we will only be aware of after we’ve unalterably changed it.

These projects are being proposed at precisely the same time the Obama Administration is levying punitive tariffs on solar panels from China. This, if not reversed, will increase costs of big solar dramatically.