Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

More than 5,000 MECASOLAR trackers installed in the Grupo OPDE photovoltaic solar farms in Spain have endured with great strength over the weekend of 26 and 27 February, the winds that swept the Iberian Peninsula from north to south caused by the explosive cyclogenesis and which reached speeds of up to 200 km / h accompanied by heavy rains. This was the case of the large solar farm at Almaraz (Cáceres)-with 2-axis MECASOLAR solar trackers, which withstood hurricane winds up to 132 km / h without any of the trackers registering any incidents. The explosive ciclogenensis also particularly affected the solar farms of Belvis de Monroy (Cáceres), which recorded maximum wind speeds up to 102 km / h.More than 5,000 MECASOLAR trackers installed by OPDE are located on solar farms in Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla-Leon and Navarre. All of which withstood the hurricane wind speeds caused by Xinthia, without registering any structural problems and or panel breakage. "Last weekend our trackers have once again beat records for wind resistance of 132 km / h showing the market on the ground that they are the most robust and best built mechanically on the market," says Gustavo Carrero, Director

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SunPower Inc. and Toshiba Corporation have entered into an agreement that will help the Japanese electronics company unveil a new solar energy-based undertaking to begin the new decade.As part of the strategic supply agreement between the two companies, Toshiba will order 32 megawatts worth of high-efficiency solar panels that will be manufactured by SunPower throughout 2010. The panels will be one of the main components in a new residential solar program being offered in Japan by Toshiba that will be getting underway on April 1."Toshiba's residential solar power business will offer homeowners the most efficient solar power systems available, with a focus on quality and reliability," said Shoji Takenaka, chief technology executive of Transmission Distribution & Industrial Systems Company for Toshiba. "We are very pleased to work with SunPower, as their solar photovoltaic panels achieve high levels of performance and reliability, and their excellent efficiency supports space-saving solutions that directly meet the needs of consumers in Japan."SunPower CEO Tom Werner added that their highly efficient solar panels will help make renewable solar energy possible in Japan due to the limited roof areas available in many domestic areas.The deal with Toshiba comes after SunPower drastically increased its presence in the solar

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Although concentred solar power (CSP) generation is probably better known, solar thermal (ST) collectors employ a much lower level of technology and convert far more of the sun's energy into useful heat, according to a new market analysis.The report "Solar Thermal Power Report" by ReportBuyer describes solar thermal energy technology in its various applications, describing the various technologies: collectors, receivers, heat storage systems and energy conversion units.CSP uses lenses and mirrors to directly tranfers solar energy into electricity via conventional steam and heat turbines or by focusing light onto photovoltaics. The Ivanpah project being developed by BrightSource in California is a high-profile example.Solar thermal (ST) collectors--used for water heating and building heating (or cooling through solar chillers)--have more capacity and produce more energy than wind power and more than geothermal, solar PV and ocean energy combined. By 2009 there were 147,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power, 174,000 MW of solar thermal collectors. By comparison there was only about 1,000 MW of CSP and about 17,000 MW of solar PV capacity.The last two or three years have seen strides forward in all solar technologies and many 50 to 100 MW CSP power generation projects are being developed, with larger ones in

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The three new inverters in the SolarMax TS series have rated capacities of 50, 80 and 100 kilowatts and work in the MPP range of 430 to 800 Volts. The devices are highly compact and are better protected against dirt than their predecessor models in the SolarMax C series. In addition, Sputnik\'s developers have succeeded in boosting the European efficiency from 94.8 to 95.5 percent and to increase the acceptable ambient temperature range by five degrees. A processor monitors the IGBT switch on the power component which improves operating safety and reliability. Sputnik has replaced the electrolytic capacitors with film capacitors which has extended the useful life of the inverters by several years. DC and AC circuit breakers are now accessible from outside. This means that electricians can separate the inverter safely from the grid before they open it. Several devices can now be switched off simultaneously using one external switch. The new inverters communicate via RS 485 and Ethernet. The graphic display can be operated using three keys. Pilot project in the Wankdorf Stadium The TS series meets all the specifications contained in the new Medium-Voltage Guideline published by Germany \'s Federal Association of Energy and Water Utilities (BDEW)-

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Oldcastle Precast, Inc., the leading manufacturer of precast concrete, polymer concrete, and plastic products in the United States, showcases their innovative patent pending precast ballasted footings for solar panel mounting. The patent pending footing designs are used for solar power systems that utilize Photovoltaic (PV) technologies such as fixed tilt, single axis, or dual axis trackers, or a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system, such as the parabolic trough.Oldcastle Precast's newest product series are designed for use in the most demanding solar panel applications where the panels need to be secured in unstable, environmentally sensitive, or impenetrable ground conditions such as landfill applications. These footings are also designed for relocation and reuse.Oldcastle Precast's ballast footings are independent precast concrete footings for ground mounted solar electrical systems - with our extensive engineering staff -- Oldcastle Precast is able to custom engineer a solution for your specific location, wind speed, tile angle, support and racking configuration, solar module size, weight, local design codes and project requirements.The patent pending precast concrete ballast footings from Oldcastle Precast are invaluable in the following applications: where a non penetrating solution is required, where the solar installation is going in above bedrock, installations having

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A Chinese solar energy company is proposing to build a solar-panel plant in Austin, investing $20.7 million and creating more than 300 jobs.In return, the city of Austin is proposing to give the company an 80-percent break on property taxes on the plant and equipment.Yingli Green Energy, the U.S. subsidiary of a large Chinese solar energy company, also is negotiating with Phoenix, Ariz., according to Dave Porter, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.The company also has applied for incentives from the U.S. Department of Energy under a federal clean-energy stimulus program, he said.The jobs would pay an average of about $35,000, ranging from $13.50 an hour for manufacturing workers to $50,000 for 55 staff workers and $125,000 for 2 top executives.Austin would become the company's U.S. headquarters, according to the proposal. 

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The biggest boat to be powered by solar energy, left, has been displayed in Germany before it begins preparations to circumnavigate the globe.The 31m (100ft) by 15m catamaran, PlanetSolar, has been developed to be silent and clean, its Swiss-based maker said. The ship will be able to travel at a top speed of 15 knots (17mph) and carry 50 people.The PlanetSolar, which was built in Kiel, Germany, will be launched in March and will be part of celebrations at Hamburg port in May. A crew of two plan to begin the world tour, which will cover about 40,000km (24,850 miles) along the equator, from April next year.Its maker, which is also called PlanetSolar, wants to use the voyage to promote solar power and other non-polluting sources of energy. 

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At the Renewable Energy Expo and World Conference in Austin, Texas yesterday, solar energy received accolades from the editors and readers of the Renewable Energy World network of publications. The Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards are intended to recognize projects, people, and companies for "advancing the market for renewable energy in North America".Of the seven awards given out yesterday, six went to the solar industry. From Renewable Energy World:Project of the Year - eSolar's 5-MW Sierra SunTowerUtility-scale Renewables - Enbridge and First Solar's 20-MW Sarnia Solar ProjectDistributed and On-Site Renewables - Solyndra and Solar Power Inc's 602-kW Rooftop CIGS PV Project for CostcoBuilding Integrated Renewables - Conserval Engineering's 25-kW PV and 75-kW Thermal SolarWall Hybrid System at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia UniversityInnovation in Renewable Energy - Enphase Energy's Micro-inverter SystemLeadership in Renewable Energy - For policy, Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association; and for technology Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, Founder and CTO of SunivaReader's Choice Award - First Wind's 203-MW Milford Wind CorridorIt's great to see solar leadership honored in this way. Renewable energy technologies like geothermal and wind aren't as sexy as solar is right now partly because they've had more legislative-and financial-backing

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The Chevron Corporation has announced that it will be constructing a new photovoltaic solar panel facility on the site of one of its molybdenum mines in Questa, New Mexico.The solar energy facility will consist of approximately 175 solar panels spread across 20 acres of land, making it the largest concentrating solar photovoltaic installation in the country.Energy created by the facility will be sold to the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative as part of a separate power purchase agreement."Locating renewable energy projects on impacted lands is a great way to redevelop the land," Richardson said. "I'm pleased that Questa - and Chevron Mining and Chevron Technology - will contribute to New Mexico's solar energy production and help us build a strong clean energy economy. This makes economic and environmental sense."Fred Nelson, the president of Chevron Mining, added that the solar energy project would help demonstrate how previously impacted land could be remade to house "future alternative energy resources."Construction on the project will get underway this spring and is scheduled to be done by year's end. It will be accompanied by an evaluation of the soil depths for when the facility eventually ends its mining operations. 

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For homeowners and businesses, a big part of the appeal of "going solar" is the chance to offset their energy bills by earning credit for the power they generate.State law requires investor-owned utilities such as the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to provide such credits to their customers - up to 2.5 percent of a utility's overall electricity load.It is a measure of the "net metering" program's success that PG&E, which has been in the solar forefront, will soon reach that 2.5 percent threshold.It is time to adjust the cap. The California Legislature has just given its approval to AB510, authored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, that would double the allotment of customer-generated solar power that utilities would be required to credit."This should allow us to have net metering through the life of the California Solar Initiative program

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