March 26, 2012
Pres. Barack visited Boulder City, Nevada to tour Sempra Generation's Copper Mountain Solar Facility last Wednesday. He spoke briefly and admired both the system and Hoover Dam, commenting that "This city has always been about the future." While some believed the move to be political and were disgruntled that tourists would be denied road access, the mayor saw it as a way to bring attention to the growing industry.
While the area already houses 700,000 solar panels, Mayor Roger Tobler says that in the next 3 - 5 years, there will be the potential for 1,500 to 3,000 new jobs. As the area has had its share of economic problems the past few years, an increase of revenue and extra employment should give them a welcome boost.
March 19, 2012
Almost everyone is already aware of DARPA and now DOE's ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) funding continues to encourage new forms of energy to lower our reliance on fossil fuels and lessening the evil climate change. Of course there are plenty of critics that became outspoken after the Solyndra fiasco, but eventually those who doubt the program and think there is no global warming problem should, um, see the light.
Part of the solution is in wind and solar energy. In 2010, New York's CUNY received a $3 million grant to develop a low cost solar battery designed to store power until needed. Michigan State University is working on GENI, a power flow controller that will improve the routing of electricity from solar and wind power. You can be part of the movement if you believe that you have an idea that is viable. Check out the link for more information.
March 12, 2012
Most solar cells need to be aimed towards the sun for maximum efficiency but Kyosemi's spherical micro cell arrays can collect energy from every angle. Sphelar cells are only 1 - 2 mm across and can be even be mounted on curved surfaces. Designed for outside use, because of their shape they work earlier in the morning and later in the evening than flat cells.
March 5, 2012
When we first saw this story we wondered what the fuss was about. It seems that GE invested $100 million in a 127 megawatt solar farm near Arlington, AZ, whose population is a mere 194. Another one built was serviceable to Desert Center, CA a town of only 204. It seems that the farms are almost as large as the cities that they support.
So what is the big whoop? The two Sonora Desert projects together generate more than half the power produced by a single unit of the nearby Palo Verde nuclear power plant. It should provide hundreds of new construction jobs and displace 515,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas, the equivalent of taking about 98,000 cars off the road.