A large renewable energy company in Australia has released a video that helps those who want to convert to solar power. Energy Matter's Director James Walter explains the differences between manufacturers and gives details about the technology. And while we know this is a commercial, EM does prove that not all solar panels are created equal. The site has other helpful videos and guides to help you turn green, no matter where you live.
Saturday, the University of Michigan won this year's American Solar Car Challenge with Quantum. This is the seventh time that they have taken the prize. They began competing in 1990 and have built a total of 11 vehicles.
They are already working on their next car to participate in the 2013 World Solar Challenge, having placed 3rd four times. You can contact them for donations and because it is completely student run, even non-engineer types can volunteer.
Previously we told you about the trend of solar power becoming less expensive and evidence of this is everywhere, including this Solar Power Kit from Sunforce, now less than half of its original price. You get 60 watts of free, clean energy from a panel that is not only waterproof, it is portable so it can be used with RVs or boats, on camping trips or located on the sunniest spot near your home. A built-in blocking diode prevents accidental night battery discharge and the kit comes with every thing you need to get the solar party started.
The Israeli company BSolar has perfected bifacial solar cells that they say produces up to 30% KWH per KWp in a standard application and up to 50% in vertical ones. Because they are made with standard equipment, the double-sided monocrystalline silicon cells can be feasible for the mass market. They are made with boron instead of aluminum which increases the cell's efficiency when the backside of the cell absorbs reflective light. Boron is more expensive to use but is also more resistant to breakage.
When companies like Solyndra go under, one wonders why many so many other solar power companies are also struggling to stay afloat.
GTM Research has released a report that may be able to clear the matter up. About 30 gigawatts of solar panels are expected to be sold globally this year while production capacity is almost twice that at 59GW. Prices have gone down more than 50% since 2011 and will continue to drop resulting in smaller companies not being able to compete. And because of the adverse weather conditions early in the year, production was reduced.
There is more to it of course, but it certainly comes down to supply and demand at decreasing prices with the smaller fish left behind. The import tariff on Chinese cells, imposed after some were selling products for less than they cost to manufacture and ship in an effort to build up their country's market share, will effect solar energy's future as well as the expiration of the "safe harboring" 1603 Treasury Program in December 2011.
The GTM report states that the PV market should rally by 2015. Good news for all companies that can hang in there. Check out details of the report via the link.