green and sustainable business

Posts Tagged ‘solar

Solar heat

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solar energy_Mike RaySolar is very hot at the moment. A list of cleantech stock picks for 2014 has First Solar (a solar manufacturer) and SolarCity (a solar installer) at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and further down the list are a solar holding company, Renewable Energy Trade Board, and a solar equipment company, Meyer Burger.

There are many reports, including one on another site that I write for on occasion TriplePundit, that the solar market is heading for a “second gold rush” this year; there’s little to dispute the fact that solar is definitely an in thing, especially for investors. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

February 13, 2014 at 4:00 am

Dishing up some solar energy alchemy

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solar-dishWhen it comes to renewable energy and efficiency, a double-dip in the dish is a great deal.

The latest in solar dish technology that does what solar installations do—converts sunlight into power—but with an added twist: it generates clean water.

The efficiency of the typical solar installation ranges from 10 to 20 percent, with the rest waste heat. Swiss researchers associated with IBM have developed the High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal system (HCPVT), which uses that waste solar heat to generate fresh water.

It’s reminiscent of the ancient craft of turning lead into gold. But it’s not alchemy, it’s real. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

May 29, 2013 at 5:00 am

Huge drop in solar costs on the way

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Reports of the solar industry’s pending demise have been greatly exaggerated, at least according to research by McKinsey.

According to the consultancy, the solar-power industry is merely suffering from “growing pains.” The article, “Solar power: Darkest before dawn,” dispels the notion that the industry has “lapsed into a classic cycle of boom and bust after a decade of unprecedented growth” even though that might appear to be what’s happening. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

May 17, 2012 at 2:00 am

Earth Day viewing: Nova’s Power Surge

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PBS’ production of Power Surge, aired on Nova Wednesday night, is an excellent companion as we settle in for Earth Day musings and strategies.

The show lays out the current status of climate change and what is doable on an individual and global basis. For example energy efficiency, while certainly not the total answer, will help tremendously. Take a look at the carbon footprint of the average U.S. family in a year–some 50 tons of CO2!

Remarkably, while there’s no glossing over that what we’ve done to the planet is alarming and dangerous and getting more so — the show has an upbeat and even optimistic message. It’s a solvable crisis because we have the technology and innovative ideas; we need the will for change.

Written by William DiBenedetto

April 22, 2011 at 2:00 am

A solar ‘sledgehammer’ to produce biomass gas

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This is really neat but will using solar power to create fuel have long-term legs? We’ll see – at some point alternative, renewal fuel ideas will have to catch on, won’t they?

Anyway this one is called solar biomass gasification, a concept and process that’s been around for some time, mostly in university scientific research circles. A relatively new company that has emerged from that university research environment, Sundrop Fuels Inc., might have the drop on making a commercial go of it.

CEO Wayne Simmons puts it quite succinctly: “We’re going to convert the sun’s energy into liquid fuel using concentrated solar power to gasify biomass, then convert the resulting syngas into green gasoline or diesel.”

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Written by William DiBenedetto

August 6, 2010 at 2:00 am

Beam it down, Sol

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The idea of the Solar power satellite is the yin to the yang of the Ronald Reagan’s expensive 1980s Star Wars fantasy, and almost as old. Scientists for decades have explored the potential of using space-based solar cells to beam power to the Earth.

Now the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has gone beyond whimsy by actually signing up several major collaborators to launch a giant one-gigawatt space solar power satellite into space. The players are huge – Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Electric and Sharp – and the bucks that JAXA has indicated it will invest in the project are also massive, $21 billion worth.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

November 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Posted in alternative energy, solar

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Shining industrial rooftops

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Prologis2Warehouses and distribution facilities may be emptier inside than usual these days, but the rooftop space above is a great and largely untapped solar energy resource.

Distribution facility developer ProLogis, which was hard-hit last year by the collapse of the real estate industry, is on the cutting edge of what could and should be a bright business and  sustanability opportunity in the logistics and warehousing arena.

The Denver company has formed a Global Renewable Energy Group that will oversee the procurement, development  and management of new eco-friendly properties while providing management services for renewable energy projects, including a major push to provide rooftop space for solar energy installations.

One of the group’s first management efforts was announced recently: A new, 4.8-megawatt (MW) solar project that will be installed on eight rooftops at the ProLogis Park Sant Boi in Barcelona and ProLogis Park Alcala in Madrid, Spain. It’s a co-development arrangement with San Francisco’s Recurrent Energy that also marks Recurrent’s first foray into Europe.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

October 7, 2009 at 11:52 am

Labor daze item – Shanghai Corporate Pavilion

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Shanghai-corporate-pavilion2-thumb-450x232If you’re wondering what to do with all of those old CD cases stacked around the ranch now that you either store and listen to your music online and/or have your faves stored on MP3s, how about building a new house or office with them? It can be done.

The China architecture firm Atelier Feichang Jianzhu (check out its amazing website) designed the stunning Shanghai Corporate Pavilion using thousands of plastic tubes made entirely from CD cases.Shanghai-corporate-pavilion4-thumb-450x337

Even better, the polycarbonate tubes can be recycled again entirely at the end of the building’s life.

And it’s solar! Energy is collected by way of a 5,249-foot solar thermal energy system of heat conducting tubes on the roof. They heat water up to 95 F and will be used to generate electricity.

The Shanghai Pavilion also features a misting system that can be sprayed in various patterns under the entrance ceiling, but it’s not merely a cosmetic nicety. The mist also will lower the temperature, purify the air and help create a comfortable climate in the pavilion.


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Written by William DiBenedetto

September 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

Feds, FedEx living large with solar

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solarpanelfxgThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FedEx Ground don’t have much in common but there is this:  Both are engaged in massive solar projects.

FedEx Ground, the small-package shipping unit of FedEx Corp., plans to install the nation’s largest rooftop solar-electric system at its 80-acre distribution hub in Woodbridge, N.J.

And the Army Corps of Engineers last week chose Clark Energy Group to develop the largest solar power project in Department of Defense history at Fort Irwin, CA. Acciona Solar Power will team with Clark to construct and manage the Fort Irwin Energy Solar Energy EUL project. The Enhanced Use Learning program is administered by the Corps’ Baltimore District.

The FedEx solar project is the third solar power project between a FedEx operating company and BP Solar and the fifth solar power project overall for FedEx. The 2.42-megawatt solar power system will cover approximately 3.3 acres of roof top space, using about 12,400 solar panels.

When completed, the system will have the capacity to produce approximately 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year and could provide up to 30 percent of the hub’s annual energy needs.

As part of the agreement, BP will install and operate the solar power system and FedEx will purchase the power generated.
Installation is scheduled to begin this month and is slated for completion by November.

When the system is fully operational, the combined environmental benefits based on a projected annual reduction of approximately 1,867 metric tons of CO2 emissions, are equivalent to one of the following:

- More than 340 passenger cars not driven for one year

- 211,900 gallons of gasoline not burned

- 4,300 barrels of oil not consumed

- 259 households’ electricity use for one year

- 47,872 tree seedlings grown for 10 years

- 13 acres of forest preserved from deforestation

Last year, FedEx Freight installed two solar power systems. One in Whittier, CA, is a 282-kilowatt system, while another in Fontana, CA, is a 269-kilowatt system. In 2005, FedEx Express activated a 904-kilowatt system at its Oakland, Calif., hub facility, making it the first of its kind in the FedEx family. That system today meets up to 80 percent of that facility’s peak energy demand. And, FedEx is currently constructing its Central and Eastern European gateway at the Cologne/Bonn, Germany, airport, which will include a 1.4-megawatt solar power system. The hub is slated for completion in 2010.

FedEx’s Woodbridge hub sits on a former brownfield site once used to stockpile soils dredged from the nearby Raritan River.  Soils and groundwater were contaminated with various polluting substances, primarily arsenic.  To build the facility, FedEx Ground worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on a remedial action for the site. Today, the hub houses a workforce of more than 1,000 employees and independent contractors.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

August 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Suntech inks partnerships with CECIC, China Huadian

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BIPV2suntechChina’s Suntech Power Holdings Co., is joining forces with China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation to develop solar power projects in China over the next five years.

In addition, the company signed an agreement with the China Huadian New Energy Development Co. (HNE) to develop utility-scale and commercial rooftop solar projects totaling 500mw in China’s western provinces.

The recent announcements were the latest in a flurry of moves by the world’s largest crystalline photovoltaic module manufacturer, which has regional headquarters in Beijing, Wuxi, China and San Francisco.  Suntech trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol STP.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Under the partnership with CECIC, the state-owned energy conservation company will be responsible for project investment and solar project development, while Suntech will supply the solar products, system design and technical support. The plan is to develop large-scale, on-grid projects, urban building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) projects, rural off-grid projects and wind-solar hybrid projects.

CECIC focuses on energy conservation investment and also consults on conservation and policy to government agencies.

In the deal with HNE, Suntech will supply silicon solar modules along with system design and tech support. HNE will oversee investment and solar project development.

Suntech said the projects developed under the collaborations could include solar initiatives previously announced by the company in Qinghai province, Shaanxi province, Ningxia province’s Shizuishan city, Panzhihua in Sichuan province and in Jiangsu province.

Written by William DiBenedetto

July 30, 2009 at 11:26 am


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