In Southern Africa, women led cooperatives could become part of a decentralised renewable energy revolution. For instance, solar roof top energy systems generate energy at the place it is needed, increasing efficiency while allowing it to remain under the control of the people who use it.
Renewable energy is never just about energy, but rather about all the opportunities it creates. If society committed to this sustainable option, we would literally and figuratively be putting power in women’s hands.
The benefits extend far beyond environmental preservation, to a society where women are less burdened and abused, but instead empowered, independent and equal.
Southern Africa: Renewable Energy Can Give Women Power http://allafrica.com/stories/201311281197.html BY GLEN TYLER, 27 NOVEMBER 2013 Johannesburg — Climate change is happening fast. Africa is already feeling the negative effects, yet this continent is the least responsible for it.
While Greenpeace continues to campaign and lobby for climate justice and environmental sustainability, corporations and government continue to drag us into climate chaos. However, it is seldom acknowledged that women bear the brunt of this chaos and that climate justice is linked to gender justice. Read more »
Of the 400 operating mine sites in Australia, 170 are either off-grid or connected to a smaller distribution network and needing to supply their own electricity. Natural gas and diesel dominate as fuel supplies for electricity generation and other energy uses. Rising prices of both of these fuels are leading mining companies to consider alternatives.
In South Africa, reliability of electricity supply has been a major issue for the mining sector, with electricity shortages in 2008 severely impacting operations and financial performance at a number of mine sites. The South African Government is addressing electricity supply issues through a renewable energy procurement programme….
Renewable energy, and in particular solar photovoltaic (PV), can offer significant benefits to mining companies. The unit cost of energy from solar PV is now below $US200/MWh in many locations compared to typical diesel generation costs of around $US300/MWh. This provides an opportunity for mining companies to reduce energy costs by reducing diesel consumption and maintenance costs with solar generation, particularly at sites with high day-time loads. The diesel engines are retained for night-time generation and as backup to the solar panels. Their operating life is also extended through lower annual operating hours.
Mining operations are strongly influenced by international commodity prices and operational focus can change rapidly in response to market signals. Diesel generators support this flexibility through their modularity and ability to be relocated to other sites if required. Solar modules also offer a degree of flexibility. With simple foundation systems and electrical reticulation, solar installations can theoretically be redeployed to other sites if mining operations need to close down. Recent trends in lease financing of solar modules provide further alignment with mining operations.
As panel prices continue to decrease and panel efficiency continues to increase, expect to see greater focus on renewable energy as a strategic consideration for mining operations. http://sourceable.net/grid-renewables-mining-energy-price-certainty/
Three reasons Germans are killing it on renewable energy http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/three-reasons-germans-are-killing-it-on-renewable-energy-56628 By John Farrell on 24 October 2013 CleanTechnica Germany is racing past 20% renewable energy on its electricity grid, but news stories stridently warn that this new wind and solar power is costing “billions.” But often left out (or buried far from the lede) is the overwhelming popularity of the country’s relentless focus on energy change (energiewende).
How can a supposedly expensive effort to clean up the energy supply be so popular?
1. It’s about the cost, not the price
Most news stories focus on the cost of electricity in Germany, which has some of the highest rates per kilowatt-hour in the world. But they don’t note that the average German electricity bill – about $100 a month – is the same as for most Americans. Germans are much more efficient users of energy than most, so they can afford higher rates without having higher bills. (Note to self: check out options for energy efficiency).
2. It’s about vision Read more »
Eco Kinetics, a leading business in Solar PV Installers 9 Oct 13 Although solar power has now been on the scene since around the mid-20th century, the revolutionary notion hasn’t spread as much like wildfire as wed have liked. Here are a few reasons why everyone should input those lovely looking solar panels on the roofs of their homes:
Unlike oil, solar power does not emit greenhouse gases or carcinogens into the air, therefore does not pollute it a much better alternative to the contamination produced from the fossil fuels we have come to depend on. Solar energy can be used to heat water, dry clothes, heat swimming pools, power attic fans, power small appliances, produce light for both indoors and outdoors, and even to power cars, among other things.
Also – It’s free! Who doesn’t want free energy to power their homes? The only cost, is the initial price of the panels themselves, but over a period of time you will save a whole lot of money. Solar energy doesn’t require expensive and continuous raw materials like oil or coal, and requires significantly lower operational labouring than conventional power production. So it not only cuts down your household bills but is a great deal greener for the environment.
Because solar doesn’t rely on on-going mining raw materials, it doesn’t result in the destruction of forests and ecosystems that occurs with most fossil fuel operations. Italys Montalto di Castro solar park is a good example of Solar contribution to curbing emissions. It avoids 20,000 tonnes per year of carbon emissions compared to fossil fuel energy production. The sun is a gigantic source of power so why not use it rather than spoil the environment through the use of fossil fuels?
Something you don’t want surrounding your home and annoying your neighbours is noise, so you’ll be pleased to know that solar power is completely silent, you’ll be the envy of your whole street whilst being quiet and modest about it. They don’t make a single peep whilst extracting their useful energy from the sun. However, the colossal machines used for pumping oil create an abundance of noise pollution and are therefore very impractical.
Rooftop power is a good way of supplying energy to a growing community. More cells can be added to homes and businesses as the community grows so that energy generation is in line with demand. Many large scale systems currently end up over generating to ensure that everyone has enough. Additionally, solar cells can also be installed in a distributed fashion, i.e. they don’t need large scale installations.
The Solar Powered Pyramid http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3947 18 Sept 13 The sight of solar panels on a rooftop mightn’t generally capture as much attention as it once did, but this installation certainly does.
Designed and installed by Scotland’s Sustainable Renewable Technologies (SRT), the 48.25 kW installation provides 85% of the power used by the pyramid-shaped headquarters of Survey Solutions at Bilston Glen, Loanhead, Edinburgh.
According to SRT, other solar companies approached to execute the installation shied away from the project; stating that it could not be done.
Design of the scaffolding system that would allow the panels to be positioned in place was quite a challenge, but even more so was the clients’ requirement that each face of the pyramid to be covered in solar panels must be a perfect triangle. There could be none of the stepping that would otherwise be seen with square solar cells of the cut-down panels along edges.
To achieve the “perfect triangle” effect wasn’t so much a case of high-tech wizardry, but more design ingenuity – the panels along the edge are dummies and do not generate power. The 193 panel array will provide a benefit to the building’s owners of around AUD$17,000 annually and avoid the creation of around 36 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The system was installed in July 2012 and has been nominated for this year’s Solar Power Portal Awards, which recognises good practice, professionalism, quality, safety and innovation in the UK’s solar industry.
The SRT installation is unsurprisingly in the “Most Innovative System Design,” category. Also not surprising is the comment from Tom King, SRT’s managing director, who said the installation was the most challenging project he has planned so far.
We imagine the project has resulted in all sorts of weird and wonderful design requests for Mr. King and his team.
The group estimates that more than 20,000 residential ratepayers throughout California, each purchasing an average 5 KW share, will be able to participate in the program, as well as local schools, businesses, the military and the government.
California approves shared renewable energy program http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/california-approves-shared-renewable-energy-program_100012727/#axzz2etkybguT 13. SEPTEMBER 2013 BY: IAN CLOVER
Approval of the largest program for shared renewable power in the U.S. passes in California, enabling schools, rental tenants and owners of homes in the shade to invest in solar energy projects. California’s Legislature has given the green light for the state’s “Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program”, which is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and will allow rental tenants, schools, cities and many other interested parties to invest in California’s renewable energy projects.
The program allows businesses and individuals to purchase shares in the renewable developments of three investor-owned utilities– Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) – in return for a greener electricity supply and, in the future at least, lower bills. Read more »
Cheaper Solar Cells With Abundant Earth Materials http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3921 4 Sept 13 University of Alberta scientists have used nanotechnology to design a solar cell incorporating abundant-earth elements, which they say could lead to cheaper and more prolific solar power in off-grid areas.
The team’s work revolves around finding ways to lower the cost of print and spray-on solar technology using nanoparticle-based photovoltaic cells. Jillian Buriak, senior research officer of the UA’s National Institute for Nanotechnology and fellow researchers used two commonly occurring elements, zinc and phosphorous, to form zinc phosphide, a highly conductive and photosensitive nanoparticle. The team then invented a method for dissolving the nanocrystals into a red-coloured ink capable of absorbing light and transforming it to energy.
Buriak believes this photovoltaic ink is an important step towards mass production of solar power through roll-to-roll printing and spray-on techniques.
“Nanoparticle-based ‘inks’ could be used to literally paint or print solar cells or precise compositions,” she said.
“Half the world already lives off the grid, and with demand for electrical power expected to double by the year 2050, it is important that renewable energy sources like solar power are made more affordable by lowering the costs of manufacturing.”
According to the University, the advantage of using such abundant-earth elements in the solar research is that both materials are more plentiful than scarce materials such as cadmium and are free from manufacturing restrictions imposed on lead-based nanoparticles.
Team member Hosnay Mobarok of UA’s Faculty of Science discovered the method of turning the zinc phosphide nanoparticles into a photovoltaic liquid. Erik Luber, from the Faculty of Engineering then worked on making the film responsive to sunlight.
The team have built a prototype solar panel and are currently working on spray-coating larger solar cells to test their efficiencies.
The work, funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, has been published in the journal ACS Nano.
Renewable energy facilities that commenced operations during Japan’s 2012 fiscal year (1 April 2012 to March 31 2013) totaled 2.08 gigawatts capacity, equivalent to two nuclear reactors, said the nation’s Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.
Of the 2.08 gigawatts, 1.98 gigawatts was contributed by residential, commercial and utility scale solar PV.
The Ministry describes Japan’s shift towards a renewable future as “smooth”, with an additional 1.28 gigawatts of renewables added to the nation’s energy infrastructure in April and May this year.
All told, the amount of renewable capacity approved between July 2012 and March this year was 21.09 gigawatts, meaning far more is yet to be built.
While solar is enjoying smooth sailing, the country’s nuclear industry is experiencing anything but; with crisis after crisis occurring at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power station…… http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3905
A Solar System Is Installed in the US Every 4 Minutes http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/america-installs-a-solar-system-every-four-minutes The industry will soon install one solar system every minute and a half. STEPHEN LACEY: AUGUST 19, 2013
And as it turns out, the U.S. is now installing one solar photovoltaic (PV) system every four minutes as well. If market growth continues at its current pace, the American solar industry could be installing a system every minute and twenty seconds by 2016. That’s a dramatic difference from 2006, when installers were only putting up one system every 80 minutes. Shayle Kann, vice president of GTM Research, documents the accelerating speed of solar deployment in the chart below:
It may not quite match Big Mac sales yet, but solar is on an extraordinarily fast growth trajectory. According to figures from GTM Research, two-thirds of all distributed solar in the U.S. has been installed over the last 2 1/2 years. And by 2016, cumulative installations of distributed PV will double.
That means the U.S. will hit 1 million cumulative residential solar installations by then — making the market in 2016 ten times larger than it was in 2010. For more information on American solar trends, check out the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from GTM Research and SEIA.
Finally: Obama Green Lights Solar Panels on White House
Details are not yet final, but President Obama has finally allowed retrofitting the White House roof to allow for solar panels. No, this is not a plot from HBO’s hit series Veep: it is finally happening. The final total of panels will range between 20 and 50 solar panels according to Think Progress and the Washington Post—perhaps enough to power a few flat screen TVs or power the equivalent of 15 seconds of flight on Air Force One.
It is a step that is surely attracting all kinds of buzz in and outside of Washington, DC, one either seen as a token effort, a sign of leadership on sustainability, or as a yawner. The installation falls on the heels of a 2010 promise Obama had made to install a rooftop solar system. http://www.enn.com/green_building/article/46324
Weighing just under 6 kilograms, the drone features ultra thin and light gallium arsenide solar cells manufactured by Alta Devices.
“Our integration of this cutting-edge technology dramatically increases Puma’s current flight endurance using a clean, renewable power source,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The new battery extends Puma AE’s non-solar endurance to more than three hours.
The solar Puma AE is a hand-launched vehicle designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. While its military and law enforcement applications are obvious, it also can be used to assist in environmental monitoring, fire-fighting and search and rescue efforts…… http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3888
solar PV systems are now so cheap they still make sense in countries with high power prices – even those without much sun that are cutting subsidies, such as Germany.
Renewables: A rising power. Ft.com By Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent, 8 Aug 13
Plunging prices are finally making solar power competitive with conventional sources of energy “..….Until now, the idea that unsubsidised solar power could make enough financial sense to be competitive with conventional electricity has been largely confined to the realms of environmental campaigners and renewable energy advocates.
However, as solar panels become more efficient and vastly cheaper, and household power bills keep rising, analysts at some of the world’s largest financial institutions say such a prospect is indeed possible – and likely to cause profound disruption in the energy industry.
Renewables: A rising power. Ft.com By Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent, 8 Aug 13……… “People think solar PV is only possible with subsidies and that is totally wrong,” says Karl Kuhlmann, the chief executive. “We’re happy that the industry is moving into an unsubsidised phase. It makes it simpler, better and totally independent from politicians.”
This is not quite true. The impact of cheap Chinese solar panels on western solar-panel makers has stirred political tensions, with trade rows over the threat of punitive tariffs erupting in the US and Europe…….
The more immediate threat to the nascent unsubsidised solar industry may be closer to home. In the US last month, Arizona’s largest utility, APS, asked regulators to look at imposing fees on people installing new rooftop solar systems to help pay for the cost of a grid they still use “essentially for free”.
“As the number of customers installing solar goes up, it drives rates even higher for non-solar customers, making the problem more difficult to solve,” it said in a statement. Utilities in other US states want similar action, infuriating solar companies.
Another outcry has broken out in Spain, the EU’s third-largest solar market after Germany and Italy, where the government last month also produced a proposal to impose new charges on rooftop solar owners.
“It’s really crazy,” says Mr Jornet. “They want me to pay for the electricity I take from my own solar panels. It’s amazing.”…….
Regulators still have to decide if the utilities will get their way. What does seem certain, however, is that the surge in solar power is changing energy markets in ways we have only begun to understand……http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a41d86b4-ff9c-11e2-a244-00144feab7de.html#axzz2bb20LPZl
Renewables: A rising power. Ft.com By Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent, 8 Aug 13 Developing nations: Cheap solar could ‘leapfrog’ subsidies The plummeting cost of solar power systems is driving more than a surge in suburban rooftop panels in Bavaria and Barcelona.
It also promises to provide regular electricity to the 1.2bn people who have no access to it today. Low-cost solar panels could help them leapfrog traditional power grids in the same way parts of the developing world sidestepped fixed-line telecommunications networks and went straight to mobile phones.
An 80 per cent fall in the cost of solar panels since 2008 has opened up new business opportunities for companies such as Germany’s Donauer, which has just developed the D: Hybrid, a system that allows thousands of solar panels to be attached to the diesel generators that are a fixture in industrialising countries with rickety electricity systems. Read more »
SOL – The Affordable Solar Powered Laptop http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3879 8 Aug 13 SOL can be run entirely on the power of the sun and could make a big difference to education and communications in developing countries.
Developed by Canadian R&D corporation WeWi Telecommunications, Inc.; SOL is a laptop initially aimed at the 1 in 4 people in the world who have little to no access to reliable power.
Able to run 8-10 hours on a full charge, the laptop features an Intel Atom D2500 1.86 GHz Duo Core processor, 2-4 gigabytes of RAM and a 320 gigabyte hard drive; plus a 13.3 inch display, WiFi, 3G/4G modem and a camera. Multiple external ports extend SOL’s capabilities.
Cutting the cost of software to run the laptop has been achieved through the use of the free Ubuntu operating system.
While information on the capacity of the detachable folding solar panels doesn’t appear to be on the SOL web site; according to the FAQ, the battery can be fully recharged in a little over 2 hours.
Far from being a fragile device that wouldn’t survive long in target markets, WeWi claims it was developed with “durable, reinforced materials, complex military industrial design and architecture that are meant to keep the laptop in good shape.”
The standard unit is expected to sell for around USD $350 and a submersible version, approximately USD $400. It will be initially rolled out in Ghana before other markets. While geared towards developing nations; SOL will ultimately be available globally and the company intends developing “adventurer” versions of the laptop with enhanced capabilities.
WeWi Telecommunications, Inc originally launched as a B2B Internet Service Provider and then evolved into a global solutions provider with an advanced research division specializing in security, telecom and innovative energy products.
Read more on the Sol web site.
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