The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Barefoot power solar powering up remote villages

sunImpact corner: innovative solutions in the renewable energy sector Affordable, reliable renewable energy is still a luxury in many parts of the world. Barefoot Power and Hybrid Social Solutions tackle the challenges Tomohiro Nagasaki Guardian Professional, Friday 4 April 2014 Access to safe and affordable sources of energy still remains a luxury for 1.5 billion people in the world. Both product innovation and distribution innovation are challenges in ensuring off-grid access to clean, safe and affordable energy.

BCtA member Barefoot Power addresses this problem by offering solar lighting products which are simple to use and come with a complete set of solar panels, batteries, wires, and (in most products) phone charging adapters. Barefoot’s products are designed at their headquarters in Australia, and manufactured and assembled in China. In order to maintain high quality standards, the company works closely with factories to oversee the quality control process. Barefoot’s lighting products are expected to bring durable and efficient lighting systems to 10 million people by 2015.

In doing business with base of the pyramid populations, having the right strategy for product distribution is often the key to successfully reaching customers. Hybrid Social Solutions, based in the Philippines, specialises in last-mile distribution of solar appliances in the country’s rural communities. The company takes an innovative approach of combining product distribution with the provision of financing, training on the use of solar appliances, and technical support to end-users to ensure their sustainable use of solar products. The company is able to offer such a holistic solution to the end-users through its partnerships with community-based NGOs, cooperatives, and microfinance institutions for providing financing, capacity building, and maintenance support services.

Tomohiro Nagasaki provides impact measurement as a consultant for the Business Call to Action.

Launched at the United Nations, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global alliance hosted by the United Nations Development ProgrammeHeadquarters in New York. Follow: @BCtAInitiative

Copy on this page is provided by Business Call to Action, supporter of the role of business in development hub

April 5, 2014 Posted by | decentralised | Leave a comment

Revolutionary new system for solar power in remote parts of Africa

sunRenewable energy: Samsung introduces digital village concept Ghana Web 12 Mar 14, Samsung Electronics is developing a concept that will make use of sunshine, which is an abundant natural resource in Africa, to change and improve the lives of inhabitants of rural communities in Africa.

The leading provider of digital solutions will use sunshine as a renewable source of energy in Africa to establish various facilities that can be operated through transportable solar-powered generators.

Officials of Samsung therefore seek to introduce what is called the digital village with solar integrated solutions, a unique concept that harnesses technology in a way that breaks through traditional, social and economic barriers and takes real support and opportunities to people where they live.

Facilities under the digital village concept include solar-powered Internet school (SPIS), solar-powered tele-medical centre, solar-powered health centre and solar-powered generator and lantern.

Mr Thierry Boulanger, Director of Information Technology (IT) and Business to Business (B2B) Solutions of Samsung Electronics in charge of Africa, said the solar-powered generators constituted the heart of the digital village that could be erected in 60 minutes of arrival.

He told the Daily Graphic that following the launch of Samsung’s new portfolios in Malaga, Spain, just recently the whole concept had come under the Built For Africa (BFA) programme, where solutions are offered for specific situations.

He said the solar-powered generators could be used to power classrooms, small businesses, government offices, health facilities and remote -controlled gates…….

The health centre is designed for treatment in remote areas and it eliminates economic and geographic barriers, while the lantern, which is capable of providing light for families in remote areas, is rechargeable daily through a solar panel.

March 13, 2014 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised | Leave a comment

London gets world’s largest solar-powered bridge

World’s largest solar-powered bridge opens in London, Guardian, 24 Jan 14 Blackfriars rail station secures half its power from 4,400 roof-mounted solar panels, reports BusinessGreenAfter nearly five years in the making, Network Rail has today cut the ribbon on the world’s largest solar-powered bridge at Blackfriars Bridge across the River Thames.

As part of a project with solar installation firm Solarcentury, the roof of the bridge has been covered with 4,400 photovoltaic panels, providing up to half of the energy for London Blackfriars station.

First Capital Connect, which runs Blackfriars, expects the panels to cut the stations’ carbon emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes a year, further reducing the carbon footprint of its train routes to the south east of England.

“Electric trains are already the greenest form of public transport – this roof gives our passengers an even more sustainable journey,” said David Statham, managing director of First Capital Connect. “The distinctive roof has also turned our station into an iconic landmark visible for miles along the River Thames.”

The bridge will also act as a major advertisement for London’s efforts to become a sustainable city, with tourists and workers viewing the panels as they enter the capital……

January 27, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Solar power for Pakistan’s Parliament House will save $millions

Pakistan Parliament House Going Solar, Renewable Energy News, 23 Jan 14  A 1.8 megawatt (MW) solar farm is being installed at the Parliament House building in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad.

According to, the USD $60 million project has been funded by the Chinese government; which also recently assisted in the preparation of a solar park project on over 10,000 acres that could ultimately host 1,000 MW of solar panel capacity.

The Parliament House project will not only save Pakistan’s government around a million dollars a year in electricity costs, it’s hoped the high profile array will also spur on broader adoption……

January 24, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Report: owners of renewable energy systems highly satisfied

Renewable energy system owners enjoy high satisfaction, finds report,PV Magazine 20 Dec 13,  A report published by the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA)and the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise has revealed a high level of satisfaction among renewable energy system owners in the U.S. state.  BY:  IAN CLOVER

The study from the NC Sustainable Energy Association suggests that rewarding policies helped bolster owners’ desires to “do the right thing” on energy…….–finds-report_100013765/

December 21, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Renewable energy – the way to empower women in Southern Africa

In Southern Africa, women led cooperatives could become part of a decentralised renewable energy women empoweredrevolution. 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 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. Continue reading

November 29, 2013 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised, women | Leave a comment

Solar power with diesel backup – a financial boon to mining sites

 Off-Grid Renewables for Mining: Energy Price Certainty  Sourceable, By: Blair Walter 8 Nov 13 Renewable energy is becoming accepted as an important energy supply for large electricity consumers worldwide. In particular, the mining sector offers significant opportunities to both mine operators and renewable energy developers.

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.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | 1 Comment

Germany’s people powered renewable energy success

Three reasons Germans are killing it on renewable energy By  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).

diagram-germany-people-poweGer,amy’s people-powered renewabl eenergy success

2. It’s about vision Continue reading

October 26, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

The Wonders of Solar Power

 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.

solar rooftops

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.


October 9, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | 2 Comments

Scotland’s Sustainable Renewable Technologies (SRT) comes up with the SOLAR PYRAMID

The Solar Powered Pyramid 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.


September 18, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Power companies join in California’s Community Renewable Energy project

solar-panels-localThe 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 13. SEPTEMBER 2013 BY:  IAN CLOVER

Flag-USAApproval 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. Continue reading

September 14, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Cheaper solar cells with nanotechnology

sunCheaper Solar Cells With Abundant Earth Materials 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.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, renewable | Leave a comment

Solar energy shiningin Japan, amidst its nuclear nightmare

solar-panels-localflag-japanJapan Adds 2+ Gigawatts Of Solar PV by Energy Matters, 22 Aug 13,  Japan’s love affair with solar blossoms while a massive radioactive contamination threat still looms large.

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……

August 23, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, Japan | Leave a comment

Every 4 minutes A Solar System Is Installed in the US

sunA Solar System Is Installed in the US Every 4 Minutes The industry will soon install one solar system every minute and a half. STEPHEN LACEY: AUGUST 19, 2013

A lot happens in America every four minutes. During that short time period, 30 babies areborn, 4,080 McDonald’s Big Macs are consumed, and 48,000 tons of CO2 are emitted.

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.

August 20, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

President Obama finally allows return of solar panels to the White House

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.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment


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