Aquila: Facebook’s solar-powered internet drone takes flight ABC News 23 July 16 Facebook has completed a successful test flight of a solar-powered drone that it hopes will help it extend internet connectivity to every part of the planet.
Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, high-altitude aircraft, flew at a few thousand feet for 96 minutes in Yuma, Arizona, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
The company ultimately hopes to have a fleet of Aquilas that can fly for at least three months at a time at 18,300 metres and communicate with each other to deliver internet access.
Google parent Alphabet Inc has also poured money into delivering internet access to underserved areas through Project Loon, which aims to use a network of high-altitude balloons to made the internet available to remote parts of the world………
Zuckerberg laid out the company’s biggest challenges in flying a fleet of Aquilas, including making the plane lighter so it can fly for longer periods, getting it to fly at 18,300 metres and creating communications networks that allow it to rapidly transfer data and accurately beam down lasers to provide internet connections……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/aquila-facebook-solar-powered-internet-drone-takes-flight/7651394
White House’s New Initiative to Install 1GW of Solar for Needies, Energy trend, 21 July 16 Under name of President Obama, the White House announces “Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative” and aims to offer a total of 1GW solar to low- and moderate-income families by 2020.
The Initiative, which was announced through a FACT SHEET on July 19, includes an investment of approximately US$288 million from housing associations, energy corporations, and power companies for solar deployment. The Initiative targets installing 1GW of solar systems for around 200,000 low- to moderate-income families by 2020.
President Obama’s Climate Action Plan set a goal of installing 100MW of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. The new initiative, depicted as “new catalytic goal,” will bring 10 fold of solar to the needy Americas. The Clean Energy Savings to All Initiative is the successor to the Climate Action Plan.
The new scheme will be implemented in collaboration with state agencies. Propergy-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding, a community solar competition and jobs programs will also be involved in.
The Initiative is supported by government agencies include the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Celeste Tsai, analyst at EnergyTrend, describes this new initiative as “an American version of PV Poverty Alleviation Project.” This program will be helpful for expanding renewable energy installations and relevant jobs as well as creating economical supports for needy families……., the new program will further declare Obama’s commitment to developing renewable energy and creating new jobs for the United States. http://pv.energytrend.com/news/White_House_New_Initiative_to_Install_1GW_of_Solar_for_Needies.html
Modern off-grid lighting could create 2 million new jobs in developing world, Eureka Alert, 20 July 16 Berkeley Lab study assesses employment impact of widespread conversion to solar-LED lighting in developing countries DOE/LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORYMany households in impoverished regions around the world are starting to shift away from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting–such as candles, firewood, and kerosene lanterns–to solar-LED systems. While this trend has tremendous environmental benefits, a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that it spurs economic development as well, to the tune of 2 million potential new jobs.
Berkeley Lab researcher Evan Mills, who has been studying lighting in the developing world for more than two decades, has conducted the first global analysis of how the transition to solar-LED lighting will impact employment and job creation. His study was recently published in the journal Energy for Sustainable Development in a paper titled, “Job creation and energy savings through a transition to modern off-grid lighting.”
“People like to talk about making jobs with solar energy, but it’s rare that the flip side of the question is asked–how many people will lose jobs who are selling the fuels that solar will replace?,” said Mills. “We set out to quantify the net job creation. The good news is, we found that we will see many more jobs created than we lose.”
While there are about 274 million households worldwide that lack access to electricity, Mills’ study focuses on the “poorest of the poor,” or about 112 million households, largely in Africa and Asia, that cannot afford even a mini solar home system, which might power a fan, a few lights, a phone charger, and a small TV. Instead this group can afford only entry-level solar lighting.
In countries such as Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, India, Indonesia, and Kenya, fuel-based lighting is not particularly “job-intensive.” Individual entrepreneurs sell lanterns, wicks, candles, fuel dippers, and kerosene in small quantities, often in local markets or on the roadside, but few jobs are created and many are part-time.
In all Mills found that fuel-based lighting today provides 150,000 jobs worldwide. Because there is very little data in this area, his analysis is based on estimating the employment intensity of specific markets and applying it to the broader non-electrified population. He also drew on field observations in several countries to validate his estimates.
He did a similar analysis for the emerging solar-LED industry and also collected data on employment rates for larger manufacturers and distributors representing the majority of global production of products quality assured by the World Bank’s Lighting Global initiative at the time. He found that every 1 million of these lanterns provides an estimated 17,000 jobs.
These values include employees of these companies based in developing countries but exclude upstream jobs in primary manufacturing by third parties such as those in factories in China. Assuming a three-year product life and a target of three lanterns per household, this corresponded to about 2 million jobs globally, more than compensating for the 150,000 jobs that would be lost in the fuel-based lighting market.
Furthermore Mills’ research found that the quality of the jobs would be much improved. “With fuel-based lighting a lot of these people are involved in the black market and smuggling kerosene over international borders, and child labor is often involved in selling the fuel,” he said. “Also these can be very unstable jobs due to acute shortages of kerosene and government subsidies going up and down. It’s a very poor quality of livelihood, and the commodity itself is toxic. These new solar jobs will be much better jobs–they’re legal, healthy, and more stable and regular.”
While there is some overlap in terms of skillsets required for the new jobs, retraining and education would be necessary. The new jobs span the gamut, from designing and manufacturing products to marketing and distributing them. “The challenge of re-employing some of these people is not trivial,” Mills said. “A lot of them aren’t literate. So there are some real human considerations to account for.”
In fact, a transition to modern lighting technologies could have immense benefits for the health and education of these populations. Mills, an energy analyst specializing in the energy efficiency of buildings and industry who also founded the Lumina Project, published a separate paper in the same journal recently that identified many of the risks of fuel-based lighting, such as child poisoning, slum fires, indoor air pollution, and lantern explosions leading to significant burn injuries.
Solar lanterns also provide far more and better light, allowing children to study in the evening and businesses to stay open later into the evening. “As long as people are using kerosene lanterns, candles, and other fuels for light, it’s actually reinforcing poverty because they’re spending so much on energy and getting so little in return. So many are stuck in that vicious circle,” he said.
Solar-LED lanterns and flashlights are gaining in popularity in the developing world thanks to being “a rugged, affordable, reliable, compact and very manufacturable technology and one that is effectively wireless,” Mills said.
In addition to job creation, the potential environmental benefits are also enormous. A study Mills published in Science in 2005 estimated global off-grid lighting energy expenditure at $38 billion per year. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 190 million metric tons per year, or the equivalent of those from about 30 million typical American cars.
“All of this energy and pollution can potentially be saved with a conversion to solar-LED systems,” he said……..http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/dbnl-mol071916.php
Thanks to solar power, this airport is no longer paying for electricity. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/thanks-to-solar-power-this-airport-is-no-longer-paying-for-electricity/ Jenny Soffel Website Editor, World Economic Forum 19 July 2016 [excellent graphs] If you fly over Cochin International Airport in Kerala, India, you will find yourself staring down at over 46,000 solar panels. The airport, India’s seventh busiest, last year became the first airport in the world to run completely on solar power.
It started as a pilot project in 2013 with 400 panels on the airport rooftop, an attempt by management to lower the airport’s energy bills. After the installation of a 12 megawatt solar plant, the airport was able to run entirely on solar power.
The airport has now stopped paying for its electricity altogether, and even sends energy back to the grid.
Solar energy has become a cheap option in India – the price has dropped to a similar level to that of coal.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the country’s investment target for the source of renewable energy will be increased to $100 billion, five times greater than current levels, scaling solar power to more than 10% of India’s total energy sector by 2022.
The successful project has inspired other airports both nationally and internationally to invest in renewable energy. Kolkata’s international airport in India is now also looking to build a solar plant to reduce its electric bill by a third.
South Africa recently opened the continent’s first solar-powered airport in George, in the Western Cape. It’s expected to save an excess of 1.2 million litres of water every year, and will contribute to around 40% of the airport’s electricity needs.
The street pavers were developed by Solar Roadways, a company created by inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw which raised more than $2.2 million in crowdfunding in 2014 to bring their technology to market. The Brusaws claim that replacing all of America’s roads and parking lots with their solar pavers would generate more than three times the country’s electricity consumption in 2009.
Missouri’s transportation department is set to launch their own crowdfunding campaign to support their energy experiment, and expects the hexagonal solar panels to be fully installed and operational by the end of the year.
- Farmers formed cooperative to install solar panels in their fields
- Solar panels power irrigation, surplus power sold to electricity board
- Project funded by farmers and non-profit group IWMI
Around seven months ago, about a dozen farmers in Ramabhai’s village about 90 km from Ahmedabad came together to form a solar cooperative and set up solar panels in the fields to generate electricity.
“We used to spend 500 rupees on diesel for pumping sets for drawing water for irrigation. But now we do it with solar energy,” Rambhai said.
“We also make money by selling solar power when we not irrigating our fields. We can sell excess electricity to the power board for Rs. 4.63 per unit,” he added…….http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/with-solar-power-a-gujarat-village-is-irrigating-its-fields-for-free-1408800
Wind turbines on Galapagos replace millions of liters of diesel since 2007, meet 30 percent of energy needs World’s top utilities hand over project keys, chart path for Ecuador’s famously biodiverse archipelago to meet 70 percent of fast-rising energy needs with renewables, Eureka Alert, 29 May 16.
GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE ELECTRICITY PARTNERSHIP A global renewable energy project on the Galapagos Islands — one of Earth’s most fragile and important ecological treasures — has helped avoid many tanker loads worth of risky diesel fuel imports since 2007, reduced the archipelago’s greenhouse gas emissions and preserved critically endangered species.
Now, after eight successful years, the project’s new operators are pursuing an ambitious expansion that would multiply the benefits of renewable energy for this remote, precious archipelago with a growing appetite for electricity.
A performance summary and recommendations for the expansion are contained in a new report by the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), a not-for-profit association of 11 of the world’s foremost electricity firms, which led and financed the $10 million project.
The project’s three 51-metre-tall wind turbines and two sets of solar panels have supplied, on average, 30% of the electricity consumed on San Cristóbal, the archipelago’s second-largest island in size and population, since it went into operation in October 2007.
During that time, it has displaced 8.7 million litres (2.3 million gallons) of diesel fuel and avoided 21,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the GSEP report states. The achievements have led to awards from Power Engineering Magazine, World Energy Forum, and Energy Globe.
The proposed expansion could boost the renewable energy share to 70 per cent, en route to a hoped-for elimination of fossil fuels, the report states. It could also be a template for energy development elsewhere in the Galapagos chain — where renewable sources now account for 20% of electricity production — and elsewhere around the world……..http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/tca-wto052016.php
London borough installs 6,000 solar panels over marketplace http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/19/london-borough-installs-6000-solar-panels-on-market £2m scheme by Hounslow council on Western International Market will be biggest solar scheme by any local authority, and use batteries to store energy. A London council is unveiling a vast installation of 6,000 solar panels on a wholesale market rooftop, which it says is the largest such array put up by a local authority.
The London Borough of Hounslow says its £2m investment in solar, which has been installed on the roof of Western International Market, is also the first by a council to adopt battery storage to maximise the power from the panels.
The 1.73 megawatt (MW) array of 6,069 panels and four 60kW lithium batteries system now generates half the site’s required electricity.
The site is west London’s largest wholesale market for fresh produce and flowers, and uses around 3.5 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to provide climate controlled facilities to around 80 wholesalers and buyers – the equivalent of 1,750 homes a year.
Hounslow council, which owns the market near Heathrow Airport, says the solar system will contribute 2% of its carbon reduction target, cutting emissions by more than 780 tonnes a year.
It will also save £148,000 in energy costs which, along with £100,000 in generation tariff payments and £7,000 in export tariffs, means that the council expects to be £255,000 better off in the first year of operation.
Charles Pipe, energy manager at Hounslow, said: “From the very beginning, this project has been about reducing our carbon footprint and making an investment for the future. “But we have achieved so much more than that. Not only can we expect to see immediate savings on our electricity bills, but we are expecting to see a return on this investment in about five years.”
LG Electronics, one of Hounslow’s partners in the scheme, said it was the company’s largest solar panel installation in Europe and would deliver significant costs savings to the borough.
LG Solar’s UK senior solar sales manager Bob Mills said: “What’s more, the project has set the wheels in motion for further investment and research into the potential of battery storage, which is set to revolutionise the solar industry.
Solar-powered plane reaches California after journey across Pacific Mashable Australia, BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS , 24 Apr 16, MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered airplane landed in California on Saturday, completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of its journey around the world.
Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View, south of San Francisco, at 11:45 p.m. local time following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where Piccard was greeted by project’s team……..
The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane’s global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites…….http://mashable.com/2016/04/24/solar-impulse-2-california/#gwzcbJ_OIkq3
Port Alberni hospital has Vancouver Island’s largest array of solar power Solar power could help with high hydro rates during peak hours on hot days By Liam Britten, CBC News Apr 23, 2016
Who loves the sun? — turns out West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni does. That building is home to 400 solar panels — the largest power-generating array on Vancouver Island, in fact.
The panels will be doing their work in the weeks and months ahead to see how much money Island Health Authority can save by using the power of the sun.
- Thompson Rivers University puts energy into solar powered walkway
- Vancouver roofing company starts offering solar panel installation
- Nelson’s ‘community solar garden’ starts leasing panels
“When it’s really hot and sunny and we’re using a lot of power to keep the hospital cool, the rates get very high with BC Hydro,” Deanna Fourt, director of energy efficiency and conservation with Island Health Authority told All Points West host Robyn Burns.
“So it’s going to work very nicely with the solar. This is what we’re thinking, because it’s going to be offsetting those really high-rate days or high-rate times.”……..http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-island-solar-power-1.3550022
Solar panels power business surge – not just lights – in Tanzania BY KIZITO MAKOY UKARA, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) 19 Apr 16 –
“………SOLAR STEPS UP
Around the world, as the costs of solar energy plunge, it is increasingly being used to power industry and businesses, a huge step forward from simply supplying lighting and basic electrical power in places like Tanzania, experts say.
Nyakalege, for instance, now uses solar power to operate his three milling machines simultaneously. He has employed three people to help him and has seen his customerbase rise to 600 a day…….
The solar system at Bwisya is part of a project to provide reliable and affordable electricity to the nearly 2,000 households and more than 200 businesses on Ukara, in order to boost opportunities to earn an income.
It is the first of 30 such systems JUMEME plans to install over the next two years. They are expected to supply power to around 100,000 people, company officials said.
The company has even bigger plans for the longer-term, they said.
“Our goal is to set up 300 systems and serve up to 1 million people in rural areas across Tanzania by 2022, making JUMEME the largest mini-grid operator in the country,” said Thadeus Mkamwa, one of the company’s directors.
The project, jointly funded by the European Union and private investors with political support from the Tanzanian government , has a total budget of 38.4 billion shillings ($17.6 million), Mkwama said.
PRE-PAID SOLAR POWER
In Bwisya, the largest village on Ukara, 250 customers are due to be connected to a hybrid power station consisting of a 60-kilowatt (KW) solar photovoltaic system and a 240 KW-hour battery bank. A diesel generator provides back-up.
The system will be extended in the second half of this year to connect the other villages on the island, Mkamwa said.
The installation charges for individual homes and business are repaid by customers in installments. Consumers pre-pay for their power, with costs per unit depending on the amount of electrical equipment they use…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tanzania-solar-energy-idUSKCN0XG1VX
Revolutionary: Germany Builds A Solar City That Produces Four Times More Energy Than It Consumes http://thelogicalindian.com/environment/germanys-revolutionary-solar-city-that-produces-four-times-more-energy-than-it-consumes/ – Abhishek Mittal 14 Apr 16, We have known cities to be great power-guzzlers, having a huge appetite for consuming electricity to power its homes and buildings. To generate electricity for such cities through renewable sources like solar becomes a difficult task given the vast amount of area required to place the solar panels. But a city in the heart of Germany has achieved something more incredible. It not only has made itself self-sufficient in energy, but in fact has become a net producer of energy – all thanks to a localized approach for adopting solar power.
The Solar cities of Germany:
The Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung cities located in Freiburg, Germany are modern, planned habitations that were worked upon with solar power in mind. Literally meaning Solar Ship and Solar Village, the Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung cities were specifically designed and built to be solar cities, balancing size, accessibility, green space, and solar exposure. Each of the fifty-two homes along with some commercial buildings is fitted with large rooftop solar panels that double-up as sun shades. The panels are perfectly aligned to point in the right direction of the sun, and the buildings follow the Passivhaus standards of green building technology.
The cities have been designed by architect Rolf Disch. Together with the latest photovoltaic technology for the panels that make them highly efficient, and use of phase-change materials and vacuum insulation for the walls of the buildings that provide optimum thermal performance, the cities are able to generate four times the power which they consume.
Solar Vs Nuclear:
The success of solar as an alternative to the polluting coal-fired power is not limited to these twin-cities. The entire area of Freiburg has been leading the country into a solar revolution since a long time. It was once on the crossroads of choosing between solar and nuclear as the preferred alternative source. Infact a nuclear power plant had already begun construction near Freiburg in early 1970s, amid protests from students and farmers who saw nuclear as a dangerous and polluting source of energy.
A major change in mindset of the local population came when an engineer Dieter Seifried started an institute to research into alternative forms of energy and popularized solar as a safe, reliable and efficient source. Seifried said regarding nuclear power in an interview to CBC news, “you will see first that it is not clean at all, second that it is expensive and third that we have a lot of unsolved problems like where do we deposit the waste.” Gradually more and more residents started to install rooftop solar panels on their houses and ditched the conventional power from grid. In 2000, Germany tabled a clean energy bill that forced power-companies to pay a set fee called a feed-in tariff to anybody providing power to the grid. This gave an impetus to the efforts of Seifried and others, and today, 30% of Germany’s electricity comes from renewable sources, mainly wind and solar. The nuclear plant being built in Freiburg was shut down soon after the protests, and after the unfortunate Fukushima meltdown in Japan in 2011, Germany has committed to phase out all 17 of its nuclear reactors by 2022.
The examples of Freiburg and the solar cities show how people themselves can own up the process of transitioning from conventional methods of energy generation to cleaner alternatives. The role of government in incentivizing renewable energy and providing access to technology is also very important. The Logical Indian gives a big thumbs-up to the residents of Freiburg for kickstarting the solar revolution in their country, and hopes that similar initiatives are taken up by people across the world.
A solar minigrid for 100 villages in Western Kenya, Clean Leap by DAVID KARIUKI Mar 19th 2016, Scalable solar mini grids will continue to play a major role in the rural electrification agenda in developing countries in the future. This will be fueled by the increased entry of private players into the field, and the change of regulations in respect to generation and supply of power from scalable mini grid solutions. These two are already being witnessed in Kenya. This year, Kenya is witnessing a major solar micro-grid project expected to demonstrate exactly how these power solutions can fit in rural electrification agenda now that the country is targeting 100% electricity access by 2030. The project is notable as it marks the first scalable community micro grid project since last year’s granting of the first utility concession for off-grid power supply…….
Indian Company Plans 1,250 MW Solar Power Projects Over Water Bodies http://cleantechies.com/2016/03/29/indian-company-plans-1250-mw-solar-power-projects-over-water-bodies/ by SAURABH on MARCH 29, 2016 Government-owned power generation company in the western state of Maharashtra has revealed expansive plans to utilise water bodies and generate solar power.
Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (Mahagenco) recently floated tenders for the preparation of detailed project reports for setting up solar power projects over water bodies in the state.
Mahagenco plans to set up these projects in partnership with other government agencies that own these water bodies through a revenue-sharing model. The company plans to set up projects on a) reservoirs and canals and, b) lakes and other water bodies.
The company aims to replicate the canal-top solar power projects implemented in the neighbouring state of Gujarat. Canal-top solar power projects have dual advantage of little to no requirement of land requirement to set up the solar panels, thereby making substantial savings on project’s capital cost, and limiting the loss of water from canals/reservoirs due to evaporation.
Water bodies owned by villages and local self-governing bodies will also be roped in to set up such solar power projects. Mahagenco plans to implement these projects through net-metering scheme. Solar power projects set up at such water bodies will inject electricity during the day and the local utility will supply electricity to villages during the night. The balance in electricity units shall be settled on monthly basis. This will reduce the electricity bills for villagers and also improve electricity supply.
After the successful implementation of canal-top solar power projects in Gujarat several other states have announced plans to implement similar projects. Punjab, Damodar Valley Corporation and Kerala have publicly announced targets to set up projects over canals, reservoirs and other water bodies.
Rooftop solar panels could provide nearly half US power http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/14/rooftop-solar-panels-could-provide-nearly-half-us-power
Rooftop panels could supply 40% of country’s power with open spaces such as parking lots offering further potential, study shows. Conservation magazinereports Guardian, Prachi Patel To take advantage of the sun’s energy to satisfy our ever-increasing need for electricity, Americans will have to take a fresh look at their roofs. A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that if all suitable roof areas in the United States were plastered with solar panels, they would generate about 1,118 gigawatts of solar power. That is 40% of the power that Americans consume every year.
And that isn’t the half of it. The study only estimates the solar power potential of existing, suitable rooftops, and does not look at the immense potential of ground-mounted photovoltaics (PV), said NREL senior energy analyst Robert Margolis in apress release. “Actual generation from PV in urban areas could exceed these estimates by installing systems on less suitable roof space, by mounting PV on canopies over open spaces such as parking lots, or by integrating PV into building facades. Further, the results are sensitive to assumptions about module performance, which are expected to continue improving over time.”
The new study doubles the estimate from a 2008 NREL study on US rooftop solar potential, which showed an estimate of 664 GW. Margolis and his colleagues attributed the higher numbers to increases in better-performing modules, improvements in estimation of building suitability, higher estimates of the total number of buildings, and better methods to calculate photovoltaic performance.
For the new report, which is the result of three years of research, the team used light detection and ranging (Lidar) data and geographic information system (GIS) methods to map the topography of 128 cities around the country down to the square meter. This helped them determine the total amount of roof area suitable for hosting rooftop solar panels. Then they simulated the productivity of the panels on this roof area to estimate total rooftop solar potential, and finally extrapolated that data to the whole country.
The report ranked cities with the highest capability to meet energy consumption using potential solar power capacity. Mission Viejo, California topped the charts with a 88% solar potential rating, followed by Concord, New Hampshire at 72%, and Buffalo, New York at 68%.
The six states with the highest potential to offset electricity use all have significantly below-average household energy consumption, the analysts note, indicating that any state that wants to make the most of solar incentives should also prioritize energy efficiency.
Source: Pieter Gagnon, Robert Margolis, Jennifer Melius, Caleb Phillips, and Ryan Elmore, NREL. Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment.
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