Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kyocera Solar Modules Ranked "Performance Leader"

GTM Research has ranked Kyocera as the "Performance Leader" among 15 solar PV manufacturers in all 6 categories, including Temperature Cycling, Dynamic Mechanical Load, Humidity Freeze, Damp Heat, and two Potential Induced Degradation Tests. The tests were carried out by independent testing body PV Evolution Labs.

“With the exception of one manufacturer, Kyocera, no company consistently ranked within the Performance Leaders group for all test regimens,” GTM Research noted. “Results showed that most producers that performed well in one test did not necessarily perform well in all tests.”

PV Evolution Labs’ stringent test protocols exceeded the current industry standards to emulate various real-world climatic conditions over lifetime periods while observing power degradation performance of the solar modules being evaluated.

“Kyocera has proven time and again, both in independent testing and by solar modules performing uninterruptedly in the field for decades, that our modules are able to consistently produce clean, renewable energy even in the harshest conditions,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

By 2017 Half Of U.S.A. states Will Have Solar Reaching Grid Parity

The Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists has just published a series of 3 quick infographics about U.S.A. rooftop solar installation. Here’s what they show:

(1) By 2017, more than half the states could have rooftop solar as cheap as local electricity prices. 

(2) Installing rooftop solar has never been more affordable.

(3) The number of households with rooftop solar is skyrocketing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Recycling Old Batteries Into Solar Cells

Perovskite solar cells have been the focus recently in the solar research. In less than 2 years, perovskite solar cells efficiency has been improved to more than 19%, which is close to most of the commercial available solar cells.

Researchers from MIT, U.S.A., have found a way to produce a 0.5um (0.0000005 meter) thick thin-film Pb-based perovskite solar cells using recycled lead from old car batteries. This helps to divert toxic material from landfills the old batteries and reuse it in solar panels that could go on producing power for decades. Each single car battery can produce enough solar panels to power 30 households.

The technology behinds isn't new. The team extracted the lead (Pb) and lead-dioxide (PbO2) from the battery's positive and negative electrodes, respectively, and ground to fine pieces. Then they heated up the PbO2 to 600 degree Celsius to convert to PbO (lead-oxide). The Pb was dissolved into Nitric acid and PbO was dissolved into acetic acid. Potassium-iodide was then added to both solutions to form lead-iodide which then will be sprayed deposited onto the transparent substrate, following with sequential deposit, to form solar cell.

For more info and video to produce the solar cells go to http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/recycling-batteries-into-solar-cells-0818.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Yingli Reduces Production Cost of Monocrystalline Silicon Wafers

Silicon wafers are produced by slicing silicon ingot (as shown on the picture). Conventional, monocrystalline silicon ingots are produced by pulling out from graphite crucible. Graphite crucibles are known to have low strength, short lifetimes, and a high risk of silicon leakage because the crucibles are prone to cracking during the heating process.

Yingli has successfully completed trial production of monocrystalline ingots using new material technology. They are using crucibles made from a carbon-carbon (C-C) composite material. Initial estimates suggest that the new material could reduce manufacturing costs by nearly US$0.01 per watt. This is few percent of panel production cost already.

C-C composite crucibles are not as vulnerable as graphite because they are made from a reinforced carbon fiber matrix that is low-density, high-strength, with high thermal conductivity, thermal shock resistance, and dimensional stability. The new crucibles can improve the stability of crystal pulling, and increase the utilization rate of monocrystalline silicon ingots by approximately 3%.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Antibacterial Products Are Harming Unborn Baby

In 2013 I talked about "How Effective Are Those Antibacterial Soaps?" and in 2005, U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration also highlighted "no medical studies that showed a link between a specific consumer antibacterial product and a decline in infection rates." Overusing antibacterial products would lead to the breeding of super-bacteria that can't be killed easily.

Now, scientists have found another disadvantage of using antibacterial products. The chemical compounds contained inside antibacterial products have found their way into pregnant women and their fetuses, and this poses potential health risks.

“We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products,” says Dr. Benny Pycke, researcher from Arizona State University, U.S.A. “We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples we took, which means it transfers to fetuses. Triclocarban was also in many of the samples.”

The problem is that there is a growing body of evidence showing that the compounds can lead to developmental and reproductive problems in animals and potentially in humans. Some research even suggests that the antibacterial additives could contribute to antibiotic resistance, a growing public health problem, says Pycke.

Good news, bad news: Our bodies are good at removing these compounds from our systems, but if you are constantly exposed (and these things are everywhere, including 2,000 everyday consumer products), you could be topping up, so to speak, and keeping your exposure roughly constant.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beijing Targets To Stop Coal By 2020

Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau announced on 5th of August that the districts of Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan will stop using coal and its related products, and close coal-fired power plants and other coal facilities by 2020. Clean energy like electricity and natural gas will replace coal to serve residents in heating, cooking and other users.

Currently, coal burning together with vehicles, industrial production and dust contributed 85.9% of Beijing's smog. Coal burning alone has contributed about 22.4%. China's rapid economic development also makes it now consumes just about 50% of all the coal produced in the world.

China is planning a renewable energy program 10 times larger than the U.K.'s entire power system, as well as accelerating nuclear power and energy efficiency measures in line with commitments to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by up to 45% between 2005 and 2020.

In addition, carbon trading schemes have been launched in seven cities and provinces, while regional governments have been given new powers to shut down factories and power plants that fail to meet air quality standards.

Hopefully, with all efforts China people can soon breath a fresh air again.

Source: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/08/06/beijing-ditch-coal-use-2020

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

China Biggest Phone Maker Is Entering Solar Inverter Market

Huawei Technologies Co. plans to ship 4 GW of smart solar inverters this year and officially enters into the solar business. The inverter is named SUN2000 string inverters, with output ranging from 8kW to 17kW and efficiency of 98.5%.

Last year, Huawei tapped its telecommunication technology to develop solar inverters. It shipped about 1GW of products during the first half of 2014, launching the smart PV power business by addling “smart” features, such as digital data collection and analysis, to its solar inverters.

Solar demand for 2014 is projected to be around 42GW so Huawei stands a chance to penetrate the market. This move will also lead to a direct competition with SMA Solar Technology AG, a Germany-based solar inverter maker, and Sungrow Power Supply Co. in China.

Meanwhile, Huawei is working with China’s solar power plant investors and operators include Yingli and GCL to improve the device as well as extend its domestic market.

Source: http://pv.energytrend.com/news/20140805-7187.html

Friday, August 1, 2014

Advantages Of First Solar's Thin-Film Solar Panel

First Solar's thin-film Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) solar panels are taking up market share quickly due to its lower cost and better high-temperature performance than mono- and poly-crystalline silicon panels. First Solar’s thin-film solar panels have been increasing in efficiency extremely fast in recent years. Furthermore, First Solar’s panels perform better in the field compared to their rated efficiency. Hence, First Solar may see a boost in market share before too long.

Below lists out the advantages of First Solar thin-film solar panels:

(1) Conventionally, silicon solar panel outputs drop about 0.4% to 0.5% for every degree Celsius increases in temperature. First Solar’s thin-film solar panels lose less efficiency in high temperatures, about 0.25% per degree Celsius, often making them a better buy in hot climates.

(2) First Solar’s solar panels are reportedly at the higher end of the reliability spectrum.

(3) First Solar uses a lot of automation to build its solar modules, bringing down cost and also ensuring quality consistency.

(4) After trading places with GE for years on CdTe efficiency records for years, First Solar finally bought GE’s CdTe intellectual property.

(5) The efficiency increase of CdTe efficiency in recent years is “unrivaled” in the solar PV industry.

(6) The efficiency record of conventional multicrystalline silicon is 20.4%, and First Solar is now closing in on that record.

(7) Adjusted for the effect of heat on the solar panels, First Solar’s thin-film solar panels are generally as efficient as silicon poly-crystalline solar panels already.

(8) First Solar’s module testing is intense.