The Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented yesterday initial results of Italian oil company Eni funded research projects, including paper-thin solar cells, which could be used as window covers, and a paper-based material for collecting oil spilled in water. MIT displayed paper solar-cell prototypes capable of generating sufficient current to light a small LED display. A commercial device of this kind could come out in five years, according to chemical engineering professor Karen Gleason, whose lab is doing the research.
Solar City is a California-based startup company that offers its solar-related services to homeowners, businesses and government. “Install solar. Save money from day one. No upfront investment. And you have a predictable forecast of what your power costs will be for the next 20 years” is their selling proposition. The company’s customer base includes 10,000 homeowners, companies such as Intel and eBay, over 75 schools and universities, and government agencies. Solar City provides solar system financing, design, installation and monitoring.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, for facilitating renewable energy acquisition and development in the state, has approved feed-in tariffs (FIT) for the Hawaiian Electric Companies for renewable energy generating units that are up to 500 kW in size. The approved tariffs include terms and conditions, a standard term of contract, applicable pricing, queuing and interconnection procedures for the FIT program.
Duke Energy, Smart Energy Capital, and Integrys Energy Services announced a partnership this week for building and financing distributed solar projects all over the US. As partners, the focus of Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS) and Integrys Energy Services (Integrys) will be on joint ownership of rooftop and smaller ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar projects capable of delivering electricity to utility, government, and investment-grade customers under long-term power purchase agreements. Smart Energy Capital will be responsible for developing the projects and arranging financing.
Petra Solar Inc. has presented its new and patent pending SunWave smart energy module (SEM) as part of the final project review of DOE’s Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems SEGIS II. According to the company, in fulfilling the SEGIS vision, SunWave SEM provides assistance for islanding operation using voltage regulation and can be used in different modes such as stand-alone operation, where the SEM is not connected to the grid and does not have to conform to UL1741; legacy-tie operation, where the SEM is connected to the grid and is subject to the UL1741 at a point of common coupling; and smart-tie operation, where the SEM is connected to the grid but is capable of overriding UL1741 with proper permission of the host controller.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), in partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will deploy electric car charging stations across the state of Tennessee. The team announced the project on January 22 and said the project is one of the largest of its kind in US history.
GreenWing Energy Management announced on July 23 that it had signed a contract with SolFocus to supply high concentration photovoltaic (CPV) systems. GreenWing will use the equipment in its ongoing solar power projects in the western United States. The announcement marks GreenWing’s strategy to make a major move into the solar energy market. GreenWing is already a major developer of wind energy projects throughout the United States and Canada. The SolFocus CPV systems will be used in new utility projects that supply between 20 and 300 megawatts and also distributed power generation projects that generate between 1 and 20 megawatts.