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Ranked as our #1 overall solar installer, SunPower features the world’s highest efficiency solar panels and features three flexible purchase options to fit the needs of nearly every homeowner. Not only will SunPower…

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Employing sand particles as a heat collector, heat transfer and thermal energy storage media, two revolutionary projects hope to develop a 'sustainable and low-cost' gravity-fed solar receiver and storage system.  Sandstock Uses UAE’s Desert Sand  The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology recently showed that UAE’s desert sand could be harnessed to store thermal energy in concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities. Known as the Sandstock project, researchers seek to fully exploit the desert sand’s thermal stability, specific heat capacity, and propensity to congeal at high temperatures. The UAE sand’s thermal gathering ability could replace the oft-used heat storage materials (synthetic oil and molten salts) found in many TES (Thermal Energy Systems). The higher working temperatures of desert sand along with the inherent economy of using such an abundant storage material could boost plant efficiencies. Sand being natural and local provides a new sustainable energy alternative for TES. Store Up to 1000 °C Research revealed that UAE’s desert sand could store up to 800-1000 °C when used as a TES material. A chemical analysis using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction… Read more

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the 16 collegiate teams that will participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017. The teams come from colleges and universities across the US and around the world. They will take part in a two-year challenge to build solar-powered homes that combine affordability, innovation, and energy efficiency. Creating a Safer, More Sustainable Planet The Solar Decathlon will improve our science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts and build a more knowledgeable workforce. Its all-encompassing energy strategy will equip students and workers with the skills they need for tomorrow’s challenging sustainable energy jobs. 16 Teams, 10 Contests In the next few months, the 16 Solar Decathlon teams will design, construct, and test their homes before reassembling them at the soon to be announced Solar Decathlon 2017 competition site. The Decathlon teams will compete in 10 contests—everything from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance. Team members will gain valuable hands-on experience in clean energy design. The team whose home combines the best affordability, consumer appeal, and design with optimal energy production and… Read more

An alternative to conventional solar cells, organic solar cells are made of organic molecules that are not only soluble but can be produced on a printer. Unlike their silicon-based counterparts, organic photovoltaics are extremely thin and light, vastly expanding how and where they can be installed. The new breed of solar cell can even be created in various colors and shapes. The only obstacle to their widespread acceptance seems to be that their conversion efficiency currently lags behind silicon solar cells. Arranging Molecules To make organic photovoltaics do your bidding when it comes to converting sunlight into electricity, one must be mindful of arranging molecular components of the material. To produce free electrons, organic solar cells require a material capable of donating electrons and one that accepts them. To convert light into electricity, you need a large interface between these materials. The challenge has been to predict how molecules align when these materials are being printed and how crystals form as the ink dries. After all, you’re dealing with essentially a solution where molecules are… Read more

Solar power is spreading to many far-flung corners of the world. But as many solar installations have come to realize, solar panels need to be periodically cleaned to operate at peak efficiency. This is especially true in desert areas where winds and dust can rob energy output by up to 40%. Unfortunately, cleaning solar panels is not always easy. Until now, crews armed with water and brushes ran the risk of damaging panels, using excessive amounts of water and rendering the process cost-inefficient. Fortunately, help is at hand. Waterless Solution A company called Ecoppia has come up with a solution to clean solar panels. Using autonomous, waterless robots, managed via the cloud, solar panels can be cleaned on a nightly basis. The robots keep photovoltaic panels at peak performance, even in the most punishing desert conditions. Ecoppia’s robotic solution marks the next step for the solar industry. It provides a viable, cost effective way to clean solar panel installations in the Middle East, India and many large solar sites. Solar panels can not only be cleaned nightly, but the robots… Read more

The Department of Defense (DoD) happens to be the biggest government consumer of energy in the US. The good news is that the DoD has committed to producing three gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025. Their goal is to meet a mandate that specifies at least 25 percent of any DoD facility’s energy consumption come from renewable energy sources. This target not only cuts DoD’s renewable energy costs, but it makes these sites more self sufficient, thereby increasing the energy security today’s military needs. Here’s how the four military branches are going solar. Navy is All Aboard on Solar The U.S. Navy recently agreed to build the world’s largest solar facility. The Mesquite solar farm in Arizona, situated about 40 miles west of Phoenix is expected to deliver 210 megawatts of direct power. This is enough power to operate 14 Navy and Marine Corps sites or as may as 260,000 homes. Scheduled to go online next year, Mesquite will save the Navy upwards of $90 million in energy costs during its 25-year contract. Sempra U.S. Gas and Power, the company assigned to operate… Read more