Tesla’s Megapack battery is big enough to help grids handle peak demand

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A new industrial storage product coming as the company’s lost its lead in home solar

Tesla announced a new massive battery today called Megapack that could replace so-called “peaker” power plants, which provide energy when a local electrical grid gets overloaded. Tesla says that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will deploy several Megapacks at Moss Landing on Monterrey Bay in California, which is one of four locations where the California utility plans to install more cost-effective energy storage solutions.

Each Megapack can store up to 3 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy at a time, and it’s possible to string enough Megapacks together to create a battery with more than 1 GWh of energy storage, Tesla says. The company says this would be enough energy to power “every home in San Francisco for six hours.” Telsa will deliver the Megapacks fully assembled, and they include “battery modules, bi-directional inverters, a thermal management system, an AC main breaker and controls.” Tesla says the Megapack takes up 40 percent less space, requires a tenth of the parts to build, and can be assembled 10 times as fast as alternative energy storage solutions.

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Tesla launches its Megapack, a new massive 3 MWh energy storage product

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Tesla is launching today its ‘Megapack’, a massive new energy storage product that combines up to 3 MWh of storage capacity and a 1.5 MW inverter.

Electrek exclusively reported last year that Tesla has been working on a new energy storage system called ‘Megapack’.

We found out that Tesla was going to use the Megapack at a giant new energy storage project in California.

Today, almost a year later, the company is now officially launching the product.

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France’s solar roadway experiment has failed

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 After nearly three years of use, Normandy’s photovoltaic highway is delivering disappointing results

Solar power highways are hitting a roadblock. Nearly three years after France built a 0.6-mile stretch of photovoltaic road in Normandy, the government is deeming it a disappointing experiment.

In 2016, France announced its bold plan to “pave” 1,000 kilometers (around 620 miles) with photovoltaic panels, which would generate 790kWh per day. When completed, the road was supposed to power up to 5 million homes. But that first 0.6-mile stretch, which engineers had originally estimated would power up to 5,000 homes, hasn’t lived up to expectations.

After installation, it was clear that the panels produced by the manufacturer Wattway couldn’t hold up under the wear and tear of highway traffic. According to Global Construction Review, “the 2,800 square meters of solar panels have degraded, peeled away and splintered, and 100m of them have been removed after being declared too damaged to repair.”

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This solar-powered device produces energy and cleans water at the same time

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UNDER THE SUN Solar panels with water purification devices mounted on their backs (illustrated) could produce freshwater and electricity simultaneously.

 Still a prototype, the machine could one day help curb electricity and freshwater shortages

By mounting a water distillation system on the back of a solar cell, engineers have constructed a device that doubles as an energy generator and water purifier.

While the solar cell harvests sunlight for electricity, heat from the solar panel drives evaporation in the water distiller below. That vapor wafts through a porous polystyrene membrane that filters out salt and other contaminants, allowing clean water to condense on the other side. “It doesn’t affect the electricity production by the [solar cell]. And at the same time, it gives you bonus freshwater,” says study coauthor Peng Wang, an engineer at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.

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Solar power system that works at night a renewable energy game-changer

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An innovative thermal battery being developed by Curtin University researchers will be key to a solar power system capable of producing electricity overnight, rivaling fossil fuels as a viable source of power for commercial and heavy industries around the world, including mining operations.

Curtin is collaborating with international renewable energy companies United Sun Systems and ITP Thermal on the potentially game-changing project, which is being led by Professor Craig Buckley from Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences.

Professor Craig Buckley said the thermal battery was part of the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system being developed by United Sun Systems, which requires a battery to store and release energy to enable non-stop solar power generation.

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After 40 years of searching, scientists identify the key flaw in solar panel efficiency


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Solar panels are fantastic pieces of technology, but we need to work out how to make them even more efficient – and scientists just solved a 40-year-old mystery around one of the key obstacles to increased efficiency.

A new study outlines a material defect in silicon used to produce solar cells that has previously gone undetected. It could be responsible for the 2 percent efficiency drop that solar cells can see in the first hours of use: Light Induced Degradation (LID).

Multiplied by the increasing number of panels installed at solar farms around the world, that drop equals a significant cost in gigawatts that non-renewable energy sources have to make up for.

In fact, the estimated loss in efficiency worldwide from LID is estimated to equate to more energy than can be generated by the UK’s 15 nuclear power plants. The new discovery could help scientists make up some of that shortfall.

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Why new solar installations will reach a breakneck pace by 2025

 

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The rise is set to continue.

Solar power is about to reach an inflection point. A new report released on Thursday claims that installations in the United States will double in just four years’ time, thanks largely to developments in California, which accounted for around half of all installations.

This estimate is from the research group Wood Mackenzie, who along with the Solar Energy Industries Association, found that there are now more than two million photo-voltaic solar installations in the country, just three years after passing the one million mark. The teams expect this pace to increase, reaching three million by 2021 and four million by 2023.

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Battery storage is the fastest-growing industry sector on the planet (which could save the planet)

 

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Billions of dollars are being invested worldwide in the developing battery boom, involving research into storage techniques to use the growing surpluses of cheap renewable energy now becoming available. Recent developments in batteries are set to sweep aside the old arguments about renewables being intermittent, dismissing any need to continue building nuclear power plants and burning fossil fuels to act as a back-up when the wind does not blow, or the sun does not shine.

Batteries as large as the average family house and controlled by digital technology are being positioned across electricity networks. They are being charged when electricity is in surplus and therefore cheap, and the power they store is resold to the grid at a higher price during peak periods.

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‘Coal is on the way out’: study finds fossil fuel now pricier than solar or wind

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Around 75% of coal production is more expensive than renewables, with industry out-competed on cost by 2025

‘We’ve seen we are at the ‘coal crossover’ point in many parts of the country.’

Around three-quarters of US coal production is now more expensive than solar and wind energy in providing electricity to American households, according to a new study.

“Even without major policy shift we will continue to see coal retire pretty rapidly,” said Mike O’Boyle, the co-author of the report for Energy Innovation, a renewables analysis firm. “Our analysis shows that we can move a lot faster to replace coal with wind and solar. The fact that so much coal could be retired right now shows we are off the pace.”

The study’s authors used public financial filings and data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) to work out the cost of energy from coal plants compared with wind and solar options within a 35-mile radius. They found that 211 gigawatts of current US coal capacity, 74% of the coal fleet, is providing electricity that’s more expensive than wind or solar.

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Nanocrystal ‘factory’ could revolutionize quantum dot manufacturing

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A new system for synthesizing quantum dots across the entire spectrum of visible light drastically reduces manufacturing costs, can be tuned on demand to any color and allows for real-time process monitoring to ensure quality control.

NC State researchers have developed a microfluidic system for synthesizing perovskite quantum dots that drastically reduces manufacturing costs, can be tuned on demand to any color and allows for real-time process monitoring to ensure quality control.

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a microfluidic system for synthesizing perovskite quantum dots across the entire spectrum of visible light. The system drastically reduces manufacturing costs, can be tuned on demand to any color and allows for real-time process monitoring to ensure quality control.

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Carbon fiber camping trailer sustains itself off-grid with “endless” power and water

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The Sonic X’s slide-out increases interior space, providing room for a comfy dining lounge with wraparound…

A new style of trailer for an evolving breed of traveler, the Sonic X from KZ Recreational Vehicles adds a little more self-sustainability to the camping trailer world. With its solar-backed lithium battery bank, the 26-footer is designed to run off-grid indefinitely. It also includes lightweight carbon fiber construction, a fresh water harvesting system and insulation-boosting technology for better performance, autonomy and efficiency. Get lost for weeks and months at a time without giving up residential-style comforts.

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These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon

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The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how much power you can get out of sunshine, but us plebes actually installing solar cells are stuck with years-old tech that’s not half as good as what they’re seeing. This new design from Insolight could be the one that changes all that.

Insolight is a spin-off from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where they’ve been working on this new approach for a few years — and it’s almost ready to hit your roof.

Usually solar cells collect sunlight on their entire surface, converting it to electricity at perhaps 15-19 percent efficiency — meaning about 85 percent of the energy is lost in the process. There are more efficient cells out there, but they’re generally expensive and special-purpose, or use some exotic material.

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