The future of energy is being shaped in Asia


China now accounts for almost three-quarters of global solar panel production.

A Frenchman is credited with being the first to discover the photovoltaic effect that produces electricity from sunlight. The first solar panel was built in the US. But when Abu Dhabi decided to build the world’s largest individual solar power project, they looked east for help.

The country partnered with Chinese and Japanese companies to construct a facility, which opened this year, with a peak capacity of 1.18 gigawatts generated by 3.2 million solar panels. That’s because Asia, more than any other region on the planet, and China, more than any other nation, currently represent the future of solar energy, and are at the heart of the ensuing industrywide transformation from fossil fuels to renewable and nuclear energy.

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Solar energy prices hit tipping point as China reaches “grid parity”


It’s a landmark moment for China and the world.

The world’s most populous country has reached a tipping point in the pursuit of renewable energy.

China, which aims to consume 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels by 2030, has reached a point where home-generated solar is cheaper than electricity generated from the national grid. The research, conducted by researchers in both Sweden and China and published in the journal Nature Monday, mark an historic moment in the drive to ditch fossil fuels.

The switchover point comes soon after a report that showed a similar crossover in the United States. The report in March showed that in 74 percent of cases, building new solar and wind capacity in a given area was cheaper than maintaining an existing coal-powered plant. Where levelized costs for wind reach $15 per megawatt-hour and $28 per megawatt-hour for solar, marginal costs for existing plants can jump as high as $104 per megawatt-hour.

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The future of construction may be concrete that generates its own electricity


We need buildings in which to live, but crafting those buildings is making it harder to live on this planet. As much as 10% of global carbon emissions come from the production of concrete. One ton of CO2 is generated by making one ton of cement, which is made from limestone and a few other things heated to an extremely high temperature.

But what if concrete could generate its own energy? The era of photovoltaic concrete may be getting closer. Photovoltaics, which work by converting light to energy via semiconducting, are starting to migrate from solar panels into the building materials themselves.

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Wildpoldsried, Germany produces 500% of its energy from renewable sources


Wildpoldsried produces 500% more energy than it needs.

Wildpoldsried, Germany, a Bavarian village of about 2,600 residents, is leading the way in Germany’s extraordinary renewable energy transformation. The village has invested in a holistic range of renewable energy projects over the past 17 years that include 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics, five biogas facilities, 11 wind turbines and a hydropower system. As a result, the village has gone beyond energy independence – and it now produces 500% more energy than it needs and profits from sales of the surplus power back to the grid.


Hawaii’s solar boom is so successful it’s been blocked from further expansion

Rooftop solar on a house in Hawaii.

William Walker and his wife, Mi Chong, wanted to join what’s seen as a solar revolution in Hawaii. Shortly after buying their Oahu home earlier this year, they plunked down $35,000 for a rooftop photovoltaic system. The couple looked forward to joining neighbors who had added panels, to cutting their $250 monthly power bills and to knowing they were helping the environment.



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2013 has been a record breaking year for solar power in the U.S.

America is on track to install more solar capacity this year than world leader Germany.

In the U.S., the outlook for solar power is bright and sunny. The solar industry in America has recorded its second largest quarter ever in the third quarter of 2013, and the largest quarter ever for residential installations. (Infographic)



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Solar energy market thriving in the U.S.

The solar industry employs nearly 120,000 Americans.

Solar energy is hot. With a foundation of consistent, long-term deployment policies at both the federal and state levels, solar PV in the U.S. is leading an unparalleled price decline on the strength of enduring high demand from U.S. consumers.



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Pedal Power Meets Photovoltaics via Solarbike

solarbike fixi testimonial bike pic

Solarbike aims at having electric bikes powered by the sun.

Solarbike specialises in electric conversion kits for bicycles. But the business’s founders, both research scientists at the University of Western Australia, have been working on a way to easily have electric bikes powered by the sun. After some trial and error, which they transparently document, they’ve arrived at reasonably affordable photovoltaic systems that allow electric bike owners to ride like a solar wind…

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World’s Largest Photovoltaic Power Plant in China

Solar Farm in China 736

The 2,000-megawatt complex similar to this will be built
in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia, China by 2019

First Solar, a leading maker of solar panels, based in Tempe, AZ, has announcedthat it will build an enormous, 2,000 megawatt solar power plant in China, starting next year. Bloomberg reports that it will be the largest solar power plant in the world.

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Harnessing Direct Solar Power To Propel Tiny Nanomaterial Machines

Harnessing Direct Solar Power

A four-finned rotor (center) floating on a pool of water spins when exposed to sunlight.

The sun is the most abundant source of renewable energy. But all the technologies that capitalize on sunlight, including photovoltaics and biofuels, require intermediate steps and infrastructure to turn the sun’s rays into something that can be used to perform work in a machine. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are using carbon nanotubes to build small, simple waterborne machines propelled directly by sunlight. In theory, they say, these machines could be scaled up to make energy-generating pumps directly powered by the sun.

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Microsoft and the Electric Power Industry Have a Lot in Common

 Microsoft and the Electric Power Industry Have a Lot in Common

Robert X. Cringely

Robert X. Cringely: It isn’t very often I get to apply Moore’s Law to a non-Information Technology business and rarer still that I can then relate the whole thing back to Microsoft, so I’m going for it. Here’s what the solar power industry can teach us about Microsoft.

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