A collection of newsworthy items and links about solar and renewable energy.
Futurity: Cheaper organic solar cells are finally ready for market
April 25th, 2018 by Nicole Casal Moore-University of Michigan
“Researchers have demonstrated organic solar cells that can achieve 15 percent efficiency, an advance that makes a more flexible, inexpensive type of solar cell commercially viable.
This level of efficiency is in the range of many solar panels, or photovoltaics, currently on the market.
At 15 percent efficiency and given a 20-year lifetime, researchers estimate organic solar cells could produce electricity at a cost of less than 7 cents per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, the average cost of electricity in the US was 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017, according to the US Energy Information Administration”
7minutesolar: Breakthroughs in solar cells and batteries are regularly announced. The key for the seems to be in the commercialization and scalability. Like any new idea or business, there are lots of things that have to fall into place for success. But this certainly looks promising. »» READ MORE at Futurity
“A new conductor material and a new electrode material could pave the way for inexpensive batteries and therefore the large-scale storage of renewable energy. A promising new candidate is aluminium batteries, which are made from cheap and abundant raw materials.
Scientists from ETH Zurich and Empa, led by Maksym Kovalenko, Professor of Functional Inorganic Materials, are among those involved in researching and developing batteries of this kind. The researchers have now identified two new materials that could bring about key advances in the development of aluminium batteries. The first is a corrosion-resistant material for the conductive parts of the battery; the second is a novel material for the battery’s positive pole that can be adapted to a wide range of technical requirements.”
7minutesolar: This is an interesting read about one of the routes researchers are going down to find the magic battery. But, as the article itself notes: Furthermore, lithium is a relatively rare metal and is hard to extract—unlike aluminium, magnesium or sodium. Batteries based on common materials like aluminum, magnesium and sodium are seen as promising…but are still at the research stage and have not yet entered industrial use.
»» Read more at Phys.org
EcoWatch: Renewable Energy Dominates Early 2018 Power Plant Construction
April 27 by Olivia Rosane
“The February Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reported that 98 percent of power plants built in the first two months of 2018 were renewable, Popular Mechanics reported Thursday.
During January and February, the U.S. saw an additional 2,173 megawatts of electricity generation constructed. A full 1,568 of those megawatts came from wind power and 565 from solar. The only fossil fuel to add megawatts to the grid was natural gas, with a mere 40.”
7minutesolar: There seems to be good news breaking out all over the place. This article digs deeper into some other indicators that renewables are gathering big momentum, even in the U.S. where the policies of the EPA and the current administration seem to be doing their best to work against it.
The Energy Mix: UN Negotiations open in Bonn with calls for faster climate action, tougher carbon targets.
April 30, Primary Author Megan Darby
“With the United Nations climate secretariat opening a 10-day negotiating session in Bonn, Germany this morning, seven EU countries are pushing their bloc to boost its commitment under the Paris agreement, while the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) calls for bold action before 2020 to keep average global warming below 1.5°C.
In the EU, the joint effort by Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, and Luxembourg doesn’t indicate what new target the continent should aim for, but affirms that it has to be consistent with the Paris agreement. The EU’s current commitment calls for greenhouse gas emissions to fall 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels.”
»» Read more at The Energy Mix
7minutesolar: It is the big conferences wiht the heads of state attending that naturally get all the mainstream press attention, but the real work of adhering to the Paris agreements is bashed out in these smaller meetings. There seems to be a genuine desire to tackle the carbon and climate issue, and it is encouraging that speed of implementation is becoming a focus. Look for the island nations to become increasing vocal in the coming months. They have literally everything to lose as ocean levels rise.
“India witnessed its highest-ever solar power capacity addition in a quarter during the first three months of this year, government data shows.
India managed to add 4.6 gigawatts of new utility-scale solar power capacity between January and March 2018. The previous highest solar power capacity addition in a quarter was seen exactly one year back in Q1 2017 with the addition of 3.3 gigawatts.”
»»Read more at Solar Love
7minutesolar: Any news about renewables taking hold in India is good news, as it is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and energy consumers. It is aiming at installing 175 gigawatts (GW) of capacity of renewable power by 2022, following the course set out in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).
The INDC is great reading in and of itself. Its introduction begins: “India has a long history and tradition of harmonious co-existence between man and nature. Human beings here have regarded fauna and flora as part of their family. This is part of our heritage and manifest in our lifestyle and traditional practices. We represent a culture that calls our planet Mother Earth. As our ancient text says; ‘Keep pure! For the Earth is our mother! And we are her children!'”