California goes solar, UPS goes electric, low cobalt batteries, low light solar cells

The Verge: California is requiring solar panels on all new houses

May 9, 2018 by Angela Chen
California goes solar“California has become the first state to require that new homes be built with solar panels. The rules go into place in 2020 and are part of the state’s ambitious efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But these requirements also make it more expensive to build in a state where housing is already extremely expensive.

The new building rules approved by the California Energy Commission apply to all residential buildings up to three stories high (including both single-family buildings and condos). They’ll no doubt help California reach its goal of having at least half of electricity come from renewable energy by 2030. Solar is already responsible for about 16 percent of California electricity.

But the new regulations mean that houses will be $8,000 to $12,000 more expensive, according to The New York Times.

»» Read the complete article at The Verge

sevenminutesolar: There sure are some varying opinions on this! Obviously lots of people and companies in the solar industry are happy about it, although some are saying that because the solar panels (and and tiles like Tesla’s solar tiles) are part of new construction it won’t boost the job prospects of solar panel specialist installers per say. Others say that it makes it harder for people to afford new homes and favours the rich. Still others submit that while it may sound planet friendly, it really wouldn’t be as effective as other regulations or change in lowering carbon output.

Like all legislation that gets debated and voted on, this is not perfect. But it is a large step in making solar energy more mainstream and by the very act of hundreds of thousands of solar installations being installed as distributed energy it is going to provide a real life laboratory. Things will change and adapt to figure out how the peaks and valleys of solar generation, batteries, smart meters – probably new apps and real time analysis – will fit in with the existing grid and power utilities and regulation.

News Release: UPS To Deploy New, State-Of-The-Art Electric Vehicles In London And Paris

May 9, 2018
UPS today announced announced that it is working with UK-based technology firm ARRIVAL to develop a state-of-the-art pilot fleet of 35 electric delivery vehicles (EVs) to be trialed in London and Paris.

These zero tailpipe emission, lightweight composite vehicles have a battery range of more than 150 miles (240 kilometers), which is significantly higher than other EVs currently in service.

The vehicles will also come equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that help to improve safety and reduce driver fatigue. These features, combined with a highly advanced vehicle display provide the driver with an intelligent and connected vehicle.

»» Read the complete UPS News Release

sevenminutesolar: Are these any good or what?! UPS has been evaluating electric vehicles for awhile but there was no indication that these would be the way it would be implemented. The quality of London’s air could conceivably continue to improve as these vehicles and the iconic London cabs go electric. None of it will make Parisians better drivers, though.

Digital Journal: Tesla cutting amount of cobalt in ev batteries to near zero

May 9, 2018 by Karen Graham
During an earnings call last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to a question on reducing battery costs, saying, “We think we can get cobalt to almost nothing.”

Tesla has continued to improve its battery technology, and this has resulted in a steady decline in the company’s usage of cobalt for its electric cars, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI), a provider of price information and research on battery supply chains. After studying the numbers,  BMI reported it had found that over a period of six years, from the inception of the Roadster to the Model 3, the EV producer has reduced its cobalt needs by 59 percent on average per vehicle.

»» Read more at Digital Journal

Science Magazine: Solar cells that work in low light could charge devices indoors

April 23, 2018 by Robert F. Service
Imagine never having to charge your phone, e-reader, or tablet again. Researchers report that they have created solar cells that work at a record efficiency for making electricity from the low-intensity diffuse light that is present inside buildings and outside on cloudy days. The solar cells could one day lead to device covers that continually recharge gadgets without ever having to plug them in.

The technology that allows this is used in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that work best in dim light and are cheaper than the standard semiconductors. Under full sun, the best DSSCs convert only 14% of the energy in sunlight to electricity—versus about 24% for standard solar cells—essentially because the energy comes too fast for DSSCs to handle. When the energy comes at a slower pace, as it does with low-intensity indoor light, these DSSCs could convert up to 28% of the light energy they absorb into electricity.

»» Read more at Science Magazine

sevenminutesolar: As with most so-called breakthroughs and news in solar cell and battery technology, this ‘shows promise’. Then there is the tricky part about making it work financially. But the more research the better. As with many things, researchers working on one thing often come up with solutions for something else. Who knows, developing solar cells that can charge a battery indoors could conceivably come up with the idea that makes all solar cells – or batteries – more efficient. Keep on going!


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