• Category Archives: Alternative Energy

    IKEA unveils Minnesota’s largest solar array with 4316 photovoltaic panels


    Furniture retailer IKEA has just unveiled Minnesota’s largest solar array, capable of generating enough energy to power up a 100 homes annually! Propped up on the roof of the retail giant’s Twin Cities store in Bloomington, this array is part of IKEA’s Solar Panel Initiative and is one of the company’s 31 solar projects. With the store covering nearly 142,000 square feet, IKEA has put into place 4316 solar panels in all to power up its facility and lighten its carbon footprint substantially. The array will help IKEA displace the CO2 equivalent of nearly 157 cars on an annual basis and is an inspiration to other large retail chains to step towards greener energy sources to power up.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 29, 2012
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    First Solar looks forward to developing solar-power industry in India after consecutive blackouts


    India has been facing regular blackouts these days with the aged power grid buckling under the load of the quickly developing country. So, in order to keep the lights glowing bright in urban Indian homes, First Solar is now drawing plans to build solar projects across the country that will in turn contribute green juice to the overburdened grid. The company in particular has been supplying cadmium-telluride-based solar panels since quite a while now, manufacturing these at comparatively inexpensive prices. As per report, Indian businesses use nearly 30GW of diesel-powered backup systems during blackouts and First Solar thinks switching these with solar panels indeed could prove to be a boon for the country and the environment as a whole.

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    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 24, 2012
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    IBM develops inexpensive high-efficiency photovoltaic cells

    One of the main drawbacks of photovoltaic technology today is the fact that producing and buying these cells is expensive, a cost which however breaks even after a particular amount of time. However, not a lot of us can really afford these expensive home-based electricity generators and use grid connections instead. Recently, IBM’s Material Science team, with help from Solar Frontier, Tokyo Ohka Kogyo and Del Solar has come up with an efficient and comparatively inexpensive-to-produce PV cell that could pretty much pave the way to a greener tomorrow. Using readily available materials including copper, zinc, and tin, the team managed to create a solar semiconductor with 11.1% conversion efficiency! A development like this could pretty much provide the solar-energy industry with an unbeatable impetus and push us further towards an eco-friendly future.

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    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 23, 2012
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    Philips to light up1000m2 “lighting centers” in Africa with solar-powered LED lighting


    electronics giant Philips, also known as Royal Philips Electronics, has been drawing plans to lighten up far-flung areas of Africa since quite a while now and is currently planning to invest a whopping $1.48 million in the effort. The company will soon begin lighting up 1000m2 areas in Africa with solar-powered LED lighting. These areas will then be used as spaces for education, entertainment, sports and recreation. Philips has planned 100 lighting centers of the kind and will soon unveil the sites and countries that will enjoy the benefits of the same with installation kicking off in October later this year. Currently, countries including Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morrocco and South Africa play home to these solar-powered lighting centers, each the size of a small soccer field with four 8m-tall poles each, holding LED lighting solutions. A great way to bring sustainable energy to areas off the grid, Philips’ initiative is worth a ton of praise.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 21, 2012
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    Sanya Skypump wind-powered EV charging station, installed in Barcelona by GE and Urban Green Energy


    Powering up an EV charging station with renewable energy is indeed an eco-friendly solution to clean and green road transport unlike any other. Putting the concept to practice, General Electric and Urban Green Energy have joined hands to build and install wind-powered EV charging stations called Sanya Skypumps. The first of these has found a home in Barcelona and will be used to juice electric cars belonging to corporate and government drivers. Beautifully designed in an attempt to contribute to the surroundings and not play an eye-sore, the Sanya Skypump uses UGE’s 4Kwind turbine towers hooked up to a GE Durastation. Also, plans are currently being drawn to set up these at malls and universities across Australia before the year-end and we hope to see developments like these being put into place for personal car users too.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 16, 2012
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    STG International to setup Solar ORC systems providing hot water and electricity in Africa


    Electricity isn’t really an energy source that can be yet be taken for granted in certain isolated parts of Africa where more often than not, a regular supply is considered a luxury. STG International, an MIT non-profit has come up with a feasible way to power up clinics and schools in such parts of Africa using alternative energy sources instead of complete grid reliance. Using a new hybrid power and heat solar system that’s capable of providing electricity, hot water and space heating, STG International is currently drawing plans to set up five such units in Africa. With MIT graduate PHDs Matthew Orosz and Amy Mueller leading the way, these units will be tested for viability and will use ORC Engine instead of solar electric panels. Capable of providing up to 18-24kW-hr of energy and 200-300 gallons of hot water daily, this system could prove to be a boon for rural development, not just in Africa but also other far-flung areas disconnected from the grid around the globe.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 16, 2012
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    Bill Gates foundation invests in solar powered toilet for the developing world


    Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp, who also happens to be the world’s biggest private philanthropist, is aiming to lead the developing world into a new phase with his work on sanitation and toilets. He handed down $100,000 as prize money to the California Institute of Technology recently for its work on a self-contained, sun-powered system that recycles water and breaks down human waste into storable energy. His initiative comes in the wake of millions of children dying in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia dying each year due to sanitation problems. He stated that there has been no fundamental change in toilet technology since the conception of the flush toilet in 1775 and his foundation is investing $3.4 million for toilet projects being worked on by various organizations.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 15, 2012
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    Solar powered roadways concept power a nation, cut costs and maintain eco-balance


    I always wondered at the mirage created on the roads whilst driving through sunny terrains, thinking exactly how much solar energy could be capitalized from it! Eventually, American electrical engineer Scott Brusaw echoed my innocent, juvenile thoughts and matured it into a concept capable of being a reality in the near future. He has developed a system of solar powered roads, naming his project ‘solar roadways’. The concept replaces the existing concrete and asphalt surfaces that are exposed to the sun with solar road panels. The technology which is currently in experimentation stage, is installed in driveways, bike paths, patios, sidewalks, parking lots, playgrounds and will go on to be integrated onto public roads if it is a success. The roads would be capable of directly infusing energy into the power-grid through photovoltaics which could power a whole nation and also replace coal and nuclear powered electricity generation plants.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on August 8, 2012
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    South Pacific Island of Tokelau is the World’s first country to endorse solar power

    The South Pacific Nations are among the most petroleum-dependant nations in the world and a new project headed by Powersmart Solar is attempting to change the statistics drastically. The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project (TREP) is about to be launched to replace the island nation’s diesel generators with expansive solar system. If the project is a success, Tokelau will qualify to be the first country to meet 100% of its climate change obligations and also the first completely solar-powered nation on earth. Tokelau is currently consuming the diesel shipped in from New Zealand, because of which the country’s diesel generators burn around 200 litres of fuel daily, upping the annual expenditure on fuel to NZ$1 million. This causes considerable environmental impact.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 27, 2012
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    First ever solar-powered intercontinental journey completed successfully by Solar Impulse


    Environmentalists and aerodynamic experts alike would definitely be beaming at the news of the first ever solar-powered intercontinental roundtrip journey being successfully completed by Solar Impulse. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA experimental solar-powered aircraft commuted between Europe and Africa- A 6,000km trip that commenced on May 24 and returned to Payerne, Switzerland at 8.30 pm on July 24. The main aim of Solar Impulse in making the iconic journey was to emphasize the fact that an aircraft can be powered only by the sun’s rays could be flown of night. The record-breaking journey had the aircraft visit Madrid, Rabat, Ouarzazate, Toulouse.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 25, 2012
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