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Thread: Solar Energy

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    Default Solar Energy

    Solar Energy Powers 1 Million Homes in Bangladesh

    Although roof-mounted photovoltaic panels may not be a common sight yet in the West, the technology is really heating up in Asia – specifically in Bangladesh. According to local officials, the number of solar-powered households in the Asian nation now amounts to over one million. Under-investment in the country’s infrastructure means that the country’s power plants only generate around 4,700 megawatts of electricity a day against a demand of 6,000 megawatts, so some 60 percent of Bangladesh’s 150 million people have no access to mains electricity. As a result, the power-hungry, fair-weathered country has exhibited the fastest expansion of solar technology in the world.

    Bangladesh’ embrace of solar power has shown quite a meteroic rise – especially considering that in 2002, only 7,000 homes in Bangladesh used solar energy. Today, according to Nazmul Haq of the Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL), it now benefits five million people. “It’s the fastest expansion of solar energy anywhere in the world,” Haq told PhysOrg. “We crossed the one million threshold more than 18 months ahead of schedule (and) we have set a new target to cross 2.5 million by 2014,” he said.

    IDCOL is responsible for financing clean energy projects, and they saw the benefits of solar power as many households in Bangladesh are not on the national grid. With the help of NGOs, households could finance the purchase of photovoltaic panels in small monthly payments. If only solar panels were as affordable in the West.


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    Japanese firm develops 'sun-tracking' solar power device

    04 June 2011






    Researchers at a Japanese firm have successfully used moving mirrors that track the sun throughout the day to develop a solar power device with double the generating power of current models.

    Smart Solar International, a University of Tokyo spin-off that developed the new device, said it would start commercial production of the system in Japan in August.

    The device features a row of aluminum mirror bars that can slowly rotate as the sun moves across the sky and reflect its light back onto a central tube that is packed with high-performance, multi-layered solar cells.

    The system requires far less expensive silicon than traditional photovoltaic cell panels, and it has a system for preventing overheating that channels any extra warmth for heating water.

    "You can get both electricity and heat from the same device," said Takashi Tomita, who heads the spin-off University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology.

    The company expects to start marketing operations by October and has targeted Asia and Middle East sales by 2014.

    In Japan, the company expects the devise to be widely marketed in tsunami-hit areas along the northern Pacific coast.

    The company plans to sell the new device through convenience stores and other places people congregate. The Japanese government also is undertaking a major review of energy policy. Smart Solar also has an office in California.

    The system has an advantage in that its most expensive component is imported mostly from China.

    Smart Solar plans to exhibit a parabolic mirror version of the system at the Intersolar trade fair in Munich, Germany next week.

    Smart Solar International, a spin-off from the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, is focused in offering concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems to be deployed in commercial and utility scales.



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    Ground-Breaking Technology Could Dramatically Reduce the Cost of Solar

    20 June 2011






    The U.S. Department of Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has announced a conditional loan guarantee of $150 million to 1366 Technologies, Inc., that is in development of a multicrystalline wafer manufacturing project.

    This breakthrough process, called Direct Wafer, could potentially slash manufacturing costs of silicon wafers by 50 percent — significantly reducing the price of solar power. The project will create 70 permanent jobs and 50 seasonal construction jobs.

    “This project is a game-changer that could dramatically lower the cost of photovoltaic solar cells. It is exactly the kind of innovation that puts America at the forefront of the global clean energy race,” said Secretary Chu. “As global demand for solar cells increases, this kind of technology will help the U.S. increase its market share and be more competitive with other countries such as China, which currently accounts for 60 percent of the world supply of multicrystalline wafers.



 

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