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Posts Tagged "photovoltaics"

Observations

Hard Road Ahead for Solar Freakin’ Roadways

solar-road-panels

Take a solar panel. Surround it with light-emitting diodes attached to a microprocessor and, in northern climes at least, some kind of heater. Sheath all of that with the 100-year-old technology known as tempered glass. Voila: the basic building block of what has been dubbed by its creators, electrical engineer Scott Brusaw and his wife [...]

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Observations

“All of the Above” Energy Means More Fracking, Renewables, Nukes and Clean Coal

ernest-moniz

There is no technical issue with fracking, the controversial technique of fracturing shale rock with high-pressure, chemically treated water to release natural gas. But there is clearly a political one, judging by the multiple interruptions to a talk at Columbia University by new Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz. The affable former M.I.T. professor and [...]

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Observations

What Will Steven Chu’s Energy Legacy Be?

steven-chu

Steven Chu will step down as Secretary of Energy at the end of this month, though he “may stay beyond that time so that I can leave the Department in the hands of the new Secretary,” he wrote in a farewell letter to Department of Energy (DoE) staff, issued February 1. Regardless, when Chu leaves [...]

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Observations

Can the U.S. Jump Back into the Solar Race?

BOSTON—Back in 1995, when the global market for solar panels was small, the U.S. shipped more than 40 percent of the world’s photovoltaic modules, which produce electricity from light. Today the number is closer to 4 percent. As China, Taiwan, Europe and Japan have dramatically stepped up production of photovoltaics, American companies have not kept [...]

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Observations

D.C. Power Play: Students Vie to Build Affordable, Energy Self-Sufficient Homes in U.S. Solar Decathlon [Video]

The bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra last month has left many people wondering about the future of solar industry in the U.S. That turn of events didn’t stop the U.S. Department of Energy from sponsoring its biennial Solar Decathlon this fall, during which college-age students designed and built houses powered by sunlight. Nineteen teams [...]

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Observations

White House to get (more) solar panels

jimmy-carter-solar-thermal-panel

Following the lead of presidents from George W. Bush to Jimmy Carter, the Obama White House—or specifically the Obama family’s living quarters—will get solar panels. While Carter’s solar thermal panels are long gone (one of them is in China and the Obama White House last month rebuffed the return of another), photovoltaics installed by President [...]

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Observations

Supersaturation leads to melting in silicon, even as its temperature falls

retrograde melting in silicon at MIT

The physical world is full of surprises and head-scratching peculiarities, and a process called retrograde melting ranks right up there with the most counterintuitive phenomena. Retrograde melting is the process of a solid substance turning to liquid as its temperature decreases. (Imagine sticking a popsicle in the freezer to turn it into juice, and you’re [...]

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Plugged In

U.S. Solar PV Tops 3.5 GW

graphic

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the nation’s solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity now exceeds 3.5 GW. This figure is the result of a new system at the EIA for estimating the lower bound on total installed PV capacity. The figure includes both utility and customer-scale installations. The latter was not captured in previous [...]

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