Saturday, April 28, 2007

Solar Power Goes Green, Literally

Solar cell technology developed by the University’s Nanomaterials Research Centre will enable New Zealanders to generate electricity from sunlight at a tenth of the cost of current silicon-based photo-electric solar cells.

Dr Wayne Campbell and researchers in the centre have developed a range of coloured dyes for use in dye-sensitised solar cells.

The synthetic dyes are made from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature. The green dye Dr Campbell (pictured) is holding is synthetic chlorophyll derived from the light-harvesting pigment plants use for photosynthesis.

Other dyes being tested in the cells are based on haemoglobin, the compound that give blood its colour.

Dr Campbell says that unlike the silicon-based solar cells currently on the market, the 10x10cm green demonstration cells generate enough electricity to run a small fan in low-light conditions – making them ideal for cloudy weather. The dyes can also be incorporated into tinted windows that trap to generate electricity.

He says the green solar cells are more environmentally friendly than silicon-based cells as they are made from titanium dioxide – a plentiful, renewable and non-toxic white mineral obtained from New Zealand’s black sand. Titanium dioxide is already used in consumer products such as toothpaste, white paints and cosmetics.

“The refining of pure silicon, although a very abundant mineral, is energy-hungry and very expensive. And whereas silicon cells need direct sunlight to operate efficiently, these cells will work efficiently in low diffuse light conditions,” Dr Campbell says.

“The expected cost is one tenth of the price of a silicon-based solar panel, making them more attractive and accessible to home-owners.”

The Centre’s new director, Professor Ashton Partridge, says they now have the most efficient porphyrin dye in the world and aim to optimise and improve the cell construction and performance before developing the cells commercially.

“The next step is to take these dyes and incorporate them into roofing materials or wall panels. We have had many expressions of interest from New Zealand companies,” Professor Partridge says.

He says the ultimate aim of using nanotechnology to develop a better solar cell is to convert as much sunlight to electricity as possible.

“The energy that reaches earth from sunlight in one hour is more than that used by all human activities in one year”.

The solar cells are the product of more than 10 years research funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

SunPower To Build 3 Solar Power Plants in Spain

BARCELONA, Spain, April 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency, commercially available solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, today announced a number of solar power plant projects being built or supplied by its PowerLight subsidiary. These projects will expand PowerLight's market-leading footprint in Spain to more than 61 megawatts.

PowerLight is partnering with Solarpack Corporacion Tecnologica, S.L. on three major projects in Spain, two in the province of Seville and one in the province of Badajoz, for a total of 17 megawatts. PowerLight announced one of those projects, the approximately 4.8 megawatt power plant in Llerena, earlier this month. PowerLight is managing the design, engineering, procurement installation, operation, and maintenance of these three solar power plants on a turn-key basis.

For Elecnor, S.A., PowerLight is supplying proprietary solar tracker technology and equipment to the 21 megawatt, 80 hectare Hoya de los Vicentes project in Jumilla near Murcia, Spain, which is nearing completion. The proprietary PowerTracker(R) solar tracking technology tilts the solar panels toward the sun as it passes across the sky, increasing annual energy production by up to 25 percent compared with fixed-tilt systems. PowerLight previously delivered solar trackers for Elecnor's 23 megawatt La Magascona power plant in the town of Trujillo, Caceres.

"Spain has one of the best solar resources on Earth and we applaud the government's active leadership in bringing solar power to market," said Marco Antonio Northland, PowerLight general manager, Europe. "With excellent partners like Elecnor and Solarpack, we look forward to responding to Spain's power needs with reliable, clean and affordable solar energy."

Northland will be addressing an audience at the European Energy Forum in Barcelona on Thursday, April 26 on the topic of solar tracking technology. The presentation will begin at 12:00 noon local time at the Palau de Congressos de Barcelona, Pavilion 5. SunPower and PowerLight are participating as exhibitors at the Forum at Stand 15.

About SunPower

SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) designs, manufactures and markets high-performance solar electric technology worldwide. SunPower's high-efficiency solar cells and panels generate up to 50 percent more power per unit area than conventional solar technologies and have a uniquely
attractive, all-black appearance. SunPower's PowerLight subsidiary is a leading global provider of large-scale solar power systems, with over 100 megawatts installed. For more information on SunPower please visit the SunPower website at http://www.sunpowercorp.com. SunPower is a
majority-owned subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hybrid Solar-Gas Power Plant Planned For High Desert

The California Energy Commission has greenlighted an application to build the U.S.'s first solar-natural gas hybrid power plant in Southern California's High Desert. The plant will be built on a former Air Force Base outside Victorville - about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles - and would integrate a 50-megawatt solar trough power station into a 500-megawatt natural gas-fired plant. Solar energy would produce 10 percent of the plant's electricity during peak demand times to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the facility, according to the application. The project is being developed by Newport Beach's Inland Energy for the city of Victorville. "We felt there was a direct analogy between the way renewable resources are used and hybrid cars," Inland Energy executive VP Tom Barnett told Green Wombat. "Electric cars have their limitations but hybrids have taken off. We felt same concept applied to a power plant. We have a solar power plant with the reliability of a combined natural gas cycle plant. We set out to figure out how to integrate solar thermal with gas."...read more

Flexible Solar Recharger to Power iPods

Hampshire, U.K. (PRWEB) April 16, 2007 -- Just Imagine UK Limited are unveiling at the 35th Annual Geneva Technology Exhibition, their new emergency solar powered charger for cell phones, iPods, mp3s and cameras. This new product delivers power via thin solar membrane cells and a flexible lanyard.

The first phone call, lasting two minutes, was made from one cell phone to another cell phone using solar energy captured from a flexible lanyard/strap.

This is a first for Just Imagine UK Limited.

Roark McMaster of Just Imagine in Emsworth, and Mark Coughlan of London have together developed this new product over the past 12 months.

The two innovators have incorporated thin membrane and flexible solar cells onto a durable lanyard strap. The device can be configured to provide power for a cell phone, an iPod, MP3 player or even a camera.

The Mac-Strap, as it is called, is typically designed to provide emergency power when a cell phone user is in a distressing situation and they need to make a phone call, but their cell phone battery has run out.

There are many solar power chargers on the market today. The products in the marketplace are changing almost bi-weekly. However the Mac-Strap provides a unique solution of solar power on a flexible lanyard that can be slung over your rucksack, hung around your neck, affixed to your tent pole or placed on the dashboard of your car -- collecting power all the while.

The design team intend to license the use of their intellectual property.

McMaster and Coughlan will be unveiling their prototype at the 35th Annual Geneva Technology Exhibition 18-22 April in Geneva Switzerland.

Solar Air Conditioning Unit Sparks Interest


Instead of letting the Central Valley’s blistering summer sun bake your home, the sun can actually cool it, says a Southern California Company.

SolCool One LLC of Redlands is marketing an air conditioner that uses so little power it can be run from the power generated by no more than four solar panels, the company says.

“This unit will operate without any power from the grid,” says Clifford Sutton, vice president of global marketing and sales for SolCool One. “Also, if there’s no power being brought to it al all, it will still operate for 24 hours on battery backup.”

Its efficiency is put at 30 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) a government measurement. The federal standard for new air conditioning units is a minimum of 13 SEER. The higher the number the greater the energy savings...read more

Has Solar Power Come of Age?

During the disco days of the 1970s, a few brave pioneers began installing solar panels on the roofs of their homes. With the enthusiasm of the newly converted, they explained to their incredulous neighbors that the flat, black objects would harness the power of the sun to provide the family with hot water.

The neighbors, no doubt, reacted much as if their acquaintance had insisted on demonstrating his newly acquired magic skills by sawing his wife in half: They nodded their heads in wary approval -- and made a silent vow to immediately install a more secure lock on the side gate.

Now, 30-odd years later, California is the third-largest market for solar power systems -- behind Germany and Japan. Eighty-five percent of all systems installed in the nation are here. Due to a growing concern for the environment and rising energy costs -- as well as the economic incentives provided by state legislation and federal tax credits -- droves of homeowners and business owners are following in the footsteps of those early pioneers.

A further sign of this booming trend is that some developers have even started incorporating solar power as a standard feature in their new subdivisions.

"Some of them have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it," says Gary Gerber, president of Sun Light & Power in Berkeley, "while others have seen the advantages and recognized that this is actually a sales tool for them. Once that gets going, they'll all jump on board."...read more

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

PowerLight to Build 4.8 Megawatt Solar Electric Power Plant in Spain



GENEVA, April 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- PowerLight, a leading global provider of large scale solar power systems and a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR), announced today that its Swiss subsidiary,PowerLight Systems S.A., has entered into an agreement with Agrupacion Solar Llerena-Badajoz 1, A.I.E. and Solarpack Corporacion Tecnologica,S.L., to design and build a solar electric power plant in Llerena, Spain. The plant is expected to generate approximately 4.8 megawatts of peak power.

The project will cover an area of approximately 19 hectares, and will employ proprietary solar tracking technology developed by PowerLight, which increases annual energy production by up to 22 percent compared with fixed-tilt systems. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Solarpack is the project developer.

"PowerLight offers today's most advanced solution for maximizing both solar energy production and financial project returns on large-scale solar projects," said Jose Galindez, chief executive officer of Solarpack. "We are looking forward to working with PowerLight to complete this project and deliver emission-free, renewable solar power to the people of Llerena and
the surrounding area."

"Spain has one of the best solar resources on Earth and we applaud the government's active leadership in bringing solar power to market," said Marco Antonio Northland, PowerLight general manager, Europe. "With excellent partners like Solarpack, we look forward to responding to Spain's power needs with reliable, clean and affordable solar energy."
PowerLight is a market leader in Southern Europe, with a number of projects under development in the region. On March 28, an 11-megawatt project in Serpa, Portugal, designed and deployed by PowerLight, was officially dedicated.

About PowerLight

PowerLight is a leading global provider of large-scale solar power systems, delivering over a decade of experience and financial value to commercial, utility, public sector and residential customers worldwide. PowerLight designs, deploys and operates the largest solar power systems in the world through market-leading innovation and exceptional customer service. For more information, please visit http://www.powerlight.com. PowerLight is a subsidiary of SunPower Corp.

About SunPower

SunPower Corp. designs, manufactures and markets high-performance solar electric technology worldwide. SunPower's high-efficiency solar cells and panels generate up to 50 percent more power per unit area than conventional solar technologies and have a uniquely attractive, all-black appearance. SunPower's PowerLight subsidiary is a leading global provider of large-scale solar power systems, with over 100 megawatts installed. For more information on SunPower please visit the SunPower website at http://www.sunpowercorp.com. SunPower is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY).

JSX to Study Solar Project in Thailand


BANGKOK, Thailand--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In anticipation of future operations and increased demand for electricity, JSX has commissioned a preliminary feasibility study to assess the economic viability of a full scale solar energy project on one of its petroleum concessions in northwest Thailand. National statistics show the area to be amongst the driest in the Country while enjoying an above average amount of sunshine; making it an ideal location for such a venture.

Investments in solar are consistent with the Thai Governments new energy policy which include generous subsidies that make solar as attractive as traditional energy sources. Under a long-term offtake agreement with the Provincial Electric Authority, a 10 megawatt plant would generate approximately US$10,000,000 in annual cash flow, including carbon credits.

The Thai Government is aggressively promoting all forms of renewable energy and recently announced several initiatives to stimulate investment in the sector. Under the new plan, solar power qualifies for the highest subsidy per kilowatt-hour, making it competitive with other energy sources for the first time in history. The study will be based on best available technologies and results are expected within three months time.

JSX ENERGY INC. (OTC:JSXG) (FWB:JXN) (WKN:A0LGD2) (ISIN:US46629L1070) is an aggressive exploration company focused on high growth opportunities in Thailand's petroleum sector. Management is comprised of leading experts in Thailand's energy Industry who have positioned the Company to benefit from revised government policies designed to increase domestic production. http://www.jsxenergy.com