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A good first step. The next step will be local energy products that cut Nova Scotia Power out of the picture altogether (only problem being distribution). It's an economic tragedy, the privatization of NSP and their monopoly power in the province. Shareholders be damned.... NSP no longer gets to suck us dry.

Hopefully after the near-disaster in neighbouring New Brunswick, Nova Scotians have learned a thing or two (too later, but still...)
 

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A good first step. The next step will be local energy products that cut Nova Scotia Power out of the picture altogether (only problem being distribution). It's an economic tragedy, the privatization of NSP and their monopoly power in the province. Shareholders be damned.... NSP no longer gets to suck us dry.
:clap: +1
 

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Aw, crap! The fine print always gets ya....

Liberal MLA Andrew Younger said he believes it's a mistake that solar and geothermal energy projects don't qualify for the feed-in tariff rate.

“These are some of the biggest growth areas in Nova Scotia and it makes no sense not to include all renewable energy,” said Liberal MLA Andrew Younger.

The Ecology Action Centre of Halifax echoes similar concerns.

“By stating that solar is not cost-competitive or that it is still an emerging technology, the province is being misleading,” Brennan Vogel, the centre's energy co-ordinator, said Friday.

“Solar has great potential to help us build decentralized energy security and realize widespread economic benefits in Nova Scotia.”

Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks said the provincial government is not “shutting down” solar and geothermal projects but the government is focused on wind and tidal.

“I’m certainly aware there is interest there and we will have to follow up with them,” said Estabrooks.
 

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Too much of a good thing?

Solar power could crash Germany's grid



HARNESSING the sun's energy could save the planet from climate change, an approach that Germany has readily adopted. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm for solar panels could overload the country's ageing electricity grid.

Solar power is intermittent and can arrive in huge surges when the sun comes out. These most often happen near midday rather than when demand for power is high, such as in the evenings. A small surge can be accommodated by switching off conventional power station generators, to keep the overall supply to the grid the same. But if the solar power input is too large it will exceed demand even with all the generators switched off. Stephan Köhler, head of Germany's energy agency, DENA, warned in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung on 17 October that at current rates of installation, solar capacity will soon reach those levels, and could trigger blackouts.
(New Scientist)
 

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Obvious dilemma.

A more imaginative approach is required.

Some possibilities:
Solar power used to pump water uphill during peak generation. Water used to generate electricity when solar is not producing.

Solar could be used to highly compress air which is then used to generate electricity at more usable times.

Solar could be used to supplement steam generation. Excess from grid being used to slowly bring steam generators up to pressure. Generators then kick in as solar kicks out. Not independent of coal or gas but would reduce dependence.

FWIW Finding a way to cleanly coke coal. Any excess heat produced could be used to power a steam generation plant. Coke would of course would also provide a much cleaner source than coal for steam generation. At the moment most of our coking coal is sent in raw form to China or Japan. Worth looking for a clean way to do this at a local level.
 

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Turning freeways into electricity generating 'Solar Serpents'



With solar power plants requiring large areas which aren't usually available in or close to urban areas, Sweden-based architect Mans Tham proposes cities like Los Angeles take a different road – covering the city’s freeways in solar panels.
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Tham points out that, due to space constraints, the Los Angeles Solar Program focuses on roofs on private and public buildings within the city and solar plants in the Mojave Desert. By covering the large areas dedicated to roads – Los Angeles County has around 800km (497 miles) – in solar panels, Tham says the city could take advantage of public land with existing points of access for maintenance for use as a large scale solar installation.
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Aside from capturing solar energy, the “Solar Serpent” would also shade the roads and reduce the need for air conditioning in vehicles traveling under them. It would also allow charging stations to be placed under road overpasses for electric vehicles to recharge in addition to using the locally produced electricity to be used by local households and businesses with minimal transmission costs and loss of electricity due to transmission over long distance power lines.
(Gizmag)
 

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Boeing to mass-produce record-breaking 39.2 percent efficiency solar cell



When it comes to solar cells, everyone is chasing the highest conversion efficiency. Although we’ve seen conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent achieved with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab is bringing this kind of efficiency to mass production with the announcement of its C3MJ+ solar cells which boast an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent.
(More on the story at Gizmag)
 

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Sahara Solar Breeder Project aims to provide 50 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050



This is ambition with a capital A. Universities in Japan and Algeria have teamed up on a project that aims to solve the world’s energy problems. Called the Sahara Solar Breeder Project, the plan is to build manufacturing plants around the Sahara Desert and extract silica from sand to make solar panels, which will then be used to build solar power plants in the desert. The power generated by the initial plant or plants would be used to “breed” more silicon manufacturing and solar power plants, which will in turn be used to breed more again, and so on. The ultimate goal is to build enough plants to provide 50 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050, which would be delivered via a global superconducting supergrid.
(Read more at Gizmag)
 

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MIT's Dan Nocera Creates Energy From Water & Sunlight

MIT Professor Dan Nocera made this discovery 6 months ago and wants to share it with the world, although MIT owns the patent. He has published his breakthrough and made it "open-source." His students are already inventing machines applying this science and he says, "This is the way science works!"
(see Sott.net for the interview (video) Fri, 26 Nov 2010 15:55)
 

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When it comes to solar cells, everyone is chasing the highest conversion efficiency. Although we’ve seen conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent achieved with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab is bringing this kind of efficiency to mass production with the announcement of its C3MJ+ solar cells which boast an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent.
Boeing to mass-produce record-breaking 39.2 percent efficiency solar cell
 

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Turning Tailpipe Emissions Into Power

Where there’s heat, there’s energy — even in the smelly exhaust that emerges from a car tailpipe. The trick is harvesting that energy and converting it to a usable form, and that’s exactly what Purdue University researchers intend to do in a three-year project in collaboration with General Motors.

The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, to the tune of $1.4 million, are funding this effort to develop a prototype thermoelectric generator (TEG) that would charge batteries and power a car’s electrical systems, reducing the engine’s workload and improving fuel economy.
Turning Tailpipe Emissions Into Power | EarthTechling
 

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More on Nocera's commercialization of the cheap hydrogen tech:

Solar Power Storage Enabled by Dirty Water

Sun Catalytix, a company founded by MIT professor Daniel Nocera, is working on a new, cheap solar power system that converts solar energy to hydrogen. The system should be on the market in a year and a half, and costs just $20. India's Tata Group has invested about $10 million in the company, seeing it as a low-cost power provider for poor families in India and elsewhere.
(FastCompany)
 

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Energy from sunlight and water

That sounds really interesting, and I hope to see it take off. But just to put it in perspective, that process is what plants have been doing here on earth for billions of years.

Cheers
 

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...and nature continues to show us the way...

Scientists find natural photovoltaic cell in hornet, and copy it



the Oriental hornet ... the outer layers of its body work as a natural photovoltaic cell, converting sunlight to electricity. The scientists then proceeded to create a cell of their own, using the hornet as their inspiration.
The yellow cuticle takes its coloration from the pigment xanthopterin, and it turns out that xanthopterin has the ability to change light into electrical energy.
(GizMag)
 

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Thin Film Solar Catching Up To Crystalline Panels On Efficiency?



The National Renewable Energy Labratory (NREL) recently tested thin-film solar modules made by MiaSolé, and verified that their energy conversion efficiency rate hit 15.7 percent, up from 14.3 percent last year.

The company boasted about the number, and several news outlets touted the results. Does it mean the performance gap between thin-film and crystalline solar modules is closing? Could thin-film take a bite out of the market for crystalline panels in the U.S., soon?

Clean tech analysts and engineers believe that thin-film solar is not likely to catch up to crystalline in terms of efficiency any time soon. Neither will thin-film solar modules steal market share from crystalline in 2011, they predict.
(TechCrunch)
 

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Solar firm making return to its Canadian roots

Shawn Qu runs one of the ten largest solar panel makers in the world, Kitchener, Ont.-based Canadian Solar Inc., with annual revenue of about $1.2-billion (U.S.). Yet he is almost unknown in Canadian business circles, mainly because the bulk of the company’s manufacturing operations are in China and its customers in more than 30 countries.

That’s about to change, however, as Canadian Solar gears up to open a large solar-panel manufacturing plant in Guelph, Ont., that will employ 500 workers by mid-2011. The new plant was partly spurred by Ontario’s new Green Energy Act, which pays high prices for solar-generated power if some of the equipment is made in the province.
(CTV)
 

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Breakthrough solar reactor makes fuel from sunlight



Because conventional photovoltaic panels produce electricity directly from sunlight, the energy they generate must either be used as it is produced or stored – either in batteries or by using the electricity to produce a fuel that acts as a storage medium for the energy. Now U.S. and Swiss researchers have developed a prototype device that directly converts the Sun’s rays into fuels that can be stored, allowing the energy to be used at night or transported to locations where it is needed.
(GizMag)
 

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A long read, but worth taking the time...

Cool Our Fever

Given that Germany is one of the cloudiest countries in Europe, right up there with England—the sun shines for only about a third of the year—it seems crazy that it would have more solar panels per capita than any other country in the world and that it employs more than 40,000 people in the solar power indus- try. But the Germans made it happen.
They figured out a way to use their existing banking and power systems to begin to shift from dependence on coal and nuclear power to solar. And all it took were pretty small tweaks in the grand scheme of things. A minor recalibration in the way money moves around in the energy and banking sectors has turned the country into a solar powerhouse. Within the past decade, Germany has gone from near zero to producing 8,000 megawatts (MW) of power from solar, the equivalent capacity of eight nuclear power plants in the United States.
In 1999 progressives in Germany passed the 100,000 Roof Program (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz),8 which mandated that banks had to provide low-interest 10-year loans to homeowners sufficient for them to put solar panels on their houses.
(Truth-Out)
 
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