Posts Tagged ‘SunShot Initiative’

17 July

Further Expansion By QBotix, Integration of Robotics Into Solar Tracking System

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links and note magenta)

Do you remember one of our posts during 2012 about a tracking system designed by a new company called QBotix?  To refresh your/our memory, please refer to the paragraph from our previous 2012 post, below:

The recently unveiled RTS by QBotix, a new company (from Menlo Park, CA) that is bringing the power of robotics to solar energy. The Robotic Tracking System (RTS) is a comprehensive dual-axis tracking system (at a single-axis system’s cost but generates up to 15% more energy) that employs rugged, intelligent and mobile robots to dynamically operate solar power plants and maximize energy output.  By having the robot (some call it solbot) running on a track, as a monorail,  servicing up to 200 solar panels, at 40-minute intervals throughout the day, this tracking system can help the solar panels to receive a performance boost of as much as 40% over existing fixed mount systems and lowers the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) by up to 20%.  Furthermore, RTS offers fast installation and has low operation and maintenance costs, and is compatible with all solar panels and mounting foundations.  When connecting with each panel, RTS adjusts the angle of the panel and collects data about the panel.  I can see the potential of a self-cleaning RTS/solbot that may be programmed to conserve/minimize the water use in cleaning all solar panels.  Wouldn’t that be great?!  Apparently, RTS also has a certified IP-65, meaning it is impervious to dust and water.

Be sure to also take a look at our interview this year (2014), with Matt Lugar, VP of Sales and Marketing of QBotix, during InterSolar North America 2014, at Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA, below:


Much has happened to QBotix since we last interviewed  its founder and CEO Wasiq Bokhari and Director of Engineering Lalo Ruiz in 2012. Recently QBotix has announced that it has raised $12 million in Round B  financing through its venture capital partners, E.On Climate and Renewables and Iberdrola Renewables. This is in addition to having already successfully completed a $1 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative award project, and received the  recognition by Fast Company as one of the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in robotics. When we met QBotix in 2012, it was a design with zero installations, but now it’s gone global, with 80 MW  installations and contracts or partnerships in U.S., Europe, Latin America, Australia, Japan, and further development in Chile and South Africa. QBotix has the revolutionary, highly efficient technology that will contribute significantly to reduce the balance of system costs in solar projects. We will look forward to its continued expansion and spreading throughout our planet.

 

Other pertinent links and videos:

  1. http://www.sunisthefuture.net/2012/09/12
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPjfbyWoEIE

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your questions/comments/suggestions will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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22 February

We’re Going Further Than Reaching the Moon, We’re Reaching For The Sun

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

People! People! My belief/suspicion has been confirmed !  Solar Industry is going to be BIG! Huge! In time, solar energy will no longer represent less than one percent of our energy portfolio.  If I were to wager on the matter, I’d bet that  solar energy will  eventually take care of more than 50% of our energy needs…just wait…in 10-20 years….

I’d like to invite you to a live discussion with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at 2:00 pm EST, that was later streamed on Google +, Youtube, and energy.gov/live on the progress of  SunShot Initiative and the role solar power is playing in our growing clean energy economy.  Questions were taken in advance and during the Hangout: via emailing newmedia@hq.doe.gov, posting comments on the Energy Department’s Facebook page,  Google+ event, or tweeting @ENERGY using #askEnergy. In addition to Secretary Chu, various representatives from across the U.S. solar energy industry were also on the panel of discussion: Jeffery Halsey from Broward County (Broward County of Florida’s Director of Pollution Prevention, Remediation, and Air Quality division), Jeff Allen of Solar Junction‘s Vice President of Business Development, and Joe Desmond, Senior Vice President at Bright Source Energy. Video below:

Jeffery Halsy shared that homeowners from his community, due to their participation in the SunShot Initiataive’s Rooftop Solar Challenge,  were able to save time and money on installations by addressing the soft costs (including permitting, interconnection, and inspection requirements accounting for as much as 40% of the total cost of a single solar installation).  With preapproved design plans,Broward County residents are now able to get a solar energy system permit online in just half an hour, saving both time and money. Jeff Allen shared insight on how Solar Junction shattered an existing technical barrier with its commericia-ready SJ3 multijunction solar cell this year. Below, on the left, a graph of Bandgap vs. Max. Efficiency shows the Shockley-Queisser limit for efficiency of a single junction solar cell. It is essentially impossible for single-junction solar cell, under unconcentrated sunlight, to have more than 34% efficiency. Multijunction cell, however, can exceed that limit. The chart on the right below indicates various solar cell efficiencies researched and presented by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). The SJ3 multijunction solar cell, with its concentrating PV cell, using a focused lens to magnify light to 418 times the intensity of the sun, was able to set a new world record of 43.5% for solar cell conversion efficiency.

NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)’s Best Research-Cell Efficiencies

Shockley-Queisser limit for the efficiency of a single junction solar cell. It is essentially impossible for a single-junction solar cell, under unconcentrated sunlight, to have more than ~34% efficiency. A multijunction cell, however, can exceed that limit.

Joe Demond talked about Ivanpah Solar Generating  Complex in California’s Mojave Desert;this utility-scale solar installation is the world’s largest solar thermal power plant under construction. Supported by an Energy Department loan guarantee, this project using mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers (through high temperature high pressure steam to turn the turbines) and is expected to generate enough electricity to power about 140,000 homes annually.  Bright Source hired over 2,300 workers to complete this project’s construction and installation phase. Furthermore, majority of this project’s supply chain comes from more than 17 states (such as Michigan-based Guardian Industries that supplied 160,000 of its EcoGuard Solar Boost mirrors).

View of Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System from Yates Well Road, The Clark Mountain Range can be seen in the distance.

Evidently, SunShot Initiative has already accomplished a great deal in reducing the soft costs, in developing new approach in technological advancement, and improvement of old way of doing things to utility-scale. It will continue its aim in reducing the cost of solar energy to be competitive with any other form of energy, without the need of subsidy. The future looks bright for solar industry. The potential of reaching below $1/watt is within reach;cost of solar will be comparable to the new cost estimate of energy from natural gas within 10 years, without any need of subsidy.  As Secretary Chu indicated, “Without any subsidy, solar energy will be able to hold its own with any other form of energy. This is our SunShot! We’re going further than reaching the moon. We’re reaching for the Sun!”This is very exciting! It is so palpable that all solar enthusiasts can feel the energy soaring…now we need to spread this good news so to speed up the process of reaching that clean, healthy and war-free Clean Energy World.  Earthlings, get ready to learn more about Solar Energy so we can all apply ourselves in this Solar Future! Thank you, Secretary Chu, for making SunShot Initiative a reality!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments/suggestions/questions will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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26 April

Incentive For Solar (6)-Dow Solar Shingles

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If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

I am quite impressed by what I have seen in Dow Solar Shingles. So let’s have a closer look at these shingles. I’ve prepared two video clips for you in Incentive For Solar (6) and Incentive For Solar (7). Keep in mind that there are many incentive programs via federal tax credits, SunShot Initiative, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy of Department of Energy, various state and local incentive programs (please feel free to review relevant posts on April 18, 2011-Incentive For Solar (2) and on April 24, 2011, Incentive For Solar (4)) that would help to reduce the cost of your purchase in your decision to head toward the Sun.   Without further ado, here is the clip at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8fOQ9V9mg&feature=related

 

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage: http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

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18 April

Incentive For Solar (2)

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If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Yes, yes, yes, I will share some more details of the SunShot Initiative that was mentioned in the previous post of April 15, 2011, before going into details of any other incentive programs.  Here are some program highlights of current financial opportunities,  divided into four main groups,  under the umbrella of Solar Energy Technologies Program: photovoltaics; concentrating solar power; systems integration; and marketing transformation.  These DOE funding opportunities encourage collaborative partnerships among industry, universities, national laboratories, federal, state, and local governments’ and non-government agencies and advocacy groups through an open and competitive solicitation process.  To explore these financial opportunity solicitations, please refer to links below:

These current financial opportunities (below) had just been made available this month under the umbrella of Solar Energy Technologies Program

  1. Transformational PV Science and Technology: Next Generation http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/financial_opps_detail.html?sol_id=397
  2. Extreme Balance of System Hardware Cost Reductions: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/financial_opps_detail.html?sol_id=394
  3. Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency:  http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/financial_opps_detail.html?sol_id=396
  4. Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems-Advanced Concepts: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/financial_opps_detail.html?sol_id=395

For various DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Program Highlights, please refer to links below:

Here is a special note for my Midwestern friends (a special wave to Rose, who emailed me multiple times regarding concern for availability of amount of sunlight in IL), if Boston, New York City, Ann Arbor, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul can all be one of the Solar America Cities, I am certain that Chicago and many other Midwestern cities can also be part of the Solar America Cities.  Here, you will see the 25 Solar America Cities partnerships

The 25 Solar America Cities partnerships represent the foundation of DOE’s Solar America Communities program

that represent the foundation of DOE’s Solar America Communities program.  Local governments and citizens across the country are taking action to make solar energy a more viable option for their communities.  These forward cities and counties are using innovative approaches to remove market barriers to solar and encourage adoption of solar energy technologies at the local level.  In 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities and provided financial and technical assistance to help the cities develop comprehensive approaches to increasing solar energy use.  Sixteen of these designees also received additional Recovery Act funding in 2009 for special projects that tackle specific barriers to urban solar energy use.  Here you can also see a chart showing various activities that the 25 Solar America Cities have undertaken to advance solar energy and build sustainable local solar markets.  Communities throughout US can use this chart to identify cities working on similar issues to leverage their experience and lessons learned.  More details regarding these communities and their activities can be found at this site http://solaramericacommunities.energy.gov/solaramericacities/action_areas/

It is time for all of us, throughout US, to cooperate and help one another in sharing our experiences in our journey toward the sun.  Department of Energy has already provided us with the basic ground work and budget to start in our transition toward solar energy.   We look forward to continued support and additional financial opportunities that will be forthcoming.  But in the meantime, citizens of US, take a close look at these activities and programs and see how you may take part in this exciting transitioning period.  You may be an entrepreneur with business ideas, a university faculty or researcher, a college student, a home maker trying to find more efficient way to provide household energy sources, you may all take part in these programs, benefiting financially while participating in this global movement toward the sun. So, let’s be optimistic!  Let’s head toward the sun with confident and giant leaps.  If you have any other questions regarding  the SunShot/Dollar-a-Watt Initiative, please refer to contact below:

SunShot Initiative Contacts

Contact information for the SunShot/Dollar-a-Watt Initiative is provided below.

U.S. Department of Energy
SunShot Initiative and Solar Energy Technologies Program
Ramamoorthy Ramesh
Program Manager
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC, 20585
Phone: 202-287-1473
E-mail: solar@ee.doe.gov

Rachel Tronstein
Clean Energy Advisor
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC, 20585
Phone: 202-586-6832
E-mail: Rachel.Tronstein@ee.doe.gov

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage: http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org

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15 April

Incentive For Solar (1)

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Hi,  dear readers and friends,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Remember I’ve previously mentioned the importance of bringing down the cost of solar technology and increasing incentives from the government to stimulate solar energy use.  Incentives are crucial in speeding up the process of conversion to the renewable energy era!  So, my feelings had been rather mixed in recent months as a result of finding out more about SunShot Initiative.

Our current administration, President Obama, is keenly aware of the need to develop clean/renewable (specially solar) energy and wise enough to bring some one who is actually technologically savvy (and who is not simply in office to maintain the status quo) yet pragmatic enough to suggest painting our roofs white, the Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, on board to head the Department of Energy (DOE), at this critical juncture in history.   Much work needs to be done during this time of transition into the clean and renewable energy era and we need to see a lot of actions!  Building on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s “moon shot” goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative will aggressively drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured, and installed.  As spoken in President Kennedy’s September 12, 1962, speech, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”  So now, we are facing the hour of change and we choose solar energy, not because it is easy, but because it is the best route/energy for the future of planet earth.  In addition to investing in improvements in cell technologies and manufacturing, the SunShot initiative will also focus on steps to streamline and digitize local permitting processes that will reduce installation and permitting costs.  To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of large scale solar electricity by about 75 percent (to roughly $1 per watt,  corresponding to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour) so that it will be cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies before the end of the decade (2020).  This would translate into rapid large-scale adoption of solar electricity across the United States, re-establish American technological leadership, improve the nation’s energy security, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness in the global clean energy race.  In this effort, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country.

I was all pumped up until…. I  looked at the budget/money allotted for the SunShot Initiative. at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfL57T8ZGfc

Comparing it to the MoonShot program would not be quite on target!  The MoonShot/Apollo program had a budget of close to $200 billion (totaled about $170 billion in 2005, according to Wikipeida) in today’s dollar, in a span of about 11 years.  That (Apollo Program) would translate into approximately $20 billion per year.  The SunShot Initiative, as far as I have seen any figure,  has totaled to less than $0.5 billion per year (federal loan guarantee cannot be included).   That means the ratio of amount of money that will be spent on SunShot Program to the amount of money spent on Apollo Program is less than 0.5/20  or less than 1/40  .  So the two programs/initiatives are not in the same magnitude or ball park, my friends.  Last I checked 1/40 is a far cry from 1/1.  The optimistic side of me reasoned:  perhaps this is just a beginning.  Historically, most of the budget of Department of Energy would spend far more on nuclear energy and essentially nothing for wind or solar or geothermal.  We are at least seeing a number that is greater than zero.  But the more anxious pessimistic side of me exclaimed: if we (citizens of USA) truly want to re-establish American technological leadership, we need to take giant leaps rather than baby-steps.  We cannot  sit idly by while cost of fossil fuels continue to rise, while having learned from the experience of Fukushima.  Our friends in Germany have already taken the more responsible and ethical approach/step in bearing much of the cost of early  research and development in solar energy.  In our land of democracy, if we truly want to see some actions, we need to gather the strength of our people, our friends online, our neighbors, our family, every where.  We need to let our government know that we want clean, safe, and least-war-driven energy.  While our President and Secretary of Department of Energy have to abide by the rules of politics, we need to help uncuff their hands and truly let them lead us into the renewable energy era.  We need to let our administration know that we are ready to take giant leaps, rather than baby-steps, toward solar energy.

 

In the next post, I will go into details of certain incentive programs that have been tried and tested in many other countries .  My friends and readers, this is an exciting time, I hope you are all getting ready to move toward the sun because there will be plenty of opportunities for all of us!

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage: http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org

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