Energy

Photovoltaic Technologies and the Solar Efficiency Race

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circle arrow graphicThe Solar industry is engaged in an intense technology race to produce the most efficient solar cells. This solar efficiency race has intensified as a response to the declining price of crystalline silicon modules and panels from China. More efficient solar cells justify a higher panel price. 

 

  

  • How does efficiency affect the ROI over the life of the panel for the solar consumer?  
  • Are the solar manufacturers investing in the right technology to win the race? 
  • Does the winner in this efficiency race win the competition for consumer dollars?
  • Are there other winning strategies and approaches?

Read more: Photovoltaic Technologies and the Solar Efficiency Race

Grid-Scale Energy: Beyond Betteries

An Editorial Authored By Greg Chu

On November 13, 2012, MIT/Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) sponsored “Grid Energy Storage: Beyond Batteries”, a panel event to discuss grid-scale energy storage.  After treating the audience of about 300 investors, entrepreneurs, technologists and thought leaders to a short harmonica solo, Eric Wesoff from Greentech Media proceeded to outline the landscape around grid-scale energy storage and moderate the panel around future directions in grid-scale energy storage.

Figure 1: Panel (left to right) Mike Lee, Morgan Stanley (at podium);
Eric Wesoff, Greentech Media; Prof Jay Whitacre, Aquion Energy;
Dr. Steve Crane, LightSail Energy; Abe Yokell, Rockport Capital
Partners; Haresh Kanath, EPRI

energy grid panelWesoff overviewed current technologies, the complicated value chain which generates and delivers energy to end users, the cleantech investment climate, and the environmental /government mandated need for clean, renewable energy which can only be enabled by grid-scale energy storage.

Currently, grid scale energy storage is dominated by pumped hydro.  “For grid applications, it’s all about cost per kilowatt hour” said, Abe Yokell, panelist and Partner at Rockport Capital Partners who foresees grid-scale energy storage for certain, specific use cases such as where local energy storage in dense urban environments is less expensive than running in new utility lines.  Philip Gleckman, CTO of Areva Solar agreed “Grid Storage with batteries is not inevitable…Thermal storage is available costing one tenth of the best battery technology.  Justin Raade, CEO of Halotechnics, Inc described how his company is working on grid-scale thermal storage as low as $25/kw-hr.

Indeed, two grid-scale energy storage companies were represented on the panel.  Lightsail Energy of Berkeley, CA and Aquion Energy of Pittsburgh, PA shared their experiences as start-ups entering a heavily regulated, highly fractioned, risk averse environment.

Figure 3: Haresh Kanath, EPRI                                                                                                                  Figure 2: Dr. Steve Crane, LightSail Energy

energy grid HareshKanathRounding out the panel was Haresh Kamath, Sr. Project Manager for EPRI.  energy grid SteveCrane “While American utilities are greatly incented to “KTLO – Keep the Lights On” which has led to risk averse investing, Kamath & Rastler have described 10 specific business cases for grid-scale energy storage which have attracted attention from the venture capital and investment community.  Kamath noted that for certain off-grid applications, the newer energy storage technologies, when paired with solar, have the potential to “leapfrog” the current grid which many have observed to be little changed over the past 100 years.

 

Mike Lee, Financial Advisor, on why Morgan Stanley sponsored the panel, “We like sponsoring these sorts of events in order to bring people together to facilitate growth in this community.”  Another perspective was offered by Laurie Manning, volunteer with the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab “We have to look beyond our current economic crisis to greater environmental issues. Superstorm Sandy showed this.  We need greater urgency before it’s too late.”

   

About The Author

Gregory Chu 3Greg Chu is a member of the EcoGreen Group. He is interested in Energy Storage and has a deep background in Supply Chain Management.

 

Solar Cogeneration – Efficient Option for Producing Electricity and Hot Water

EcoGreen Group and the Silicon Valley Clean Tech Forum Presents
An Evening With Kate Sherwood

cogenera solar logoKate Sherwood will describe solar cogeneration, a distributed generation solution, which produces both electricity and hot water in one solar product for commercial, industrial and institutional customers.

How does Cogenra achieve twice the financial savings per sun exposure area over conventional solar power systems? What are the technology and applications in various markets? What are the financial and environmental benefits in cogeneration? What are the industry challenges and opportunities?

Read more: Solar Cogeneration – Efficient Option for Producing Electricity and Hot Water

Case Study: Solar PV Utility Scale Project

A Presentation by Phillip Cheung

  • What does it take to do a large scale PV project?
  • What are the main parts?
  • What about financing?

Thursday, September 15, 2011 | 8:00am-9:00am - New Time!

Saratoga Federated Church | Richards Hall | 20390 Park Place | Saratoga, CA 95070

The EcoGreen Group creates opportunities in sustainability and clean technology through education, professional development, and networking.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

www.ecogreengroup.org

Re-Imagining Energy And Transportation

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A Presentation By JoeBen Bevirt

 joby energy

Low Cost Electricity from Airborne Wind Turbines:

Among renewable energy options, conventional wind energy is indisputably the most abundant, clean, and cost-effective. However, conventional wind turbines are limited by the availability of near-surface wind. Conventional wind turbines located at very good wind sites achieve 35% capacity.  Joby Energy is developing airborne wind turbines (AWT) that harness the power of high-altitude wind. Our AWTs operating in higher altitudes, have a projected capacity factor of 70%, double that of a similarly rated conventional wind turbine, thus resulting in considerably lower energy costs.

Can Personal Electric Aircraft Transform Your Commute?

Joby Aviation is developing a compact electric personal aircraft designed for efficient high speed flights over short distances. Electric propulsion enables our prototype to take off and land vertically like a helicopter while retaining the efficiency of an airplane. Can safe and quiet electric aircraft transform the way we commute?

 

Thursday Evening, Feb. 03, 2011 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Avatar Hotel, 4200 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA

Register on Eventbrite.
Event is free but donations are encouraged to help cover the cost of refreshments and venue cost.
 

About The Presenter

JoeBen Bevirt photo

JoeBen Bevirt is an inveterate entrepreneur born with a passion for engineering that has driven the formation of four successful companies over the past 10 years.  JoeBen turned his focus to renewable energy and in 2008, founded Joby Energy Inc. to develop groundbreaking airborne wind turbines to harness the abundant power of high-altitude wind. Airborne wind turbines generate electricity at prices that promise to transform the way we power the planet.  In 2009, leveraging the control systems and electric propulsion systems developed at Joby Energy, JoeBen founded Joby Aviation to revolutionize how we commute. Joby Aviation is developing a compact electric personal aircraft designed for efficient high speed flights.   JoeBen holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. JoeBen holds 12 U.S. patents.

 

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