Tag Archives | Solar

Fight back against spiralling energy costs with solar PV

Homeowners in the UK have been hit by wave after wave of energy price increases over the last few years, putting a strain on already squeezed household budgets. During 2011, the Big Six energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, SSE, E.ON, Scottish Power and Npower – have continually come under fire for raising their rates, leading to more people switching to alternative energy sources like Evoenergy solar panels.

In July, British Gas announced that gas and electricity would cost 18 per cent and 16 per cent more respectively. This was followed in August by E.ON increasing electricity prices by 11.4 per cent and gas by 18.1 per cent, while in November EDF’s gas and electricity prices went up by 4.5 per cent and 15.4 per cent respectively.

A survey by independent energy firm SmartestEnergy recently predicted that wholesale energy prices will rise by at least 40 per cent over the next decade. Based on the responses of 71 leading industry figures, the study found that more than a third believed costs will hit between £70 and £79.99 per MWh by 2021, while just eight per cent thought prices would be the same or lower than today’s. Continue Reading →

Solar-Powered Shape-Shifting Bridge Also Purifies the Air

In June 2011, judges of the Building to Building Pedestrian Bridge International Challenge awarded this mind-blowing, shape-shifting helix bridge by sanzpont [architectura] first place.

Featuring a tensile fabric that allows the bridge to move as visitors walk across it, it also captures energy from the sun. The bridge also lights up at night with linear LED technology, and purifies the air in its immediate environment. Continue Reading →

Herzog & de Meuron Unveil Plans for Solar Powered Stadium

VINCI-FAYAT consortium has been selected as preferred bidder for the ‘Grand Stade de Bordeaux’ which includes designs by Herzog & de Meuron and landscape design by Michel Desvigne. Slated for completion in 2015 the ‘Grand Stade de Bordeaux’ will be located within the city’s existing green belt district.

The design provides a natural sense of fluidity, with easy approachability beginning with the multiple staircases at all points of the stadium. Never loosing site of the stadiums location a large focus of the concept incorporates the surrounding environment blending with the building, as reflected in the concave roof which is supported by a series of spindly white columns, appearing like a forest of birch trees.

Home field to the FC Girondins de Bordeaux, the ‘Grand Stade de Bordeaux’ will also host a variety of cultural events. Continue Reading →

MIT Students Install World’s Cheapest ‘Solar Bottle Bulbs’ in Manila Slums

Currently, millions of Filipinos live without any kind of light source at all. Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light), is a sustainable lighting project which aims to bring the eco-friendly ‘Solar Bottle Bulb’ to disprivileged communities nationwide. Designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the ‘Solar Bottle Bulb’ is based on the principles of Appropriate Technologies — a concept that provides simple and easily replicable technologies that address basic needs in developing communities.

The students found that a one liter plastic bottle filled with bleach water and installed on top of a metal roof is a surprisingly simple way to light homes that have neither electrical connectivity nor natural lighting. The plastic defracts light and pushes it to every corner of a small slum house instead of beaming it onto one area like a typical lamp might. The organization has already installed 10,000 of these super basic but amazing lamps throughout Manila.
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Singapore’s ‘Gardens by the Bay’ by Grant Associates

In 2009, Grant Associates won an international design competition to plan the largest garden project ever to be constructed in Singapore, the Marina South Gardens. The structure, which is inspired by the shape of an orchid, features a group of cooled conservatories in its center as well as a series of enormous solar ‘Supertrees’ that provide the gardens with an abundant source of rain water and renewable energy.

The 18 ‘Supertrees’ will serve as towering vertical gardens that collect rainwater, generate solar power, and act as venting ducts for the conservatories. Although the gardens aren’t expected to be complete for another full year, construction is moving right along and the ‘Supertrees’ are truly a magical sight to behold. Continue Reading →

Cheaper Materials Could Be Key To Low-Cost Solar Cells

Solar Panels

Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new study from the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
These materials, some of which are highly abundant, could expand the potential for solar cells to become a globally significant source of low-carbon energy, the study authors said.

The analysis, which appeared online Feb. 13 in Environmental Science & Technology, examines the two most pressing challenges to large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaics as the world moves toward a carbon neutral future: cost per kilowatt hour and total resource abundance. The UC Berkeley study evaluated 23 promising semiconducting materials and discovered that 12 are abundant enough to meet or exceed annual worldwide energy demand. Of those 12, nine have a significant raw material cost reduction over traditional crystalline silicon, the most widely used photovoltaic material in mass production today. Continue Reading →