UNSW’s solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported. The world-beating efficiency was achieved in outdoor tests in Sydney, before being independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at their outdoor test facility in the United States.
Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, sees the $5 billion facility as a key step toward making electric cars more affordable, while ending reliance on oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At first blush, the push toward more electric cars looks to be positive for utilities struggling with stagnant sales from energy conservation and slow economic growth.
That was the logic behind the company’s RE-C project, which aimed to produce one gigawatt of renewable electricity for less than the price of coal. The hope was to do this within years, not decades. Among other things, the company invested in new geothermal drilling R&D and put $168 million toward Brightsource’s Ivanpah solar tower in the Mojave Desert.
The government adopted a broad catalog of measures, ranging from new subsidies for homeowners who insulate their houses to mandatory emissions cuts for energy producers. Berlin said the steps would ensure Germany meets its target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from their 1990 level by 2020–a goal twice as ambitious as the European average and one that appears…
Each year, the Cleantech Group, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (or Tillväxtverket) release their Global Cleantech Innovation Index, in which 40 countries are examined for their potential for entrepreneurial clean tech startups.
On the surface, the clean energy sector sounds like a promising place for startups. The reality is more complicated, with many clean tech startups burning through investment capital and struggling to identify marketable products. However, that isn’t stopping a number of organizations from awarding serious funding to highly innovative clean energy entrepreneurs.
A year ago, Charles Epstein called a company to come and change all the light bulbs in his Cromwell home. Workers caulked his drafty windows and sealed leaky door jams. It helped, but only so much. Epstein, in his late 60s, kept in the back of his mind that solar panels could be his next move.
Bryan Hannegan is picturing the home of the future. In his imagination, it’s not in outer space, or shaped like a giant geodesic dome. This home talks to itself, and to what’s around it. “The dishwasher could talk to the electric vehicle in the garage, it could talk to the solar PV system on the roof,” said Hannegan, a scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.