Friday, March 09, 2007

Coal is Toast

This is one of those days when you think that maybe, just maybe, that maybe we are beginning to move in the right direction. Here is the story from Renewable Energy Access.

DOE Awards $168 M in Solar America Initiative Funding

March 8, 2007

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced today that thirteen industry-led solar technology projects will receive up to $168 million in funding -- subject to appropriation from Congress -- as part of President Bush's Solar America Initiative (SAI), which is a component of the Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI).

The teams selected to receive the funding have formed Technology Pathway Partnerships (TPP) made up of more than 50 companies, 14 universities, three nonprofit organizations and two national laboratories.

Secretary of Energy Bodman made the announcement during a visit this afternoon to Konarka Global Headquarters in Lowell, Massachusetts, one of the companies slated to receive a portion of the FY'07-'09 funding through the TPP.

"Solar technology can play a crucial role in moving toward affordable net zero energy homes and businesses -- which combine energy efficiency and renewable energy produced onsite," said Secretary Bodman. "Efficient buildings with solar power generation can help reduce peak demand and ease the need for expensive new generating capacity, transmission and distributions lines as our economy grows."

As an integral part of the AEI, the Solar America Initiative aims to bring down the cost of solar energy to make it competitive with conventional electricity sources in the U.S. by 2015. The SAI is also part of the President's commitment to diversify U.S. energy resources through grants, incentives and tax credits and aims to spur widespread commercialization and deployment of clean solar energy technologies across America.

Teams selected under the Solar America Initiative along with the Konarka partnership include:

Amonix -- A low-cost, high-concentration PV system for utility markets. This project will focus on manufacturing technology for high-concentrating PV and on low-cost production using multi-bandgap cells.

Boeing -- High-efficiency concentrating photovoltaic power system. This project will focus on cell fabrication research that is expected to yield very high efficiency systems.

BP Solar -- Low-cost approach to grid parity using crystalline silicon. This project's research will focus on reducing wafer thickness while improving yield of multi-crystalline silicon PV for commercial and residential markets.

Dow Chemical -- PV-integrated residential and commercial building solutions. This project will employ Dow's expertise in encapsulates, adhesives, and high volume production to develop integrated PV-powered technologies for roofing products. Partners include Miasole, SolFocus, Fronius, IBIS Associates, and the University of Delaware.

General Electric - A value chain partnership to accelerate U.S. PV growth. This project will develop various cell technologies - including a new bifacial, high-efficiency silicon cell that could be incorporated into systems solutions that can be demonstrated across the industry. Partners include REC Silicon, Xantrex, Solaicx, the Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, and the University of Delaware.

Greenray -- Development of an AC module system. This team will design and develop a high-powered, ultra-high-efficiency solar module that contains an inverter, eliminating the need to install a separate inverter and facilitating installation by homeowners. Research will focus on increasing the lifetime of the inverter. Partners include Sanyo, Tyco Electronics, Coal Creek Design, BluePoint Associates, National Grid, and Sempra Utilities.

Miasole -- Low-cost, scalable, flexible PV systems with integrated electronics. This project will develop high-volume manufacturing technologies and PV component technologies. Research will focus on new types of flexible thin-film modules with integrated electronics and advances in technologies used for installation and maintenance.

Nanosolar -- Low-cost, scaleable PV systems for commercial rooftops. This project will work on improved low-cost systems and components using back-contacted thin-film PV cells for commercial buildings. Research will focus on large-area module deposition, inverters, and mounting.

Powerlight -- PV cell-independent effort to improve automated manufacturing systems. This project will focus on reducing non-cell costs by making innovations with automated design tools and with modules that include mounting hardware.

Practical Instruments -- Low-concentration CPV systems for rooftop applications. This project will explore a novel concept for low-concentration optics to increase the output of rooftop PV systems. The project will also explore designs using multi-junction cells to allow for very high efficiency modules.

SunPower -- Grid-competitive residential solar power generating systems. This project will research lower-cost ingot and wafer fabrication technologies, automated manufacture of back-contact cells, and new module designs, to lower costs.

United Solar Ovonic -- Low-cost thin-film building-integrated PV systems. This project will focus on increasing the efficiency and deposition rate of multi-bandgap, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic cells and reducing the cost of inverters and balance-of-system components.

According to the DOE, the 13 projects will enable the projected expansion of the annual U.S. manufacturing capacity of PV systems from 240 megawatts (MW) in 2005 to as much as 2,850 MW by 2010, representing more than a ten-fold increase.

Such capacity would also put the U.S. industry on track to reduce the cost of electricity produced by PV from current levels of $0.18-$0.23 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to $0.05 - $0.10 per kWh by 2015 -- a price that is competitive in markets nationwide.
These advanced second generatation and third generation technologies will allow us make our office buildings giant solar collectors. They will allow us to begin to move now towards a post carbon world.
If the government holds these guys to these prices in order to get the money, then we are well on our way to a new solar future.
If the companies intend to be climate profiteers,
We should hand them over to Harry. (Truman)
If these price goals are met,
Coal is toast,
and Nuclear is left in the dust.
As it should be.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just keeps getting better and better!! Amazing good news. The Administration has got it right with solar. Note that in the Same issue of Renewable Energy Access, notice about 2 NREL scientist who were honored for achieving 40.7% conversion efficiency on solar cells, Jerry Olson and Sarah Kurtz. It appears that the third generation cells may already be here.

Check out too in Texas HB 2226 authored by Coleman to give solar rebates.

Solar may have been the last renewable industry to take off, but it may yet have the broadest beneficial effect.

Check out a book by Travis Bradford, Solar Revolution The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry.

10:41 AM  

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