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Solar News Roundup

20 February 2007 at 2:35:57 PM

Saw some interesting articles in the last couple of weeks about solar energy.

First up,the Concentrating Solar Power technology-hadn't heard of this before, but, basically, if you've ever used a magnifying glass to burn a piece a paper, you understand the concept.

Although last year's high-level endorsement of nuclear power attracted headlines in Cairo and around the world, the Egyptian government has been pursuing other renewable sources of energy, most notably wind and solar. The Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) hopes to provide 3 percent of the country's electricity needs through renewable sources by 2010.

The technology planned for Kuraymat uses rows of parabolic-shaped trough reflectors to focus sunlight onto a tube filled with circulating liquid, which is heated as it moves through a field of reflectors. The liquid, which will reach temperatures of about 400 Celsius (752 Fahrenheit) at Kuraymat, can then be used to power a steam turbine.

It is part of a larger family of solar technologies, called Concentrating Solar Power, which use a number of methods to generate electricity by concentrating the suns rays. Traditional solar cells, or photovoltaics, use sunlight to generate electricity directly. While Concentrating Solar Power can direct sunlight onto solar cells, it can also generate electricity through an intermediate, such as heating water to drive steam turbines.

Concentrating solar power systems use concentrated solar radiation as a high temperature energy source to produce electrical power and drive chemical reactions. These clean energy technologies are appropriate for Sunbelt applications where direct solar radiation is high. The first commercial plants have been in operation in California since the mid-1980s, providing the 354 megawatts of the world's lowest-cost solar power. The many types of systems under development (including parabolic troughs, power towers, and dish/engine systems) for different markets vary according to the concentration devices, energy conversion methods, storage options and other design variables. Much attention is focused on the multi-megawatt systems that are appropriate for the on-grid market, complementing the other major solar technology, photovoltaics, most appropriate for smaller, off-grid applications. Solar chemical energy systems use concentrated solar radiation to drive chemical reactions for the production of fuels and chemicals. Additional uses include environmentally benign technologies in fields such as detoxification of chemical wastes and energy storage which are aimed at the medium to long term.

Rebates for people in PA who install solar.

Solar Panels Prevent Global Warming

Ohio State physicist Robert Davis envisions an America where millions of people use solar panels to power appliances at home and work without contributing to global warming...

Spratley said there is not much demand in Ohio for the solar cells that First Solar makes because the majority of consumers may think of solar cells the way they once thought of personal computers before they became affordable.

He also said renewable energy industries are likely to become economic power-houses, similar to the personal computing industry that surged in the 1980s and 1990s, and Davis agreed.

"If someone comes up with a solar array that you can put on your roof and then cut your electric bill in half, that person is going to make a lot of money," Davis said.

The first solar plant in Gulf region in Abu Dhabi (UAE)

The emirate eventually hopes to provide solar-powered electricity to 10,000 homes and is setting up a special economic zone for the alternative-energy industry, Jaber said.

“We . . . do not want to be 100 per cent dependent on” hydrocarbon power, he explained. “We have an economic development programme dedicated to establishing an entirely new economic sector focused on alternative energy and sustainable technologies.”

Solar Power Shines As Gov't Aid, Tech Spur Sunny Climate

Now that solar energy is a viable source of electric power, investors have seen the light, so to speak.

Five companies that make technology used in solar energy systems have debuted on U.S. markets over the past three months. Another has filed for its initial public offering. They join two others that bowed in late 2005.

Six of the seven stocks trade above their opening prices. Most are profitable, and all eye rapid growth as technologies improve, costs decline and policymakers look to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

"Most estimates have these companies growing at double and triple the market growth we're seeing right now," said Sam Snyder, research analyst at Renaissance Capital in Greenwich, Conn. "The reason you're seeing them go public now is because they have good coverage in raw material needs and big customer orders in hand over the next year or two."

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