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Solar is the New Black. What happened in 2017

12.01.2018 — 0

“I think the future for solar energy is bright” — Ken Salazar

Solar energy is one of the promising areas of renewable energy, based on the direct use of solar radiation to generate energy for heating, electricity and water heating. Just a few years ago it was hard to believe that solar energy will be able to compete with the usual sources of energy. Dreams came true.

New records in 2017

This year, some parts of the world have tried to live only on renewable energy sources.
The first was a province of China. The **Qinghai **government conducted a successful experiment on the temporary transition to renewable sources. Thus, people (around 6 million!) was able to live 7 full days, providing the needs due to the energy of the sun, wind and water.

The next world record was put by the state of Costa Rica. The country was able to meet its needs exclusively at the expense of renewables for almost a year! It took 300 days when 100 percent of electricity production was from renewable sources of energy — this is a real achievement for a country of about 5 million people.

Solar power — trend of the year

A record minimum was set for the cost of solar energy in November 2017: Following Saudi Arabia, **Mexico set a tariff equal to 1.77 ¢ / kWh **(by****ENEL Green Power). This price allowed the company to win a tender for the construction of four major projects with a total capacity of 682 MW.

Further drop in prices will be caused by increased efficiency of solar panels. Recently, JinkoSolar once again broke its own record, achieving in laboratory conditions the efficiency of polycrystalline batteries at 23.45%. Compared to the standard efficiency of 16.5%, this improvement is 42%. And this means, 42% less effort will have to spend on their installation, maintenance and placement.

According to the German analytical company Bernreuter Research, the total capacity of solar installations in the world achieved 100 GW in 2017. A huge role in this was played by China, which took the leading position in the construction of solar power stations — their total country capacity reached 52 GW. Further on: the United States (12.5 GW), India (9 GW), Japan (5.8 GW), Germany (2.2 GW) and Brazil (1.3 GW). Australia, Chile, Turkey and South Korea also made their own records.

Record investment volume

With increased global capacity and lower cost of solar energy, interest of the largest corporations has increased significantly:

In the new 2018 Solar Energy industry will still increase its pace of development. It is generally agreed that a complete transition to renewable energy will take place in 2050.

Stay with the Solar DAO and become part of the green future!

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How Solar Energy displaces the atomic

01.12.2017 — 0

Recently the construction of two nuclear power plants in US South Carolina was suspended. According to local media, the projects are frozen due to unprofitability. Two more nuclear power plant projects are also likely to be frozen in the state of Georgia. As the scientists note, the peaceful atom is gradually disappearing into the past, giving way to renewable energy sources (RES) — in particular, to solar power stations (SPS). It is expected that by 2050 nuclear power stations will be replaced by SPS everywhere, and such terrible accidents as in Chernobyl in 1986 and in Fukushima in 2011 will never happen again.

Today there are about 130 abandoned nuclear power plants in US. Their places in the market are confidently occupied by SPS. In 2016, the solar energy market in the United States has doubled. And if before 2011, solar panels were most often used for domestic purposes, now the industrialists actively invest in the construction of Solar power stations.

The advantages of RES in comparison with nuclear power plants are recognized even by influential lobbyists of the peaceful nuclear industry. The fact is that in addition to the constant threat of catastrophes of nuclear power plants with subsequent damage to the environment, nuclear power has become too expensive and unprofitable.

Today the United States ranks fifth in the top ten countries in the use of solar energy. Just as the US has become a pioneer in the use of shale oil and gas, they are also leading in terms of the pace of replacing nuclear power plants at SPS.

In US, the largest solar power plants are in the states of Nevada (60 MW), California (250 MW) and Arizona (280 MW).

At present, the closure of nuclear power plants in the United States has become massive. For example, in 2014, the Vermont Yankee was shut down in Wyndham, near Springfield. US operator Entergy has already announced plans to close the Pilgrim nuclear power station in Massachusetts, the Palisades plant on Lake Michigan, the Indian Point nuclear power station, 40 kilometers from New York and the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant on the coast of Ontario.

The **reason for the closure of nuclear power stations **is simple: expensive nuclear energy can not withstand competition with cheap solar energy.

On the one hand, the closure of nuclear power plants is associated with a reduction in staff and the need for waste disposal. But on the other — thanks to SPS will be saved billions of dollars and minimized harm to the environment.

For example, on site and an NPP in the state of Tennessee that was unfinished in 1981, a SPS power station with a capacity of 1 MW is in operation, and its service life is about 30 years.

According to the media, the project to build a nuclear power plant in Tennessee was frozen after the nuclear power station accident at Three Mile Island.

By the way, the accident at the nuclear power plant “Three Mile Island” became the largest accident in the history of the US nuclear power industry. The emergency occurred on March 28, 1979 at the second power unit of the station: leakage of the coolant of the reactor installation. About 50% of the reactor core was melted, and the territory of the nuclear power plant was subjected to significant radioactive contamination. This accident was long before Chernobyl and Fukushima, triggered a surge of anti-nuclear sentiment in American society.

As a result, the authorities were forced to cancel the commissioning of more than 70 previously planned nuclear power stations.

Today, it seems, public concern about the danger of nuclear power plants is gradually weakening, as the world enters the era of RES and SPS. And the significance of this historical process can not be overestimated.


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Butterflies and Solar energy. More efficiency!

29.11.2017 — 0

Specialists of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) managed to transfer the nanostructure of butterfly wings to solar cells, raising the theoretical limit of the light absorption coefficient by 200%.


Sunlight, reflected from the smooth surface of solar cells, is wasted. Wings of Pachliopta aristolochiae butterfly , outwardly completely black, are covered with nano-holes that help absorb light. Scientists drew attention to these structures and decided to reproduce them in a layer of silicon covering a film thin as a solar cell.
Subsequent analysis of light absorption yielded promising results: compared to a smooth surface, the absorption coefficient perpendicular to the incident light increased by 97% and continued to increase gradually to 207% at an angle of incidence of 50 degrees.

This is especially interesting for European conditions. Usually we have scattered light, which falls on solar cells at a vertical angle” says Hendrik Hölscher, head of the team of scientists.

However, this does not mean that the performance of photocells will also increase threefold, since other factors are important. 200% is the theoretical limit of efficiency, says Guillaume Gomart, one of the researchers.
Before transferring nanostructures to solar cells, the researchers determined the diameter and location of the nano-holes in the butterfly’s wing, scanning it with an electron microscope. They then analyzed the light absorption coefficient for various hole patterns by computer simulations and found that the most stable absorption coefficient gives an unordered arrangement of holes of different diameters. Such a structure they transferred to the photocell layer, the holes in which differed in diameter from 133 to 343 nm, reports EurekAlert.

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Сompetition of renewable energy sources

20.11.2017 — 0

Introduction of Renewable sources of energy (RES) is becoming more popular today, even in those states that are distinguished by the presence of fairly solid reserves of natural gas and “black gold.”

Ilon Mask, the head of Tesla stated earlier that only alternative energy will help to avoid a collision of modern mankind with regress. 
Authoritative experts say at the same time that some types of “green” energy are much more harmful to the environment, if we compare them with traditional ones.

Ilon Mask spoke not so long ago that only active and effective development of renewable energy sources can give a full guarantee of the rapid development of modern civilization. At the same time, the expert stressed that otherwise we risk being in the “dark ages” again. Mr. Mask is one of directors of SolarCity. (Let’s clarify that this company specializes in the production of solar panels, occupying about 40 percent in the market of solar power generation facilities in the US.)

The world community has long known Ilon Mask as the most active lobbyist for the use of alternative energy sources. Tesla has signed a contract that provides the construction of a 100 megawatt battery system in Australia.

World experience

Australia is one of the world leaders in installations of PV power stations. Their share in the electric power industry of the country exceeds three percent at the moment. At the same time, each year the country manages to increase the total power of its solar generation by approximately 1 GW.

Australia is ahead of Britain. The total indicator of solar power stations in this state has already reached 12 GW, and this is twice much bigger then Australia has.

Absolute leader in the renewable energy industry is China. Together with Taiwan, the Republic now produces about 60 percent of all solar panels on the planet.

Not long ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced its new calculations, according to which the total capacity of generating plants built in the territory of the PRC only last year reached a level of 34 GW. However, this is only a 1% of all energy that is consumed today in China. Most of it is generated from coal.

The United States was also moving towards the transfer of its energy sector to the use of renewable sources. Meanwhile, in the administration of US President Donald Trump, a decision was made to abolish “Clean Energy” — the plan that Barack Obama at one time approved.

In New York, during the work of the Climate Week three years ago RE100 was founded — a structure that united companies and enterprises that decided to move to renewable energy sources. Later IKEA and Google, Apple and BMW, as well as Carlsberg Group and some other world-famous corporations began to work in the RE100.

Moreover, the RE100 structure created in 2014 is being replenished with new members on a regular basis. Last month (September 2017) Vestas Wind Systems from Denmark (one of the largest producers of wind turbines in the world) also joined this organization.

In general, according to the IEA, the total share of renewable energy in global electricity production reached about 24% by the end of 2015.

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The Optimism of Failed Forecasts

18.10.2017 — 0

According to a Russian joke, when a pessimist sighs “It couldn’t be worse!”, an optimist replies joyously — “No, it could!”. So: who’s who now, can you tell the difference?

However, jokes aside, if one looks at the forecasts made by experts regarding the future of solar energy, one immediately realizes how hilariously unrealistic these have been. In fact, this is a ground for modest optimism. Just look at this chart:

**Picture credit: **

By 2023 the share of renewable energy will hit at 29% in the world’s energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In fact, the Agency was compelled to adjust its own projections for the next 5 years, because alternative energy sources are developing more rapidly than expected.

According to the adjusted forecasts, in the next 5 years renewable energy will grow by 920 GW, or 43%. The drivers behind this growth are well known: primarily, it is the policies implemented by many countries in order to diversify their energy portfolios and make themselves less dependent on fossil fuels. In parallel, the falling costs of solar panels and wind power equipment makes them more accessible and thus also increasingly widespread.

Moreover, 2016 has been another record year for renewable energy: the total installed capacity increased by 165 GW, which is 6% more than the previous year’s increase. Looking at solar alone, the capacity has grown by 50%, for the first time making solar the fastest growing energy source in terms of capacity, outperforming all else, including coal.

As a result, the IEA had to increase its last year growth forecast by 12%. It also predicts that by 2020 the generation of renewable power will increase by one third and hit the level of 8’000 TW/hour, which is the equivalent of the energy consumption of China, India, and Germany, taken together. Meanwhile, natural gas is expected to have the most favourable future, with its consumption growing due to heating and industrial demand. However, the IEA predicts that, even though coal will still be the leading electric power source in 2022, its growth will slow down quite significantly, so that in 2027 renewable energy will absorb no less than 29% of global energy portfolio.

**Picture credit: **

The bottom line is simple: renewable energy development forecasts are increasingly unreliable sources of information. Analysts tend to underestimate the actual rates of growth and report unreasonably small figures. Researchers from the German Mercator Institute have compared the forecasts of solar energy development made by different organizations with the real growth rates of photovoltaics implementation. The results are telling.

According to their research, published in Nature, the IEA, Greenpeace, as well as the German Council for Global Change steadily underestimate the rates of solar photovoltaic installations implementation.

The researchers suggest that three factors are at play here. First, most forecasts do not take into account governmental policies to support solar energy and their long-term effects on the industry growth. Favourable tariffs, tax benefits, energy excesses compensations, direct state action to support solar power producers etc. do contribute to the development of solar around the world, and quite significantly.

Second, the technology itself is developing rapidly, so that every time the solar capacity doubles, solar modules’ price falls by 22.5% on average. Third, analysts have their own assumptions that are then built into their hypotheses and results. In particular, they keep betting on nuclear energy and other “heavy” technologies, which might result into a bias in assessing the futures of the solar.

The latter also has its own challenges, but they have less to do with the speed of its development. Rather, it is important for solar energy to achieve reasonable cost levels so that it can be implemented in developing countries at the large scale, as accumulate the critical quantity of solar installations around the world, so that solar energy will have become really widespread. Upon meeting these conditions, solar power will be able to cover for 30% to 50% of the world’s electricity demand, the researchers argue.

The very failure of the IEA’s forecast calls for a modest optimism — after all, it was changed based on reasonable grounds. For example, the solar panels market is expected to grow higher than $57 billion by 2022, and here many research teams converge. Solar panels have a bright future ahead, so that nobody questions their positive growth. What is different among the many forecasts, are the exact numbers, but also geography of the growth.

Only numbers change.

As solar is getting increasingly accessible, it penetrates new regions of the world. As for 2016, the Asian-Pacific region has been leading the world in terms of solar panels usage, powered by the demographic boom, increasing urbanization, and the falling costs of Indian and Chinese solar panels. 50% of this growth were absorbed by China and Japan, and it is expected that Asian countries will keep their leadership positions in the near future.

Other forecasts suggest that by 2022 the average cost of solar energy will fall by 27%, which means it will decrease by 4.4% annually, both in the U.S. and in the world at large. In Europe, solar energy is expected to become one of the cheapest sources of energy by 2030.

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How Solar Power Changes Agriculture: Solar Robots, Vertical Farms, and Beyond

11.10.2017 — 0

How solar power creates synergies and adds value to innovative agriculture.

Modern economies are widely considered to be knowledge-based and innovation-driven. We hear that everyday and most often tend to think about large R&D projects done by corporations in-house, or perhaps about Silicon Valley start-ups tinkering with new digital technologies. However, the interesting part is that the “cognitive” component of today’s economic life spans across all sectors, not only technology per se. As contemporary commodities contain more knowledge and know-how than previously, and this tendency is growing with the passage of time, knowledge-based economy encompasses even the oldest human activities, such as agriculture.

The growing importance of knowledge and technology in agriculture is reflected by the dynamics of employment in this sector. The declining figures of agricultural employment across the developed countries show that human work assisted by cutting-edge technology becomes more productive and the industry becomes less labor-intensive.

Data source:, Solar DAO research

Today the production of agricultural products involves many complex know-hows like using chemical fertilizers developed in a long process of laboratory research, complex agronomy on the ground, as well as marketing and certification techniques of considerable sophistication in the post-production period. Thus, agriculture today is as innovative and technology-driven as everything else.

And perhaps even more. With the global food risks increasing, the R&D component in agriculture becomes more, not less, important. Over the last 60 years, the world’s spending in agricultural R&D increased from $6.2 billion in 1960 to $38.1 billion in 2011, according to a recent research published in *Nature *in 2016.

As the authors write, investments in R&D are inextricably intertwined with growth in agricultural productivity and food supplies, but it takes decades for the consequences of these investments to be fully realized: “Today’s R&D investment decisions will cast shadows forward to 2050 and beyond”.

**Picture credit: **

Agriculture has always been based on solar energy. However, today, as renewable energy becomes more and more established, and new innovative solar solutions emerge, the age-old relationship between sunlight and agriculture might change as a result of disruptive innovation.

Solar Robots in Agriculture

Meet Ladybird, a solar-powered, autonomous, data-collecting robot created by the researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia. It’s purpose is to make farming more efficient, or, more ambitiously, to disrupt the farming industry.

The robot completed its first testing rounds, so there are some videos demonstrating Ladybird in action. The robot works as an autonomous data collector and gives the farmers detailed information about the crops, mapping the yield and identifying problematic areas where something goes wrong with the plants. In a fully developed configuration, it is hoped to be able to harvest the yield as well.

Ladybird is slow and does not damage the soil, but flexible enough to navigate the sometimes complex agricultural landscapes. More importantly, being solar-powered, it is also sustainable. In the time of climate change and food crisis, a farming robot powered by solar energy looks like a perfect solution.

Solar-powered robots are being implemented to fulfill other agricultural tasks as well. For example, in micro-spraying: robots use computer vision to detect weeds and then spray a targeted drop of herbicide onto them. Using spraying on a micro-scale reduces environmental damage and costs. The AG BOT II is a solar powered robot created to do precisely that. Using micro-spraying robots is estimated to save $1.3 billion annually.

Solar-Powered Vertical Farms

**Vertical Cities, artwork by Russian avant-garde artist El Lissitzky. Picture credit: **

In 1895, Gabriel Tarde, a French sociologist and visionary thinker, wrote:

If this lively instinct of sociability which makes men want to agglomerate themselves, either to better defend themselves or to develop themselves more fully, did not rapidly encounter an impassable limit, it is likely that we would see nations composed of clusters of men towering into the air, supported on the earth without spreading over it.

He might have been right as to the ultimate limits of the expansion of vertical architecture, but, as our current experience shows, there is still plenty of space above our heads. That’s the core idea behind vertical farming which we covered in our recent post. The concept of vertical farming is already disrupting traditional agriculture, allowing to grow plants in the spaces with limited area and water supply, while economizing on costs and promoting sustainability. Here, again, solar energy can add value and spur innovation.

The idea of solar powered vertical farming literally floats in the air. Thus, Shell Corporation advances a concept of Hybrid Solar Lighting vertical farms, powered by focused mirror arrays configured to direct sunlight to each plant. Solar collectors transit the sunlight through fiber optic cables into the building and then then mirrors reflect light from the edges of the floors to the plants in the core of the structure. This would help to deal with the issue of the floors above blocking sunlight from those below in the vertical farms.

There is nothing unusual in solar farming, since, as we have already observed, agriculture has always been dependent on sunlight. Small-scale systems are widely used worldwide, looking like this:

However, vertical farming is a concept oriented at industrial scales, and it is here where solar power can make difference. Several projects utilizing solar energy for vertical farming are already in use.

Vertical farms solve land problems for overpopulated cities like Singapore, the city that imports 90% of its food supplies. A Singapore-based start-up Packet Greens raised $1.5 billion of venture capital to build vertical hydroponic farms that will allow to grow more than 50 sorts of vegetables and with the volume of yield being 50 times that of traditional farming. Packet Greens develops farms of 167 square meters of area, of the size of four-room apartment. Other examples of vertical farming include the U.S.-based MightyVine and SquareRoots, an agricultural startup accelerator created by Elon Musk’s younger brother.

The benefits of vertical farming are that no soil and much less water are used to grow plants at a higher speed and with more yield than in traditional farming. Growing plants vertically requires much less pesticides and thus reduces environmental damage of industrial agriculture. Vertical farms also promote local food supplies and create local green jobs, thus gradually pushing forward a new geographical division of labour along with other renewable energy jobs. They also democratize access to farming, being less dependent on climate issues that require large capital investments to deal with. In addition, vertical farming stimulates local economies and makes use of abandoned urban spaces, reducing their social costs and creating positive community impacts. How does solar fit into this picture?

**Picture credit: **

Well, most importantly, solar energy can make vertical farming cheaper and thus more accessible. Not all vertical farms are solar-powered, but the introduction of solar energy power here might unlock further benefits. One of the most ambitious projects in solar vertical farming is the Metropolis Farms facility in Philadelphia, where a 500 kW solar array made up of more than 2000 solar panels is constructed on the roof of a building. On the fourth floor, a vertical farm will be constructed to be powered entirely by solar electricity coming from the roof. Metropolis Farms plans to grow the equivalent f 660 outdoor acres worth of crops in less than 100,000 square feet, including tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, herbs, broccoli, and others. Just watch this video:

In other words, in the case vertical farming, bringing solar energy in creates positive feedback loops and can increase the value of agricultural innovation.

Farming in Deserts

With the help of technology, farming can be done not only in places with limited available area like Singapore, but also in deserts. The idea of desert farming powered by solar photovoltaics emerged in Israel, as CleanTechnica aptly summarizes the Israeli approach:

When you have several problems going on at once, mash them up together and see what happens. In the case we’re talking about too much salt, too much sun, and not enough soil and water for farming. Israel found the key to the solution in brackish aquifer water, and Sahara Forest has come up with its own twist.

Sahara Forest is a Jordanian farming project located in the three hectares Aqaba Desert. It is capable of producing more than 95 litres of water in a day, and about 130 tons of vegetables annually. The project is powered by photovoltaic panels.

Solar power is used to evaporate seawater for a freshwater source, and seawater is used to fulfill the double task as a coolant for the greenhouses as well. Another know-how of desert farming is to use evaporative hedges to cool outdoor growing zones, so that both in- and outdoor cooling strategies enable the facility’s concentrated solar power plant to operate without cooling towers.

Sahara Forest also has greenhouse facilities in Qatar than were reported to be competitive with its European counterparts in terms of yield, while using half of the water employed in conventional greenhouses in the region. Besides Jordan and Qatar, Sahara Forest is working on a project in Tunisia.

In other words, solar power is not only useful per se, but can create positive feedback loops (or synergies) and add value in other innovative projects. Agriculture is just an example, although a very important one. Vertical farms and green deserts cultivated by solar robots is a future, but it is coming increasingly near.

In Solar DAO, we are working hard to make that future happen sooner. Stay tuned.

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Solar News, #3

09.10.2017 — 0

Most interesting highlights on renewable energy and solar technologies.

JP Morgan and Citigroup Endorse Renewable Energy

**JP Morgan aims to use renewable electricity to power its 75 million square meter of offices in more than 60 countries. **The total area of the bank’s office space equals the area of Empire State Building, multiplied by 27. JP Morgan is among the largest banks of the U.S. with $2.6 billion in assets. It also plans to invest $200 billion in renewable energy by 2025. Citibank announced implementation of similar policies by contracting companies specializing in renewable energy, according to The Independent.

Solar Panels Technology Advance

Science Daily** reports new achievements in the development of perovskite solar panels. **Researchers from the Federal Polytechnical University of Lausanne have conducted tests in which perovskite panels were exposed to sunlight at 60° C for 1000 hours. However, despite this pressure, perovskites have lost only 5% of efficiency, which suggests their high operational stability. There are opinions that perovskites might become the next standard for solar panels industry.

**Structure of a perovskite with a chemical formula ABX3. The red spheres are X atoms (usually oxygens), the blue spheres are B-atoms (a smaller metal cation, such as Ti4+), and the green spheres are the A-atoms (a larger metal cation, such as Ca2+). Picture credit: **

**Researchers at Tohoku University have developed an innovative method for fabricating semi-transparent and flexible solar cells with atomically thin 2D materials. **The new technology improves power conversion efficiency of up to 0.7%. This is the maximum value of solar cells made of transparent 2D sheets so far.

Semi-transparent and transparent solar cells possess excellent mechanical flexibility and can be used in various applications, including the surfaces of windows, displays of computers and cell phones, as well as human skin, even though issues remain regarding efficiency and physical characteristics of the cells, as well as their scalability.

**Researchers developed a photovoltaic cell that can generate alternating current. **An international team of researchers led by the Ikerbasque’s Luis Hueso, has developed a photovoltaic cell in which magnetic materials such as electrodes are used for the first time to provide current. The principal component of the cell is the organic material Fullerene C60, a ball-shaped molecule comprising 60 carbon atoms (cobalt and nickel are also used). The magnetic electrodes produce current with an added property known as spin, and fullerene allows to control the direction of the spin. Thus, the new cell can generate a bigger current and increase the efficiency of light conversion by 14%. The other advantage is that the device is capable of directly generating an AC, and thus no longer needs the inverter.

**Chinese factory will produce 1.35 million of solar cells everyday, reports **DigiTimes.

The Chengdu-based factory is owned by Tongwei Group and equipped with “smart” technology that allows reduction of labor costs by 40% and 25% increase in productivity. Moreover, such efficiency and cost gains also allow for a 30% reduction of energy consumption of the factory. The facility also stands out in terms of the volume of automated equipment it absorbs, currently being the country’s number one, thus outperforming the rest of Chinese industrial sector. The disadvantage of automatization is, as usual, the reduction of jobs and rising technological unemployment.

Map showing the location of Chengdu

Development of Renewable Energy in Europe

French government announced plans to invest €20 billion in the new energy policy programme. €9 billion will be spent on improving the efficiency of energy use, €7 billion will be invested in fostering the transition to renewable power sources, and a further €4 investment will speed up the implementation of electric vehicles, says Reuters.

France has been especially active in renewable energy developments recently. According to the statement of the French Minister for Complex Ecological Transformations, France aims to become the green economy number 1 in the coming decades. In particular, the French government plans to stop one third of the country’s nuclear reactors by 2025, and eliminate gasoline and diesel transportation completely by 2040.

Britain and Wales grow their shares of renewable energy. It is forecasted that by 2030 Wales will increase the share of renewable energy in its energy portfolio by 70%. In Britain, the share of renewable energy is already at the level of 30%.

Europe at large keeps its strong commitments for renewable energy as well, focusing on wind power. According to the recent forecast by European Association of Wind Power, 30% of European power demand will be met by wind power by 2030.

Sales of Electric Vehicles Grow Worldwide

CleanTechnica** reports that more than half of Britons (51%) are ready to switch to electric cars by 2021.** Citing an opinion poll conducted by Total EV among 1 thousand of British electric car users, it outlines the most common reasons for choosing an electric car. 45% of respondents mention the growth of fossil fuel prices, 30% are concerned with environmental problems. In Northern Ireland the electric car infrastructure is more developed, and the idea of electric transport enjoys more support among the population: 77% are ready to switch to EV. Among the challenges for such a transition respondents mention the costs of transportation vehicles, lack of appropriate infrastructure (especially for charging the EV), short distances and lack of expertise.

**Similar trends are visible across Europe and the U.S. **In Norway, 40% of all vehicles sold in September have been electric, and another 20% — hybrid. In today’s Oslo electric cars absorb 7.5% (22’500) of the total of all vehicles, and this figure is expected to double by 2020. Meanwhile, in the U.S. General Motors stroke a new record, having sold 2’632 Chevy Bolt cars in September. That’s 20% more than in August and twice as much as in the beginning of the year. Chevy Bolt is a universal electric car costing $37’500. The sales have begun in December 2016. ArsTechnica suggests that 2017 may become a record year for electric vehicle sales in the U.S.

Stay tuned. With Solar DAO.

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Renewable Energy stasistics for 2017

05.10.2017 — 0

We gathered up-to-date information and facts about the use of renewable energy. So…

  • Almost 90% of the new power plants in Europe (since 2016) operate on renewable sources.
  • In 2016, renewable energy was enough to provide more than 23% of the world’s electricity.
  • By 2016, about 70 countries around the world have installed out-of-grid SPS or opened sponsorship programs for their construction.
  • The production of solar energy increased in 33% by the beginning of 2016.
  • In 2015, the global capacity of solar collectors increased by more than 6%.
  • In 2016, the leading countries in using renewable sources were China, the United States, Brazil, Germany and Canada.
  • World investments in renewable energy sources and fuel reached a record $ 285.9 billions in 2015.

  • In 2015, bioenergy accounted for more than 90% of modern renewable energy production.
  • Developing economies have surged ahead of developed countries for total investments in new renewable energy sources.
  • Renewable energy (excluding large hydropower plants) accounted for 53.6% of the installed capacity of all new energy sources in 2015; The first record.
  • Hydropower is the leading source of renewable energy for electricity generation, providing 71% of the current from all RES.
  • In 2015, world energy production by wind stations reached 432 GW; 7% of the total global capacity for electricity generation. In 2015, the record added 63 GW, and the total investment in the global wind energy sector was $ 109 billions.

Info from: The Guardian, Ren21, BP Global, FS-UNEP Centre, World Energy Council.

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Solar News, #2

28.09.2017 — 0

What’s going on in the industry. Learn it from Solar DAO’s dedicated digest.

New Investments into Solar and Alternative Energy

Reuters reports that** Innology will spend up to $1.4 billion on investments into e-mobility, photovoltaic solar energy, and glass fibre networks by 2019.** This plan was publicly declared in the company’s statement on Thursday.

Innogy SE operates as an European energy company. The Company plans, builds, and manages plants to generate power and extract energy from renewable sources, as well as retails electricity and gas. Innogy SE also manages power lines and gas lines around the world. Having been carved out from parent RWE (which still holds a 76.8% stake) and separately listed on the stock exchange last year, Innogy now focuses on gas and power networks, renewables and energy retail. RWE still holds a 76.8 percent stake.

**Innology’s stock market quote, Bloomberg Markets: **

The planned investment is a part of a more long-term investment strategy, under which Innology is going to spend 6.5–7 billion euros in 2017–2019, and strengthen its portfolio via acquisitions and divestments.

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is going to broaden its engagement in alternative energy by investing $1 billion in electric cars production. The company is already converting gas-powered car production capacity to electric car production capacity in Europe. reports that Daimler is looking forward to the US. On September 21, the German auto-giant confirmed that is plans to invest $1 billion to build Mercedes-Benz electric cars and its batteries in the US.

Solar Energy Scales Up

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is to increase its capacity by another 700 MW, according to Digitaltrends. Commissioned in 2013, this solar park is the largest solar energy facility in the world, or, more specifically, the largest solar panels network localized in a single space. Named after the sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and the ruler of Dubai, the solar park is spread over a total area of 77 square kilometers, being located in about 50 km from the city of Dubai.

The additional structures will create an opportunity of generating 5000 MW by 2030, when the construction works will be finished. By then, the mega solar park will be twice as large in terms of its total area, with the highest in the world 260 meters solar tower located at the centre of it. Adding further solar capacity will also allow for annual reduction of carbon emissions by 6.5 million tons. The construction tender was won by a consortium between Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Shanghai Electric.

As the scale of solar energy production increases, the performance factor of solar panels is also growing.** The Cambridge University scholars have recently found a way of increasing the efficiency of perovskite solar panels up to the improbable 30%**, while the efficiency of standard silicon panels is usually at 20%.

Science Daily describes the mechanism behind such gains of efficiency: they can be achieved by moving the electrons at an ultrafast rate that would enable the creation of the “hot carrier” cells. These are solar cells that can generate electricity more efficiently by virtue of the added kinetic energy of the moving electrons. This energy is highest just for a brief moment when the electrons are created.

Meanwhile,** in China plans are published to increase the capacity of its solar plants by 8–10 GW** and establish facilities for a mass production of monocrystalline high performance solar panels that are largely used in the space industry. China is aiming at a significant reduction of the cost of these panels, and make them a mass consumption commodity.

Monocrystalline is more efficient than polycrystalline silicon panels: the former can operate at a maximum of 26.7% efficiency, while the efficiency of the latter does not go above 21.9%. Chinese producers will be able to produce at a reduced price, according to Reuters. The Chinese solar panels made of monosilicon are already cost competitive with polysilicon ones, with the latter costing $0.225 per W, and the former — $0.319 per W. At the moment, China is the country with the most heavily polluted air, producing 70% of its electricity from coal. On the other hand, 80% of global production of the solar modules are produced in China, and this figure is likely to grow in the future.

Radiant Futures

By 2050, 80% of the world’s electricity will be produced by renewable generation.Cleantechnica usefully summarizes the findings of the latest research report by DNV GL. Thus, according to it, the demand for electricity will be 140% higher than now by 2050, making it the most demanded energy source in the world. Natural gas will occupy the second place, while coal and oil will be used much less than they are now.

Moreover, the authors of the report are rather realistic in how they evaluate the opportunities for collective action upon climate change. Their assessment is that by 2041 the humanity will not find a way of coordinated action, and the Earth’s temperature will increase by 2.5° globally (as compared with the pre-industrial age). There is no single way to tackling the climate change problem, rather, the approach must be comprehensive and constructive, including global and local level actors.

The authors of the report also emphasize the three global trends. First, the demand for energy will cease rising in 2030 and will by 430 exajoules, that is, 7% above the level of 2015. This will be achieved by increasing consumer energy efficiency, reduction in the use of the fossil fuels, and slowing of the growth of the global population and improvements in productivity. Second, electricity consumption will rise by 140% of its current level. Third, the growth of renewables, in which the major energy companies will be compelled to invest.

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