Recent research by MIT Energy Initiative shows that the most popular type of solar panel today is the rooftop type. But is the best type money wise? Francis O’Sullivan, the director of this branch of MIT states that it costs more per peak watt to run solar panels on a roof than it does to run them in a large-scale array. This essentially means that large arrays of solar panels are cheaper to run after installation than rooftop panels. The report that was issued on Tuesday doesn’t want to stop people from installing panels; it also encourages it, despite the cost issues. People are more likely to install the green energy alternative when they see their neighbors have the panels. Since solar panels don’t release CO2 emissions, solar panels are encouraged by MIT and other green energy advocates.
Under a law passed by French Parliament, new commercials buildings are being required to be partially covered with plants or solar panels. With the addition of this requirement, rooftop solar will be responsible for 70% of solar energy in France.
The plan was originally drafted by French environmental activists. They had wanted a stricter rule requiring all new buildings to be covered. The government had to convince them to limit it only to commercial buildings to make sure people still wished to invest on real estate.
Green rooftops will help to keep the buildings cool in summer. The solar panels can provide electricity for any other air conditioning needs.
This project is helping France to catch up with other European countries in the solar power race. The capitol has started to invest in many more green, alternative energy projects, such as the NewWind wind tree.
The Eiffel Tower is going green! A New York company has helped to install two wind turbines 400 feet up in the tower. They should produce 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. The turbines are part of the City of Paris Climate Plan to reduce its ecological footprint. Solar panels will also be installed as well as replacing all lights with LED lights. To keep them from being distracting, the turbines were painted the same color as the tower. They are also inside the lattice structure. They are on the second level at a place where steady winds blow through.
This is all part of the environmental push from the European Union with its plan to reduce emissions and slow global warming.
Researchers from Stanford University have been testing ways to boost the power of a solar cell. They put a new photovoltaic material on top of the traditional solar cell and boosted the power by 50%, proving their theory correct. The material is called a perovskite. They have a crystalline structure made out of easy to find, and cheap materials, such as ammonia, iodine, and lead. These researches have been demonstrating the pervoskite’s photovoltaic potential since 2009, but now they are also demonstrating the efficiency of the cells, causing them to be more recognized and have a greater potential of being used. They can pick up parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that silicon cells cannot. They do not plan to replace silicon with the pervoskite material, but to use them together, making the solar cells even more efficient. However, the pervoskite is not transparent, so they think they will run silicon wires through it that also pick up the energy. Adding the new material to the cells changes the efficiently percent from 11.4% to 17%. Much research still has to be done to make sure these cells are completely environmental safe and last longer than they currently do, but scientists predict they will convert 30% of the sun’s energy into electricity when completed.
The biggest floating solar panel plant will soon be installed at the Yamakura Dam in Japan. It will have 50,000 panels and the power to power 5,000 homes. It is a collaboration project between Kyocera, Ciel et Terre, and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. Placing solar panels on water will free up land that they would normally be placed on. This can help protect the environment and free up space for the farming that is so important in Japan.
Cities around the world have begun to try to tap into the mechanical energy we all produce when walking. When you think about how much people walk over a busy street in one day, this type of electricity production could work.
The technology uses the piezoelectric effect, which was discovered when crystal pieces where put under pressure and produced electricity.
Pavegan, the company developing this walking energy, believes it is possible to put these piezoelectric energy devices anywhere. They already work in pavements, football fields, and school corridors.
It is basically a pad that is made out of the soft ground service that is found in playgrounds. It can produce up to 7 watts of energy with every step. This means it can power small devices with a mere hundred footsteps for a few minutes.
In Rio de Janeiro, these pads are being tested where they are in a local football pitch. They work along side solar panels to light the park.
The best part of this, is since it is completely people powered, it has no Carbon Dioxide emissions and is completely a clean energy source.
French company NewWind wants to introduce tree-shaped wind turbines in Paris this March. They believe they will be ore visually appealing compared to normal turbines which are loud and can harm the environment. The idea came to Jerome Michaud-Lariviere when he saw leaves trembling on a tree. The leaves are made of plastic so they can pick up faint breezes, starting at 4.4 mph. In Paris when all of the leaves are spinning, it is estimated they can make 3.1 kilowatts of energy per hour, 280 days a year, or enough to power 15 street lamps. The tree is quite small compared to most turbines, standing at only 36 feet high and 26 feet wide. They also cost less at only $36,500 to put up, and will pay for themselves in a year. The first one will be "planted" in Place de la Concorde in March. In September, other trees will be installed around Paris and then in June, 2016, all around the world.
CSEM wants to build solar panels that could be integrated into walls. They have no visible connections and come in many colors, but they are focusing on white colored panels. White would stay cooler, boosting the efficiency. This would also bring down the need to cool buildings.
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