Home Energy Audit

March 3, 2012 – Vol.16 No.51


Someday the windows in your home or office may generate electricity. To do so crystal clear solar cells will have to be developed and commercialized.

There’s progress towards that goal.

New Energy Technologies and US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have announced that they have jointly fabricated the largest-area organic photovoltaic (OPV) module ever produced at the laboratory: a 170 square centimeter (cm2) (26 square inch) working module, more than 14-times larger than previous OPV devices fabricated at NREL.

NREL and New Energy have been working through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to advance the Company’s SolarWindow (tm) technology for generating electricity on glass windows.

The OPV module was developed with electricity-generating coatings, consisting largely of polymers. The coatings are produced by way of organic synthesis and are then applied to glass using various methods, including high-speed, high-volume industrial processes important to the eventual commercial manufacturing of SolarWindow products. Once electricity-generating polymers are applied to a material surface, an OPV cell is created.

“The fabrication of a large-area see-through solar module of these dimensions is an important step in New Energy’s SolarWindow ongoing development,” stated Dr. David S. Ginley, an award-winning NREL Research Fellow and accomplished expert in transparent conductors and OPV. “We believe that building integrated applications provide a promising avenue for OPV deployment and we are continuing to work with New Energy Technologies to further address scale-up, a key milestone toward developing a deployable technology.”

New Energy Technologies

During the week beginning February 19, 2012, this publication received news announcements regarding more than 6.0 megawatts (MW) of solar energy projects completed and more than 200 MW in the development pipeline in the U.S.



--- National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th-largest in the U.S. and SPG Solar, a national solar energy company, have completed an 852 kW (DC) solar power project at two National University campuses in San Diego, California. The two rooftop solar installations at the Spectrum Business Park Campus and a solar carport system spanning three parking locations at the Technology and Health Sciences Center in Kearny Mesa are a direct result of the University's commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability.

The solar power system was made possible through a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), arranged by SPG Solar. The agreement is structured with no upfront capital costs to the university.

With over 3,000 solar panels, the energy produced from these systems will provide up to 85 percent of the electricity at the Technology and Health Sciences Center and 35 percent of the electricity at the Spectrum Business Park Campus. As an additional benefit, National University is expected to realize savings of more than $1.6 million over the next 20 years.

National University
SPG Solar

--- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and SunPower Corp. have dedicated a 5.4 MW, high efficiency SunPower solar power system. The system is expected to generate the equivalent of 51 percent of the electricity demand at the airport's rental car center, two East Economy parking garages and toll plaza, saving $4.7 million over the next 20 years.

The airport has a solar services agreement with SunPower, which designed and built the system, and is operating and maintaining it. The airport is hosting the system and buying electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, providing a hedge against rising electricity costs with no capital investment. The renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the energy produced by the system will be transferred to Arizona Public Service (APS) in fulfillment of the state's renewable energy standard and tariff.

SunPower Corporation
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Arizona Public Service (APS)

In the development pipeline.

--- San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) will be adding 200 MW of new solar power by the end of 2013. The utility has announced signing a 25-year agreement to purchase energy from the Mount Signal Solar project in Imperial Valley, California. The transaction was conducted with a subsidiary of 8minutenergy Renewables of Folsom, California, which has a joint development agreement with AES Solar of Arlington, Virginia to develop and build Mount Signal Solar.

The first 100 MW of energy from the photovoltaic solar energy facility is expected to be on-line by mid-2013 with project completion slated for late 2013. When completed, the project will be comprised of photovoltaic modules supported by single-axis tracking structures. The electric output will be transported to market along SDG&E's 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission line that is currently under construction and slated for completion later this year.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E)
AES Solar
8minutenergy Renewables

--- Mims Distributing Company has partnered with Baker Renewable Energy to install a solar rooftop system at company facilities. Mims is a beer distributor that services a nine-county area in and around the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. The project, of unannounced nameplate capacity, will be one of the largest private rooftop systems in Wake County.

The solar roof, will be net metered and will allow the company to collect and utilize solar power onsite and reduce its lifetime commercial power grid consumption, ultimately saving Mims up to 400,000 kWhrs of energy per year. This will offset approximately 20 percent of the building’s energy needs.

Mims Distributing Company
Baker Renewable Energy


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