Sunday, February 14, 2016Register

The George R. Brown Convention Center

The George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) Solar Pilot Program, managed by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) is part of the Solar Houston Initiative (SHI), a Department of Energy (DOE) Solar America Cities (SAC) program. The DOE SAC program is a federal program to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner, more secure energy future. Sponsorship and funding for the GRB Solar Pilot Program was provided by the City of Houston, GRB, HARC, Houston Endowment Inc., Standard Renewable Energy (SRE), The American Institute of Architects, Houston Architecture Foundation, BP and CenterPoint Energy.

The system consists of  51.3 kW DC STC crystalline module array  and a 49.0 kW DC STC amorphous thin film array. The crystalline module array consists of 270 BP modules, rated at 190 watt (W) DC STC, located on the I-beam along the south side of the building, mounted on supports painted to match the color of the existing beams. The amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film array consists of 360 Uni-Solar Photovoltaic (PV) flexible thin film panels, rated at 136 W DC STC, installed on the southern portion of the GRB roof adhered with Green Lock membrane adhesive. Each array is connected to a Satcon Photovoltaic PowerGate Plus 50 kW 480V 3ph 60Hz Nema 3R inverter system (Model # PVS-50-4UL-10 Years). The inverters are connected to the building’s electrical distribution system.   


Discovery Green



Green Building Resource Center

Bumpy liquid films could simplify fabrication of microlenses
Have you ever noticed that when heated a film of oil in a pan doesn’t remain completely flat? Instead, it forms a wavy pattern that resembles the exterior of an orange. These sorts of deformations inspired a group of researchers to explore whether they could be used to improve and streamline microfabrication processes.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

An interaction between perovskites and quantum dots could improve LED and solar technologies
Researchers have studied the interaction of two materials, halide perovskite and quantum dots, revealing enormous potential for the development of advanced LEDs and more efficient solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Claims for solar cell efficiency put to the test
The sheet of paper taped to the door of Keith Emery's office tells the story. On the paper is a simple fever chart showing the improvements made in increasing the efficiency of two dozen types of solar cells. Some of the lines marking record efficiencies date to the mid-1970s. Others start much more recently, with the advent of newer technologies.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage
California is committed to 33 percent energy from renewable resources by 2020. With that deadline fast approaching, researchers across the state are busy exploring options. Solar energy is attractive but for widespread adoption, it requires transformation into a storable form. This week researchers report that nanowires made from multiple metal oxides could put solar ahead in this race.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Breakthrough enables ultra-fast transport of electrical charges in polymers
For the first time, researchers have shown that a very efficient vertical charge transport in semiconducting polymers is possible by controlled chain and crystallite orientation. These pioneering results enhance charge transport in polymers by more than 1,000 times, have implications for organic opto-electronic devices.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Breakthrough enables ultra fast transport of electrical charges in polymers
A research team at Umeå University in Sweden has showed, for the first time, that a very efficient vertical charge transport in semiconducting polymers is possible by controlled chain and crystallite orientation. These pioneering results, which enhance charge transport in polymers by more than 1,000 times, have implications for organic opto-electronic devices.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials
An international research team has simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. Arrays of solar cells are used in solar panels to convert sunlight to electricity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New fluorescent nanomaterials whose inspiration was taken from plant antenna systems
One of the biggest temptations facing a scientist is to try and reproduce natural phenomena which are so fascinating given their effectiveness and perfection. Scientists have now designed a set of fluorescent nanomaterials which have taken their inspiration from the antenna systems of plants. These new multifunctional materials aim to imitate the photosynthetic organisms of plants. These microorganisms consist of thousands of chlorophyll molecules embedded in a protein matrix, which provides them with a specific orientation/arrangement and intermolecular distance.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Watching electrons cool in 30 quadrillionths of a second
Scientists have developed a new way of seeing electrons cool off in an extremely short time period.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Drivers for low-priced solar photovoltaic systems in the United States
The price of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on homes and small businesses spans a wide range, and researchers have published a new study that reveals the key market and system drivers for low-priced PV systems.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Defects could improve solar cells, researchers theorize
Scientists are studying what may seem paradoxical -- certain defects in silicon solar cells may actually improve their performance. The findings run counter to conventional wisdom, according to a new paper they have published on the topic.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New method for converting solar energy into electrical power using photo-bioelectrochemical cells
A new paradigm for the development of photo-bioelectrochemical cells has been developed.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Cheaper solar cells with 20.2 percent efficiency
A solar-panel material that can cut down on photovoltaic costs while achieving competitive power-conversion efficiency of 20.2 percent has been created by researchers.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

High-quality mono-silicon crystal grown at low cost for solar cells
A joint research team in Japan has developed a “single-seed cast method,” a new casting method making it possible to grow high-quality mono silicon at low cost. New casting method may facilitate the return of a market-competitive solar cell industry.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Major advance reveals how charge forms in key radiation-absorbing layer within solar cells
Researchers demonstrate in a new study the precise mechanism by which sunlight generates electrical charge within cutting-edge solar cell film, yielding potential benefits for solar power industry.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

A nanophotonic comeback for incandescent bulbs?
Traditional light bulbs, thought to be well on their way to oblivion, may receive a reprieve thanks to a technological breakthrough.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

X-rays reveal details of plastic solar cell production
Plastic solar cells are light, easy to install, and readily produced using a printer. Nevertheless, the processes that take place on the molecular scale during the production of organic solar cells are not yet entirely clear. Researchers have now managed to observe these processes in real time. Their findings could help to improve the efficiency of organic solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Visualizing atoms of perovskite crystals
Researchers conduct the first atomic resolution study of perovskites used in next generation solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Optimum band gap for hybrid silicon/perovskite tandem solar cell
Tandem solar cells based on silicon and perovskites have raised high hopes for future high efficiency solar modules. A team has now shown that an ultimate efficiency of 30 percent should be attainable with such tandem cells. They discovered a structurally stable perovskite composition with its band gap tuned to an optimum value of 1.75 eV.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Leaf-mimicking device harnesses light to purify water
For years, scientists have been pursuing ways to imitate a leaf's photosynthetic power to make hydrogen fuel from water and sunlight. In a new twist, a team has come up with another kind of device that mimics two of a leaf's processes -- photosynthesis and transpiration -- to harness solar energy to purify water. Their development could help address issues of water scarcity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New efficiency record set with dual-junction solar cell
A new world record has been set by scientists for converting non-concentrated (1-sun) sunlight into electricity using a dual-junction III-V/Si solar cell.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

UAE desert sand can store solar energy up to 1000°c
Researchers have successfully demonstrated that desert sand from the UAE could be used in concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities to store thermal energy up to 1000°C. The research project called 'Sandstock' has been seeking to develop a sustainable and low-cost gravity-fed solar receiver and storage system, using sand particles as the heat collector, heat transfer and thermal energy storage media.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

How to train your bacterium
Researchers are using the bacterium Moorella thermoacetica to perform photosynthesis and also to synthesize semiconductor nanoparticles in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight into valuable chemical products.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

U.S. demonstrates production of fuel for missions to the solar system and beyond
The first U.S. production in nearly 30 years of a specialized fuel to power future deep space missions has been completed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar cells that can face almost any direction and keep themselves clean
In recent years, a complicated discussion over which direction solar cells should face -- south or west -- has likely left customers uncertain about the best way to orient their panels. Now researchers are attempting to resolve this issue by developing solar cells that can harvest light from almost any angle, and the panels self-clean to boot.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

'Hydricity' concept uses solar energy to produce power round-the-clock
Researchers are proposing a new 'hydricity' concept aimed at creating a sustainable economy by not only generating electricity with solar energy but also producing and storing hydrogen from superheated water for round-the-clock power production.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Match-heads boost photovoltaic efficiency
Crystal growth on a nano/microscale level produces “match-head”-like, three-dimensional structures that enhance light absorption and photovoltaic efficiency. This is the first large structure grown on a nanowire tip and it creates a completely new architecture for harnessing energy.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Eco-friendly battery and solar cell all-in-one
In solar flow batteries, the proposed charging process links harvesting solar energy and storing it as chemical energy via the electrolyte. Scientists built a solar flow battery that uses an eco-friendly, compatible solvent and needs a lower applied voltage to recharge the battery.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Origin of heavy elements in the universe uncovered
A team of scientists suggests a solution to the Galactic radioactive plutonium puzzle. All the Plutonium used on Earth is artificially produced in nuclear reactors. Still, it turns out that it is also produced in nature. Plutonium is a radioactive element. Its longest-lived isotope is plutonium-244 with a lifetime of 120 million years.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Minuscule pillars double the efficiency of solar cells
Solar cells are generally flat. However, by adding minuscule silicon pillars to the surface, it is possible to more than double the amount of energy produced for each surface. Researchers now show what the optimum height and doping depth of the pillars is. <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New approaches for hybrid solar cells
Using a new procedure researchers can now produce extremely thin and robust, yet highly porous semiconductor layers. A very promising material -- for small, lightweight, flexible solar cells, for example, or electrodes improving the performance of rechargeable batteries.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar water splitting: Putting an extra 'eye' on surface reactions that store sunlight as fuel
Water-splitting cells absorb sunlight and produce fuel. Creating such cells means pairing a material to absorb sunlight and generate electrons with the one that uses those electrons to produce fuel. Scientists introduced a novel way to study the flow of electrons where the materials meet.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Pushing the limits of solar cells
Scientists have introduced a new strategy for generating more efficient solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

UN report takes global view of 'green energy choices'
A new UNEP report offers a comprehensive comparison of the greenhouse gas mitigation potential for a number of alternative energy methods -- including wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New plastic solar cell minimizes loss of photon energy
Scientists demonstrate an unconventional means to achieve more efficient and robust conversion of solar energy into electricity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Technology makes metal wires on solar cells nearly invisible to light
Scientists have discovered how to make the electrical wiring on top of solar cells nearly invisible to incoming light. The new design, which uses silicon nanopillars to hide the wires, could dramatically boost solar-cell efficiency.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Storing solar energy underground for a cloudy day
A common criticism of a total transition to wind, water and solar power is that the US electrical grid can't affordably store enough standby electricity to keep the system stable. Now a researcher proposes an underground solution to that problem.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Tandem solar cells are simply better
Stacking two solar cells one over the other has advantages: Because the energy is 'harvested' in two stages, and overall the sunlight can be converted to electricity more efficiently. Researchers have come up with a procedure that makes it possible to produce thin film tandem solar cells in which a thin perovskite layer is used. The processing of perovskite takes place at just 50 degrees Celsius and such a process is potentially applicable for low cost roll-to-roll production in future.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Increased potential for perovskites as a material for solar cells
Scientists have demonstrated a way to significantly increase the efficiency of perovskite solar cells by reducing the amount of energy lost to heat.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

High durability, efficiency of 1 cm2 size perovskite solar cells
A research group has improved the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of perovskite solar cells to over 16% while employing cells that were greater than 1 cm<sup>2</sup>. The high efficiency cells also passed the durability test (exposure to AM 1.5G 100 mW/cm<sup>2</sup> sunlight for 1,000 hours), which is considered to be a basic criterion for practical use. These achievements were made by replacing the conventional organic materials with inorganic materials as the electron and hole extraction layers of the solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Team of appraisers across six states find home buyers will pay premium for solar homes
Photovoltaics added value to homes in six markets, according to a new report. They engaged a team of seven appraisers from across the six states to determine the value that solar photovoltaic systems added to single-family homes using the industry-standard paired-sales valuation technique, which compares recent sales of comparable homes to estimate the premium buyers would pay for PV.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar vehicle charging at home
Owners of home photovoltaic systems will soon be able to make their households even more sustainable, because PV power is also suitable for charging personal electronic vehicles. A home energy management system recently created incorporates electric vehicles into the household energy network and creates charging itineraries.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New low-cost battery could help store renewable energy
Wind and solar energy projects are growing at a respectable clip. But storing electric power for days when the air is still or when the sun goes down remains a challenge, largely due to cost. Now researchers are developing a new battery that could bring the price of storage to more affordable levels. Their new battery uses low-cost materials -- sodium and magnesium.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Storage advance may boost solar thermal energy potential
Engineers have identified a new approach for the storage of concentrated solar thermal energy, to reduce its cost and make it more practical for wider use.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Making green fuels, no fossils required
Converting solar or wind into carbon-based 'fossil' fuels might seem anything but green, but when you start with carbon dioxide -- which can be dragged out of the air -- it's as green as it gets. The technology that makes it economically feasible isn't available yet, but a recently published paper presents nice step forward in the effort to not just sequester carbon dioxide, but turn it into a useful fuel that is part of a carbon-neutral future.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene electrodes
A researcher has developed the first-ever made semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene as electrode. With simple processing techniques, solar cells with high power conversion efficiencies can be fabricated at low cost.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar Cells; High-quality perovskite materials developed capable of utilizing long-wavelength sunlight
Scientists have developed the world’s first method to fabricate high-quality perovskite materials capable of utilizing long-wavelength sunlight of 800 nm or longer. Compared to conventional methods, this method enables the creation of perovskite materials that have a 40-nm wider optical absorption spectrum, a high short-circuit current and high open-circuit voltage. Thus, this method is regarded as a new approach to enhance the efficiency of perovskite solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New concepts emerge for generating clean, inexpensive fuel from water
An inexpensive method for generating clean fuel is the modern-day equivalent of the philosopher's stone. One compelling idea is to use solar energy to split water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen and then harvest the hydrogen for use as fuel. But splitting water efficiently turns out to be not so easy.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Exploiting renewable energy while allowing for protecting biodiversity
Global expansion of bioenergy possesses serious threats to biodiversity, whereas solar energy could have potential for power provision with limited impacts on biodiversity, say experts.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Cooling the air with sunlight
A firm has developed an evaporative cooler that has an integrated photovoltaic system isolated from the electrical network, which enables to refresh an area of ??approximately 200 square meters.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Shining more light on solar panels
A better understanding of how light reflects off different surfaces has improved action movies, videogames and now solar panels. Researchers have found a way to get more sun to shine on the panels and crank up the output by 30 percent or more.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Synthetic batteries for the energy revolution
A team of researchers made a decisive step towards a redox-flow battery which is simple to handle, safe and economical at the same time: They developed a system on the basis of organic polymers and a harmless saline solution. The new redox-flow battery can withstand up to 10,000 charging cycles without losing a crucial amount of capacity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solvents save steps in solar cell manufacturing
Advances in ultrathin films have made solar panels and semiconductor devices more efficient and less costly, and researchers say they've found a way to manufacture the films more easily, too.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Scientists demonstrate how to improve ultrathin CIGSe solar cells by nanoparticles
CIGSe solar cells are made of a thin chalcopyrite layer consisting of copper, indium, gallium and selenium and can reach high efficiencies. Since indium is becoming scarce and expensive, it is interesting to reduce the active CIGSe layer, which however decreases the efficiency quite strongly. Now, scientists have produced high quality ultrathin CIGSe layers and increased their efficiency by an array of tiny nanoparticles between the back contact and the active layer.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Quantum physics meets genetic engineering
A team of researchers has used engineered viruses to provide quantum-based enhancement of energy transport. The work points the way toward inexpensive and efficient solar cells or light-driven catalysis.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Silver: The promising electrode winner for low-cost perovskite solar cells
Researchers have identified a contributing factor to short lifetime in perovskite solar cells with silver electrodes. Currently, the most common electrode material in perovskite solar cells is gold, which is extremely expensive. The low-cost alternative to gold is silver, around 65 times cheaper.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Breakthrough for iron based dyes can lead to cheaper and environmentally friendly solar energy applications
Researchers have found a new way to capture energy from sunlight – by using molecules that contain iron. The hope is to develop efficient and environmentally friendly solar energy applications.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Low-cost wafers for solar cells
Silicon wafers are the heart of solar cells. However, manufacturing them is not cheap. Over 50 percent of the pure silicon used is machined into dust. A new manufacturing technique puts an end to these material losses, with raw material savings of 50 percent along with an 80 percent reduction in energy costs.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Breakthrough to the development of energy-saving devices for the next generation
Researchers have succeeded in visualizing changes in defect density on the surface of GaN through the laser terahertz emission microscope (LTEM) which measures THz waves generated by laser emission. The discovery shows that LTEM is useful as a new method for evaluating the quality of wide-gap semiconductors and it is also expected that LTEM will bring a breakthrough in the development of next-generation optical devices, super high frequency devices, and energy devices.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

'Greener' way to assemble materials for solar applications
The efficiency of solar cells depends on precise engineering of polymers that assemble into films 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Today, formation of that polymer assembly requires solvents that can harm the environment, but scientists have found a 'greener' way to control the assembly of photovoltaic polymers in water using a surfactant -- a detergent-like molecule -- as a template.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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