Monday, June 27, 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.   


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Green Building Resource Center

Keep it simple: Low-cost solar power
A new architecture takes very few processing steps to produce an affordable solar cell with efficiencies comparable to conventional silicon solar cells.

'Flower Power': Photovoltaic cells replicate rose petals
With a surface resembling that of plants, solar cells improve light-harvesting and thus generate more power. Scientists reproduced the epidermal cells of rose petals that have particularly good antireflection properties and integrated the transparent replicas into an organic solar cell. This resulted in a relative efficiency gain of twelve percent.

Coal to solar: Retraining the energy workforce
As the solar industry booms, coal workers have the opportunity to pursue new work. A new study looks at what it takes to retrain underground skills for sunnier prospects.

Solar cells for greener and safer energies
Researchers report on low-temperature, solution-processed, environmentally friendly inorganic solar cells made with Earth-abundant materials capable of operating with a power conversion of 6.3 percent.

Ultra-thin solar cells can easily bend around a pencil
New flexible photovoltaics could power wearable electronics.

researchers find new ways to make clean hydrogen, rechargable zinc batteries
New technologies have now been developed to tackle two of the world's biggest energy challenges -- clean fuel for transportation and grid-scale energy storage.

World’s most efficient nanowire lasers
Researchers demonstrated that nanowires made from lead halide perovskite are the most efficient nanowire lasers known..

New see-through material for electronics
Even though conducting missing electrons and transparency were considered mutually exclusive, this new material both efficiently conducts missing electrons and retains most of its transparency to visual light.

Let there be light: Engineer discovers light can stamp out defects in semiconductors for better solar panels and LED bulbs
A new theory has been developed that suggests that adding light during the manufacturing of semiconductors can reduce defects and potentially make more efficient solar cells or brighter LEDs.

New generation of high-efficiency solar thermal absorbers developed
Researchers are one step closer to developing a new generation of low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells.  The structure is one of the world’s first examples of a tri-layer metasurface absorber using a carbon interlayer.

Novel capping strategy improves stability of perovskite nanocrystals
Perovskite materials have shown great promise for use in next-generation solar cells and LEDs, but their instability remains a critical limitation. Atoms on the surface are vulnerable to reactions that can degrade the material, so molecules that bind to the surface (capping ligands) are used both to stabilize perovskite nanocrystals and to control their properties. Researchers have used unique branched ligands to synthesize perovskite nanocrystals with greatly improved stability and uniform particle size.

High efficient solar water heating achieved with nanoparticles
A research team in Japan discovered through numerical calculations that nanoparticles of transition metal nitrides and carbides absorb sunlight very efficiently, and confirmed experimentally that nitride nanoparticles, when dispersed in water, quickly raise water temperature.

Conversion efficiency of 18.2% achieved using perovskite solar cells
A research group in Japan achieved energy conversion efficiency exceeding 18% using standard size perovskite solar cells.

Storage technologies for renewable energy can pay off
Storage systems can make economic sense for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, according to new research.

Solar power home storage systems put to test
Home storage systems for electricity produced by photovoltaics facilities are gaining attractiveness, as their costs are declining. However, standardized, verifiable criteria for the end client to assess their performance are still lacking. Now, scientists have launched the largest German study so far to analyze commercial systems with respect to safety, quality, and grid suitability and to derive recommendations for manufacturers, standardization bodies, and authorities.

Oregon chemists build a new, stable open-shell molecule
Chemists have synthesized a stable and long-lasting carbon-based molecule that, they say, potentially could be applicable in solar cells and electronic devices.

Perovskite solar cells surpass 20 percent efficiency
Researchers are pushing the limits of perovskite solar cell performance by exploring the best way to grow these crystals.

Novel solar absorber to improve efficiency of concentrating solar power technology
Researchers have discovered a novel way to significantly increase the amount of sunlight that a solar absorber can convert into heat. By converting more of the solar energy that reaches Earth’s surface into heat in a low-cost way, the solar absorber can help make sustainable technologies that rely on solar heat, like solar thermal technologies, more efficient and affordable.

Scientists design energy-carrying particles called 'topological plexcitons'
Scientists have engineered 'topological plexcitons,' energy-carrying particles that could help make possible the design of new kinds of solar cells and miniaturized optical circuitry.

New tool could help investors pick the clean energy project right for them
In 2013, Serbia announced its goal of having 27 percent of the country's power be generated from renewable sources by 2020. Hitting that target will require building additional clean energy facilities, but figuring out what type of project -- solar, wind, hydropower or other renewable sources -- to support can be a daunting task for investors. Now, a team of researchers is trying to simplify the decision.

Physicist develops new model for speed, motion of solar flares
A physicist who has developed a new model that predicts the speed of solar plasma during solar flares has likening it to the path traveled by a thrown baseball.

Better forecasting for solar and wind power generation
The sun does not shine and the wind does not blow with constant intensity. This is a problem for the power grid, where the power supply must always match the power demand. Researchers in Germany have been working to develop better models for forecasting the generation of renewable electricity. Now they have launched a platform for transmission system operators to test the new models live.

Bionic leaf turns sunlight into liquid fuel
Scientists have created a system that uses solar energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels. The system can convert solar energy to biomass with 10 percent efficiency, far above the 1 percent seen in the fastest-growing plants.

Leaving the electrical grid in the Upper Peninsula
While Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is not the sunniest place in the world, solar energy is viable in the region. With new technologies, some people might be inclined to leave the electrical grid. A team of researchers looked into the economic viability of grid defection in the Upper Peninsula.

It pays to increase energy consumption
Extensive theoretical mappings have been developed of the way private consumers can save money for heating in a modern supply system based on electricity. Surprisingly enough, the mapping shows that by using approximately 10 percent more energy for heating, it is possible to save about 10 percent on the heating bill, at the same time as protecting the environment with lower carbon dioxide emission.

Investment in energy storage vital if renewables to achieve full potential
Government subsidies should be used to encourage investment in energy storage systems if renewable power is to be fully integrated into the sector, according to researchers.

Harnessing solar and wind energy in one device could power the 'Internet of Things'
The 'Internet of Things' could make cities 'smarter' by connecting an extensive network of tiny communications devices to make life more efficient. But all these machines will require a lot of energy. Rather than adding to the global reliance on fossil fuels to power the network, researchers say they have a new solution. They report on a single device that harvests wind and solar energy.

Using solid-state materials with gold nanoantennas for more durable solar cells
Scientists are testing the development of solar cells made of solid materials to improve their ability to function under harsh environmental conditions.

Large-scale technique to produce quantum dots
Scientists have demonstrated a method to produce significant amounts of semiconducting nanoparticles for light-emitting displays, sensors, solar panels and biomedical applications.

Simpler processing improves solar cells
Replacing a common drying method boosts the performance of perovskite photovoltaics.

Solar cells of the future could be based on iron molecules
Researchers have successfully explained how iron-based dyes work on a molecular level in solar cells. The new findings will accelerate the development of inexpensive and environmentally friendly solar cells. The goal is to be able to use iron-based dyes in solar cells in the future. By using iron instead of other more expensive and rare metals, the production of solar cells and light catchers will become cheaper and more environmentally friendly. The demand for solar cells is therefore expected to significantly increase.

Milestone in solar cell efficiency achieved
Australian engineers have edged closer to the theoretical limits of sunlight-to-electricity conversion by photovoltaic cells with a device that sets a new world efficiency record.

Cooling, time in the dark preserve perovskite solar power
A new study has found both the cause and a solution for the pesky tendency of perovskite solar cells to degrade in sunlight, a research breakthrough potentially removing one roadblock to commercialization for this promising technology.

'Nanocavity' may improve ultrathin solar panels, video cameras and more
Recently, engineers placed a single layer of MoS2 molecules on top of a photonic structure called an optical nanocavity made of aluminum oxide and aluminum. The results are promising. The MoS2 nanocavity can increase the amount of light that ultrathin semiconducting materials absorb. In turn, this could help industry to continue manufacturing more powerful, efficient and flexible electronic devices.

Changes in solar cell technology
A laser-based manufacturing process is revolutionizing the photovoltaics market. For the first time point-contacted solar cells can be manufactured in series. Several million cells with significantly higher efficiency levels are already on the market.

Looking to light highways with light-emitting cement
Newly created material that can be used on highways absorbs solar energy, and returns it to the environment, it can last for up to 100 years, report scientists.

Molybdenum disulfide holds promise for light absorption
Using a layer of molybdenum disulfide less than 1 nanometer thick, researchers have designed a system that can absorb more than 35 percent of incident light in the 400- to 700-nanometer wavelength range.

At last: Non-toxic and cheap thin-film solar cells for 'zero-energy' buildings
'Zero-energy' buildings -- which generate as much power as they consume -- are now much closer after engineers have achieved the world's highest efficiency using flexible solar cells that are non-toxic and cheap to make.

Nanotube semiconductors well-suited for PV systems
Researchers have discovered single-walled carbon nanotube semiconductors could be favorable for photovoltaic systems because they can potentially convert sunlight to electricity or fuels without losing much energy.

Could off-grid electricity systems accelerate energy access?
Small off-grid electricity systems are growing rapidly in South Asia. A new study provides the first assessment of how these systems are impacting communities in the region.

Flipping a chemical switch helps perovskite solar cells beat the heat
A simple chemical conversion could be another step toward making cheap, efficient and stable perovskite solar cells.

The light stuff: A brand-new way to produce electron spin currents
Scientists have demonstrated using non-polarized light to produce in a metal what's called a spin voltage -- a unit of power produced from the quantum spinning of an individual electron.

Americans used less energy in 2015 according to analysis
Americans used less energy overall in 2015 than the previous year, according to the most recent energy flow charts. Among the results, residential natural gas consumption fell by 0.5 quads in 2015 due to a mild winter. Commercial and industrial uses of energy saw much smaller decreases.

Cheap, efficient and flexible solar cells: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a new breakthrough. This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

From lighting screens to lighting homes
To cut down on the environmental waste and provide storage for rural communities, researchers have proposed a model for recycling unspent lithium ion batteries into energy storage units for solar-powered LED lamps.

Glowing nanomaterial to drive new generation of solar cells
Physicists have discovered radical new properties in a nanomaterial which opens new possibilities for highly efficient thermophotovoltaic cells, which could one day harvest heat in the dark and turn it into electricity. The research team has demonstrated a new artificial material, or metamaterial, that glows in an unusual way when heated.

Artificial moth eyes enhance silicon solar cells
Mimicking the texture found on the surfaces of the eyes of moths, scientists have produced nanotextured designs across silicon-based solar cells. The texturing significantly enhanced the light-harvesting and, hence, overall performance of the solar cells.

Riddle of missing efficiency in zinc oxide-based dye-sensitised solar cells solved
To convert solar energy into electricity or solar fuels, you need specialized systems of materials such as those consisting of organic and inorganic thin films. Processes at the junction of these films play a decisive role in converting the solar energy. Now a team of researchers has used ultra-short laser pulses and observed for the first time directly how boundary states form between the organic dye molecules and a zinc-oxide semiconductor layer, temporarily trapping the charge carriers.

Perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells with the world's highest power conversion efficiency
Scientists in Hong Kong report they have successfully developed perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells with the world's highest power conversion efficiency of 25.5%.

Clean energy generated using bacteria-powered solar panel
For the first time ever, researchers have connected nine biological-solar (bio-solar) cells into a bio-solar panel. Then they continuously produced electricity from the panel and generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells - 5.59 microwatts.

How halogen atoms compete to grow 'winning' perovskites
Researchers have found a potential path to further improve solar cell efficiency by understanding the competition among halogen atoms during the synthesis of sunlight-absorbing crystals.

So long lithium, hello bacteria batteries?
As renewable energy sources grow, so does the demand for new ways to store the resulting energy at low-cost and in environmentally friendly ways. Now scientists report a first-of-its-kind development toward that goal: a rechargeable battery driven by bacteria.

Scientists improve perovskite solar-cell absorbers by giving them a squeeze
Solar cells made of perovskites have shown great promise in recent years. Now scientists have found that applying pressure can change the properties of these inexpensive materials and how they respond to light.

Graphene layer could allow solar cells to generate power when it rains
Graphene layer could allow solar cells to generate power when it rains.

Scientists pinpoint solar cell manufacturing process
Scientists have been able to pinpoint for the first time what happens during a key manufacturing process of silicon solar cells. The paste used in the manufacturing of the solar cells contains silver powder, glass frit, and an organic binder. Researchers are looking for an alternative because silver is costly and lead oxide in the glass frit can harm the environment.

Rooftop solar energy could provide almost 40 percent of US electricity
Analysts have used detailed light detection and ranging data for 128 cities nationwide, along with improved data analysis methods and simulation tools, to update its estimate of total US technical potential for rooftop photovoltaic systems. The analysis reveals a technical potential of 1,118 gigawatts of capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours of annual energy generation, equivalent to 39 percent of the nation's electricity sales.

Catching more of the sun
Combining quantum dots and organic molecules can enable solar cells to capture more of the sun’s light, researchers report. Light from the sun is our most abundant source of renewable energy, and learning how best to harvest this radiation is key for the world's future power needs. The scientists have discovered that the efficiency of solar cells can be boosted by combining inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules.

X-rays reveal how a solar cell gets its silver stripes
The silver electrical contacts that carry electricity out of about 90 percent of the solar modules on the market are also one of their most expensive parts. Now scientists have used X-rays to observe exactly how those contacts form during manufacturing.

Best ways to reduce energy consumption
Scientists study the most efficient way to conserve energy in hot and cold weather.

Heat and light get larger at the nanoscale
Researchers have demonstrated that heat transfer can be made 100 times stronger than has been predicted, simply by bringing two objects extremely close -- at nanoscale distances -- without touching. The team used custom-made ultra-high precision micro-mechanical displacement controllers to achieve heat transfer using light at the largest magnitude reported to date between two parallel objects.

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