Thursday, September 29, 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


Key to manufacturing more efficient solar cells
In a discovery that could have profound implications for future energy policy, scientists have demonstrated it is possible to manufacture solar cells that are far more efficient than existing silicon energy cells by using a new kind of material, a development that could help reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Toward 'greener,' inexpensive solar cells
Solar panels are proliferating across the globe to help reduce the world's dependency on fossil fuels. But conventional panels are not without environmental costs, too. Now scientists report a new advance toward more practical, "greener" solar cells made with inexpensive halide perovskite materials. They have developed low-bandgap perovskite solar cells with a reduced lead content and a power conversion efficiency of 15 percent.

Record for perovskite/CIGS tandem solar module
Thin-film technologies can dramatically reduce the cost of next-generation solar modules, say scientists. Whereas their production cost is low, it is in particular the combination of complementary absorber materials in a tandem solar module that increases the power conversion efficiency. Researchers demonstrate that a perovskite/CIGS tandem thin-film solar module that achieves 17.8 percent in efficiency, surpassing for the first time the efficiency of separate perovskite and CIGS solar modules.

Crystalline fault lines provide pathway for solar cell current
A team of scientists studying solar cells made from cadmium telluride, a promising alternative to silicon, has discovered that microscopic "fault lines" within and between crystals of the material act as conductive pathways that ease the flow of electric current. This research may help explain how a common processing technique turns cadmium telluride into an excellent material for transforming sunlight into electricity, and suggests a strategy for engineering more efficient solar devices that surpass the performance of silicon.

Marriage made in sunlight: Invention merges solar with liquid battery
As solar cells produce a greater proportion of total electric power, a fundamental limitation remains: the dark of night when solar cells go to sleep. Lithium-ion batteries are too expensive a solution to use on something as massive as the electric grid. A professor of chemistry has a better idea: integrating the solar cell with a large-capacity battery.

Popeye was right: There’s energy in that spinach
Using a simple membrane extract from spinach leaves, researchers have developed a cell that produces electricity and hydrogen from water using sunlight. Based on photosynthesis, and technology paves the way for clean fuels from renewable sources.

Inexpensive semiconducting organic polymers can harvest sunlight to split carbon dioxide into alcohol fuels
Chemists have been the first to demonstrate that an organic semiconductor polymer called polyaniline is a promising photocathode material for the conversion of carbon dioxide into alcohol fuels without the need for a co-catalyst.

Nine innovative approaches that utilities are using to plan for increased rooftop solar
A new report surveys utility planning practices from roughly 30 studies across the United States. The rapid growth of rooftop solar has not been distributed equally across U.S. utility territories, and the same is true for projected future growth.

Solar radiation variability over Italy in the last 55 years reconstructed for the first time
Surface solar radiation variability over Italy from the end of the 1950s has been reconstructed in a new framework, report scientists. This information -- based on more than 50 daily records distributed all over the Italian territory -- is completely innovative, as surface solar radiation records had never been analyzed for this area.

When hackers turn out the lights
The development of the smart power grid and the smart meter in our homes to accompany it brings several benefits, such as improved delivery and more efficient billing. Conversely, any digital, connected technology also represents a security risk. Researchers now explain how a malicious third party that hacked into the metering system could manipulate en masse the data being sent back to the smart grid and perhaps trigger a power generation shortfall.

Hierarchical control, energy balancing is obligatory for storage systems in modern grids
A new technology has been developed for the decentralized control of microgrids, especially in the energy storage section, and adopted a new standard for hierarchical control in the system. The research is related to energy and power management in the modern grid.

New technology puts solar power to work all night long
Current thermal energy storage systems for solar power plants rely on materials of low energy density and thermal conductivity, requiring more material at greater cost to meet storage requirements. To combat this challenge, researchers designed an inexpensive thermal energy storage system that will be significantly smaller with over 20 times better thermal performance than current systems.

From leaf to tree: Large-scale artificial photosynthesis
Scientists have developed the first complete and compact design for an artificial photosynthesis facility. This is a decisive step towards applying the technology. The concept is flexible both with respect to the materials used and also the size of the system.

Couple solar panels with lead-acid batteries to increase electricity self-sufficiency in households
Couple solar panels with lead-acid batteries to increase electricity self-sufficiency in households, say investigators. Their simulations reveal that the maximum rate of self-sufficiency of solar panels would only be about 40%, while the addition of complementary lead-acid batteries would result in a considerable increase of the energy prices.

Discovery creates future opportunity in quantum computing
Perovskite systems have been shown to be highly efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. Now, scientists have discovered a new use for perovskites that runs counter to the intended usage of the hybrid organic-inorganic material.

Insights from higher wind and solar generation in Eastern grid, USA
A new study used high-performance computing capabilities and innovative visualization tools to model, in unprecedented detail, how the power grid of the eastern United States could operationally accommodate higher levels of wind and solar photovoltaic generation. The analysis considered scenarios of up to 30 percent annual penetration of wind and solar.

Low-cost solar device converts sunlight to steam in dusty environment
A novel, low-cost solar thermal energy conversion system has been developed that can easily generate steam from sunlight. The solar conversion system can help make technologies that rely on steam, like seawater desalination, wastewater treatment, residential water heating, medical tool sterilization and power generation, more efficient and affordable.

New tool can calculate renewable energy output anywhere in the world
An interactive web tool to estimate the amount of energy that could be generated by wind or solar farms at any location has now been created by researchers.

A new technique opens up advanced solar cells
Using a novel spectroscopic technique, scientists have made a much-needed breakthrough in cutting-edge photovoltaics.

Solar cell is more efficient, costs less than its counterparts
A team of researchers has developed a new solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun's energy and that costs less than its counterparts.

Scientists solve puzzle of converting gaseous carbon dioxide to fuel
Every year, humans advance climate change and global warming by injecting about 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists believe they've found a way to convert all these emissions into energy-rich fuel in a carbon-neutral cycle that uses a very abundant natural resource: silicon. Readily available in sand, it's the seventh most-abundant element in the universe and the second most-abundant element in the earth's crust.

An effective and low-cost solution for storing solar energy
Solar energy can be stored by converting it into hydrogen. But current methods are too expensive and don't last long. Using commercially available solar cells and none of the usual rare metals, researchers have now designed a device that outperforms in stability, efficiency and cost.

Interface engineering for stable perovskite solar cells
The lifetime of perovskite solar cells is significantly enhanced by using few-layer MoS2 flakes as an active buffer interface layer. Researchers show that interface engineering with layered materials is important for boosting solar cell performance.

Bubble-wrapped sponge creates steam using sunlight
How do you boil water? Eschewing the traditional kettle and flame, engineers have invented a bubble-wrapped, sponge-like device that soaks up natural sunlight and heats water to boiling temperatures, generating steam through its pores. The design, which the researchers call a 'solar vapor generator,' requires no expensive mirrors or lenses to concentrate the sunlight, but instead relies on a combination of relatively low-tech materials to capture ambient sunlight and concentrate it as heat.

Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets
A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers have found.

An unexpected finding: Rare iodine polymer discovery is key to starch-iodine mystery
In the pursuit of a new class of photovoltaic materials, researchers happened upon an entirely different discovery that addresses a centuries-old mystery of chemistry: Why does an iodine solution turn blue-black when starch is added to the mix? A rare iodine polymer discovery is key to the starch-iodine mystery, say scientists.

Let's roll: Material for polymer solar cells may lend itself to large-area processing
An international team's findings provide important clues for designing polymer solar cells approaching target for power conversion efficiency and optimized for roll-to-roll processing.

Two become one: How to turn green light blue
The upconversion of photons allows for a more efficient use of light: Two photons are converted into a single photon having higher energy. Researchers now showed for the first time that the inner interfaces between surface-mounted metal-organic frameworks (SURMOFs) are suited perfectly for this purpose – they turned green light blue. The result opens up new opportunities for optoelectronic applications such as solar cells or LEDs.

Improved perovskite solar cells
Scientists have devised a method to improve perovskite solar cells, making them more efficient and reliable with higher reproducibility.

Synthetic biology: Engineering a chemical switch into a light-driven proton pump
Synthetic biology is an emerging and rapidly evolving engineering discipline. Now scientists have engineered a chemically switchable version of the light-driven proton pump proteorhodopsin -- an essential tool for efficiently powering molecular factories and synthetic cells.

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer
Researchers have revealed a class of materials that could be better at converting sunlight into energy than those currently used in solar arrays. Their findings show how a ferroelectric insulator can extract power from a portion of the sunlight spectrum with conversion efficiency above its theoretical maximum (Shockley-Queisser limit).

Tiny high-performance solar cells turn power generation sideways
Engineers have created high-performance, micro-scale solar cells that outshine comparable devices in key performance measures. The miniature solar panels could power myriad personal devices -- wearable medical sensors, smartwatches, even autofocusing contact lenses.

Cadmium-tellurium solar cells: Formula optimized
Solar cells could move closer to theoretical levels of efficiency, thanks to new findings. Researchers used advanced microscopy techniques to discover efficiency differences of crystalline structures of various mixtures of cadmium, tellurium and selenium.

Semi-transparent Solar Cells with Thermal Mirror Capability developed
Semi-transparent perovskite solar cells have been created that demonstrate high-power conversion efficiency and transmit visible light while blocking infrared light, making them great candidates for solar windows.

New high-temperature device captures a broader solar wavelength spectrum
Using a heat-resistant device, made of tungsten and alumina layers, researchers have found that the device can absorb the sun's broad spectrum radiation and convert it to electricity.

Hybrid perovskites: Super-ion building blocks
More efficient solar cells will likely be based on a family of materials known as hybrid perovskites. Scientists identified how to control different properties and stability in these solar cell materials using lead-free preparation.

Modeling sunlight harvesting in nanostructures
To create the next generation of solar panels, scientists must model how complex interactions occur. Modeling across different scales provides needed insights. In a review article, scientists assessed the state of the art for calculations used to model electronic states in very thin films.

Green polymer electrolyte based on N-phthaloylchitosan for dye-sensitized solar cells
A green polymer derived from bio-waste was applied to the dye-sensitized solar cells by scientists in a new study. Chitosan obtained from the insects’ and crustaceans’ chitin was modified to produce the phthaloylchitosan electrolyte for the dye-sensitized solar cells with efficiency of more than 7%.

Breakthrough solar cell captures carbon dioxide and sunlight, produces burnable fuel
Researchers have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy.

Videos reveal birds, bats and bugs near Ivanpah solar project power towers
Video surveillance is the most effective method for detecting animals flying around solar power towers, according to a new study.

Serendipitous observation may lead to more efficient solar cells and new gas sensors
While investigating perovskite crystals, scientists made an observation that could make perovskite solar cells more efficient. It could also lead to new sensors for oxygen and water vapor.

Molten storage and thermophotovoltaics offer new solar power pathway
A new wrinkle on an old technology -- solid-state thermophotovoltaics (TPV) -- could provide a high-efficiency alternative for directly converting high-temperature heat from concentrated solar thermal to utility-scale electricity.

Saharan dust: Reliable forecasts for photovoltaic output
A hazy sky and dirty cars are well-known consequences of Saharan dust carried to Europe by air currents. As part of the “PerduS” project, researchers are currently examining how dust – as haze in the atmosphere and deposited on solar panels – affects the output of photovoltaic systems. The aim is to provide a more reliable forecast for the output of photovoltaic systems through a better prediction of the spread of dust.

Watering solar cells makes them grow in power
Perovskite solar cells are the rising star in the photovoltaic landscape. Since their invention, less than ten years ago, their efficiency has doubled twice and it is now over 22% -- an astonishing result in the renewable energy sector. Researchers have now clarified the relationship between air exposure and enhanced electric proprieties in perovskite solar cells.

Any picture or text could be inkjet-printed as a solar cell
Any picture or text could be inkjet-printed as a solar cell, using a newly developed technology. When light is absorbed in an ordinary ink, it generates heat. A photovoltaic ink, however, coverts part of that energy to electricity. The darker the color, the more electricity is produced, because the human eye is most sensitive to that part of the solar radiation spectrum which has highest energy density.

Unlocking the secret to cheaper solar power
As climate change garners more attention around the world, scientists have made critical advances in understanding the physical properties of an emerging class of solar cells that have the potential to dramatically lower the cost of solar energy.

Developing reliable renewable energy sources
As the world’s population continues to grow, so does our consumption of natural resources. Many of these resources are non-renewable, so research into renewable sources of energy is vital. New Research is tackling this issue through reducing corrosion, improving heat transfer and fluid dynamics, and using nano coatings to enhance surface effiencies in renewable energy systems.

A hydrophobic membrane with nanopores for highly efficient energy storage
Storing fluctuating and delivering stable electric power supply are central issues when using energy from solar plants or wind power stations. Here, efficient and flexible energy storage systems need to accommodate for fluctuations in energy gain. Scientists have now significantly improved a key component for the development of new energy storage systems.

Perovskite can take the heat
Myth-busting research into a new alternative solar cell material could lead to cheaper solar cells.

Modern off-grid lighting could create 2 million new jobs in developing world
Many households in impoverished regions around the world are starting to shift away from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting -- such as candles, firewood, and kerosene lanterns -- to solar-LED systems. While this trend has tremendous environmental benefits, a new study has found that it spurs economic development as well, to the tune of 2 million potential new jobs.

New discoveries about photosynthesis may lead to solar cells of the future
For the first time, researchers have successfully measured in detail the flow of solar energy, in and between different parts of a photosynthetic organism. The result is a first step in research that could ultimately contribute to the development of technologies that use solar energy far more efficiently than what is currently possible.

The future of perovskite solar cells has just got brighter, come rain or shine
A team of researchers has found a new method to improve not only the efficiency, but stability and humidity tolerance of perovskite solar cells. The scientists have designed a hydrophobic conducting polymer that has high hole mobility without the need of additives, which tend to easily absorb moisture in the air.

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells
Researchers have reported the first explanation for how a class of materials changes during production to more efficiently absorb light, a critical step toward the large-scale manufacture of better and less-expensive solar panels.

New light harvesting potentials uncovered
Significant new potentials for light harvesting through narrowing the bandgap of titania and graphene quantum dots have been uncovered by scientists.

Electricity generated with water, salt and a 3-atoms-thick membrane
Proponents of clean energy will soon have a new source to add: osmotic power. Or more specifically, energy generated by a natural phenomenon occurring when fresh water comes into contact with seawater through a membrane. Researchers have developed a system that generates electricity from osmosis with unparalleled efficiency. Their work uses seawater, fresh water, and a new type of membrane just 3 atoms thick.

Solar panels study reveals impact on Earth
Researchers have produced the first detailed study of the impact of solar parks on the environment, opening the door to smarter forms of farming and better land management.

Engineering researchers strive to create cheaper, more efficient third-generation solar cells
A humming laboratory is birthing tiny solar cells – the first such devices created on campus – as researchers strive to develop better photovoltaic technologies.

New milestone in printed photovoltaic technology
Researchers have achieved an important milestone in the quest to develop efficient solar technology as an alternative to fossil fuels. They have investigated a new molecule that can be used to increase the lifetime of organic solar cells considerably -- while also making them more efficient. In their new technology the researchers succeeded in combining the factors that the energy market considers the most important for producing sustainable energy: module efficiency, lifetime and cost per watt.

Setting the gold standard: Chemistry professor is first to use light to make gold crystal nanoparticles
A researchers has figured out how gold can be used in crystals grown by light to create nanoparticles, a discovery that has major implications for industry and cancer treatment and could improve the function of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and solar panels.

How solar energy can be transformed into fuel
A new study look into the quest for sustainable fuel, and how solar energy can be transformed into exactly this. The new procedure uses the sun's thermal energy to convert carbon dioxide and water directly into synthetic fuel.

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