Wednesday, November 25, 2015Register

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

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=""/>

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=""/>

Efficiency from larger perovskite solar cells improved
Perovskite solar cells are cheaper to make than traditional silicon cells and their electricity conversion efficiency is improving rapidly. To be commercially viable, perovskite cells need to scale up from lab size. Researchers report a method for making perovskite cells larger while maintaining efficiency.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Molecular nanoribbons as electronic highways
Physicists have developed a method to synthesize a unique and novel type of material which resembles a graphene nanoribbon but in molecular form. This material could be important for the further development of organic solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Graphene as a front contact for silicon-perovskite tandem solar cells
A team of researchers has developed an elegant process for coating fragile perovskite layers with graphene for the first time. Subsequent measurements show that the graphene layer is an ideal front contact in several respects.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Organics energize solar cell research
Scientists are using a new supercomputer to advance next-generation solar energy technologies by probing the functional interfaces found in organic and hybrid solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Invisibility cloak might enhance efficiency of solar cells
Success of the energy turnaround will depend decisively on the extended use of renewable energy sources. However, their efficiency partly is much smaller than that of conventional energy sources. The efficiency of commercially available photovoltaic cells, for instance, is about 20 percent. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have now published an unconventional approach to increasing the efficiency of the panels. Optical invisibility cloaks guide sunlight around objects that cast shadows on the solar panel.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Finding a way to boost efficiency of CIGS solar cells
Researchers have revealed the structure of the buffer layer in a CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-selenide) solar cell at SPring8, the world's largest third-generation synchrotron radiation facility. They found that the buffer layer was composed of two layers: an upper Zn(OH)2 layer and a lower Zn(S, O) layer. By removing the upper Zn(OH)2 layer, the solar conversion efficiency was doubled.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New research puts us closer to DIY spray-on solar cell technology
A new study puts us closer to do-it-yourself spray-on solar cell technology—promising third-generation solar cells utilizing a nanocrystal ink deposition that could make traditional expensive silicon-based solar panels a thing of the past.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar roof: New hybrid solar panel roof slashes energy bills
Scientists have designed a new hybrid roofing system which could halve energy bills in new homes.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Green storage for green energy
Researchers have demonstrated a safe and affordable battery capable of storing energy from intermittent sources -- like rooftop solar panels -- that is suitable for the home.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Engineers invent transparent coating that cools solar cells to boost efficiency
The hotter solar cells become, the less efficient they are at converting sunlight to electricity, a problem that has long vexed the solar industry. Now engineers have developed a transparent overlay that increases efficiency by cooling the cells even in full sunlight.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Greening the electric grid with gas turbines
Much of the nation's energy policy is premised on the assumption that clean renewable sources like wind and solar will require huge quantities of storage before they can make a significant dent in the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. A new study pokes holes in that conventional wisdom. The analysis finds that the supply of wind and solar power could be increased tenfold without additional storage.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar power study inspired by field of medicine
Researchers will do an epidemiological, disease control?type study of more than 5 million solar panels at hundreds of power plants around the world to learn how photovoltaic modules degrade under varying conditions. The study’s goal is to drive designs that make modules last longer and have more predictable power output, which can help reduce the cost of clean power and add certainty for renewable energy investors.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Artificial leaf: New efficiency record for solar hydrogen production is 14 percent
An international team has succeeded in considerably increasing the efficiency for direct solar water splitting with a tandem solar cell whose surfaces have been selectively modified. The new record value is 14 percent and thus tops the previous record of 12.4 percent, broken now for the first time in 17 years.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Building the electron superhighway
Scientists have invented a new way to view and create what they are calling 'an electron superhighway' in an organic semiconductor. This approach promises to allow electrons to flow faster and farther -- aiding the hunt for flexible electronics, organic solar cells, and other low-cost alternatives to silicon.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New way to store solar energy could lead to more common solar cell usage
A relatively inexpensive and simple way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen has been developed using a new electrodeposition method. The findings could lead to a sizable increase in the amount of hydrogen available for fuel usage, scientists say.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Discovery of a highly efficient catalyst eases way to hydrogen economy
Hydrogen could be the ideal fuel: Whether used to make electricity in a fuel cell or burned to make heat, the only byproduct is water; there is no climate-altering carbon dioxide. Like gasoline, hydrogen could also be used to store energy. Scientists now report a hydrogen-making catalyst containing phosphorus and sulfur -- both common elements -- and cobalt, a metal that is 1,000 times cheaper than platinum.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

High-efficiency, high-reliability perovskite solar cells realized by a low-temperature solution process
Researchers in Japan succeeded in producing highly reproducible and highly stable perovskite solar cells by a low-temperature solution process.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Inspired by art, lightweight solar cells track the sun
Solar cells capture up to 40 percent more energy when they can track the sun across the sky, but conventional, motorized trackers are too heavy and bulky for pitched rooftops and vehicle surfaces.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Novel efficient and low-cost semitransparent solar cells
Scientists have successfully developed efficient and low-cost semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene electrodes. The power conversion efficiencies of this novel invention are around 12 percent.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar water-splitting technology developed
Researchers have demonstrated an efficient new way to capture the energy from sunlight and convert it into clean, renewable energy by splitting water molecules. The technology uses sunlight-harvesting gold nanoparticles.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

How to curb emissions: Put a price on carbon
Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions. While prospects for a comprehensive carbon price are dim, especially in the US, many other policy approaches can spur the renewables revolution, according to a new policy article.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Making fuel from light
Photosynthesis has given life to the planet. While scientists have been studying and mimicking the natural phenomenon in the laboratory for years, understanding how to replicate the chemical process behind it has largely remained a mystery -- until now.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Super solar cells collect higher energy photons 30 times better
A team of scientists have created solar cells that collect higher energy photons at 30 times the concentration of conventional solar cells, the highest luminescent concentration factor ever recorded.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Potential of disk-shaped small structures, coccoliths, to promote efficient bioenergy production
Researchers have shown that coccolith disks made of calcium carbonate in <em>Emiliania huxleyi</em>, one of the promising biomass resources, potentially perform roles in reducing and enhancing the light that enters the cell by light scattering. Elucidation of the physiological significance of coccolith formation in <em>E. huxleyi</em> can help promote efficient bioenergy production using microalgae. <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Cost-effective catalyst converts CO2 into natural gas
A new discovery helps not only to make natural gas from CO2 but also to store renewable energy. Chemists show how this process can be implemented in a cost-effective and controllable way.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Wireless charging and discharging for electric vehicles
In the future, a wireless charging system will allow electric cars not only to charge their batteries, but also to feed energy back into the power grid, helping to stabilize it. The cost-effective charging system achieves high levels of efficiency across the whole power range, from 400 watts to 3.6 kilowatts, while the car and the charging coil can be up to 20 centimeters apart.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption
Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Artificial leaf harnesses sunlight for efficient fuel production
A new solar fuel generation system, or artificial leaf, safely creates fuel from sunlight and water with record-setting efficiency and stability.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Charging a lithium-ion battery efficiently with a solar cell
Researchers have wired four perovskite solar cells in series to enhance the voltage and directly photo-charged lithium batteries with 7.8 percent efficiency -- the most efficient reported to date, the researchers believe.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Another milestone in hybrid artificial photosynthesis
Researchers using a bioinorganic hybrid approach to artificial photosynthesis have combined semiconducting nanowires with select microbes to create a system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane, the primary constituent of natural gas.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Using sunlight to recharge the cooling system of trailer containers
A group of scientists has replaced diesel with kinetic energy, saving up to 20 thousand liters of fuel annually, they say, adding that this includes a series of energetically self-sustained boxes for the transport of perishable goods, with a cooling system that replaced the use of diesel with sunlight and kinetic energy.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

'Diamonds from the sky' approach turns CO2 into valuable products
Finding a technology to shift carbon dioxide, the most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity has long been a dream. Now, a team of chemists says they have developed a technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Challenge to classic theory of 'organic' solar cells could improve efficiency
New research findings contradict a fundamental assumption about the functioning of 'organic' solar cells made of low-cost plastics, suggesting a new strategy for creating inexpensive solar technology.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar cell efficiency could double with novel 'green' antenna
The use of solar energy in the US is growing, but panels on rooftops are still a rare sight. They cost thousands of dollars, and homeowners don't recoup costs for years. But scientists may have a solution. Researchers report the development of a unique, 'green' antenna that could potentially double efficiencies of certain solar cells and make them more affordable. These antennas are made with biological and non-toxic materials that are edible in theory, one researcher said.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Charge transport in hybrid silicon solar cells
A surprising discovery has been made about hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells. Contrary to expectations, a diode composed of the conductive organic PEDOT:PSS and an n-type silicon absorber material behaves more like a pn junction between two semiconductors than like a metal-semiconductor contact (Schottky diode).<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Microscopic rake doubles efficiency of low-cost solar cells
Researchers have developed a manufacturing technique that could double the electricity output of inexpensive solar cells by using a microscopic rake when applying light-harvesting polymers.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Chemists find new way to do light-driven reactions in solar energy quest
Chemists have discovered an unexpected way to use plasmonic metal, harvesting the high energy electrons excited by light in plasmon and then using this energy to do chemistry. Plasmon is a collective motion of free electrons in a metal that strongly absorbs and scatters light.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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