Monday, July 25, 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

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.

Flipping crystals triples solar-cell performance
In a step that could bring perovskite crystals closer to use in the burgeoning solar power industry, researchers have tweaked their crystal production method and developed a new type of two-dimensional layered perovskite with outstanding stability and more than triple the material's previous power conversion efficiency.

Discovery could dramatically boost efficiency of perovskite solar cells
Scientists have discovered a possible secret to dramatically boosting the efficiency of perovskite solar cells hidden in the nanoscale peaks and valleys of the crystalline material.

Utilizing a broader share of the solar spectrum
Small flakes of graphene could expand the usable spectral region of light in silicon solar cells to boost their efficiency, new research shows.

Saved by the sun: Solar-powered oxygen delivery system helps save lives in Uganda
A new twist on the use of renewable energy is saving children's lives in Africa. The innovation -- a solar-powered oxygen delivery system -- is providing concentrated oxygen in hospital for children suffering from severe pneumonia.

Nano-stiltskin: Turning gold into … see-through rubber
Flexible solar panels would benefit from stretchable, damage-resistant, transparent metal electrodes. Researchers found that topology and the adhesion between a metal nanomesh and the underlying substrate played key roles in creating such materials.

Hydrogen production from a relative of fool's gold
Scientists discovered a pyrite-type compound, similar to fool’s gold, that is competitive with platinum for splitting water to produce hydrogen.

Simple preparation for affordable solar energy storage
A simple process made an electrode that absorbs sunlight and produces oxygen on tiny cobalt islands on a silicon electrode.

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.

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