Friday, May 06, 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


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.

Silicon profits from a dose of iron
A streamlined procedure for assembling the active components of photovoltaic devices from inexpensive metals could boost their economic prospects, report scientists.

'Community solar' systems may add savings to local, cooperative energy projects
Part of the future of solar energy, especially for residential use, may be small'community-based' systems in which neighbors join together in the construction and use of solar systems to optimize the energy produced in their neighborhood -- and share in the benefits. Increases of 5-10 percent in the energy produced are possible, say experts.

Transparent wood could one day help brighten homes and buildings
When it comes to indoor lighting, nothing beats the sun's rays streaming in through windows. Soon, that natural light could be shining through walls, too. Scientists have developed transparent wood that could be used in building materials and could help home and building owners save money on their artificial lighting costs. Their material also could find application in solar cell windows.

Wood windows? Transparent wood material used for buildings, solar cells
Windows and solar panels in the future could be made from one of the best — and cheapest — construction materials known: wood. Researchers have developed a new transparent wood material that's suitable for mass production.

Flexible energy storage is smaller, cheaper, better
Engineers have developed a way to make a magnetic material that could lead to lighter and smaller, cheaper and better-performing high-frequency transformers, needed for more flexible energy storage systems and widespread adoption of renewable energy.

Solar cell material can recycle light to boost efficiency
Scientists have discovered that a highly promising group of materials known as hybrid lead halide perovskites can recycle light -- a finding that they believe could lead to large gains in the efficiency of solar cells.

Renewable energy investments: Major milestones reached, new world record set
Coal and gas-fired generation attracted less than half as much capacity investment as renewables last year; Renewables added more to global energy generation capacity than all other technologies combined; For first time, developing world investments in renewables (up 19 percent in 2015) topped developed nations' (down 8 percent); and world record total of $286 billion invested in renewables last year; makes $2.3 trillion over 12 years.

Solar fuels: A refined protective layer for the 'artificial leaf'
Researchers have developed a process for providing sensitive semiconductors for solar water splitting ("artificial leaves") with an organic, transparent protective layer. The extremely thin protective layer made of carbon chains is stable, conductive, and covered with catalyzing nanoparticles of metal oxides. These accelerate the splitting of water when irradiated by light.

Nano plates as catalysts for solar fuels
Solar fuels, clean fuels from sunlight, water and CO2, form an attractive way for storing solar energy in hydrogen or hydrocarbons, for example. The efficiency of this technology still needs a ‘boost’. Researcher investigated special nanoplates with platinum particles on them, accelerating the chemical conversion.

Researchers crack 50-year-old nuclear waste problem, make storage safer
Researchers have adapted a technology developed for solar energy in order to selectively remove one of the trickiest and most-difficult-to-remove elements in nuclear waste pools across the country, making the storage of nuclear waste safer and nontoxic - and solving a decades-old problem.

New method could unleash solar power potential
New measurement and data analysis techniques could provide insight into performance-robbing flaws in crystalline structures, ultimately improving the performance of solar cells.

New material increases the lifetime of solar-powered electrons
By combining two materials on the atomic scale, scientists built a designer interface that separates electrons and holes; this work matters because those electrons could go on to drive reactions that yield hydrogen fuel, converting intermittent sunlight into fuels.

Atomic vibrations in nanomaterials
Researchers have shown for the first time what happens to atomic vibrations when materials are nanosized and how this knowledge can be used to systematically engineer nanomaterials for different applications.

Technological breakthrough for cheaper lighting, flexible solar cells
In more than three years of work, European scientists have finally made future lighting technology ready to market. They developed flexible lighting foils that can be produced roll-to-roll – much like newspapers are printed. These devices pave the path towards cheaper solar cells and LED lighting panels.

New research uncovers the ‘myths’ behind technological solutions to aviation’s climate change crisis
A new study has explored the ways in which new technologies have been ‘hyped’ by the aviation industry and media as the key to sustainable air travel, perpetuating a culture of non-accountability for increased emissions and subsequent environmental damage.

Clean energy could stress global water resources
Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector could lead to greater pressure on water resources, increasing water use and thermal water pollution. Dedicated adaptation measures will be needed in order to avoid potential trade-offs between the water and climate change impacts of the energy system.

Novel ocean-current turbine design: Taming oceans for 24/7 power
Researchers have proposed a novel ocean-current turbine design. Fossil fuels propelled the Industrial Revolution and subsequent technological advances. However, our future cannot be based on them, if only because they are a finite resource; and we are very close to exhausting them. Ocean currents are another source of power, comparable to fossil fuels in terms of consistency and reliability, and at the same time, clean and renewable.

Molecular architectures see the light
Organic photovoltaics bear great potential for large-scale, cost-effective solar power generation. One challenge to be surmounted is the poor ordering of the thin layers on top of the electrodes. Utilizing self-assembly on atomically flat, transparent substrates, a team of scientists has engineered ordered monolayers of molecular networks with photovoltaic responses. The findings open up intriguing possibilities for the bottom-up fabrication of optoelectronic devices with molecular precision.

Analysis finds tax credit extensions can impact renewable energy deployment, electric sector
New analysis explores the potential impact of recently extended federal tax credits on the deployment of renewable generation technologies and related US electric sector carbon dioxide emissions.

Researchers make key improvement in solar cell technology
Researchers have reached a critical milestone in solar cell fabrication, helping pave the way for solar energy to directly compete with electricity generated by conventional energy sources.

Solar cells as light as a soap bubble
Imagine solar cells so thin, flexible, and lightweight that they could be placed on almost any material or surface, including your hat, shirt, or smartphone, or even on a sheet of paper or a helium balloon. Researchers have now demonstrated just such a technology: the thinnest, lightest solar cells ever produced.

Carbon tax needed to cut fossil fuel consumption
Technology-driven cost reductions in fossil fuels will lead us to continue using all the oil, gas, and coal we can, unless governments pass new taxes on carbon emissions, says one expert.

Adapted Trombe wall now used for both building heating, cooling
A new study demonstrates a way to adapt the so-called Trombe wall -- a passive solar building design from the 19th century -- to not only heat but also cool buildings, while drastically reduce associated carbon emissions. The new design is now being tested by locals in Saint Catherine, Egypt.

Wi-Fi achieved at 10,000 times lower power
Computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. With 'Passive Wi-Fi,' signals can be transmitted at rates up to 11 megabits per second -- rates that are lower than maximum Wi-Fi speeds but are 11 times faster than Bluetooth -- and decoded on any of the billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Chemically storing solar power
A photo-electrochemical cell has been developed that can chemically store the energy of ultraviolet light even at high temperatures.

Buildings wrapped in high-efficiency, flexible solar cells? It could happen
Patented organic solar cell breakthrough could increase their efficiency to cost-effective levels. Buildings and rooftops could be wrapped in lightweight, flexible sheets of solar cells, say researchers, adding that this could also provide reliable power to isolated regions.

New technique for turning sunlight into hydrogen
A new photoelectrode boosts the ability of solar water-splitting to produce hydrogen.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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