Wednesday, December 07, 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


Ultrathin protective layer brings quite a bit more stability to perovskite solar cell
The addition of a few nanometers of a thin layer of aluminum oxide protects a perovskite solar cell against humidity -- still a major stumbling block to the commercial application of this new type of solar cell. A surprising bonus is a yield boost of 3 percent.

Game changer for organic solar cells
Researchers have developed a simple processing technique that could cut the cost of organic photovoltaics and wearable electronics.

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics
A simple solution-based electrical doping technique could help reduce the cost of polymer solar cells and organic electronic devices, potentially expanding the applications for these technologies.

Plug in for renewable energy
A new study shows a huge US market for plug and play solar energy, with billions of dollars in retail sales and energy savings. So what's holding up widespread use?

Perovskite solar cells hit new world efficiency record
They're flexible, cheap to produce and simple to make -- which is why perovskites are the hottest new material in solar cell design. And now, engineers in Australia have smashed the trendy new compound's world efficiency record.

Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
Researchers have combined quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells, outlines a new report.

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells
Scientists are able to improve the efficiency of solar cells more than threefold, outlines a new report. The solar cells are a flexible, lightweight and environmentally-friendly and have the capacity to be printed in different colours and shapes. They are a contrast to their inorganic competitors as they also convert efficiently indirect sunlight, making them ideal material to power devices on the move, such as for the Internet of Things.

New fabrication technique leads to broader sunlight absorption in plastic solar cells
Researchers have developed a new strategy for fabricating more efficient plastic solar cells. The work has implications for developing solar cells with a wider absorption range and increased efficiency, say researchers.

Solar power could become cheaper, more widespread
Solar cells can be made with tin instead of lead, scientists find. This breakthrough may make solar power cheaper and more commercially viable, and even usable for mobile phones, laptops and cars.

Glow-in-the-dark dye could fuel liquid-based batteries
Could a glow-in-the-dark dye be the next advancement in energy storage technology? Scientists think so.

Local grid solution for global energy transition
What will intelligent, decentralized energy management look like in the future? A research team is exploring how to efficiently coordinate energy producers, storage systems, and consumers as well as how to test the innovative technologies required. The research parking garage houses 30 charging spots for electric vehicles, Europe’s fastest high-speed charging station, as well as Europe’s first hydrogen storage system based on LOHC technology.

Solar smart window could offer privacy, light control on demand
Smart windows get darker to filter out the sun's rays on bright days, and turn clear on cloudy days to let more light in. This feature can help control indoor temperatures and offers some privacy without resorting to aids such as mini-blinds. Now scientists report a new development in this growing niche: solar smart windows that can turn opaque on demand and even power other devices.

New technology aims to make photovoltaic cells 70% more efficient
A technology has been developed that could improve the efficiency of photovoltaic cells by nearly 70 percent. The breakthrough could be a key for harnessing the power of the sun to meet the world’s energy consumption demands.

New way to image solar cells in 3-D
Scientists have developed a way to use optical microscopy to map thin-film solar cells in 3-D as they absorb photons.

Battery cars a better choice for reducing emissions than fuel cells
Many communities would be better off investing in electric vehicles that run on batteries instead of hydrogen fuel cells, in part because the hydrogen infrastructure provides few additional energy benefits for the community besides clean transportation, say experts.

Light detector with record-high sensitivity to revolutionize imaging
Researchers have reached near-unity response ranging from ultraviolet to infrared, outlines a new report.

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing
Marty McFly's self-lacing Nikes in Back to the Future Part II inspired a scientist who has developed filaments that harvest and store the sun's energy -- and can be woven into textiles. The breakthrough would essentially turn jackets and other clothing into wearable, solar-powered batteries that never need to be plugged in. There are a host of other potential uses, including electric cars that could generate and store energy whenever they're in the sun.

Major advance in solar cells made from cheap, easy-to-use perovskite
Physicists have boosted the efficiency of material that holds promise as base for next-generation solar cells. Perovskite solar cells are made of a mix of organic molecules and inorganic elements that together capture light and convert it into electricity, just like today's more common silicon-based solar cells. Perovskite photovoltaic devices, however, can be made more easily and cheaply than silicon and on a flexible rather than rigid substrate.

Chemistry driven by the sun, for a sustainable future
Researchers demonstrate that it is possible, and even necessary for a sustainable future, to drive chemical reactions using solar energy.

Semiconductor-free microelectronics are now possible, thanks to metamaterials
Engineers have fabricated the first semiconductor-free, optically-controlled microelectronic device. Using metamaterials, engineers were able to build a microscale device that shows a 1,000 percent increase in conductivity when activated by low voltage and a low power laser.

Simulation brings global 100% renewable electricity system alive for the first time
A new model shows how an electricity system mainly based on solar and wind works in all regions of the world. It shows the functioning of an electricity system that fulfils the targets set by the Paris agreement by using only renewable energy sources.

Balancing energy demand could save money
An incentive program that shifts electricity usage for low-priority activities to nonpeak times could help balance the demand for electricity and ease pressure on aging transmission lines. Utilities can then pass those energy savings on to consumers through discounted rates for those who agree to alter their energy usage habits, say authors of a new report.

Flexible solar panel goes where silicon can't
A team of engineers and chemists is producing flexible solar panels that can become part of window shades or wallpaper that will capture light from the sun as well as light from sources inside buildings.

Launching fusion reactions without a central magnet, or solenoid
The tokamak is an experimental chamber that holds a gas of energetic charged particles, plasma, for developing energy production from nuclear fusion. Most large tokamaks create the plasma with solenoids. But future tokamaks must do without solenoids, which run in short pulses rather than for weeks or months at a time as commercial fusion power plants will have to do. Recent computer simulations have now suggested a novel method for launching the plasma without using solenoids.

Engineer developing tools, technologies to make a better, smarter power grid
An American researcher is working on four projects that will help develop a better, smarter power grid. They're looking for ways to modernize the distribution system that brings power to our homes and offices. They're out to make a more reliable power grid for all of us. They want to build a smart grid.

New perovskite solar cell design could outperform existing commercial technologies
A new design for solar cells that uses inexpensive, commonly available materials could rival and even outperform conventional cells made of silicon. In a new article, researchers describe using tin and other abundant elements to create novel forms of perovskite -- a photovoltaic crystalline material that's thinner, more flexible and easier to manufacture than silicon crystals.

Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light
A revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material has been created that can be used in a variety of applications, including microscopic actuators and grippers for surgical robots, light-powered micro-mirrors for optical telecommunications systems, and more efficient solar cells and photodetectors.

Researchers road-test powerful method for studying singlet fission
Physicists have successfully employed a powerful technique for studying electrons generated through singlet fission, a process which it is believed will be key to more efficient solar energy production in years to come.

Highly efficient organic solar cells with improved operation stability
A new study has presented an effective and simple strategy to simutaneously improve and stablize the performance of Organic Solar Cells.

Cicada wings inspire antireflective surfaces
A team of researchers has used the shape of cicada wings as a template to create antireflective structures fabricated with one of the most intriguing semiconductor materials, titanium dioxide. The antireflective structures they produced are capable of suppressing visible light -- 450 to 750 nanometers -- at different angles of incidence.

Lights, action, electrons!
Ever since J.J. Thompson’s 1897 discovery of the electron, scientists have attempted to describe the subatomic particle’s motion using a variety of different means. Electrons are far too small and fast to be seen, even with the help of a light microscope. This has made measuring an electron’s movement very difficult for the past century. However, new research has made this process much easier.

Shale gas, not EPA rules, has pushed decline in coal-generated electricity, study confirms
Cheap shale gas produced by fracking has driven the decline in coal production in the United States during the last decade, researchers have found.

Innovative molten silicon-based energy storage system
A novel system has been created that allows the storage energy in molten silicon which is the most abundant element in Earth's crust. The system has patent pending status in the United States, and aims to develop a new generation of low cost solar thermal stations and becoming a innovative storage system of electricity and cogeneration for urban centers.

Efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force
Organic solar cells have now been developed with a significantly lower driving force and faster charge separation than previous cells, report scientists.

Non-toxic solvent removes barrier to commercialization of perovskite solar cells
Scientists have developed a solvent system with reduced toxicity that can be used in the manufacture of perovskite solar cells, clearing one of the barriers to the commercialization of a technology that promises to revolutionize the solar industry.

New advances in solar cell technology
With the high environmental cost of conventional energy sources and the finite supply of fossil fuels, the importance of renewable energy sources has become much more apparent in recent years. However, efficiently harnessing solar energy for human use has been a difficult task. While silicon-based solar cells can be used to capture sunlight energy, they are costly to produce on an industrial scale. New research has focused on using organo-metal halide perovskite films in solar cells. These perovskite films are highly crystalline materials that can be formed by a large number of different chemical combinations and can be deposited at low cost.

Nanotechnology for energy materials: Electrodes like leaf veins
Scientists have recently demonstrated for these applications that networks of metallic mesh possessing fractal-like nano-features surpass other metallic networks in utility.

Advance in low-cost clean energy generation
A substantial advance in generating electricity has now been realized through a combination of concentrating solar power and thermoelectric materials. By combining concentrating solar power -- which converts light into heat that is then used to generate electricity -- with segmented thermoelectric legs, made up of two different thermoelectric materials, each working at different temperature ranges, researchers said they have demonstrated a promising new alternative solar energy technology.

Food additive key to environmentally friendly, efficient, plastic solar cells
An efficient, semi-printed plastic solar cell has now been created without the use of environmentally hazardous halogen solvents.

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.

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