Thursday, July 02, 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.   


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Green Building Resource Center

New storage cell for solar energy storage, nighttime conversion
A materials science and engineering team has developed a new energy cell that can store large-scale solar energy even when it's dark.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New method can make cheaper solar energy storage
Building on a unique idea, scientists have developed a cost-effective new method for converting and storing solar energy into hydrogen.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Orange is the new red
A photoprotective mechanism in cyanobacteria is triggered by an unprecedented, large-scale movement from one location to another of the carotenoid pigment within the Orange Carotenoid Protein, researchers have discovered.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Better heat exchangers using garbage bags
Researchers are making better heat exchangers for industrial use using the same plastic as in garbage bags.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

First certified efficiency of 15% in perovskite solar cells with area of over 1 square cm
Researchers achieved 15% energy conversion efficiency in perovskite solar cells for the first time certified at an international public test center.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Distributed technique for power 'scheduling' advances smart grid concept
A new technique for 'scheduling' energy in electric grids has been developed. It moves away from centralized management by tapping into the distributed computing power of energy devices. The approach advances the smart grid concept by coordinating the energy being produced and stored by both conventional and renewable sources.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors
Scientists have developed a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of the energy trickling into it, even at the extremely low power levels characteristic of tiny solar cells. Previous experimental ultralow-power converters had efficiencies of only 40 or 50 percent.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Russia's renewable energy policy: Profitable for investors
In 2013, Russia implemented an incentive system for renewable energy sources that is based on the wholesale electricity capacity mechanism. It is intended to increase the share of renewable energy in the country's energy production. New researchers demonstrates that the incentive system can make renewable energy investments in wind, solar and small-scale hydro power profitable for investors. However, in order to be profitable the investments must be within the scope of the full Russian support scheme.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage
Chemists have developed a major improvement to capture and retain energy from sunlight, where the stored energy can last dramatically longer than current solar technology allows -- up to several weeks, instead of the microseconds found in today's rooftop solar panels.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

First solar cell made of highly ordered molecular frameworks
Researchers have developed a material suited for photovoltaics. For the first time, a functioning organic solar cell consisting of a single component has been produced on the basis of metal-organic framework compounds (MOFs). The material is highly elastic and might also be used for the flexible coating of clothes and deformable components.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Highest certified efficiency for perovskite solar cells measuring over one square centimetre
Researchers have achieved a 15% energy conversion efficiency in perovskite solar cells for the first time in the world, as officially recognized by an international public test center.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Benchmarking electrocatalysts for solar water-splitting devices
Efficiently turning sunlight into storable fuels requires catalysts that convert a maximum amount of solar energy into fuel. A lack of standardized analytic conditions and methods has made objectively comparing catalysts challenging. Scientists standardized measurement techniques to allow a quantitative, objective evaluation of such catalysts.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Hematite 're-growth' smoothes rough edges for clean energy harvest
By smoothing the surface of hematite, a team of researchers achieved the first 'unassisted' water splitting using the abundant rust-like mineral and silicon to capture and store solar energy within hydrogen gas.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New methane bioreactor produces environmentally friendly energy, mitigates climate change
A new methane bioreactor boosts environmentally friendly energy to the markets. The reactor stores renewable energy and produces synthetic biomethane with good efficiency. The new technology can help in achieving a carbon-neutral society, developers report.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

How to convert US to 100 percent renewable energy
It's technically possible for each state to replace fossil fuel energy with entirely clean, renewable energy, experts say. A new report is the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Stable perovskite solar cells developed through structural simplification
Perovskite solar cells are promising low-cost and highly-efficient next-generation solar cells. Now a research team has successfully developed perovskite solar cells with good reproducibility and stability as well as exhibiting ideal semiconducting properties.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Getting rid of pinholes in solar cells
Researchers have learned how to eliminate pesky pinholes in perovskite solar cells. The pinholes in the top layer of the solar cell, known as the hole transport layer, were identified as a key cause for the quick degradation of perovskite solar cells. Researchers around the world are investigating the potential of perovskite, a humanmade organic-inorganic hybrid material, as an alternative to silicon-based solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar power: Finding safe and efficient home storage systems
How do I find the right storage system for my application? This question is asked by many potential buyers. Battery storage systems available on the market differ considerably in terms of safety, price, performance, and, hence, economic efficiency. New research shows how efficient batteries should be designed and provide information on the reliable assessment of the performance of storage systems.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Fine-tuned molecular orientation is key to more efficient polymer solar cells
Polymer solar cells are a hot area of research due to both their strong future potential and the significant challenges they pose. It is believed that thanks to lower production costs, they could become a viable alternative to conventional solar cells with silicon substrates when they achieve a power conversion efficiency--a measure that indicates how much electricity they can generate from a given amount of sunlight--of between 10 and 15 percent. Now, using carefully designed materials and an "inverted" architecture, a team of scientists has achieved efficiency of 10 percent, bringing these cells close to the threshold of commercial viability. <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

American energy use up slightly, carbon emissions almost unchanged
Americans' energy use continued to grow slowly in 2014, fueled by increases in the use of natural gas, wind and solar, according to the most recent energy flow charts.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Nanobionics supercharge photosynthesis
A new process has been developed for spontaneously incorporating and assembling carbon nanotubes and oxygen-scavenging nanoparticles into chloroplasts, the part of plant cells that conduct photosynthesis. Incorporation enhanced electron flow associated with photosynthesis. When these nanocomposites were incorporated into leaf chloroplasts of living plants, the electron flow associated with photosynthesis was enhanced by 30%.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1%
Researchers have obtained the record-breaking efficiency of 22.1 percent efficiency on nanostructured silicon solar cells. An almost 4 percent absolute increase to their previous record was achieved by applying a thin passivating film on the nanostructures and by integrating all metal contacts on the back side of the cell.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Artificial photosynthesis: New, stable photocathode with great potential
Scientists have developed a new composite photocathode for generating hydrogen using sunlight. The photocathode consists of a thin film of chalcopyrite coated with a newly developed thin film of titanium dioxide containing platinum nanoparticles. This layer protects the chalcopyrite thin film from corrosion, it acts as a catalyst to speed-up formation of hydrogen even shows photoelectric current density and voltage comparable to those of a chalcopyrite-based thin film solar cell.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Superhydrophobic glass coating offers clear benefits
A moth's eye and lotus leaf were the inspirations for an antireflective water-repelling, or superhydrophobic, glass coating that holds significant potential for solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows, weapons systems and many other products.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Inkjet printing process for kesterite solar cells
A research team has developed an inkjet printing technology to produce kesterite thin film absorbers. Based on the inkjet-printed absorbers, solar cells with total area conversion efficiency of up to 6.4 percent have been achieved. Although this is lower than the efficiency records for this material class, the inkjet printing minimizes waste and has huge advantages for industrial production.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

First field-effect transistors on hybrid perovskites fabricated for first time
Researchers have fabricated halide organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite field-effect transistors and measure their electrical characteristics at room temperature for the first time. Hybrid perovskites are a family of crystalline materials that hold great promise in the clean energy world.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Better battery for storing solar energy?
The sun is a huge source of energy. In just one hour planet Earth is hit by so much sunshine that humankind could cover its energy needs for an entire year if only we knew how to harvest and save it. But storing sunshine is not trivial. Now a student has researched his way to a breakthrough which may prove pivotal for technologies trying to capture the energy of the sun, and saving it for a rainy day.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Engineering a better solar cell: Defects in popular perovskites pinpointed
A new study demonstrates that perovskite materials - superefficient crystal structures that have recently taken the scientific community by storm - contain flaws that can be engineered to improve solar cells and other devices even further.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics and medicine
The global industrial sector accounts for more than half of the total energy used every year. Now scientists are inventing a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry's dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering part of the sector with solar energy and bacteria. The system converts light and carbon dioxide into building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels -- all without electricity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Electrical power converter allows grid to easily accept power from renewable energy
Engineering researchers have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

A video camera that powers itself
Scientists have invented a prototype video camera that is the first to be fully self-powered -- it can produce an image each second, indefinitely, of a well-lit indoor scene. They designed a pixel that can not only measure incident light but also convert the incident light into electric power.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves
Researchers have developed a novel design for electromagnetic energy harvesting based on the "full absorption concept." This involves the use of metamaterials that can be tailored to produce media that neither reflects nor transmits any power -- enabling full absorption of incident waves at a specific range of frequencies and polarizations.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

California's solar incentive program has had only modest impact on adoption rates
According to a new analysis, California's aggressive incentive program for installing rooftop solar-electric systems has not been as effective as generally believed.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Shifts in electricity generation spur net job growth, but coal jobs decline
In four years following the 2008 recession, the US coal industry lost more than 49,000 jobs, while the natural gas, solar, and wind industries together created nearly four times that amount, according to a new. Few of the new jobs were added in states hardest hit by coal's decline, particularly West Virginia and Kentucky.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Battery energy storage project shows promise for electricity network
Scientists have revealed the potential of a new battery energy storage system to reduce electricity prices while improving power efficiency and quality.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar cooling system keeps water at 9 degrees Celsius for up to three months
Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost,  it is now possible with new technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Wrapping carbon nanotubes in polymers enhances their performance
Scientists say polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes hold much promise in biotechnology and energy applications.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New kind of 'tandem' solar cell: Two types of photovoltaic material combined to make a cell that harnesses more sunlight
Researchers have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun's energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say. The new cell uses a layer of silicon -- which forms the basis for most of today's solar panels -- but adds a semi-transparent layer of a material called perovskite, which can absorb higher-energy particles of light. Unlike an earlier "tandem" solar cell reported by members of the same team earlier this year -- in which the two layers were physically stacked, but each had its own separate electrical connections -- the new version has both layers connected together as a single device that needs only one control circuit.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Discovery could yield more efficient portable electronics, solar cells
A team of chemists has set the stage for more efficient and sturdier portable electronic devices and possibly a new generation of solar cells based on organic materials.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Airships: The future of aviation?
Researchers have completed a three year investigation into stratospheric passenger airships as part of a multi-national engineering project designed to provide a future sustainable air transport network.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Towards 'printed' organic solar cells and LEDs
Flexible optoelectronic devices that can be produced roll-to-roll -- much like newspapers are printed -- are a highly promising path to cheaper devices such as solar cells and LED lighting panels. Scientists have now created prototype flexible solar cell modules as well as novel silver-based transparent electrodes that outperform currently used materials.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

A new method for making perovskite solar cells
Researchers have come up with a new way of making thin perovskite films for solar cells. The method forms perovskite crystals at room temperature, which could be helpful in mass production settings. The technique is especially well suited to make ultra-thin, semitransparent films, which could be used in photovoltaic windows.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Scientists move closer to 'two for one deal' on solar cell efficiency
The underlying mechanism behind an enigmatic process called 'singlet exciton fission,' which could enable the development of significantly more powerful solar cells, has been identified by scientists in a new study.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over
In the face of global climate change, increasing the use of renewable energy resources is one of the most urgent challenges facing the world. New work finds that the amount of energy that could be generated from solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure in California would exceed the state's demand by up to five times.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Uncovering the secrets of super solar power perovskites
In a scant five years of development, hybrid perovskite solar cells have attained power conversion efficiencies that took decades to achieve with the top-performing conventional materials, but scientists have lacked a clear understanding of the precise goings on at the molecular level. New findings help fill that void.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar cells: Increased pressure creates a happy union
By tailoring the interface between the two sections of a solar cell, researchers have produced a high-performance solar cell from the abundant and cheap materials of copper (II) oxide and silicon.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New approach combines biomass conversion, solar energy conversion
A new approach to combine solar energy conversion and biomass conversion has been presented by researchers. These are two important research areas for renewable energy, they say.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

The global energy challenge: One billion people have no access to electricity
More than one billion people world-wide have no access to electricity to cook food or light their homes, despite the technology being in place. A study on options for getting more electrical access has taken place in Bangladesh.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a more effective carbon capture method
Trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and various industries could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future. But current materials that can collect CO2 -- from smokestacks, for example -- have low capacities or require very high temperatures to work. Scientists are making progress toward a more efficient alternative that could help make carbon capture less energy intensive.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Solar cells to get growth boost, price cut
Researchers have found that growing a type of film used to manufacture solar cells in ambient air gives it a growth boost. The finding could make manufacturing solar cells significantly cheaper.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Researchers discover new material to produce clean energy
Researchers have created a new thermoelectric material, intended to generate electric power from waste heat -- from a vehicle tailpipe, for example, or an industrial smokestack -- with greater efficiency and higher output power than currently available materials.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

First in-depth look at solar project completion timelines
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has gathered and analyzed data for more than 30,000 solar photovoltaic installations across the United States to better understand how interconnection regulations align with actual project completion timelines. The findings indicate that interconnection process delays are common, and can range from several days to months. Streamlining the application review and final authorization processes can ultimately benefit utilities and solar consumers by reducing the time and cost associated with going solar.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Advancing solar power in Hawaii
Inverter load rejection overvoltage tests have proven so successful in Hawaii that a testing partner, Hawaiian Electric Companies, has proposed to double its hosting capacity for solar energy.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Blend of polymers could one day make solar power lighter, cheaper and more efficient
Scientists are reporting advances on how to one day make solar cells stronger, lighter, more flexible and less expensive when compared with the current silicon or germanium technology on the market.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Supersonic electrons could produce future solar fuel
Researchers have taken a step closer to producing solar fuel using artificial photosynthesis. In a new study, they have successfully tracked the electrons’ rapid transit through a light-converting molecule.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Energy use in buildings: Innovative, lower cost sensors and controls yield better energy efficiency
Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Studies indicate that advanced sensors and controls have the potential to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by 20-30 percent.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Magnetic nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells
Magnetic nanoparticles can increase the performance of solar cells made from polymers -- provided the mix is right. Adding about one per cent of such nanoparticles by weight makes the solar cells more efficient, according to new findings.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Researchers enable solar cells to use more sunlight
Scientists report progress in photovoltaic research: they have improved a component that will enable solar cells to use more energy of the sun and thus create a higher current.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Using 'fuzzy logic' to optimize hybrid solar/battery systems
A group of researchers in Tunisia and Algeria show how fuzzy logic has helped them create an ideal photovoltaic system that obeys the supply-and-demand principle and its delicate balance. They have now described this new sizing system of a solar array and a battery in a standalone photovoltaic system.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Detecting defects at the nanoscale will profit solar panel production
New research may lead to major efficiency gains and cost savings in the manufacture of flexible solar panels. The goal is to develop new technologies for the detection, cleaning and repair of micro and nanoscale defects in thin films that are vital in products such as printed electronics and solar panels.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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