Sunday, October 04, 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

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=""/>

Heating with the sun: Solar active houses put to the test
Solar-Active-Houses heat themselves using heat collectors and water tanks. However, no one had conducted an objective assessment of how efficiently they do so. Now researchers have put some of these solar houses to the test, and have identified where there was room for improvement and laid the scientific groundwork for this housing concept.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New design brings world's first solar battery to performance milestone
After debuting the world's first solar air battery last fall, researchers have now reached a new milestone. They report that their patent-pending design -- which combines a solar cell and a battery into a single device -- now achieves a 20 percent energy savings over traditional lithium-iodine batteries.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Butterflies heat up the field of solar research
The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown. By mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent, scientists say.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Lobster-eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions
A group of scientists have described developing and launching their imager, which centers on "Lobster-Eye optics," as well as its capabilities and future applications in space exploration.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light into electricity
Solar energy could be made cheaper if solar cells could be coaxed to generate more power. A huge gain in this direction has been made by a team of chemists that has found an ingenious way to make solar energy conversion more efficient. The researchers combined inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules to 'upconvert' photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Changing the Color of Light
Researchers have developed a method that could improve medical imaging and cancer treatments and increase the efficiency of commercial solar cells by 25 to 30 percent.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells
Although the domestic solar-energy industry grew by 34 percent in 2014, fundamental technical breakthroughs are needed if the U.S. is to meet its national goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. New research could make it easier for engineers to harness the power of light-capturing nanomaterials to boost the efficiency and reduce the costs of photovoltaic solar cells.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Smart building monitoring to respond to all climate conditions
A grid of sensors embedded into an innovative building insulation activates specific façade components to optimise energy savings while improving aesthetics.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Perovskite solar technology shows quick energy returns
In the solar power research community, a new class of materials called perovskites is causing quite a buzz, as scientists search for technology that has a better 'energy payback time' than the silicon-based solar panels currently dominating the market. Now, a new study reports that perovskite modules are better than any commercially available solar technology when products are compared on the basis of energy payback time.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost
Researchers have developed a very promising prototype of a new solar celll. The material gallium phosphide enables their solar cell to produce the clean fuel hydrogen gas from liquid water. Processing the gallium phosphide in the form of very small nanowires is novel and helps to boost the yield by a factor of ten. And does so using ten thousand times less precious material.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Unique material created for the next generation solar cells
Researchers have developed material which offers much cheaper alternative to the one which is currently being used in hybrid solar cells. The efficiency of the semi-conductors created by the team of chemists has been confirmed.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Plantations of nanorods on carpets of graphene capture the Sun's energy
The Sun can be a better chemist, thanks to zinc oxide nanorod arrays grown on a graphene substrate and 'decorated' with dots of cadmium sulphide. In the presence of solar radiation, this combination of zero and one-dimensional semiconductor structures with two-dimensional graphene is a great catalyst for many chemical reactions.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Are fuel cells environmentally friendly? Not always
Fuel cells are regarded as the technology of the future for both cars and household heating systems. As a result, they have a key role to play in the switch to renewable energies. But are fuel cells always more environmentally friendly? An international team of scientists performed a series of calculations and reached a conclusion: It depends on the fuel.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Is the energy system really ready for sustainable energy?
New research into sustainable energy systems focuses on integrating renewable and nuclear power plants into the electrical grid – a topic high on the agenda for scholars, industry and policy makers.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Nanoscale light-emitting device has big profile
Engineers have created a nanoscale device that can emit light as powerfully as an object 10,000 times its size. It's an advance that could have huge implications for everything from photography to solar power.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

The quantum physics of artificial light harvesting
Plants and bacteria make use of sunlight with remarkably high efficiency: nine out of ten absorbed light particles are being put to use in an ordinary bacterium. For years, it has been a pressing question of modern research whether or not effects from quantum physics are responsible for this outstanding performance of natural light harvesters. Scientists have now examined these quantum effects in an artificial model system.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Discovery of a 'heat-storage ceramic'
Researchers have discovered a new type of material which stores heat energy for a prolonged period, which they have termed a "heat storage ceramic." This new material can be used as heat storage material for solar heat energy generation systems or efficient use of industrial heat waste, enabling recycling of heat energy, since the material releases the stored heat energy on demand by application of weak pressure.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

New design could dramatically boost efficiency of low-cost solar panels
A new material design could make low-cost solar panels far more efficient by greatly enhancing their ability to collect the sun’s energy and release it as electricity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Depletion, enrichment of chlorine in perovskites observed
X-ray spectroscopy at BESSY II reveals inhomogenous distribution of chlorine in a special class of perovskite materials. The discovery could help to enhance efficiencies of perovskite thin film solar cells by controlled processing to optimize the chlorine distribution.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Future deployment of distributed solar hinges on electricity rate design
Future distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment levels are highly sensitive to retail electricity rate design, according to a newly released report. The study also explores the feedback effects between retail electricity rates and PV deployment, and suggests that increased solar deployment can lead to changes in PV compensation levels that either accelerate or dampen further deployment.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Testing heats up at solar tower with high temperature falling particle receiver
Researchers are working to lower the cost of solar energy systems and improve efficiencies in a big way, thanks to a system of small particles. Falling particle receiver technology is expected to further advance the state-of-the art in concentrating solar power tower systems capable of generating up to 100 megawatts of electricity.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Switzerland's transition away from nuclear power
Switzerland has a long history of trying to be as self-sufficient and energy independent as possible. Although its energy supply system has served it well in the past, the country is now looking to turn away from its reliance on nuclear power and seeks to compensate for the energy lost from hydropower as a result of climate change.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Record-breaking solar flight reaches Hawaii after 5 nights and days airborne without fuel
The longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight attempted since last March by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg ended successfully in Hawaii. At the controls of Solar Impulse 2, pilot André Borschberg landed safely in Hawaii after flying 117 hours and 52 minutes over the Pacific Ocean from Japan powered only by the sun.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source
Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.<img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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=""/>

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