Thursday, February 23, 2017Register

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

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality
Researchers are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.

New hydronium-ion battery presents opportunity for more sustainable energy storage
A new type of battery shows promise for sustainable, high-power energy storage.It's the world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier.

Printable solar cells just got a little closer
A new innovation could make printing solar cells as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. Researchers have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of a relatively new class of solar devices called perovskite solar cells. This alternative solar technology could lead to low-cost, printable solar panels capable of turning nearly any surface into a power generator.

Breakthrough in 'wonder' materials paves way for flexible tech
Gadgets are set to become flexible, highly efficient and much smaller, following a breakthrough in measuring two-dimensional 'wonder' materials, report investigators.

New engineered material can cool roofs, structures with zero energy consumption
Engineers have developed a scalable manufactured metamaterial -- an engineered material with extraordinary properties not found in nature -- to act as a kind of air conditioning system for structures. It has the ability to cool objects even under direct sunlight with zero energy and water consumption.

Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity -- all at once
Many forms of energy surround you: sunlight, the heat in your room and even your own movements. All that energy -- normally wasted -- can potentially help power your portable and wearable gadgets, from biometric sensors to smart watches. Now, researchers have found that a mineral with the perovskite crystal structure has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources at the same time.

Research pinpoints promise of polycrystalline perovskites
A team of scientists has determined that surface recombination limits the performance of polycrystalline perovskite solar cells.

Svalbard's electric power could come from hydrogen
The energy supply to Longyearbyen, midway between continental Norway and the North Pole, is a hot topic in the climate debate. Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and the administrative centre of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Today, Longyearbyen obtains its electric power and district heating from its coal power plant, the only one in Norway.

Powerful change: A profile of today's solar consumer
People with higher incomes and better education no longer dominate demand for the domestic solar market in Queensland with a new study revealing the highest uptake in solar PV systems comes from families on medium to lower incomes.

Battling corrosion to keep solar panels humming
Researchers are studying corrosion to help industry develop longer-lasting photovoltaic panels and increase reliability.

Move over Bear Grylls! Academics build ultimate solar-powered water purifier
You've seen Bear Grylls turn foul water into drinking water with little more than sunlight and plastic. Academics added a third element -- carbon-dipped paper -- to create a highly efficient and inexpensive way to turn saltwater and contaminated water into potable water for personal use. The system could help address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disasters.

Storing solar power increases energy consumption and emissions, study finds
Homes with solar panels do not require on-site storage to reap the biggest economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, according to research. In fact, storing solar energy for nighttime use actually increases both energy consumption and emissions compared with sending excess solar energy directly to the utility grid.

100% renewable energy sources require overcapacity
Germany decided to go nuclear-free by 2022. A CO2-emission-free electricity supply system based on intermittent sources, such as wind and solar -- or photovoltaic (PV) -- power could replace nuclear power. However, these sources depend on the weather conditions. Scientists have now analysed weather conditions using 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015 data derived from the electricity supply system itself, instead of relying on meteorological data.

Scientists lay foundations for new type of solar cell
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has laid the foundations for an entirely new type of photovoltaic cell. In this new method, infrared radiation is converted into electrical energy using a different mechanism from that found in conventional solar cells. The mechanism relies on so-called polaron excitations, which combine the excitation of electrons and vibrations of the crystal lattice.

Extreme space weather-induced blackouts could cost US more than $40 billion daily
The daily US economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study.

A big nano boost for solar cells
Solar cells convert light into electricity. While the sun is one source of light, the burning of natural resources like oil and natural gas can also be harnessed.

A better way to make renewable hydrogen
Scientists have developed a method which boosts the longevity of high-efficiency photocathodes in photoelectrochemical water-splitting devices.

Measuring how perovskite solar films efficiently convert light to power
Researchers have directly shown that electrons generated when light strikes a well-oriented perovskite film are unrestricted by grain boundaries and travel long distances without deteriorating. Identification of this property, which is key to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity, could lead to more efficient solar panels.

Off-grid power in remote areas will require special business model to succeed
Low-cost, off-grid solar energy could provide significant economic benefit to people living in some remote areas, but a new study suggests they generally lack the access to financial resources, commercial institutions and markets needed to bring solar electricity to their communities.

The beating heart of solar energy
Using solar cells placed under the skin to continuously recharge implanted electronic medical devices is a viable one. Swiss researchers have done the math, and found that a 3.6 square centimeter solar cell is all that is needed to generate enough power during winter and summer to power a typical pacemaker.

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology
While solar cell technology is currently being used by many industrial and government entities, it remains prohibitively expensive to many individuals who would like to utilize it. There is a need for cheaper, more efficient solar cells than the traditional silicon solar cells so that more people may have access to this technology. One of the current popular topics in photovoltaic technology research centers around the use of organic-inorganic halide perovskites as solar cells because of the high power conversion efficiency and the low-cost fabrication.

Bright future for energy devices
A new material embeds sodium metal in carbon and could improve electrode performance in energy devices. Scientists ran tests on the sodium-embedded carbon and it performed better than graphene in dye-sensitized solar cells and supercapacitors.

Report provides guidance for evolving electric power sector
A new report recommends proactive regulatory, policy, and market reforms that can help guide the evolution of electric power systems in the US, Europe, and other parts of the world. Distributed energy resources like wind, solar, and energy storage should be integrated with centralized resources, which can be achieved by creating a level playing field in terms of pricing and regulated charges, and removal of inefficient barriers that impede competition.

Hydrogen from sunlight -- but as a dark reaction
The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis. One of the most promising, recently identified photocatalytic new materials is inexpensive graphitic carbon nitride. Scientists have now explored a modified form that can produce light-generated electrons and store them for catalytic hydrogen production even after the light has been switched off.

New sensor technology for e-vehicle batteries
Engineers have developed a new concept for current and voltage sensors for batteries that might become particularly relevant for electric vehicles (EV). An EV battery is made up of individual blocks, each of which contain up to twelve cells. Typically, each cell is monitored by its own voltage sensor. The new system requires only one single voltage sensor, thus reducing overall weight and costs.

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.

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