This government school in Himachal Pradesh runs completely on solar energy

Government Model Boys Senior Secondary School in Nalagarh was established in 1856. Currently, there are about 800 students studying in this school, which includes boys from class 6-12.

Jitender Kumar, a former physics teacher, is presently the principal of the school. Himachal Pradesh Council for Science Technology and Environment or HIMCOSTE supported the school in installing three solar units of 6 kilowatts capacity each.

The total 18kW solar plant was installed in 40 days and cost about Rs 9.18 lakh. It was completely executed and funded by HIMCOSTE.

The school uses 1,500 units of electricity per month. An 18kW solar panel system, as installed in the school, generates about 2,000 units of electricity per month, thus bringing down the cost to nil.

— source | 15 Nov 2022

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AZ utility can be held liable for charging higher rates to rooftop-solar customers

A major Arizona utility can be held liable for violating antitrust laws through its policies of charging higher rates for electricity to customers who choose to install rooftop solar panels, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by Salt River Project that its activities — and its pricing structure — are protected by various state and federal laws. the ruling does make it clear that all utilities can be subject to anti-trust laws if their policies and practices not approved by the commission result in deterring customers from investing in solar.

— source | Feb 2, 2022

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Easiest Way to Harness Solar Energy

Solar energy comes to Earthlings in many ways. Ancient Persians used passive solar architecture. East Africans about the same time funneled cool ocean wind through tunnels to cool themselves.

Now at long last, solar energy is outpacing new fossil fuel and nuclear facilities on price, environmental safety, and speed of installation.

One use of solar that has not received enough attention is drying clothes with clotheslines or clothes racks. Before global warming and our climate crisis became a public concern, some local governments banned backyard clotheslines as community eyesores. Fortunately, 20 states have passed “Right to Dry Laws” that allow people to use this simple low-tech and appropriate technology to reduce fuel consumption.

A big booster of hang-drying your laundry is environmentalist Joe Wachunas from Portland, Oregon. Twenty years ago, while traveling as an exchange student in Italy, he learned that only three percent of Italian households owned a dryer. Italians, he noticed, dried their clothes on clotheslines, high-rise balconies, or in open windows catching sun and

— source | Ralph Nader | Oct 20, 2021

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India adds highest rooftop solar capacity for a quarter

India installed 521 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar energy generation capacity in the second quarter (Q2; April-June) of the calendar year 2021, according to a new report. The quarterly addition is 53 per cent higher than that made in January-March this year (341 MW). Year-on-year installations swelled by 517 per cent compared to Q2 2020, the report stated. Gujarat accounted for 55 per cent of the capacity addition in the second quarter, according to Mercom, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm that released the report. The western state was followed by Maharashtra and Haryana.

— source | 24 Sep 2021

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India’s renewable energy capacity at 100GW

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced August 12, 2021 that the country has achieved the milestone of installing 100 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity. This excluded lage hydroelectricity capacities installed in the country, the ministry added. The achievement is indeed a landmark in India’s green portfolio but is still not an encouraging sign of the country attaining its 2022 target of 175 GW installation. An analysis of monthly installed capacity in the first six months of 2021, after the first wave of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, explains this apprehension. Between January and June, only 1GW of renewable energy capacity was installed in a month on an average, according to data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) under the Union Ministry of Power.

Moreover, the target set for installed solar energy capacity is 100 GW by March 2023 — 40 GW rooftop solar and 60 GW ground-mounted utility scale. The country has managed to install only 43.94 GW till July 31, 2021, the CEA data suggests. The rooftop solar installation has been particularly dismal at 7GW till December 2020, according to Bridge to India, a renewable energy consultancy. The capacity addition has been concentrated in Karnataka (15.6 GW), Tamil Nadu (15.5 GW) Gujarat (14 GW), Rajasthan (11.4 GW), Maharastra (10.4 GW) till July 31, 2021, according to CEA.

— source | 13 Aug 2021

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First Solar Thermal Plant Opens in Chile

Chile on Tuesday inaugurated Latin America’s first-ever solar thermal energy plant, a vast complex dubbed Cerro Dominador in the Atacama desert. In an area exceeding 700 hectares, 10,600 mirrors surround a 250-meter-high tower topped with a receiver onto which the Sun’s rays are reflected. Molten salts in the receiver absorb the heat and are then used to generate electricity – up to 110 megawatts – by means of a steam turbine. Combined with an adjacent photovoltaic plant, the Cerro Dominador complex is capable of producing 210 megawatts of renewable energy. A feature of the project is that the salts can store energy for up to 17.5 hours, allowing the system to continue operating without direct sunlight, and for 24 hours per day, its operators say.

— source | 9 Jun 2021

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New energy conversion layer for biosolar cells

A research team from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), together with colleagues from Lisbon, has produced a semi-artificial electrode that could convert light energy into other forms of energy in biosolar cells. The technique is based on the photosynthesis protein Photosystem I from cyanobacteria. The group showed that they could couple their system with an enzyme that used the converted light energy to produce hydrogen. The results were published online in advance in October 2020 in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

— source Ruhr-University Bochum | Dec 21, 2020

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Solar energy reaches historically low costs

In some parts of the world, solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history. That’s according to a new report released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In most countries in the world, it’s consistently cheaper to build solar farms than new coal- or gas-fired power plants, the report says. For utility-scale solar projects completed this year, the average cost of electricity generation over the lifetime of the plant (called the levelized cost of electricity) was between $35 to $55 per megawatt-hour in some of the world’s biggest markets — the US, Europe, China, and India. Just four years ago, the global average levelized cost for solar power was $100 per megawatt-hour, according to the World Economic Forum. About a decade ago, it was $300.

— source | Oct 13, 2020

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Solar meets 100 per cent of South Australia demand for first time

The milestone was reached at 12.05pm grid time (Australian eastern standard time), with rooftop solar providing 992MW, or 76.3 per cent of state demand, and utility scale solar providing a further 315MW – meaning all three of the state’s big solar farms, Bungala 1m Bungala 2 and Tailem Bend were operating at full capacity. On Sunday, that level (94 per cent) was beaten for more than two and a half hours.

— source | 12 Oct 2020

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The afterlife of solar panels

You might think of solar panels as a top sustainability solution. While it’s true that they’re terrific for harnessing renewable energy from the sun, photovoltaic panels have an oft-ignored downside: they are very hard to recycle. Because solar cells include heavy metals like lead and cadmium, it’s dangerous to toss them in the landfill. Unfortunately, this is where the panels often wind up once they’ve outlived their usefulness. People are still trying to figure out how to boost large-scale recycling of solar panels in a safe and cost-effective way.

What are solar panels made of?

One of the most important components of a solar panel is silicon. After oxygen, silicon is the second biggest element in our planet’s crust. There are three main approaches to making silicon into panels. Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient and expensive. Manufacturers cut individual wafers from a large silicon block and then affix the wafers to panels. This labor-intensive process produces the sleekest-looking, premium solar panels.

Polycrystalline solar cells are made by melting many silicon crystals together, then fusing them en masse onto a panel. These are blueish and are less expensive than monocrystalline panels but also less

— source | Teresa Bergen | Sep 3, 2020

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