Have we reached a tipping point for solar powered buildings?

Source: Rejournals Due to advances in technology and improved manufacturing, the cost of solar technology, specifically solar photovoltaic panels, has declined dramatically over the last few years.  Coupled with available funding from federal, state and local utility company incentives, many industry experts believe we will see a growth in solar power for industrial buildings in the years ahead. Could we be nearing the tipping point between the initial cost and long-term utility savings for different types of solar systems for buildings?  The answer is found by investigating the return on investment that solar systems can provide.  In all cases, the return on investment depends on material and installation costs, current utility rates, future utility rates, overall consumption, tax depreciation, and incentives.  Historically, the time period required for solar power savings to offset initial material and installation costs could range anywhere from 10 to 20 years.  Today, with the proper incentives, solar installations are proven to pay for themselves in six years or less.  With this reduced payback timeframe, many owners …

India’s low-carbon technology market likely to be worth $135 billion by 2020

Source: Economic Times Billions of dollars worth of investment in clean technology and green energy are eyeing India, where the market for low-carbon technology is expected to expand to $135 billion by 2020, according to industry experts, making the country one of the most lucrative destination for companies in the domain. Renewable energy has already lured stars such as Sachin Tendulkar and Aishwarya Rai and large companies such asReliance Power and Lanco, and the flow of venture capital has increased in the sector. In addition, foreign companies involved in solar power and wind energy, as well as global funds that scout for opportunities around the globe are increasingly eyeing India for a slice of the lucrative market. The market is promising as the government strives to tame energy-guzzling factories that spew toxic fumes, and old vehicles that contaminate the air with emissions. Analysts say that the market would expand even faster after the country’s economic growth bounces back from the current global slowdown. “We are really bullish on India in the long run, because the private sector …

Energy Revolution Brewing in Bihar

Source: sierraclub.typepad.com Something’s brewing in Bihar. After decades of being India’s most notoriously ‘backward’ state, the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has tempered corruption, built roads and spurred development. Given the impressive achievements of his previous term, it’s no surprise he rode to overwhelming victory in recent elections. What is surprising is that his campaign platform consisted of more or less a single promise – to deliver electricity access to the 82% of the over 100 million inhabitants of Bihar who lack it. With little fossil fuel reserves to speak of, Bihar will need to write a blueprint for a clean energy revolution to deliver on that promise. As Shaibal Gupta, Secretary, of the Asian Development Research Institute puts it, Bihar now requires an infusion of energy to further ‘lubricate’ the wheels of development. That’s putting it lightly. Bihar faces a 30% peak power deficit (highest in the country) due to its paltry 546 megawatts of installed capacity – about the size of one average coal plant. Worse, Bihar loses roughly 38% of …

Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy

Source: Springwise The benefits of wind energy have long been harnessed as a useful power source. Now a Californian company aims to increase the energy output of this resource. Rather than situating windmills on the ground, as tradition dictates, Makani Power has created a tethered wind turbine that generates power by flying aloft in large circles, much the way a kite does. The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine flies at between 800 and 1,950 feet above ground level, meaning that it stays well below normal commercial and civilian aviation. At the same time, it flies at an altitude above that of most birds, meaning that any potential harm to flying creatures is minimized, it says. Meanwhile, at these heights the wind is stronger and more consistent than that which terrestrial wind farms encounter, and 90 percent of the material used in conventional wind turbines can be eliminated. Continue Reading..

With Canal Hydropower, Still Waters Make Electricity

Source: CleanTechnica A modest-looking canal hydropower project in Oregon could be the start of the next big thing in alternative energy in the U.S. Instead of requiring the construction of a new dam, the new Klamath Irrigation District “C-Drop” project scavenges power from an existing canal system. It’s a relatively cheap, painless way to provide affordable, sustainable energy to rural communities, so what’s not to like? Continue Reading..

India reassesses its wind energy potential

Source: Economic Times NEW DELHI: Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-Wet), an autonomous R&D institution under the renewable energy ministry, has launched another phase of its wind assessment project. This phase of the project will measure the potential of wind energy at a height of 100 meters in 75 locations and at 120 meters height in 4 locations. “The technology of megawatt class wind turbine has been changing all over the world. Anticipating taller towers with larger diameter rotors in the Indian market, we have now extended our assessment at greater heights in different areas to harness the potential of wind energy with the latest technology in India,” said Dr.S Gomathinayagam, executive director, C-Wet. Continue Reading..

Daniel Martin’s Freeform Solar Panels Could Hexagonally Transform Architecture

Source: GreenGoPost Daniel Martin Ferraro is an architect in Madrid who wants to transform our notion of solar panels. Solar is constantly touted for its potential to bring us to energy independence and greater energy efficiency. But those pesky Darth Vader-esque solar panels are also derided for their relative inefficiency and appearance. Ferraro wants to change how we interact with solar. His hexagon-shaped FreeForm Solar Powered skins do not just lie on top of buildings: they are an integral part of a building’s architecture. Made from photovoltaic laminated glass, Martin’s flexible skins nudge solar out of the domain of engineers and into the realm of architects and designers and can add beauty to their customers, cities. They not only could provide much needed energy for buildings but offer an aesthetic for which architecture in Spain is already renowned. Continue Reading..

Gujarat set to develop India’s first tidal energy plant

Source: Down To Earth  The Gujarat government is all set to develop India’s first tidal energy plant. The state government has approved Rs 25 crore for setting up the 50 MW plant at the Gulf of Kutch. It will produce energy from the ocean tides. The state government signed a MoU with Atlantis Resource Corporation last year to develop the plant. “The proposal was approved in this year’s budget session,” says Rajkumar Raisinghani, senior executive with Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL). Atlantis Resource Corporation is a UK-based developer of tidal current turbines. “The equipment has been imported and work will start anytime soon. We are awaiting Coastal Regulation Zone clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests, which is expected soon,” adds Raisinghani. According to the GPCL officials, if this 50 MW plant is successfully commissioned, its capacity will be increased to 200 MW.  As per a study conducted by Atlantis Resource Corporation and the state government two years ago, the Gulf of Kutch has a total potential of 300 MW. …

Returning to Rio to build a more sustainable future

Source: Guardian Sustainable Business In 1992, heads of state converged on Rio for the Earth Summit, a bright moment that seemed to herald a new era for sustainable development. Bold speeches were given, important treaties signed. Saving the planet was cast as a moral imperative. Multilateral institutions would lead the way. Twenty years later, the world looks much different. The unipolar system of US domination that followed the end of the cold war is now multipolar. The locus of global growth and consumption has largely shifted to developing countries, especially in Asia. And for all the good intentions voiced in Rio, the health of our climate, water resources, and ecosystems has been deteriorating at alarming rates. Continue Reading…

How India is creating the next big solar market

Source: GreenBiz.com With nations around the world vying for clean energy leadership, India has taken a bold step toward becoming a leader in solar development. In only two years under India’s ambitious national solar policies, prices for solar energy in India have dropped dramatically, approaching the price of traditional energy from fossil fuels. While the Indian government has a long way to go to reach its goals of 20 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022, India’s experience is a strong example of how national and state policies can unleash the potential of clean energy. Just last week, NRDC and our partner, the New Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), released a new report showing how — in just two years — India’s National Solar Mission has transformed the solar market in India. The report, Laying the Foundation for a Bright Future, is the first independent, external analysis that’s been done on the strengths and hurdles faced by India’s solar efforts. India’s solar numbers are nothing short of impressive: Under the first phase …

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