Local and international news related to Renewable Energy. We'll try and keep you up to date!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Solar lighting systems successful in Rajasthan

It is a simple device but it has shrunk the nights in Rajasthan’s countryside. Over the past decade, thousands of families in the state’s remote villages, unconnected with the grid, have installed solar lighting systems at their homes, which harness solar energy to generate electricity.

According to the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation, the nodal agency of the union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (mnre), 73,590 solar home lighting systems have been installed in Rajasthan since 1999. This is more than one-fifth of the total such systems installed across the country.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Global PV Market Set to Take Off

The rapid growth in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry could lead to an oversupply situation in the short term, but could also lead to grid parity for PV in three to four years, opening many new doors for the industry. That is according to a new report from SolarPlaza.

The report gives an overview of the market forces that are currently driving the global demand for solar power and discusses the probability and consequences of the possible oversupply situation. The first part of the report looks at demand dynamics in the world’s major PV markets. Government policies will come into play as Germany, Spain and the U.S. face uncertainties regarding their respective subsidy programs.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Solar Thermal Power Coming to a Boil

After emerging in 2006 from 15 years of hibernation, the solar thermal power industry experienced a surge in 2007, with 100 megawatts of new capacity coming online worldwide. During the 1990s, cheap fossil fuels, combined with a loss of state and federal incentives, put a damper on solar thermal power development. However, recent increases in energy prices, escalating concerns about global climate change, and fresh economic incentives are renewing interest in this technology.

Considering that the energy in sunlight reaching the earth in just 70 minutes is equivalent to annual global energy consumption, the potential for solar power is virtually unlimited. With concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) capacity expected to double every 16 months over the next five years, worldwide installed CSP capacity will reach 6,400 megawatts in 2012—14 times the current capacity. (See data.)

Unlike solar photovoltaics (PVs), which use semiconductors to convert sunlight directly into electricity, CSP plants generate electricity using heat. Much like a magnifying glass, reflectors focus sunlight onto a fluid-filled vessel. The heat absorbed by the fluid is used to generate steam that drives a turbine to produce electricity. Power generation after sunset is possible by storing excess heat in large, insulated tanks filled with molten salt. Since CSP plants require high levels of direct solar radiation to operate efficiently, deserts make ideal locations.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Jatropha Production Expanded in India

India is one of the world’s leading cultivators of jatropha as a feedstock for biodiesel, with over one million hectares planted to date. That figure is set to rise slightly on the news that Hindustan Petroleum and the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) are partnering to plant an additional 15,000 hectares.

Cleantech is reporting that though the exact financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, Hindustan Petroleum will hold 74% of the joint venture and will received the entire harvest of jatropha seeds, which it will then refine into biodiesel for sale at its retail outlets across the state of Chhattisgarh. The land used for cultivation will be wastelands obtained by CREDA.

India has conducted a number of trials using Jatropha-based biodiesel on it public transport systems, both on major train routes and on public buses.

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Ashden Awards 2008

The Ashden Awards are given to visionaries in the developing world who are finding solutions to climate change and bringing real social and economic benefits to their local communities at a grass-roots level. In the past projects have shown how simple, innovative design, at a relatively small price can bring huge changes to large numbers of people in terms of health, education, and social welfare. This year the 7 finalists are no less inspiring.

In Western China, the Renewable Energy Development Project (REDP), has brought affordable, high-quality solar lighting to people who live in tents in rural areas. Since 2001, REDP has sold over 402,000 photovoltaic (PV) solar-home systems to yak and other herding communities in remote areas. Previously they relied on kerosene, butter lamps and candles for light. Now almost 1.44 million people who previously had little access to electricity have an improved quality of life through better light, communications and entertainment.

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Aurore won the Ashden Award in 2004