solar technology
South Australia to get $1bn solar farm and world's biggest battery
System will include 3.4m solar panels and 1.1m batteries, with operations set to begin by end of 2017

A huge $1bn solar farm and battery project will be built and ready to operate in South Australia’s Riverland region by the end of the year.

The battery storage developer Lyon Group says the system will be the biggest of its kind in the world, boasting 3.4m solar panels and 1.1m batteries.

The company says construction will start in months and the project will be built whatever the outcome of the SA government’s tender for a large battery to store renewable energy.

A Lyon Group partner, David Green, says the system, financed by investors and built on privately owned scrubland in Morgan, will be a “significant stimulus” for South Australia.

“The combination of the solar and the battery will significantly enhance the capacity available in the South Australian market,” he said.

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Scientists can use the sun to make seawater safe to drink

  • While access to clean drinking water remains an issue in many parts of the world, there’s no shortage of water on the planet: 97% of Earth’s water can be found in our oceans.
  • Turning the ocean’s saltwater into freshwater is generally an elaborate process that requires a lot of energy, but a team of scientists at Rice University’s Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) have created a new method using nothing but sunlight.
  • Now, thanks to researchers at Rice University, an off-grid desalination technology is available requiring only solar energy.
  • The federally funded study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, developed the “nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation” technology, or NESMD. Read more (6/20/17)

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Real life solarpunk: neighborhood microgrid in Brooklyn:

Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves

In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door.

The project is still in its early stages — it has just 50 participants thus far — but its implications could be far reaching. The idea is to create a kind of virtual, peer-to-peer energy trading system built on blockchain, the database technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

(via Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves - The New York Times)

Real life solarpunk: neighborhood microgrid in Brooklyn via @fuckyeahicosahedrons

Take a Virtual Tour of NASA

Welcome to NASA! Today, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes for a virtual tour looking at our cutting-edge work and humanity’s destiny in deep space!

Starting at 1:30 p.m., we will host a series of Facebook Live events from each of our 10 field centers across the country. Take a look at where we’ll be taking you…

Glenn Research Center
1:30 p.m. EDT

Our Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH will host a tour of its Electric Propulsion Lab. This lab is where we test solar propulsion technologies that are critical to powering spacecraft for our deep-space missions. The Electric Propulsion Laboratory houses two huge vacuum chambers that simulate the space environment.

Marshall Space Flight Center
1:50 p.m. EDT

Our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL will host a tour from a Marshall test stand where structural loads testing is performed on parts of our Space Launch System rocket. Once built, this will be the world’s most powerful rocket and will launch humans farther into space than ever before.

Stennis Space Center
2:10 p.m. EDT

Our Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MS will take viewers on a tour of their test stands to learn about rocket engine testing from their Test Control Center.

Armstrong Flight Research Center
2:30 p.m. EDT 

Our Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA will host a tour from their aircraft hangar and Simulator Lab where viewers can learn about our X-Planes program. What’s an X-Plane? They are a variety of flight demonstration vehicles that are used to test advanced technologies and revolutionary designs.

Johnson Space Center
2:50 p.m. EDT

Our Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX will take viewers on a virtual exploration trip through the mockups of the International Space Station and inside our deep-space exploration vehicle, the Orion spacecraft!

Ames Research Center
3:10 p.m. EDT

Our Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will bring viewers into its Arc Jet Facility, a plasma wind tunnel used to simulate the extreme heat of spacecraft atmospheric entry.

Kennedy Space Center
3:30 p.m. EDT

Our Kennedy Space Center in Florida will bring viewers inside the Vehicle Assembly Building to learn about how we’re preparing for the first launch of America’s next big rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Langley Research Center
3:50 p.m. EDT

Our Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia will bring viewers inside its 14-by-22-foot wind tunnel, where aerodynamic projects are tested.

Goddard Space Flight Center
4:10 p.m. EDT

Our Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD will discuss the upcoming United States total solar eclipse and host its tour from the Space Weather Lab, a large multi-screen room where data from the sun is analyzed and studied.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4:30 p.m. EDT

Our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA will bring viewers to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility to learn about robotic exploration of the solar system.

So, make sure to join us for all or part of our virtual tour today, starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT! Discover more about the work we’re doing at NASA and be sure to ask your questions in the comment section of each Facebook Live event! 

Additional details and viewing information available HERE

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Hjertefolger Dome in Sandhornøya island

Fans of the Northern Lights will drool over the Nature House, a gorgeous geodesic dome home located on the Sandhornøya island of northern Norway. Built by Solardome Industries, the glass and aluminum dome crowns the Hjertefolger family’s recently completed three-level cob home. In addition to its ability to withstand extreme Arctic winds and temperatures, the eco-friendly abode includes solar panel technology, recycled building materials, and even a garden for growing produce.

Follow the Source Link for images sources and more information.

Solar Cell Self-Repairs Like a Plant

When leaves are damaged by intense ultraviolet light, they’re able to repair themselves, constantly producing new cells to replace the damaged ones. If only solar cells could do the same thing, they’d last a lifetime. Luckily, scientists have found a way to replicate that natural process using proteins, bacteria and water. These solar cells can’t compete with silicon cells just yet – it will take decades of research to improve them – but it’s an impressive start that could improve ‘artificial leaf’-type solar cells even further.

Solar System: 10 Things to Know This Week

State of the Solar System: 10 quick updates from around our galactic neighborhood.

1. Powered by the Sun

Fifty-nine years ago, Vanguard 1 launched to demonstrate a new spacecraft technology – solar power. We’ve been going farther and for longer ever since.

+More on Vanguard 1

2. Mapping Mercury

A big week in history for exploration of the innermost planet. On March 16, 1975, our Mariner 10 made its third and final flyby of Mercury. One day and 36 years later, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Next up: ESA’s BepiColumbo, undergoing testing now, is set to launch for Mercury in 2018.

+Missions to Mercury

3. Return to Venus

U.S. and Russian scientists are discussing a planned revival of the successful Venera program that revealed much about Venus in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Meanwhile, Japan’s Akatsuki orbiter continues to study our sister planet.

+More on Venera-D

4. Rocket Power

Back on Earth 91 years ago (March 16, 1926), inventor and dreamer Robet Goddard changed the world forever with the first test of a liquid-fueled rocket. We’ve been going farther and faster ever since.

+More on Goddard

5. Moon Watch

Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been sending a steady stream of high-resolution images back to Earth for more than seven years.

+More on LRO

6. Busy Mars

There are currently five orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, MAVEN, ESA’s Mars Express and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission) and two rovers (Curiosity and Opportunity) exploring Mars, making it second only to Earth in the number of robotic spacecraft studying its secrets.

+Meet the Mars Fleet

7. Vote for Jupiter

Polls close today (March 20) so vote not to point a real spacecraft camera at Jupiter during the mission’s 5th perijove pass.

+Vote now

8. Science to the Last Second

In a little less than six months, our Cassini orbiter will plunge into Saturn as a spectacular finale to its 19-year mission – but not before it embarks on a completely new mission into unexplored space between Saturn and its mighty rings.

+More on Cassini’s Grand Finale

9. By George?

Happy belated birthday to Uranus, discovered on March 13, 1781 by William Herschel. The English astronomer wanted to name his discovery – the first planet discovered in recorded history – “Georgium Sidus” after England’s King George III. But he was overruled, and astronomer stuck with traditional mythological names – creating an opportunity for 263 years of student jokes at the expense of the ice giant planet’s name.

+More on Uranus

10. Go Farther

The round trip light time from Voyager 1 to Earth is more than 38 hours. Voyager 1 is almost 13 billion miles from our home planet.

+More on Voyager

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

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Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays

Cellphones and other devices could soon be controlled with touchless gestures and charge themselves using ambient light, thanks to new LED arrays that can both emit and detect light.

Made of tiny nanorods arrayed in a thin film, the LEDs could enable new interactive functions and multitasking devices. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Dow Electronic Materials in Marlborough, Massachusetts, report the advance in the Feb. 10 issue of the journal Science.

“These LEDs are the beginning of enabling displays to do something completely different, moving well beyond just displaying information to be much more interactive devices,” said Moonsub Shim, a professor of materials science and engineering at the U. of I. and the leader of the study. “That can become the basis for new and interesting designs for a lot of electronics.”

Keep reading

Printable solar cells just got a little closer

A U of T Engineering innovation could make printing solar cells as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. Dr. Hairen Tan and his team 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.

“Economies of scale have greatly reduced the cost of silicon manufacturing,” said Professor Ted Sargent, an expert in emerging solar technologies and the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. “Perovskite solar cells can enable us to use techniques already established in the printing industry to produce solar cells at very low cost. Potentially, perovskites and silicon cells can be married to improve efficiency further, but only with advances in low-temperature processes.”

Keep reading

Technology doesn’t tend to just disappear: what is the social network of solar punk? How do we order and deliver goods? What do cars and public transport look like? What is our power grid? Are personal and street lights now bioluminent, or are they charged solar pieces? Are cell phones and computers integrated into our brains, updated frequently? What are advances in Wi-Fi technology? Are there people who prefer to go all natural, forgoing implants for suspicion of technology or religious reasons? What do robotics look like in a solar punk society? Are they humanoid, passing as people? Do they have rights? Are robotics used to supplement human bodies, like with functional prosthetic limbs and replacement parts? Or do we slowly eschew robots in favor of technology to grow whole new body parts, to create new organics for ourselves?

Solar Panel Goals

So as you might have seen, I got portable solar panels a couple days ago, and a big ol’ power bank yesterday (all told, this investment was $110, including shipping, if you were wondering).

I did this for a number of reasons, the most significant being that I want to be able to demonstrate, any time and anywhere, the sheer power and awesomeness of solar energy. These panels are roughly the size of a sheet of paper, fold in half for easy transport, and have attachment rings to hook onto backpacks, car windows, decks, etc. You can literally take them anywhere, open them up, and immediately begin charging.

If we can show people how affordable, powerful, and just overall exciting this is, we can change how they perceive renewables, Maybe even convince them to invest in their own household renewable technologies!

My second mission is to break my portable device charging dependency. Starting on May 31st, all the power I put into my phone came from sunlight. As of 8:30am on June 1st, 100% of the power stored in my phone was solar energy. The first real goal I have is to go a full month without plugging my phone into a wall, ever. Not even when my phone is dangerously low….which it shouldn’t reach, because…

Of the power bank you see in this picture! The black box in front of the panels. Fully charged, it stores enough energy to charge my phone about 7 times. The solar panels themselves have a storage device capable of holding about 3 charges. Combined, that’s 9-10 full charges for my phone–about a week’s worth, maybe more.

The other thing about the solar panels is that when in full sunlight, with my phone plugged in, they generate enough energy to recharge about 1% per minute. You know, just about the same rate of charge that a wall charger provides. This isn’t a guess, or something I read in the manual. This is what I measured yesterday and this morning when I plugged my phone into the panels. It’s literally just as good, and even better than a wall plug. Because wherever there is sunlight, there is power. No more searching under tables at the coffee shop, or fighting people at the airport. It even works through windows (as seen in this picture!)

The solar panels you see here, from iNiCE, cost me $55. The power bank was $50. Unless I decide to go live in a cave for the rest of my life, I will literally have unlimited energy.

Future goals include getting my laptop off the charging grid, too, and providing energy to my family/friends when needed to reduce THEIR energy consumption. It might be just nickles and dimes at a time, but it adds up.

I’m just gonna say it: I’ve had these solar panels for two days, and they’ve already proven to be an exciting, worthwhile investment, with promises for what the future holds!


Concept for Armored Soul Configuration

DSI-LRDRN E-SMGH ‘Executioner’


The pilot is referred to as ‘the Executioner’ by both elite pilots and common infantry. One glance at the infamous machine and its unorthodox weaponry would suggest this soul as being twisted and brutish–the gold-plated allegory of raw, crushing force.

The front of the frame shows little in the way of movement ability, but multiple verniers on its backside and between the plating, along with thrusters installed on the Capital Hammer allow for deceptively fast movement and attack patterns. The machine uses a prototype version of the old solar technology from the Golden Kingdom, and it can only be deployed at very close range.

The pilot’s past lies in bloody mercenary work and varying periods of imprisonment. One among the Order of Knights of the Golden Kingdom recognized his abilities and, in exchange for unwavering loyalty to the kingdom, was granted a rank in this order. It is almost entirely thanks to this combination of speed, precision, and power that not one soul has been able to enter the Golden Kingdom as of yet.

Water-Based ‘Artificial Leaf’ Produces Electricity

Solar cells that mimic nature could be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than current solar technology. In 2010, researchers at North Carolina State University developed water-gel-based solar devices that are essentially ‘artificial leaves’ that couple plant chlorophyll with carbon materials, mimicking the way nature harvests solar energy. They’re flexible, which is a huge improvement over today’s problematically brittle cells.

So I’ve been binging on solarpunk stuff this morning and something occurred to me. I am behind this 10,000%, but I feel the need to point out that while we strive for sustainable technology, agriculture, architecture, etc., we need to advance eco friendly batteries.

Currently, solar panels work by charging a battery which is used to power whatever you need powered. Those batteries are about as advanced as your cellphone battery, using lead-acid and sulfuric acid, both of which are toxic and corrosive. There have been some experiments done with biodegradable batteries, and eco-friendly options exist, but not at the capacity needed for massive solar panels all over the world. We need to pump more money and attention into that idea, so that all other solar-based technology can be actually sustainable.

It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree - make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details. Otherwise there is nothing for them to hang on to.
—  Elon Musk