Future Power Technology: Solar Edition

6 February 2013 (Last Updated July 28th, 2020 23:16)

In this issue we explore solar power and investigate whether innovation can beat mass manufacture in the CPV solar market, look at a floating solar field concept from DNV and explore Tesla’s network of solar-powered chargers for electric vehicles

Future Power Technology: Solar Edition

Solar Edition | February 2013 | Future Power Technology

A developer of solar power systems recently announced that it has successfully converted more than one third of direct sunlight into electricity. But the breakthrough comes at an interesting time as many US manufacturers are shutting down their plants, citing pressure from cheaper Chinese competitors. We ask if innovation still pays in solar technology and which areas are seeing progress.

We explore a large-scale, floating solar field concept from DNV that could be used to collect solar energy at sea, and look at the first solar cell made entirely of carbon, a promising alternative to the expensive materials used in photovoltaic devices.

We also look at Tesla's network of solar-powered chargers for electric vehicles and find out how Tokelau has become the first nation in the world to support itself with solar energy.

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In This Issue

Innovation vs Mass Manufacture
Records are being broken in the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power market, but big players are struggling to compete with cheaper Chinese counterparts. Future Power Technology finds out if reducing costs through innovation is the answer.
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Catching Rays at Sea
Water-based solar energy concepts such as SUNDy and Hydrélio demonstrate how third generation solar panels can tap into the solar potential of the world's seas.
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All-Carbon Revolution
Stanford University scientists have developed the first solar cell made entirely of carbon. We weigh up this new solar cell's properties against other photovoltaic materials to find out which is best.
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Supercharging the Solar Highway
Tesla's solar-powered chargers for electric vehicles aim to prove renewables can rule the road but there are obstacles to overcome before eco-friendly road transport can go mainstream.
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Power to the People
Tokelau, an island nation in the south pacific, completely supports itself with solar energy. Future Power asks Joseph Mayhew of the New Zealand aid programme how this tiny collection of atolls has become self-sufficient.
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Agua Caliente Solar Project
Agua Caliente solar farm is a 290MW photovoltaic (PV) power project being built in the east Yuma County of Arizona, US.
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Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project
The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant being developed near Tonopah in Nye County, Nevada, US.
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Next issue: Under Construction

A utility in China has started to build the first new nuclear plant since Beijing lifted a construction ban following the Fukushima disaster.

We investigate how China plans to improve the process of construction to ensure the safety of new systems and equipment. We also explore India's nuclear new-build programme and the role of indigenous technology as well as technical cooperation with foreign vendors.

We also look at Ethiopia's plans to invest $12bn by 2035 to build an array of hydro-power projects, including Africa's largest dam currently being built on the river Nile, and ask how construction is progressing.

Moreover, we check in on other renewable energy projects currently being built, including the UK's West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm and the Rio Mesa solar power plant in the US, and find out why concrete gravity bases have the potential to become the next generation of offshore wind turbine foundation.

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