Posted tagged ‘Solar power’

A new report from Frost & Sullivan states that Spain leads the way in renewable energy

June 14, 2008

A recently released report from Frost & Sullivan for the European Inverter Market for Renewable Energy Systems, finds that the market earned revenues of €654.4 ($1,004) million in 2007 and estimates they will reach €3,105 ($4,763.7) million in 2014.

According to the report, Spain, backed by solid growth in its solar energy industry, moves to the forefront of the European inverter market for renewable energy systems, as Germany becomes a backseat driver.

“A booming market in Spain is rewriting market dynamics for renewable energy-based inverters. Moreover, new incentives for green electricity in Portugal and Greece are set to accelerate the pace of growth in the future,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Chandni Raj. “Across Europe, renewable energy-based inverters registered growth of 36.7 per cent in 2007 as compared to 2006.”

Ingecon Sun inverter from IngeteamSome major players in this product segment are Conergy, Fronius and SMA, from Germany, Magnetek, from the USA, Mastervolt, from the Netherlands, Xantrex, from Canada and the Spanish company Ingeteam.

Ingecon Sun inverter from Ingeteam


8.5 MW Solar installation for SEAT´s car factory

February 2, 2008

19537.jpgSEAT’s factory in Martorell has been chosen by the Spanish Automaker (part of the Volkswagen Group) as the location for one of its most ambitious environmental conservation projects, where the installation of solar panels will make it possible to generate clean electrical energy. This move is the last in a trend of companies realizing that solar power may be both environmental and economically sound.

By installing 8.5 MW of solar photovoltaic panels, the system will generate 11.2 GWh of electricity annually by the end of this year.

The solar panels will be in place on the roof of SEAT’s corporate building in Martorell (Catalonia, Spain) next March, as well as on the support structure of one of the finished vehicle parking lots. All the clean energy created will get redirected towards the power mains for distribution. With the new systems in place, the company will be able to satisfy the plant´s huge demand of energy (1.3 million Kw/h).

In order to take full advantage of one of Spain’s greatest resource, the Sun, and the high number of sunlight hours in the area of Martorell and its surroundings, the next step will be to completely cover two further distribution areas with a total surface area of more than 66,000 m2 and the roofs of assembly buildings 8, 9, 10 and 11, which will add an additional 139,000 m2.

This phase will total more than 206,000 m2 of solar panels to produce solar energy.

Clickcells: a new concept of solar module

November 17, 2007

Nousol, a young start-up from Catalonia (Spain) has developed ClickCells, a versatile small solar module with a promising range of applications.

clickcells.jpgThe cells may be assembled through a  patented system that brings to mind a game of building blocks, such as Lego. They may be quickly and easily interconnected by any of their faces, allowing ample freedom to choose shapes and color combinations.


Xavier Pérez, of 26 years, is the founder of Nousol, together with his brother Baldomero. The novel product won the second prize in the Technological Innovation category of the “Negoci”2005 Awards, sponsored by the Polytechnical University of Catalunya (UPC).

The main advantage Clickcells offer is their versatility in the way they may be fitted in spaces where a traditional solar module may not. Besides, they introduce an aesthetical element in the choice of the color setup more to our fancy.


(Top page and above pictures courtesy of Nousol)

(See lines of white Clickcells along the front porch and the fence of the house)

Of rice husks and solar panels

November 16, 2007

Spanish conglomerate Vallombrosa Trust is to build a new factory of solar panels in Flix (Tarragona) with a new technology that replaces silicon with rice husks, reducing the cost of production by up to 60%. The new facilities are to offer 80,000 square meters (861,112 sq. ft) and will add some 400 new jobs, according to the group’s president Maurizio Caroldi. The new plant will produce around 100 MW a year, about twice the current production in Spain.

The company intends to develop products covering the complete energy generation cycle: from solar grade silicon to ingots, cells and solar panels.

The factory is located in the Baix Ebre “county”, a region with a traditionally high production of rice, to assure a steady supply of the main raw material needed. The leap from rice to solar modules sounds certainly strange at first, but I have found on the web a corroboration of its viability in at least one separate Indian paper.

Solar-powered vending machines

November 13, 2007

Via: Springwise

beach_machine-1.jpgAn Anglo-Spanish firm, Solar Energy Vending, has come up with an off-the-grid, solar-powered vending machine that can be placed anywhere there’s adequate sunlight. Solar panels on top keep the machine’s refrigerator running, and a rechargeable battery provides power at night or during prolonged cloudy periods. A wind turbine can substitute for solar cells in less sunny climes, where hot beverages could make the vending dispensers a popular stop-off along ski runs.

The company has been working on the concept since 2004. At last word machines have been placed at locations throughout Spain and on at least one golf course in the UK, and SEV is currently seeking inquiries from potential distribution partners in other countries. Besides revenue from sales of food and drinks, the machines are also equipped to display advertising.

SEV’s vending machines join a growing number of devices that can be placed just about anywhere, thanks to their reliance on solar energy. Lighted road signs and emergency phones are two other examples. For entrepreneurs and inventors the vending machines illustrate how any common device can be retrofitted for solar and placed in out-of-the-way locations.

A look back at the Solar Decathlon 2007

October 23, 2007

So, the coolest little village this side of the Atlantic closed its doors last Friday. The Solar Decathlon ended with a German winner, the team from Technische Universitat Darmstadt.

They beat out 20 teams of architecture, engineering and business students from the United States, Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico and Spain to win the third annual event. The teams competed in ten different contests to design, build, and operate attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered homes.


Oak louvers on the Technishe Universitat Darmstadt’s solar powered home provide shading and privacy for visitors to the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday, Oct. 13.
(Credit: Jim Tetro/Solar Decathlon)

Teams were granted $100,000 each to spend over about two years to design and build an 800-square-foot home powered entirely by solar energy, with off-the-shelf solar-electric panels. The homes did not use fossil fuels and yielded no carbon emissions. Normally, they include high-tech gadgets that allow comfort and convenience without compromising respect for the environment.

On top of that, each house had to produce enough extra electricity to power an electric car.

Although it could be well said that everybody was a winner here and all the houses had interesting ideas and cool features, the three ones that came out on top were:

1st: Technische Universität Darmstadt
TUD won the Architecture, Lighting, and Engineering contests. Darmstadt was, besides, one of seven teams to score an impressive 100 points in the Energy Balance contest.

2nd: University of Maryland
Maryland won the Communications contest and was second in Architecture, Market Viability, and Lighting. They were also one of the teams to score 100 points in the Energy Balance contest.

3rd: Santa Clara University
They scored 100 points in the Hot Water contest and also 100 points in the Energy Balance contest, and besides that they built a public-friendly and entertaining house tour that was praised by the jury. Funnily enough, they almost did not make it to the competition, as they had transportation problems on the way there.

The two teams I was tracking did not do too bad. The University of Illinois elementhouse was 1st in the “Comfort zone” “Market viability” contests and ended in 9th position altogether. The Madrid team (UPM) earned third place in the architectural portion of the competition and was fifth in the final score.

The success of the Solar Decathlon is manifested in how the houses in past competitions are being used or replicated. According to the US Energy Secretary Mr. Bodman in his closing ceremony and awards remarks, the winning 2002 University of Colorado house is now the core of a bigger house owned by the former president of the Solar Energies Industries Association. The Rhode Island School of Design house from 2005 is being installed as faculty housing at a private school in Portsmouth. The previous two University of Missouri at Rolla entries are being used as student housing. And the New York Institute of Technology’s 2005 house is permanently installed at the United States Merchant Marine Academy as a renewable energy research center

In that same speech, Mr. Bodman also announced that the Department is making up to $44.1 million available to support the commercialization and promotion of solar and energy efficient technologies. Up to $4.1 million of that funding will be used to establish centers that promote these technologies to the building trades and homeowners.

Some technologies he found worth noting were:

  • The translucent roof atop the Georgia Institute of Technology’s entry that employs a new technology already in use in large scale buildings around the world
  • The structural bamboo I-beams in the Santa Clara University house
  • The liquid desiccant waterfall that removes humidity with very little energy, greatly reducing the job of the air conditioner that the University of Maryland had on display in its house.
  • You may check out a short video of each of the 20 homes at Blue Egg, an eco-lifestyle media company.


    U.S. and Spain to Develop Solar Decathlon Europe

    October 18, 2007


    Casa Solar  (above and down below) from the UPM at Washington (pictures courtesy of Inhabitat)

    Press release from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.

    Today U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner and Spain’s Undersecretary of Housing Fernando Magro Fernández signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in the development of a Solar Decathlon Europe competition in 2010. The Solar Decathlon is a competition which challenges university-led teams to build the most attractive and efficient solar-powered homes, held on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

    Under the MOU signed today, the DOE will assist in developing a similar event in Europe. “The twin challenges of increasing energy security and confronting climate change are global in nature – the solutions will require multilateral action. DOE’s Solar Decathlon is supporting a new generation of student engineers, architects, designers, and communicators, while demonstrating that solar energy technologies are available here and now,” Assistant Secretary Karsner said. “With three successful Solar Decathlons to show, the Department of Energy looks forward to lending our expertise to encourage the same innovation and entrepreneurial spirit across the Atlantic and around the world.” 

    Under the non-binding MOU, both countries will exchange information regarding rules, scoring, judging, safety, and site and team selection for a Solar Decathlon Europe event. Spain’s Housing Ministry will establish a framework for a European edition of Solar Decathlon in collaboration with DOE. The initial plans call for the Solar Decathlon Europe to take place on years in which a Solar Decathlon is not taking place in the United States. Both nations will contribute members to an oversight committee, which will approve plans and activities, and evaluate success of the program.

    “We have great hope that the development of a European edition of the Solar Decathlon competition, to take place in Madrid in 2010,” Spanish Undersecretary of Housing Fernando Magro said.

    “This event not only furthers the ties between the United States and Europe but it will also further foster the development and use of energy efficient and sustainably developed housing throughout the world.” 1598632279_4cec441235_o.jpg

    Three Solar Decathlon events have been held in the United States since 2002. DOE’s Solar Decathlon will continue to be held in the United States; the fourth event will be held in Washington, DC in fall 2009.

    This year, more than 100,000 people are expected to tour the solar village. DOE’s Solar Decathlon is open to the public through Saturday, October 20, 2007.   For full event information and high-resolution photos, visit the Solar Decathlon website.