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Why Not the Sun? Advantages of and Problems with Solar Energy
(Released December 2008)

 
  by Ethan Goffman  

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News Articles News Articles
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News Articles

  1. Clean power source gets new attention, Boom is hinted for solar thermal plants
    Matthew L. Wald
    The New York Times Media Group

    BOULDER CITY, Nevada --

    At first, as he adjusted pumps and checked temperatures, Aaron Boucher looked like any technician in the control room of an electrical plant. Then he rushed to the window and scanned the sky, to check his fuel supply.

    Boucher was battling clouds, timing the operations of his power plant to get the most out of patchy sunshine. It is a skill that may soon be in greater demand, for the world appears to be on the verge of a boom in a little-known but promising type of solar power. It is not the kind that features shiny panels bolted to the roofs of houses. This type involves covering acres of desert with mirrors that focus intense sunlight on a fluid, heating it enough to make steam. The steam turns a turbine and generates electricity.

    The technology is not new, but it is suddenly in high demand. As prices rise for fossil fuels and worries grow about their contribution to global warming, solar thermal plants are being viewed as a renewable power source with huge potential.

    After a decade of no activity, two prototype solar thermal plants were recently opened in the United States, with a capacity that could power several big hotels, neon included, on the Las Vegas Strip, about 20 miles, or 32 kilometers, north of here. Ten more power plants are in advanced planning in California, Arizona and Nevada. . . .

    Copyright 2008

  2. SUNNY SIDE UP
    Steve Smith
    Plumbing & Mechanical 05-01-2008

    Rising energy costs? Tax incentives to install solar heating systems? Haven't we been here before? Yes and no.

    SOLAR IS making a comeback for the first time since the late-1970s. To a certain extent, it sounds like the past repeating itself, with energy prices up and tax incentives to install solar heating systems. Some things, however, may have changed to help alternative sources of energy move at least a bit more to the center of the stage.

    So what's happening now that's causing a rebirth of solar energy? Here's a number of questions we had and the answers we found.

    I've heard plenty of stories about solar hot water systems put in during the Carter administration. What I've heard doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

    We've heard those stories, too, when fly-by-night companies were busy selling tax credits instead of installing quality equipment. But a couple of things are different today.

    Like what?

    A big difference comes by way of the Solar Rating and Certification Corp. The nonprofit group provides third-party testing, rating and certification of solar collectors and solar domestic water-heating systems . . . .

    Copyright BNP Media May 2008

  3. Dynegy putting solar to the test / Study aims to cut fuel costs and emissions
    TOM FOWLER
    Houston Chronicle 11-14-2008

    Houston-based Dynegy is working with a power industry research group to test the feasibility of using solar power to reduce fuel costs and cut emissions at existing electric power plants. The study won't involve construction of the solar equipment - at least not yet - but rather will examine the economics of using solar power to generate steam to spin turbines at Dynegy's 578-megawatt Kingman, Ariz., plant.

    Existing solar technology is not considered cost-competitive with other sources of electric power. Photovoltaic technology, which turns sunlight directly into electric current, costs more than 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with about 5 cents per kwh for coal. But the Dynegy project, which is being done with the Electric Power Research Institute, will study using large arrays of mirrors to direct solar energy to heat water into steam. That steam, along with steam created by burning natural gas, would drive electric turbines.

    "These hybrid power plants' will combine the low-cost reliability of existing fossil power plants with the environmental benefit of renewables and help companies meet federal and state mandates to reduce their emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases with renewable energy," said Bryan Hannegan, vice president of environment and generation at the Electric Power Research Institute.

    Advantages over wind

    Twenty-seven states set renewable energy standards, including Texas, where power companies mainly use wind power to meet the renewable goals . . . .

  4. The Changing Shape of Renewables Technology
    Beck Ireland
    Electrical Construction & Maintenance 01-01-2008

    Until recently, breakthroughs in renewable electric energy technology debuted in relative obscurity. With high up-front costs and rates of return spanning decades, these technologies were deemed "alternative" or non-traditional, to be used only in cases of extreme environmental concern or high-end model projects. However, increased awareness about global warming, unprecedented prices per barrel for oil, generous utility rebates, the burgeoning popularity of Washington, D.C.-based United States Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, and mandated green practices through legislation at the federal level have converged to place renewable energy technology at the forefront of electrical construction in the residential, as well as - more remarkably - the commercial and industrial markets.

    Signed into law December 19, the Energy Independence and Security Act sets increasing renewable electric energy provisions, essentially quintupling the use of renewable fuels by 2022. In Title IV, the law requires improved federal and commercial building energy efficiency, with green building standards for new federal buildings, as well as a zero net energy initiative to develop technologies, practices, and policies - with the goal of having all commercial buildings using no net energy by 2050. Furthermore, Title VI focuses on research and development (R&D) for alternative energy sources, such as installing and maintaining solar energy equipment and R&D to improve technologies to store solar power, as well as R&D for technologies to locate and develop other alternate energy sources.

    Green design and construction has become an increasingly lucrative investment and a powerful selling tool. Growing worldwide and domestic use of renewable electric energy is expected to rival more traditional fossil fuel energy sources within the next decade. This demand has, for lack of a better word, fueled research and development efforts for more efficient, less expensive renewable energy production and storage, particularly in the solar- and wind-energy markets.

    Silicon valley

    The global market for conventional solar photovoltaics (PV) is predicted to grow from $12.9 billion in 2007 to $32.3 billion by 2012, according to a technical market research report by BCC Research, Wellesley, Mass. . . .

    Copyright 2008 by Prism Business Information

News Articles taken from ProQuest's eLibrary.

Historical Newspapers

  1. ERICSSON'S SOLAR ENGINE.; He Believes it to Be Now Complete and Ready for Great Uses. The Work with Which the Inventor of the Monitor Has Been Occupied for Forty Years. The Means by Which a Steamless Engine May Pull a Train Across Sahara. HIS LONG-SOUGHT-FOR SOLAR ENGINE. THE FUTURE POSSIBILITIES OF THE SOLAR ENGINE, BY UTILIZING THAT HEAT PROPAGATION OF RADIANT HEAT. THE STARTLING FACT REFERRING TO THE SECOND DIAGRAM, SUCH EXTRAORDINARY RAPIDITY THREE DISTINCT PARTS, NECESSITY, INGENUITY, AND INCREASED EXPERIENCE
    Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Sep 13, 1879. pg. 16, 1 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    When Capt. John Ericsson towed the Admiralty-barge from Somerset House down the Thames, at the rate of ten miles an hours, with his screw-propeller steam-launch, in 1837, the watermen that lined the river banks were amazed. Ericsson waited impatiently for the verdict of the Board of Admiralty, who were to give an opinion on his substitution of the . . .

    Original Article (PDF)

  2. Energy of Sun Will End Coal Crises, Savant Says

    Author
    New York Times, New York, N.Y.: Mar 5, 1950 pg. 1

    Original Article (PDF)

  3. Battery Runs Small Electric Devices on Light From the Sun; Latest Product of Bell Telephone Laboratories Is Little Enough To Be Held in a Hand Battery Runs Small Electric Devices on Light From the Sun
    VINTON McVICKER
    Wall Street Journal. New York, N.Y.: Apr 26, 1954. pg. 1, 2 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    NEW YORK--A battery that converts sunlight into usable electric current is the newest product of Bell Telephone Laboratories.

    Original Article (PDF)

  4. As Energy Grows Scarcer, Science Again Looks to the Sun
    BAYARD WEBSTER, New York Times. Jul 5, 1974. p. 31 (2 pages)
    SOURCE INFO

    Abstract (Summary)
    While the sunne shineth-make hay. John Heywood [1546] The sunlight that most people take for granted makes it possible to grow all the plants on earth, make skyscrapers appear to be spires of gold, produce air currents that turn 100,000 windmills and make dewdrops sparkle like diamonds. Energy from the sun is captured in a series of mirrors at a station in the French Pyrenees, above. At right is a statue surmounted by a representation of a solar mirror. The statue is in Osaka, Japan. Diagram shows domestic system for using solar heat.

    Original Article (PDF)

Taken from ProQuest's Historical Newspapers.
Scholars
  1. D. Yogi Goswami
    Professor, Mechanical Engineerning, University of Florida, 1990 - Current
    goswami@ufl.edu
    Solar energy: Application of solar energy for heating, cooling and hot water. Solar detoxification of ground water; Use of solar energy for remediation. . . applications of solar energy including drying of crops, fruits and vegetables. Energy conversion

  2. Brian Norton
    Head of School/Professor, Built Environment, University of Ulster, 1989 - Current
    b.norton@ulst.ac.uk
    design tools for solar energy systems and low energy buildings. I have established a number of major. . . between man, buildings and climate, and thermal applications of solar energy. My current post involves the supervision of numerous MSc and PhD research students. I lecture on solar energy and its. . . .

  3. Michael Hutchins
    Professor, Head Solar Energy Materials Research Laboratory, Oxford Brookes University, 1982 - Current
    mhutchins@brookes.ac.uk
    Professor Mick Hutchins is currently Head of the Solar Energy Materials Research Laboratory within. . . of Nottingham where he read Physics. He joined the Solar Energy Unit of University College, Cardiff in 1977 where he worked on selective absorber coatings. He moved to Oxford in 1982 and founded the Solar Energy Materials Research Laboratory

  4. Mike Allen
    Assistant Vice President for Research, Office of Research Services, Texas Tech University (Last Known)
    Michael.Allen@coe.ttu.edu
    Renewable Energy; Solar; Solar, Heat Storage; Solar, Photovoltaic Conversion; Solar, Photovoltaic Power. . . ; Direct Energy Conversion; Drilling and Mining; Energy; Electric Powered Systems; Electrohydrodynamic Generators; Electrohydrodynamics; Biological/Biomedical Sciences; Energy Chemical Sciences

  5. Ashley Allan Green
    RoboFesta Research Fellow, Robotics Outreach Group, Open University, 2002 - Current
    a.a.green@open.ac.uk
    In 1979, I participated as a solar energy specialist in a United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/World. . . was employed on a UK Department of Energy contract to augment the collector testing equipment in the Solar. . . my research interests in the Solar Energy Materials Research Laboratory

Scholars taken from ProQuest's Community of Scholars