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Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.

Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.

Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...

...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!

...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live

 

Solar | ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CALCULATOR | STATISTICS & ANALYSIS

The world's first solar power station that generates electricity at NIGHT
It looks like a giant art project. But this symmetrical, circular pattern of mirrored panels is the world's first solar power station that generates electricity at night. The Gemasolar Power Plant near Seville in southern Spain consists of an incredible 2,650 panels. The mirrors - known as heliostats - focus 95 per cent of the sun's radiation onto a giant receiver at the centre of the plant. Unlike all other solar power stations, the heat stored in these tanks can be released for up to 15 hours overnight, or during periods without sunlight.

Solar Power Breakthrough Could Render Photovoltaic Cells Obsolete
Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a discovery about the behavior of light that could change solar technology forever. Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics and William Fisher, a doctoral student in applied physics, discovered that light, when traveling at the right intensity through a material such as glass that does not conduct electricity, can create magnetic fields that are 100 million times stronger than previously thought possible. In these conditions, the resulting magnetic field is strong enough to rival a strong electric effect. The result is an “optical battery, which could lead to “a new kind of solar cell without semiconductors and without absorption to produce charge separation”, according to Rand. Read more: BREAKING: Solar Power Breakthrough Could Render Photovoltaic Cells Obsolete | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World

Solar is Ready Now
‘Ferocious Cost Reductions’ Make Solar PV Competitive. These slides are a must-see for anyone interested in solar, or in the business of energy generally. The underlying data is very compelling: We are starting to realize grid parity in solar – all with technologies available today. In sunny markets like California, solar is becoming competitive with large combined-cycle natural gas plants. The notion that “solar is too expensive” doesn’t hold up anymore. When financing providers can offer a home or business owner solar electricity for less than the cost of their current services; when utilities start investing in solar themselves to reduce operating costs; and when the technology starts moving into the range of new nuclear and new coal, it’s impossible to ignore.

Germany’s Solar PV Industry Now Employs More than US Steel Industry
Germany Trade & Invest (GT&I) recently reported that its latest figures show Germany’s solar photovoltaic (PV) industry employs over 100,000 ‘green’ workers now, more than the US steel industry. The US has about 312 million people while Germany has 82 million, about 25% as many people…. That makes the German solar industry more than four times as large an employer than US steel based on country size.”

Solar Power Almost as Cheap as Natural Gas in Six States
In the short time since President Obama’s alternative energy plan was announced, already the prospects look good for clean energy that is cost-competitive with fossil fuel. That’s without even factoring in the avoidable health costs that that the public currently absorbs from high risk, antiquated fuels. The latest case in point is a new high efficiency solar power system out of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Designed with the help of some centuries-old technology, it produces electricity at a competitive rate with natural gas in at least six states.

Cone Drive’s heliostats will help California solar company
Traverse City—Cone Drive teamed with a California-based power company to provide gear boxes for an estimated $2 billion solar-energy plant under construction in the Mojave Desert, the world’s largest solar thermalenergy project. “The potential for solar is huge,” said Roberta Wagner, Cone Drive’s global business solar unit manager. “BrightSource has a lot of projects in the pipeline that they’re intending to build.” Officials at the Traverse City plant learned of the solar project more than two years ago and contacted BrightSource Energy representatives. Cone Drive soon became one of hundreds of parts suppliers for its Ivanpah solarenergy project. The Ivanpah project is spread across about

US to provide nearly $2bn for two solar energy projects
Nearly $2bn (£1.3bn) in loan guarantees will be given to two companies to kick-start the US solar energy industry, President Barack Obama has announced. One of the firms, Abenoga Solar, says that it is planning to build the largest solar power plant in the world in Arizona. Mr Obama said the projects would provide more than 5,000 new jobs. The Arizona plant should power 70,000 homes and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Semiconductor Manufacturing Technique Holds Promise for Solar Energy
ScienceDaily (May 24, 2010) — Thanks to a new semiconductor manufacturing method pioneered at the University of Illinois, the future of solar energy just got brighter.

Charged up | Erin Crowell
“The best market for solar is out over parking lots,” architect Robert Noble said in a May 2010 Green Tech Media article. The founder of the California-based company, Envision Solar, realized back in 2007 that parking lot and carport roofs were ideal for collecting solar power. The idea has been adopted on the roof of the new Old Town parking deck in Traverse City. Currently under construction, the $7.9 million, four-level structure will be home to one of the largest solar arrays north of Muskegon. “This is a huge array,” says Matthew Vajda, owner of Voltage Electric, the Traverse City company which received the electrical bid on the parking deck.

Stirling Is Gold
Salt River Project announced the opening of a new concentrating solar power pilot project in late January. The 1.5 MW Maricopa Solar installation is the first commercial project for the SunCatcher, a 25 kW dish/Stirling power system developed by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Stirling Energy Systems (SES). SES has been working for more than two decades to perfect the SunCatcher’s technology to make it utility-scale-friendly. In 2009, the right design breakthroughs were made and projects ranging in size from 54 MW to 850 MW in California and Texas have been announced. Dish/Stirling could give photovoltaics (PV) a run for their money on small-scale, distributed installations like rooftops. Why? Because manufacturing costs for dish/Stirling units are not based on underlying raw materials, as is the case for PV, and standard manufacturing methods such as robotics and assembly lines can be used.

Missouri the 21st State to Adopt Landmark PACE Program
05/25/2010—Last Friday, Missouri became the 21st state to open the door to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. The innovative and wildly popular financing scheme, which allows homeowners to pay for solar power systems via municipal loans paid back through property taxes, has been spreading fast through states eager to ride the growing green energy wave.

PACE Home Loans Spreading Like Wildfire
Hardly a week goes by before I find myself listing off more cities and counties that have adopted the landmark municipal solar lending program piloted in Berkeley, California in 2008. Now dubbed the more universal moniker, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), this revolutionary program allows homeowners to pay for home solar power over the long-term through a voluntary increase on property taxes. Expect a slew of additional cities or counties to adopt PACE programs. The process begins when state governments pass laws allowing municipalities to adopt their own version of PACE. So far, 16 states have passed these laws and 10 more have them in the works. To illustrate how effective PACE incentive programs are, note that Berkeley’s applications were “sold out” in just nine minutes when the program opened.

US Solar Sees 38% Growth in 2009
United States—The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) this week released the 2009 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review, finding another year of strong growth despite the economic recession. Overall U.S. solar electric capacity increased by 37 percent (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power combined). This was driven primarily by strong demand in the residential and utility-scale markets, resulting in a 36 percent increase over 2008 in overall revenue.

New Record Set in Solar Cell Efficiency
Using a novel technology that adds multiple innovations to a very high-performance crystalline silicon solar cell platform, a consortium led by the University of Delaware has achieved a record-breaking combined solar cell efficiency of 42.8 percent from sunlight at standard terrestrial conditions. That number is a significant advance from the current record of 40.7 percent announced in December and demonstrates an important milestone on the path to the 50 percent efficiency goal set by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Residential solar leases offer a no-money-down, low-monthly plan that makes solar electricity cheaper than the stuff we get by wire
Say hello to the thing that could save our sun-splashed suburban lifestyle: affordable residential solar power that puts roof-top solar panels within reach of the most cash-strapped America consumer. This breakthrough is not a result of technological innovation, but a new financing scheme cooked up on Wall Street called a "residential solar lease," a no-money-down, low-monthly plan that has made solar electricity cheaper than the stuff we get by wire. It's an old approach to a new source of energy

End Fossil Fuel Subsidies And Expect A Solar Boom
A report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that power from the sun could generate 15 percent of America's power in the next decade, but only if Washington levels the playing field on subsidies. The fossil fuel industry, led by oil and coal, received $72 billion in total federal subsidies from 2002 to 2008, but earlier this year President Obama called for those subsidies to end.

Poll: 94% of Americans Want Solar Energy, 3% Want Coal
The US Senate Republicans are trashing hopes for a booming home-grown solar energy sector. Oh, but that’s not news. And neither is the fact that nearly all Americans – across all parties – believe that a solar energy industry is vital to the United States. Ninety-eight percent of Independents. Ninety-seven percent of Democrats. And ninety-one percent of Republicans. The survey findings were released by the SCHOTT Solar BarometerTM yesterday and were conducted by the independent polling firm, Kelton Research. When asked which energy source they would support if they were president, 41 percent picked solar. Three percent chose coal. Together, solar and wind together were favored nearly 20 times more than America’s dirtiest fuel.

Solar Carport
A massive 1MV grid-connected solar power system is ready to supply power to the auction facility in Bordentown, NJ. The system is said to be the largest solar powered carport structure in the United States. Constructed in an area of 13,000 square meters, this carport includes 5,880 solar panels of 170W capacity.

The Solar Gold Rush is On
Solar power is exploding in America. San Luis Obispo's Palm Theatre and Berkeley's Shotgun Players are now the first solar-powered theaters in the country; FedEx's distribution center in Fontana has a solar system covering 20,834 square feet; and Google's Mountain View campus boasts America's largest corporate solar installation. ... other states are quickly warming up to the idea of sun power as well. Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey (which, according to solar energy research company Solarbuzz, is emerging as America's next solar-friendly state) are all heavily recruiting solar manufacturers, not to mention creating attractive incentives.

U.S. Solar Cell Sets World Efficiency Record
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have set a world record in solar cell efficiency with a photovoltaic device that converts 40.8 percent of the light that hits it into electricity. This is the highest confirmed efficiency of any photovoltaic device to date. The inverted metamorphic triple-junction solar cell was designed, fabricated and independently measured at NREL. The resulting device is extremely thin and light and represents a new class of solar cells with advantages in performance, design, operation and cost.

New Solar Cell is as Easy to Make as Pizza
The iJET is a new type of solar cell that's cheap and easy to make, requiring not much more than a pizza oven, some nail polish remover, and a common inkjet printer.

Solar Panels Built Into Roads Could Be the Future of Energy
The Department of Energy just gave $100,000 to upstart company Solar Roadways, to develop 12-by-12-foot solar panels, dubbed "Solar Roads," that can be embedded into roads, pumping power into the grid. The panels may also feature LED road warnings and built-in heating elements that could prevent roads from freezing. All of this is available for the price we are currently paying to pave new roads with ashphalt. The obvioius choice is the clean green solution.

Scientists Create Energy-Producing Solar Paint
The paint is made up of dye and electrolytes that can be applied as a paste to steel sheets. Four layers of paint are applied to each sheet. When light hits the solar cells, excited molecules release an electron into an electron collector and circuit (nanocrystalline titanium dioxide). Finally, the electrons move back into the dye. Photovoltaic paint has a number of advantages over traditional solar cells. It doesn’t have the material limitations of silicon solar cells, so it theoretically provides many terawatts of electricity at a low cost. Additionally, the paint can absorb light across the visible spectrum— so even cloudy days will reap lots of energy. According to steel company Corus Colours, the solar cells can achieve a power conversion efficiency of 11 percent.

See-Through Solar Hack Could Double Panel Efficiency
Now, MIT researchers think they may have found a way to double the performance of solar arrays with cheap dyed glass and some tricks borrowed from fiber optics. Their so-called solar concentrator could be placed on top of existing solar arrays. It could capture some wavelengths of visible light and guide them to high-voltage solar cells on the edges of the array, while still allowing the infrared light that largely powers current solar systems to pass through. "If you stick one of these on top of existing solar panels, we think we could nearly double the performance of these systems with minimal added cost," said Marc Baldo, the lead researcher on the work. The new research, published tomorrow in the journal Science, is another major advance in solar energy, a field that's received renewed interest due to concerns about climate change and rising fossil fuel prices. The new MIT technology marries the science behind two of the most promising ways of harnessing solar energy: light concentrators and thin-film solar cells.

Hemlock plans up to $1B Michigan investment
A solar power technology company says it will invest up to $1 billion in Michigan, creating about 300 jobs. Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. told the Michigan Economic Growth Authority about its plans Monday morning, and the economic development panel formalized tax breaks for the project. Hemlock is a leading maker of polycrystalline silicon for solar cells and semiconductor chips. The Michigan-based company is a joint venture between Dow Corning Corp. and two Japanese companies, Shin-Etsu Handotai Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

SEIA President Rhone Resch Challenges Solar Industry to Unite, Fight for "Solar Bill of Rights"
October 27, 2009 Anaheim, California – Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), today addressed the General Session of Solar Power International 2009 (SPI), the largest business-to-business solar energy conference and expo in North America.

Al Gore inches toward Solar
This week he advocated getting to an electric power system that is "carbon free" within ten years. It comes alongside the equally telling move by oil baron T. Boone Pickens to invest $2 billion in wind power. Gore has reportedly raised some $300 million (that's not a typo) to spend on moving pubic opinion to support the transition to a totally "carbon-free" electric supply system. That idea has been around at least thirty years, and is a sub-set of the Solartopian demand that our entire energy economy become free of all fossil and nuclear fuels. “We think it’s going to lower costs, lower pollution and create jobs. We think that for every $3 invested, we’ll probably see about an $8 reduction in electric costs,” said Tom Smith, the state director.

First Solar: Quest for the $1 Watt
This company's thin-film solar cells could compete with coal Of course, it’s not enough that First Solar match the costs of fossil-fuel generation on the grid; it must also maintain its economic edge over other photo­voltaics. There are additional nascent technologies, including cells based on copper indium gallium ­diselenide (CIGS), silicon on glass, and the combination of ­germanium, gallium arsenide, and gallium ­indium phosphide. Even conventional silicon ­technology, which has dominated the market since its commercial launch in the 1950s, seems to have a lot of kick left in it. Currently, though, it’s suffering from its own success, as an insatiable demand for silicon cells has led to a scarcity of raw material. However, if the silicon shortage disappears by the end of the decade, as expected, the sale price should drop substantially from recent levels, which have fluctuated between $3 and $4 per watt.

Solar roadways
There is approximately more than 5.7 million miles of paved highway in the United States and in a bid to find new sustainable ways of producing renewable energy, one small Idaho company believes they've found the solution: solar roadways. The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road Panels that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half."

Solar Energy in Michigan
Solar technologies directly harness energy from the sun. Solar technologies include photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight to electricity, solar hot water systems that heat water for swimming pools and buildings, and solar space heating systems that provide heat for buildings. In addition, passive solar designs provide heat for buildings and daylighting strategies use sunlight to reduce electricity used for lighting. The Energy Office has provided financial support for a number of solar demonstrations including a Solar Fountain, PV and Wind in Agriculture project, and a solar hot water project at St. Elizabeth Church. The Energy Office has also provided financial support for a Sustainability Education Handbook that can assist teachers to incorporate solar energy into their lessons.

Cost of Solar Panels Expected to Plummet
Based on their research, Travis Bradford, president of the Institute, says that prices for traditional silicon-based panels should fall from $3.66 per watt (2007 figures) to $2.14 per watt in 2010, and more impressively, thin-film PV should go to $1.81 per watt from $2.96. When coal, currently the least expensive source of power, is around $2.10 per watt to generate*, the expected drop in price for solar will make it extremely competitive (far less expensive than coal power).

Breakthrough: Concentrated Solar Power
You are looking at a picture of the solar power plant now being developed all over the American southwest by a company called eSolar. Notice: no smokestacks; no coal chutes; no rail lines stretching to the horizon for coal trains to approach. It's a beautiful sight.

Concentrated Solar
The most promising sector of the solar space is in concentrated solar technologies – photovoltaic and thermal. At utility-scale, these sources are projected to compete with natural gas fired power plants without subsidies within three years. There are exciting new developments that could see concentrated solar thermal and concentrated solar photovoltaic solar electricity competing with coal-fired power plants within five years.

Solar Farming
High on the Alantejo Plain, near the small town of Mouro in Eastern Portugal, the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic farm is nearing completion. When the £250 million ($500 million) farm is fully operational later this year, it will be twice as large as any project of its kind in the world. It is expected to supply 45MW of electricity every year, enough to power 30,000 homes.

PayPal Founder : "Solar will Kick Coal's Ass"
At the Future in Review Conference, Musk said that in 30 years, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power will, combined, produce more electricity than any other source. That title is currently held (and held firmly) by coal. Displacing the coal industry with renewables would require massive capital investments and innovations, particularly in power storage. I have to say, my mind doesn't have to stretch too far to see how it would be possible. But a few things need to happen first. Solar needs to get cheaper, and photovoltaics have to stop relying on raw materials (indium / monosilicon) that are difficult to acquire. And then we need to figure out how to store the power so we can use it at night. This could be through a combination of utility-scale power storage and distributed power storage through home fuel-cell and hydrogen creation systems.

China Racing Ahead of U.S. in the Drive to Go Solar
August 24, 2009—Backed by lavish government support, the Chinese are preparing to build plants to assemble their products in the United States to bypass protectionist legislation. The Obama administration is determined to help the American industry. The energy and Treasury departments announced this month that they would give $2.3 billion in tax credits to clean energy equipment manufacturers. But even in the solar industry, many worry that Western companies may have fragile prospects when competing with Chinese companies that have cheap loans, electricity and labor, paying recent college graduates in engineering $7,000 a year.

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