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News Archives - 2010

December 21, 2010

DOE Finalizes $1.45 Billion Loan Guarantee for One of the World's Largest Solar Generation Plants

A $1.45 billion loan guarantee has been finalized for Abengoa Solar Inc.'s Solana project, the world's largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant.

December 2, 2010

Scientists Generate Two Energetic Electronic States from One Photon

– Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Colorado, Boulder (UCB), have reported the first designed molecular system that produces two triplet states from an excited singlet state of a molecule, with essentially perfect efficiency.

November 12, 2010

NREL Program Empowers Leaders to Implement Solar

Executives in business, government, and other organizations are finding solutions to energy and environmental challenges by tapping into the power of renewable energy, thanks to a new program at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. After completing the five-month program that includes briefings by NREL technology experts, research laboratory tours, and visits to field applications, many of the graduates of the 2010 Executive Energy Leadership program have initiated solar projects.

October 26, 2010

NREL Scientists Lauded as Industry Pioneers

At the recent World Renewable Energy Congress/Network (WREN) in Abu Dhabi, three researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were named WREN Pioneers. Dr. Falah Hasoon, Dr. Chuck Kutscher and Dr. David Renné were recognized for the impact their discoveries and innovations have made to the progress and acceptance of renewable energy technologies.

October 22, 2010

John Wohlgemuth Brings PV Reliability, Standards Expertise to NREL

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has hired John Wohlgemuth, a respected scientist who specializes in documenting failures in silicon and thin-film photovoltaic modules. His new role as a principal scientist in NREL's photovoltaics reliability group will draw upon his deep knowledge and experience in performance and reliability, along with his international work on standards.

October 21, 2010

NREL Completes Testing of SkyTrough Collector

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has completed testing of the new SkyTrough parabolic trough collector, developed by SkyFuel. The collector uses a special mirror film that was jointly developed by SkyFuel and the laboratory. NREL worked with SkyFuel over a period of many months to help them improve the optical design. The final test results indicate that this new, lightweight design has a performance comparable to that of collectors using heavier glass mirrors.

October 19, 2010

President Obama: Ivanpah CSP Plant to Create Clean Energy and Jobs

A concentrating solar power plant planned for southeast California has been praised by President Obama as an illustration of how clean, home-grown energy can boost employment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Once constructed, the 370-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station would nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the United States today.

September 27, 2010

NREL Handbook Enables CSP Development

Today's concentrating solar power (CSP) systems can require substantial upfront investment for project development and construction. Projected cash flow analysis requires accurate knowledge of current and projected solar radiation at individual project sites. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has just made the task easier by publishing a handbook that tells how to collect, interpret, and use solar resource data during all stages of development. Project developers, engineering procurement construction firms, utility companies, energy suppliers, financial investors, and other participants in CSP plant development should find this new handbook a valuable resource.

September 20, 2010

California Approves 1,000-Megawatt CSP Plant

The California Energy Commission has approved the world's largest commercial-scale, concentrated solar thermal electric generating facility. Composed of four 242-megawatt solar plants that are sited near the Arizona border on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, the facility is expected to provide jobs and advance California's energy and climate goals.

September 13, 2010

NREL Breakthrough Could Spawn Cheaper, More Efficient Solar Cells

A special etching process developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) makes silicon wafers darker, and thus able to absorb almost all of the solar spectra that reach the surface. This innovation is expected to lead to solar cells that cost less and are more efficient than the ones used on rooftops and in solar arrays today.

August 3, 2010

NREL Seeks Proposals for Photovoltaic Technology Incubator Program

The U. S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is seeking project proposals as part of recently announced DOE funding to accelerate commercialization of solar energy technologies

July 23, 2010

First Hybrid CSP-Coal Power Plant is Fired Up in Colorado

Concentrating solar power (CSP) is boosting the energy produced by a coal-fired power plant east of Grand Junction, Colorado. The first of its kind in the United States, the hybrid demonstration plant is expected to increase energy production 5% above what the coal plant previously produced, plus reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,000 tons per year. The project is considered an important test in proving the commercial viability of integrating coal plants with CSP.

July 23, 2010

Nevada Desert Site Chosen to Demonstrate CSP Technology

A new Solar Demonstration Zone has been established in the Nevada desert by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Interior. The departments will collaborate in the effort to demonstrate advanced concentrating solar power technologies and thus help push them to full-scale commercialization.

July 20, 2010

DOE Announces $30 Million to Small Businesses for Clean Energy Technology Commercialization

$30 million in funding from the Recovery Act and DOE fiscal 2010 budget appropriations will be made available to qualified small businesses to support the commercialization of promising new technologies.

July 16, 2010

Report Explores Acceptance of Concentrating Solar Power in San Luis Valley

A new report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in a joint effort with the University of Colorado, provides important insight into the social acceptance of utility-scale concentrating solar power plants in the San Luis Valley. The valley, approximately 200 miles southwest of Denver, is an ideal source of solar energy for Colorado because of its abundant solar resource.

July 8, 2010

NREL Solar Research Garners Two Prestigious R&D 100 Awards

An etching technique that makes silicon wafers more efficient and a mammoth power generator that sets a new standard for the production of solar energy – both developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory – have been named among this year's most significant innovations by Research & Development (R&D) Magazine.

June 21, 2010

NREL Launches Partnership with Solarmer Energy to Extend Lifetime of Plastic Solar Cells

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Solarmer Energy, Inc., have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to collaborate on improving the lifetime of plastic solar cells, a promising new solar conversion technology. The joint research covered by the CRADA will explore the lifetime and stability of the organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices that make up the energy-harvesting layers of plastic solar cells.

June 10, 2010

EPRI Joins SolarTAC

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has become a sponsoring member of the Solar Technology Acceleration Center or SolarTAC—one of the world's largest solar test and demonstration centers. The center is a private, member-based, outdoor facility in Aurora, Colorado, where the solar industry tests, validates, and demonstrates advanced solar technologies. EPRI's involvement will allow its members to conduct research at the facility and is expected to help hasten utility-scale solar technologies to the marketplace.

May 21, 2010

Journal Article: How to Phase out CO2 Emissions from Coal by 2030

A journal article entitled, "Options for Near-Term Phaseout of CO2 Emissions from Coal Use in the United States" and an accompanying environmental news story will appear in the June 1 issue of Environmental Science & Technology. The peer-reviewed article describes how greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. coal burning power plants can be eliminated in the next two decades. Written by a group of scientists, engineers, and architects from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies & Columbia University Earth Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and 2030 Inc./Architecture 2030, the article advocates immediate and aggressive action. Both the journal article and a related news story are currently available online.

May 20, 2010

NREL Study Shows Power Grid can Accommodate Large Increase in Wind and Solar Generation

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory today released an initial study assessing the operational impacts and economics of increased contributions from wind and solar energy producers on the power grid. The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating enough wind and solar energy capacity into the grid to produce 35 percent of its electricity by 2017. The study finds that this target is technically feasible and does not necessitate extensive additional infrastructure, but does require key changes to current operational practice. The results offer a first look at the issue of adding significant amount of variable renewable energy in the West and will help utilities across the region plan how to ramp up their production of renewable energy as they incorporate more wind and solar energy plants into the power grid.

May 11, 2010

Secretary Chu Announces up to $62 Million for CSP R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy is making up to $62 million available to 13 projects over five years to research, develop, and demonstrate concentrating solar power systems. Energy Secretary Steven Chu made the announcement May 7, stating that the investment would generate new jobs and "pave the way towards a clean-energy future.”

April 27, 2010

Alcoa and NREL Testing New Concentrating Solar Power System

Alcoa has teamed with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to test an advanced concentrating solar power technology that uses highly reflective, durable aluminum mirrors instead of traditional glass mirrors that are heavier and more prone to break. The research is aimed at lowering the cost of producing the technology so as to make it competitive in the United States.

April 13, 2010

New Fact Sheet Explains Solar Power's Role in Grid of the Future

How will distributed and centralized renewable energy technologies, particularly solar power, contribute to the electricity system of the future? The Energy Analysis Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published a fact sheet that answers this question and also explains the how the electric grid works, and why a mix of renewable energy technologies will be necessary to keep up with the constantly changing demand for electricity.

April 6, 2010

NREL's Emery Receives Hubbard Award

Keith Emery, Principal Research Supervisor at the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was honored with the H.M. Hubbard award on March 16. Emery received the award for seminal contributions to the measurement science of photovoltaic devices and modules and for establishing a world-class, internationally recognized measurement facility.

February 25, 2010

DOE Awards Nearly $1.4 Billion in Loan Guarantees to BrightSource Energy

DOE has awarded a conditional loan guarantee for nearly $1.4 billion to BrightSource Energy for three utility-scale concentrated solar power plants in southeastern California. Pending regulatory approval, the Ivanpah Solar Complex will generate about 400 megawatts of energy.

February 17, 2010

CRSP Funds 10 New Advanced Solar Research Projects, Announces First Sponsored Research Program Project with Konarka Technologies

The Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion (CRSP) has funded 10 advanced solar research projects totaling $800,000 – its second round of Shared Research Program funding. Separately, CRSP also has launched its first Sponsored Research Program effort – a project between Konarka Technologies and Colorado State University (CSU).

January 20, 2010

DOE to Provide Up to $12 Million to Support Early Stage Solar Technologies

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., will invest $12 million in total funding ($10 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to support the development of early stage solar energy technologies.

January 18, 2010

SolarReserve Signs PPA for 100-Megawatt CSP Project

A California-based energy developer has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to sell electricity generated by a 100-megawatt concentrating solar power project. The project, to be located in Nevada, will use a molten-salt storage system and provide jobs and tax revenue for the south-central region of the state.

January 5, 2010

Updated Report Details an Emerging CPV Industry

After incorporating feedback from the industry, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has updated a report that assesses the status of the rapidly growing concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) industry.

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