Tag Archives: Solar power

Pakistan parliament turns to solar power

Amid a growing energy crisis, Pakistan is installing a 1.8 megawatt solar power plant at the Parliament House building in the capital city Islamabad.

 

Work on the project began in the first week of January. The initial cost – which is being funded by the Chinese government as a friendship gesture – is estimated at $60m (£36.5). The solar plant is projected to save almost $1m each year in utility bills for the parliament complex.

“This is the first project of its kind (in a public building) in Pakistan, and later more public buildings will be converted to solar power to overcome the energy crisis,” said Munawar Abbas Shah, a special secretary at the National Assembly

Read more » the guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/20/pakistan-parliament-turns-to-solar-power

More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2016/02/160212_parliament_solar_ra

World’s largest solar power station to come up in Madhya Pradesh

By PTI

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh will house world’s largest 750 Mega Watts(MW) solar power station in Rewa district, state’s energy minister Rajendra Shukla said today.
“Global tenders for commissioning the solar power station in an area over 1,500 hectares at Bandwar region in Gudh tehsil of Rewa, will be invited shortly,” Shukla told PTI.
He said that if all goes well, the plant will start generating solar energy by March 2017.

Read more » The Economic Times

China plans huge solar power station in space

By PTI 

BEIJING: China plans to build a huge solar power station 36,000km above the ground in an attempt to battle smog, cut greenhouse gases and solve energy crisis, much on the lines of an idea first floated in 1941 by fiction writer Isaac Asimov, state media reported on Monday.

If realized, it will surpass the scale of the Apollo project and the International Space Station, and be the largest-ever space project.

The power station would be a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit equipped with huge solar panels. The electricity generated would be converted to microwaves or lasers and transmitted to a collector on Earth, staterun Xinhua news agency reported.

In 1941, American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov had published a short story “Reason”, in which a space station transmits energy collected from the sun using microwave beams.

Wang Xiji, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an International Academy of Astronautics member, says Asimov’s fiction has a scientific basis.

After devoting over 50 years to space technology research, Wang, 93, is an advocate for the station: “An economically viable space power station would be really huge, with the total area of the so lar panels reaching 5 to 6 sq km.”

That would be equivalent to 12 of Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square, the largest public square in the world.”Maybe people on Earth could see at night, like a star,” says Wang.

Wang says the electricity generated from the ground-based solar plants fluctuates with night and day and weather, but a space generator collects energy 99% of the time.Space-based solar panels can generate ten times as much electricity as ground-based panels per unit area, says Duan Baoyan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.”If we have space solar power technology”, hopefully we could solve the energy crisis on Earth,” Duan said. Wang says whoever obtains the technology first “could occupy the future energy market.” However, many hurdles lie ahead: A commercially viable space power station would weigh 10,000 tons. But few rockets can carry a payload of over 100 tons to low Earth orbit. “We need a cheap heavy-lift launchvehicle,” says Wang, who designed China’s first carrier rocket more than 40 years ago. “We also need to make very thin and light solar panels.”

Continue reading China plans huge solar power station in space

Solar Power Comes of Age – How Harnessing the Sun Got Cheap and Practical

By Dickon Pinner and Matt Rogers

Solar power has been declared a winner before, only to flounder. It’s easy to remain skeptical today, given that solar power accounts for less than one percent of the global energy supply. But it is also expanding faster than any other power source, with an average growth rate of 50 percent a year for the past six years. Annual installations of photovoltaic panels increased from a capacity of less than 0.3 gigawatts in 2000 to 45 gigawatts in 2014—enough to power more than 7.4 million American homes. This time really is different: solar power is ready to compete on its own terms.

The momentum behind solar power is a result of innovations in regulation, industry, technology, and financing. In a number of markets, it no longer needs public subsidies to compete on price with conventional power sources, such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. The International Energy Agency, which has historically taken a conservative approach to evaluating solar power’s prospects, has projected that by 2050, in the best-case scenario, solar energy could be the single biggest source of power, generating as much as 27 percent of electricity worldwide.

If that happens, the consequences will be profound. Electricity will reach places that have never known what it means to get light or heat on demand. The price of electricity could fall, and utilities will have to figure out how to adapt. But the environmental gains, in terms of lower emissions of particulates, sulphur, and greenhouse gases, would be profound.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143066/dickon-pinner-and-matt-rogers/solar-power-comes-of-age

Pakistani farmers struggle to switch to solar powered pumps

By Aamir Saeed

Amid Pakistan’s growing energy crisis, farmers are being encouraged to switch from diesel to solar powered water pumps, but few can afford the initial costs

Arshad Khan recently converted his diesel-operated water pump to solar energy to save money on his monthly diesel bill. He grows wheat, vegetables, peanuts and sugar-cane on his 18 hectare farm in Attock district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“In April last year I decided to convert my tube well to solar energy after my diesel costs rose to 29,000 rupees (US$287) per month,” he said.

In Pakistan, there are over 1.1 million agriculture tube wells, with only 30% of them operated by electricity.

As the country faces a growing energy crisis, farmers are left with no option but to switch from diesel to solar energy to irrigate their crops. Tube wells consume around 2,000 million litres of diesel every year.

Khan is now encouraging other farmers in the area to install solar panels, pointing out the long-term economic benefits despite the initial expenditure of 1.8 million rupees (US$17,827).

National solar drive?

Pakistan’s government recently approved the use of grid-connected solar energy and rooftop solar installations and cut import taxes on solar equipment in a bid to boost solar power across the country.

In the next few months, Pakistan will add 100MW from the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Punjab province to the national grid for the first time, with an additional 50MW to be added within a year. The project is part of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, under which China will invest US$33 billion including in the energy and power sector.

But the country’s solar sector has a long way to go. “At the moment, generation of solar energy in the public sector is zero as all the projects are being done in the private sector,” said Asjad Imtiaz Ali, CEO of the Alternative Energy Development Board, a government organisation.

Chairman of Pakistan Solar Association, Faiz Muhammad Bhutta, recently urged the government to do more to spread solar power: he called for a 20,000-MW solar target by 2026, following the example of India’s National Solar Mission.

Despite plummeting oil prices, Asjad Imtiaz Ali believes Pakistan should continue to develop its renewable energy sector as a way of reducing its reliance on volatile fossil imports for electricity.

Almost half of Pakistan’s total electricity generation comes from expensive thermal energy sources and this means electricity prices have become unaffordable, according to the country’s 2013 National Power Policy.

Solar is the most viable and reliable energy source for agriculture, argues Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman, climate change and renewable energy expert with LEAD Pakistan, an NGO based in Islamabad. He believes farmers across the country should be encouraged to convert their diesel-operated water pumps to solar energy.

“Agriculture tube wells can be operated directly from solar panels as no batteries are required to store the energy for them,” Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman said, adding farmers can recover costs within three to four years by saving on diesel and electricity bills.

Read more » The Third Pole
See more » http://www.thethirdpole.net/pakistani-farmers-struggle-to-switch-to-solar-powered-pumps/

Google Is Making Its Biggest Bet on Renewable Energy

(Bloomberg) — Google Inc. is making its largest bet yet on renewable energy, a $300 million investment to support at least 25,000 SolarCity Corp. rooftop power plants.

Google is contributing to a SolarCity fund valued at $750 million, the largest ever created for residential solar, the San Mateo, California-based solar panel installer said Thursday in a statement.

Google has now committed more than $1.8 billion to renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms on three continents. This deal, which may have a return as high as 8 percent, is a sign that technology companies can take advantage of investment formats once reserved only for banks.

“Hopefully this will lead other corporations to invest in renewable energy,” SolarCity Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive said in a phone interview.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-26/google-makes-biggest-bet-on-renewables-to-fund-solarcity?hootPostID=ec03be21cb060deb7c44af681ec97bf1

In the Time It Takes to Read This Story, a Solar Array Will Go up Somewhere

The marketplace for solar power isn’t cooperating with pessimists

Solar panels are super cheap, with prices down more than 75 percent in five years. Just $0.70 a watt! That’s great news, even if few people can explain what a watt feels like exactly.  And the future is growing even brighter, according to a report released today from the independent German research group Agora Energiewende. The analysts report that leading global projections of world energy use may be missing the big picture: “Most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems,” the report states. The price of silicon panels is no longer the cost headache it’s been historically. How much sun a location gets, the authors write, is less than a factor than many might think. What increasingly matters is financing costs.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-24/in-the-time-it-takes-to-read-this-story-a-solar-array-will-go-up-somewhere-i6jrbr4x?hootPostID=d7724d162a760d8a3b726708c34ed292

Sunny business: India to trump US with 750 megawatt solar power plant

The construction of the world’s largest solar power plant is underway in central India. When the 750-megawatt site starts operating in August, 2016, the project is set to overtake America’s 550-megawatt ‘Desert Sunlight’ in California.

The world’s largest solar power plant that will be generating 750MW of electricity had been recently commissioned in Rewa district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the Times of India reported on Monday.

Now, the 40-billion-rupee ($643 million) project is close to acquisition of 1,500 hectares of land, and by April government agencies are believed to start inviting tenders from developers. It is a joint venture of state-run PSU Urja Vikas Nigam with Solar Energy Corporation of India, and at least 20 percent of the energy generated by the plant will be used within the Madhya Pradesh state.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/232675-india-largest-solar-plant/

Australia has proved Solar power can replace fossil fuels

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels.

A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F).

CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

“It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag.

The Energy Centre uses a field of more than 600 mirrors (known as heliostats) which are all directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, Gizmag reports.

This supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but previously it’s only been possible to produce it by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas explained.

Read more » Science Alert
http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20140506-25618.html

Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

BADAIWANI WALA: For years Pakistanis have sweated and cursed through summer power cuts, but now the government plans to harness the sun’s ferocious heat to help tackle the country’s chronic energy crisis.

In a corner of the Cholistan desert in Punjab province, power transmission lines, water pipes and a pristine new road cross 10,000 acres of parched, sandy land.

The provincial government has spent $5 million to put in place the infrastructure as it seeks to transform the desolate area into one of the world’s largest solar power parks, capable one day of generating up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

The desert park in Bahawalpur district is the latest scheme to tackle the rolling blackouts which have inflicted misery on people and strangled economic growth.

Temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the country’s centre in June and July, sending demand for electricity soaring and leaving a shortfall of around 4,000 MW.

“In phase one, a pilot project producing 100 MW of electricity will hopefully be completed by the end of this year,” Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration, told AFP.

“After completion of the first 100 MW project, the government will invite investors to invest here for the 1,000 megawatts.”

A ‘river’ of solar panels

Engineers and labourers are working in the desert under the scorching sun to complete the boundary wall, with authorities keen to begin generating solar electricity by November.

“If you come here after one and a half years, you will see a river of (solar) panels, residential buildings and offices — it will be a new world,”said site engineer Muhammad Sajid, gesturing to the desert.

Besides solar, Pakistan is also trying to tap its unexploited coal reserves — which lie in another area of the same desert, in Sindh province.

In January Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction on a $1.6 billion coal plant in the town of Thar, in Sindh.

Work has also begun on a pilot 660 megawatt coal-fired plant in Gadani, a small town on the Arabian Sea.

Another 600 megawatt coal plant has also been given the go-ahead in the southern city of Jamshoro.

But while coal may offer a short-term fix to the energy crisis, authorities are keen to move to cleaner electricity in the long run.

“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come,” said Baloch.

“Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical,” he said.

Clean energy

Baloch believes that the new solar park will make Pakistan a leader in that energy in the region. The initial pilot project is a government scheme but private investors are also taking an interest.

Raja Waqar of Islamabad-based Safe Solar Power is among them. His company plans to invest $10 million to build a 10 MW project in the new park.

“The government has allotted us land over here. Infrastructure, the transmission line and road are available here, that is why we are investing,”Waqar told AFP.

A million dollars per MW is a sizeable investment but Waqar said the company expected to reap returns on it over at least the next decade, and others were keen to get on board.

“There are up to 20 companies who are investing in this park and their projects are in the pipeline,” he said. “Some of them are working on 50 MW, some on 10 and others on 20.”But not everyone is so upbeat about the project.

Arshad Abbasi, an energy expert at Islamabad’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said the cost of generating solar power from this project may be uneconomical for the government.

He also warned that buying in solar equipment from abroad made little economic sense.

“Had the government decided to establish more hydro or thermal plants in the country it would have generated more employment, business and construction opportunities,” he said.

And farmers in the area who scrape a living herding cattle on the unforgiving land are worried about their future.

“We don’t know if this energy park is good, the power will come or not, we only want the government to spare our area and allow us to continue living here with our cattle,” said Malik Jalal, a local villager.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1101141

India Almost Doubled Its Solar Power In 2013 With Big Plans For More

By Ari Phillips

India added just over 1 gigawatt of solar energy to its electrical grid last year, a major milestone that nearly doubles the country’s cumulative solar energy capacity to 2.18 gigawatts. After a slow start to the year, solar installation picked up rapidly — a good sign that India will be able to meet its ambitious solar targets going forward. India hopes to install 10 GW of solar by 2017 and 20 GW by 2022.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched in 2010 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, aims to help the country achieve success with solar energy deployment. India is currently in the planning stages of building the world’s largest solar plant, which would generate 4 gigawatts in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

“This is the first project of this scale anywhere in the world and is expected to set a trend for large-scale solar power developments,” Ashvini Kumar, director of Solar Energy Corp, one of five public utilities that will run the plant, told Business Insider.

In the last decade India’s renewable energy capacity has gone from just under 4 GW to over 27 GW as of this month. Wind energy makes up about two-thirds of this total, with small hydropower contributing nearly 4 GW and biomass over 1 GW.

Last weekend India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate to promote renewable energy, especially solar.

Read more » Think Progress
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/21/3184561/india-solar-target-success/

GravityLight: a revolutionary new approach

GravityLight: lighting for developing countries.

We have developed a realistic alternative to Kerosene lamps by harnessing the power of gravity. We need your help to make it happen.

GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy and creating illumination. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent. For free.

Following the initial inspiration of using gravity, and years of perspiration, we have refined the design and it is now ready for production. We need your help to fund the tooling, manufacture and distribution of at least 1000 gravity powered lights. We will gift them to villagers in both Africa and India to use regularly. The follow-up research will tell us how well the lights met their needs, and enable us to refine the design for a more efficient MK2 version. Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. When mass produced the target cost for this light is less than $5.

Why GravityLight?

Did you know that there are currently over 1.5 billion people in the World who have no reliable access to mains electricity? These people rely, instead, on biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) for lighting once the sun goes down.

Continue reading GravityLight: a revolutionary new approach

Going nuclear-free: Germany smashes solar power world record

Germany’s solar power plants produced a record 22 gigawatts of energy on Friday, equivalent to the output of 20 nuclear plants. The country is already a world-leader in solar power and hopes to be free of nuclear energy by 2022.

The director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, northeast Germany, said the solar power delivered to the national grid on Saturday met 50 per cent of the nation’s energy quota.

“Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity. Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over,” Norbert Allnoch told Reuters news agency.

The German government decided to turn its back on nuclear energy last year after the Fukushima disaster and plans to be nuclear-free by 2022. Critics have rounded on the initiative, skeptical that renewable sources can meet the nation’s growing energy needs.

“This shows Germany is capable of meeting a large share of its electricity needs with solar power. It also shows Germany can do with fewer coal-burning power plants, gas-burning plants and nuclear plants,” stressed Allmoch. ….

Read more » The Idealist Revolution
http://www.theidealistrevolution.com/going-nuclear-free-germany-smashes-solar-power-world-record/

Alternative energy – Solar power in space beaming it back to Earth

Japan sees solar station in 30 years

Solar power plants, beaming clean energy down to Earth 24 hours a day so we can run our factories and other appliances running. The scientists and engineers attending the International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space, a three day conference in Toronto. Space-based solar power is a tremendously exciting prospect for our Earth to keep it clean and get continuously alternative but clean energy.