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SolarCity, the Silicon Valley solar installer, has quietly begun to offer some homeowners a lithium-ion battery pack made by electric carmaker Tesla to store electricity generated by their rooftop photovoltaic arrays. Stem, another Silicon Valley company, will sell or lease a $100,000, 54-kilowatt-hour battery pack to businesses so they can arbitrage the grid by storing electricity when rates are cheap and then using that energy when they’re high. — qz.com
Researchers at the Stanford School of Engineering have succeeded in developing the world’s first peel-and-stick thin-film solar cells.
The idea will allow the cells to be applied to almost any surface, with successful tests having been conducted on paper, plastic and window glass. This opens up significant opportunities for alternative applications for solar technology, previously limited by traditional solar cells, which must be mounted on stiff, often heavy, fixed panels. — DesignBuild Source
Big news out of Madrid: Team Rhône-Alpes’ Canopea House has won the 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe! At the forefront of the competition since winning the Architecture and Operations prizes, this compact home is topped with a 10,7 kW array of photovoltaic panels that produce enough energy for both floors and a mini EV. — Inhabitat
Permits issued by Catawba County show that the Cupertino, Calif., company has been approved to reshape the slope of some of the 171 acres of vacant land it owns on Startown Road, opposite the data center, in preparation of building a solar farm. — charlotteobserver.com
Google, the investor in this case, will technically own the solar panels, while the maintenance and upkeep responsibility of the solar panels stays with the installer and Clean Power Finance. The homeowners, who are essentially giving roof space in exchange for a chance to buy solar-generated electricity, will pay a monthly fee. Google's return on investment comes via the electricity that is generated by the solar panels and sold to customers. — news.cnet.com
Swiss design firm RAFAA has shared with us their entry to the invited competition for Ivanpah, a 392-megawatt solar thermal power facility currently being built by BrightSource Energy Inc in the Californian Mojave Desert. The project - which counts NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource as equity investors - is currently the largest solar plant under construction in the world. — bustler.net
Diawa Lease just sent Inhabitat the first photos of their new transforming EDV-1 shelter, which can be set on any terrain, doubles in size with the flick of a switch, and can sustain itself without any outside resources for up to a month by catching and reusing water and generating electricity with a huge built-in solar array. —
The citizens living off the Han River in Seoul, South Korea inaugurated the world’s largest floating island just last week. The stunning structure includes a 700 seat convention hall, restaurants and arcades — all powered by solar energy. When the development is completed, a trio of islands will be linked together by twenty-three weather-proof chains. — Inhabitat
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