Archinect - News 2017-08-22T12:59:39-04:00 https://archinect.com/news/article/150022650/how-solar-battery-storage-will-affect-microgrids-and-off-grid-living How solar battery storage will affect microgrids and off-grid living Alexander Walter 2017-08-14T17:32:00-04:00 >2017-08-16T12:41:04-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/k2/k2ho5lkkdgu10ppj.jpg" width="650" height="293" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>In March, Tesla cut the ribbon on this groundbreaking grid-scale battery installation, a key test of the viability of energy storage in making renewable energy a more reliable part of the grid. With 50,000 solar panels and 272 batteries, the combined solar-and-storage plant provides enough energy to power 4,500 homes for four hours. If Tesla can help keep Kauai solar-powered around the clock with its batteries, then it can apply what it has learned elsewhere in the country, and around the world</p></em><br /><br /><p>In her Longreads/Grist piece, author Amelia Urry explains the changing nature of solar power challenges that off-grid dwellers as well as smaller, geographically isolated microgrids face now that battery storage on an industrial scale is becoming more lucrative.&nbsp;</p><p>The article tells the story of a young couple struggling to live off the grid on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, when at the same time, the local utility cooperative switches on its brand-new bank of Tesla batteries to store the abundant solar power it generates during daytime but couldn't offer during peak times in the early morning and late evening hours: "It&rsquo;s not about getting off the grid. It&rsquo;s about building a better one."</p> https://archinect.com/news/article/150022622/tesla-s-tiny-house-goes-on-roadshow-to-promote-its-solar-tech Tesla's 'Tiny House' goes on roadshow to promote its solar tech Alexander Walter 2017-08-14T14:19:00-04:00 >2017-08-14T14:22:26-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/bc/bcbed1725ba4c7885cfc311b5b4106fc.jpg" width="650" height="325" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Tesla revealed today that it created what it calls the &lsquo;Tesla Tiny House&rsquo; to feature its energy products, like solar panels and Powerwall. The company is bringing the house on tour using a Model X &ldquo;to educate the public on how to generate, store and use renewable energy for their home.&rdquo; The tiny house contains a Tesla mobile design studio and configurator to help home owners configure a solar plus energy storage system for their home.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Needless to add that the <a href="https://www.tesla.com/teslatinyhouse" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tesla Tiny House</a> itself gains all its electricity via a solar installation on the tiny roof.</p> <figure><p><a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/uploads/6c/6ctu2i3pr1jxwrlo.jpg" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/6c/6ctu2i3pr1jxwrlo.jpg"></a></p></figure><p>The exhibition tour is limited to four major Australian cities for now, but the economic gain could be far from tiny &mdash;&nbsp;as the world's leader in capita penetration of rooftop solar installations (15% of households / 1.5 million households), Australia is a highly lucrative market for Tesla even though it hasn't started selling solar panels there.<br></p> https://archinect.com/news/article/150020937/ikea-starts-selling-home-battery-storage-with-its-solar-panels IKEA starts selling home battery storage with its solar panels Alexander Walter 2017-08-03T14:18:00-04:00 >2017-08-03T14:19:39-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/v1/v1f8mfgjtp0cegx8.jpg" width="650" height="395" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Ikea is now offering solar panels and home batteries to its customers in the UK. The Scandinavian furniture chain is partnering with solar firm Solarcentury for the venture, with prices for solar battery storage starting at &pound;3,000 (about $3,970 USD). The home batteries are designed to work with existing solar panels, or as part of a new combined home solar panel / battery storage system that Ikea is selling.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Swedish furniture retail giant first starting solar panels in the UK <a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/83055295/ikea-to-begin-selling-solar-panels" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">back in 2013</a> to grow on a (then) heavily subsidized green energy market but ceased sales in 2015 when the British government announced its plans of cutting solar subsidies by up to 90%. Just a few months later, <a href="http://archinect.com/news/tag/67774/ikea" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">IKEA</a> returned with a new lineup of home solar panels, this time partnering up with the firm SolarCentury.</p> <p>"An average solar home in the UK will typically consume around 40% of all the solar electricity generated, or even less if they are regularly out during the day," IKEA explains in a new statement. "The remaining 60% of unused solar electricity is sent back to the National Grid, at a loss compared to its value. This means that homeowners currently lose out on making further cost savings. By adding Solar Battery Storage, unused solar electricity can be stored and used at a later time, meaning the amount of solar electricity an average home can use doubles to 80%."</p> <p>With the launch of its&nbsp;Solar Battery S...</p> https://archinect.com/news/article/150011290/a-solar-paneled-us-mexico-border-wall A solar-paneled US/Mexico border wall? Nicholas Korody 2017-06-07T12:56:00-04:00 >2017-06-07T17:46:57-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/2i/2iri864hiw2qluri.jpg" width="650" height="358" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>President Donald Trump floated putting solar panels on his planned Mexican border wall in a meeting with legislative leaders Tuesday afternoon, according to White House and Capitol Hill officials. It was unclear why Trump brought up the topic, but he presented the panels as a way to fund the wall, which is expected to cost billions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the conversation.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Of course, this comes on the heels of intense criticism of the President's decision to <a href="http://archinect.com/features/article/150010479/environmentalism-matters-for-architects-with-or-without-the-paris-agreement" target="_blank">withdraw</a> from the Paris Agreement.&nbsp;</p> https://archinect.com/news/article/149993737/mit-startup-creates-camouflage-solar-panels MIT startup creates camouflage solar panels Alexander Walter 2017-02-24T14:17:00-05:00 >2017-02-28T19:56:06-05:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/wt/wtooo7ftze3tzmkh.jpg" width="650" height="450" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Founded at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Sistine creates custom solar panels designed to mimic home facades and other environments, with aims of enticing more homeowners to install photovoltaic systems. Sistine&rsquo;s novel technology, SolarSkin, is a layer that can be imprinted with any image and embedded into a solar panel without interfering with the panel&rsquo;s efficacy. Homeowners can match their rooftop or a grassy lawn.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The product caters to the growing "aesthetic solar" market which tries to attract homeowners that are considering going solar but fear the aesthetic impact of the traditional, bleak-looking dark solar panels on their home's appearance. Just last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk <a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/149975987/say-goodbye-to-clunky-solar-panels-and-hello-to-tesla-s-sleek-new-glass-solar-roof-tiles" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">revealed</a> a line of glass, photovoltaic cell-embedded roof tiles that mimic (currently) four common roof covering styles.</p><p>Here a few more examples of Sistine's SolarSkin technology that allows&mdash;so the company claims&mdash;the panels to either completely blend in with the existing roof or display any desired image, like business logos or advertisements.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/xi/xiishtv1bckqwces.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/2m/2m8meg82y815270x.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/ty/tyyb8jo3p27ha47m.jpg"></p><p><em>All images via&nbsp;Sistine Solar's <a href="http://www.sistinesolar.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">website</a>.</em></p> https://archinect.com/news/article/149988830/refugee-shelter-takes-top-prize-for-the-beazley-designs-of-2016 Refugee shelter takes top prize for the Beazley Designs of 2016 Julia Ingalls 2017-01-26T20:13:00-05:00 >2017-02-07T21:04:07-05:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/ah/ahvjgip8djb2bzcn.jpg" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Designed by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicol&ograve; Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, the photovoltaic panel-powered refugee shelter "Better Shelter" has been named the Beazley Design of the Year, beating out the five other category winners to take the top spot.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/x8/x8w9r77drl2iff8a.jpg"></p><p>According to a press release, 30,000 of the shelters, which only take a few hours to assemble from their two-box, fully equipped kit, are currently being used globally.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/mu/munvilh0iin76quz.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/5r/5rc9dii4hi5tyc7t.jpg"></p> https://archinect.com/news/article/149975987/say-goodbye-to-clunky-solar-panels-and-hello-to-tesla-s-sleek-new-glass-solar-roof-tiles Say goodbye to clunky solar panels, and hello to Tesla's sleek new glass solar roof tiles Nicholas Korody 2016-10-31T15:09:00-04:00 >2016-11-04T12:42:12-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/x6/x61fnubbb53pegaz.jpg" width="650" height="391" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>While solar panels have been subsidized in many cities for a while now, the blocky, rectangular panels aren&rsquo;t heavily implemented in part because they tend to appear as, well, an addition, rather than a constitutive element of home design. That's about to change, as Tesla has announced a (potentially) revolutionary new intervention in the development of self-powered homes.</p><p>At a press event at Universal Studios, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a line of glass, photovoltaic cell-embedded <a href="https://www.tesla.com/solar" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">roof tiles</a>. And they look strikingly like old-fashioned roof tiles, coming in a four distinct styles: &ldquo;Textured Glass Tile&rdquo;, &ldquo;Tuscan Glass Tile&rdquo;, &ldquo;Smooth Glass Tile&rdquo; and &ldquo;Slate Glass Tile&rdquo;. From above, the glass is transparent to the sun. From street-level, the solar cells aren&rsquo;t visible.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/ww/ww7ceuyo7b4fde1d.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/vp/vpq84k5i757g0prz.jpg"></p><p>Tesla states that the tiles will cost less than traditional roofing when energy savings are factored in. Manufactured out of durable, long-lasting tempered glass, the roof tiles will &ldquo;last longer than the house&rdquo;, Musk ass...</p> https://archinect.com/news/article/149934787/denver-selected-to-host-the-2017-solar-decathlon Denver selected to host the 2017 Solar Decathlon Alexander Walter 2016-03-15T13:56:00-04:00 >2016-03-18T00:49:54-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/71/714e023ycf30tzh6.jpg" width="650" height="333" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Dr. Orr revealed that Denver won the bid to host this biennial event, in which student teams compete to design, build, and operate cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar-powered houses. [...] The competition is planned to be staged near a new development close to Denver International Airport. The area around the 61st and Pe&ntilde;a Commuter Rail Station is positioned to become a national model for sustainable, transit-oriented, greenfield development [...].</p></em><br /><br /><p>Archinect coverage of previous Solar Decathlons:</p><ul><li><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/139315335/2015-solar-decathlon-winner-stevens-institute-of-technology-addresses-post-sandy-resiliency-with-the-sure-house" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">2015 Solar Decathlon winner Stevens Institute of Technology addresses post-Sandy resiliency with the SURE HOUSE</a></li><li><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/139121978/students-endure-the-final-home-stretch-at-the-u-s-solar-decathlon-2015" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Students endure the final home stretch at the U.S. Solar Decathlon 2015</a></li><li><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/84161736/archinect-field-trip-solar-decathlon-2013-basking-in-arrays-of-energy-efficiency" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Archinect Field Trip: Solar Decathlon 2013, Basking in Arrays of Energy Efficiency</a></li></ul> https://archinect.com/news/article/149606391/how-this-new-gigafactory-may-popularize-residential-solar-power-technology How this new gigafactory may popularize residential solar power technology Justine Testado 2016-03-04T21:24:00-05:00 >2016-03-17T21:56:02-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/ig/igykjwhfve1g09px.jpg" width="650" height="413" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>When production begins, SolarCity, already the leading installer of residential solar panels in the [U.S.] will become a vertically integrated manufacturer and provider...At a time when conventional silicon-based solar panels from China have never been cheaper, investing in a new type of solar technology is a risky undertaking. However, the potential benefits are huge. The new factory...could transform both SolarCity&rsquo;s business...and the economics of residential solar power.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The MIT Technology Review profiles the upcoming Buffalo-based SolarCity factory and their ambitious plans that could potentially make solar power technology more widely available to consumers.</p><p>More news about alternative energy:</p><p><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/145746231/cloud-harvesting-skyscraper-renderings-of-proposed-new-sustainable-tokyo-development" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cloud-harvesting skyscraper: renderings of proposed new sustainable Tokyo development</a></p><p><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/139550126/michigan-state-university-researchers-develop-completely-transparent-solar-panels" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Michigan State University researchers develop completely transparent solar panels</a></p><p><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/135189464/could-quantum-dots-be-the-key-to-turning-windows-into-photovoltaics" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Could 'quantum dots' be the key to turning windows into photovoltaics?</a></p><p><a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/132487606/turning-japan-s-golfing-greens-into-solar-farms" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Turning Japan's golfing greens into solar farms</a></p> https://archinect.com/news/article/135189464/could-quantum-dots-be-the-key-to-turning-windows-into-photovoltaics Could 'quantum dots' be the key to turning windows into photovoltaics? Nicholas Korody 2015-08-26T14:37:00-04:00 >2015-08-26T14:37:26-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/wl/wlstnmffz6qf4j91.jpg" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>While wind may be one of the most economical power sources out there, photovoltaic solar energy has a big advantage: it can go small. While wind gets cheaper as turbines grow larger, the PV hardware scales down to fit wherever we have infrastructure. In fact, simply throwing solar on our existing building stock could generate a very large amount of carbon-free electricity.</p></em><br /><br /><p>But, as many homeowners already know, installing solar panels can be quite cost-prohibitive. New research might just have solved that problem by incorporating solar hardware into the most basic light filter used in architecture: the window.</p><p>According to a study, solar windows could filter out a portion of light and convert about a third of it to electricity. By utilizing a "diffuse cloud of quantum dots," the glass would still meet "the highest standards for indoor lighting."</p><p>The quantum dots are made of "copper,&nbsp;indium, and selenium, covered in a layer of zinc sulfide." They absorb a broad band of the solar spectrum but convert it to "specific wavelength in the infrared," which happens to be ideal for absorption by a silicon photovoltaic.&nbsp;</p><p>There would be a good deal of energy loss in the conversion process compared to a panel installed on a roof, but as <em>Ars Technica</em> notes, that's not really the point. Contemporary architecture tends to use vast amounts of glazing &ndash; by harvesting even ...</p> https://archinect.com/news/article/106481015/the-city-that-made-solar-power-illegal The City That Made Solar Power Illegal Alexander Walter 2014-08-13T14:09:00-04:00 >2014-08-18T20:31:17-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/7c/7cdd28b8e5ff7235ee0f381a708079f1.jpg" width="650" height="398" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The rainy season coincides with summer in Dakar, which means it&rsquo;s the power-cut days. The heat goes up, A/Cs kick into gear and the power utility, Senelec, cannot cope. [...] Enter solar. This potential renewable savior is a latecomer to Dakar because until recently solar power was banned in cities, as it was considered what the French pointedly call &ldquo;comp&eacute;tition d&eacute;loyale&rdquo; &ndash; unfair competition. But under pressure from Dakar&rsquo;s own citizens, the ban was lifted under the last government [...].</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><head><meta></head></html> https://archinect.com/news/article/79524095/team-uow-australia-wins-2013-solar-decathlon-china Team UOW Australia Wins 2013 Solar Decathlon China Justine Testado 2013-08-15T12:57:00-04:00 >2013-08-19T19:33:35-04:00 <img src="https://d38w84nuu9j2kr.cloudfront.net/images/650x/bd/bd7638d9f931b8960d13ed7151ea0bd8.jpg" width="530" height="352" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>On Aug. 11, the Illawarra Flame House of Team UOW Australia (University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra Institute) won the 2013 Solar Decathlon China. Co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Energy Administration China, the competition challenged university teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and stylish. Participants included 22 teams from 35 universities, with students of over 35 nationalities in 13 countries.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><head><meta></head></html> https://archinect.com/news/article/22718452/printed-paper-photovoltaic-cells Printed Paper Photovoltaic Cells nanoarchitecture 2011-10-04T12:04:00-04:00 >2012-11-13T12:41:54-05:00 <em><p>Researchers from Chemnitz University of Technology and Julius-Maximilians-University of W&uuml;rzburg, in Germany, have presented solar panels that are printed on standard paper. The technology, known as 3PV (3PV stands for printed paper photovoltaics) uses conventional printing methods and standard substrates, like those used for magazines, posters or packaging.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><head><meta></head></html>