Secretary Chu Announces up to $62 Million for CSP Research
The Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 projects for investment
of up to $62 million over five years to research, develop and demonstrate
concentrating solar power (CSP) systems capable of providing low-cost
electrical power. This funding will support improvements in CSP systems,
components and thermal energy storage to accelerate the market-readiness
of this renewable energy technology.
Among the awards, PPG Industries will receive up to $3.0 million to develop
a next-generation, low-cost reflector with increased reflectivity, increased
durability and larger dimensions than existing reflectors. Increasing
the performance of reflectors while pushing down the cost of materials
and manufacturing will serve as an enabling technology for utility-scale
CSP power plants. The most significant maintenance cost of a CSP
plant is cleaning and replacing the mirrors, and thus this new reflector
design could have a significant impact on total plant cost.
In addition, Abengoa Solar Inc. in Lakewood, Colo., will be granted up
to $10.6 million to develop a new power tower technology that captures
heat in a high-temperature receiver at the top of an elevated tower. The
system will focus the sunís rays to the tower using a 360-degree, surround
reflector field on the ground. eSolar Inc. in Pasadena, Calif., will receive
up to $10.8 million to design, build and test a CSP power plant system
with fundamentally new components. Instead of one central tower and
receiver, the plant will employ multiple modular towers, using reflective
mirrors. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif., could
receive up to $10.2 million to build on and advance the current solar
power tower plant design. The project will explore new materials
for the central power tower receiver.
Pythagoras Solar Announces Photovoltaic Glass Unit
Pythagoras Solar, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of building integrated
photovoltaic products, has announced plans to commercialize the industryís
first energy-efficient, transparent and high power density photovoltaic
glass unit (PVGU). PVGU products are expected to be available for curtainwall,
skylights and windows in the second half of 2010.
Designed to be an easily integrated component of conventional building
construction, the products combine the energy efficiency benefits of an
insulating glass unit, the shading and lighting benefits of patent-pending
optics and solar power generation.
The company also has established formal relationships with Arkema, China
Sunergy and Flextronics, all of which will help are expected to help Pythatgoras
to scale its operations as it prepares for commercial production.
U.S. Solar Industry
Saw Strong Growth in 2009 Despite Recession
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released its 2009 U.S.
Solar Industry Year in Review report, which says that 2009 was another
year of strong growth despite the economic recession.
Overall, U.S. solar electric capacity, including both photovoltaic (PV)
and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations, increased by 37 percent
over 2008. This was driven primarily by strong demand in the residential
and utility-scale markets, state and federal policy advances and declining
technology prices. As a result, total solar industry revenue reached
$4 billion, a 36 percent increase over 2008.
The solar industry contributed to the overall economy by adding 17,000
new jobs across the country.
Top 10 States in Solar Electric Capacity
||Capacity (in MW)
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