Energy Department invests millions to accelerate high-volume solar manufacturing

A $25 million federal grant will speed the construction of a solar manufacturing plant in San Diego, in an effort to boost U.S. competitiveness.

Semiconductor maker Soitec Solar, recipient of the Department of Energy grant, will pour the funds into equipment at its Rancho Bernando-area plant. Production is set to start before the end of the year on concentrated photovoltaic modules that use optical lenses to focus sunlight on tiny, highly efficient solar cells.

A publicly traded company based in Bernin, France, Soitec entered the concentrated photovoltaics business in 2009 with the purchase of Concentrix Solar, a spinoff of the Fraunhofer Institutes, a network of publicly funded research centers in Germany.

Soitec received the largest share of $37 million in Energy Department grants designed to accelerate high-volume solar manufacturing over the next two years.

 

More on this$25 million federal grant speeds solar factory construction

 

 

More about Soitec’s CPV (concentrated photovoltaic) modules:

Soitec’s CPV modules are built on Concentrix technology. They use Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times and focus it onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells. This technology has helped us achieve world-leading AC system efficiency increases of 25% in actual operating conditions. This is almost twice as high as the efficiency increases achieved using conventional silicon systems.

 

Click for a video description of this technologyConcentrix Technology

 

 

 

Continue reading Energy Department invests millions to accelerate high-volume solar manufacturing

Local tribe of Chumash Native Americans goes all-in on sustainability

In perfect step with the wisdom and heritage of their ancestors — who lived in relative harmony with nature for thousands of prosperous years — the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians is turning its 130-acre reservation into a trailblazing example of sustainability in action.

During the past five years, with very little fanfare or recognition from the outside community, the Chumash people (as they are better known these days) have greened up every corner of their land, from the very public casino all the way down to their individual homes. With so many solar panels, biofuels, drought-tolerant plants, and creek-restoration projects underway — not to mention practical training for tribal members and loads of money being allocated to the cause — the Chumash efforts are not only at the forefront of what anyone else is doing in Santa Barbara County; they appear to be leading the state in this sort of development, as well.

“They are an actual vision of what can be achieved, and that is something the environmental movement needs. … It’s amazing and inspiring.”

And better yet, to hear the tribe tell it, they are just getting started.

Keep readingThe Sustainable Chumash

Continue reading Local tribe of Chumash Native Americans goes all-in on sustainability

Google Street Roo – exploring the outback one bounce at a time

One of our top requests from our users is the ability to roam the vast Australian continent. Unfortunately, the remoteness of the outback has posed a challenge for our traditional Street View cars and trikes.

Today, we’re happy to announce that Google has found an innovative way to capture a special collection of images from the back of beyond to include in Google Street View.

Over the next four weeks, more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera that will automatically capture images when the marsupial is on the move during daylight hours.

The cameras on our Street Roo collection team will be powered by solar panels stitched into the back pocket of custom-made roo jackets. Images will be wired to Google in real-time. A GPS tracker embedded into the jacket will match the location of the kangaroo to ensure the image is accurately uploaded onto the new Street View layer.

 

Keep reading – Official Google Australia Blog