Greenhouses are increasing in number for their farming capacity and that growth is not sustainable.
Electricity-generating solar greenhouses utilize Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs), a technology that generates electricity more efficiently and at less cost than traditional photovoltaic systems.
These greenhouses are outfitted with transparent roof panels embedded with a bright magenta luminescent dye that absorbs light and transfers energy to narrow photovoltaic strips, where electricity is produced.WSPVs absorb some of the blue and green wavelengths of light but let the rest through, allowing the plants to grow.
Plants grow considerably better, quicker and use considerably lesser water than traditional farming methods.
WSPV technology was developed by coauthors Sue Carter and Glenn Alers, both professors of physics at UC Santa Cruz, who founded Soliculture in 2012 to bring the technology to market.
Experiment with local produce in different regions to check for viability
Attempt to scale this technology through quick adoption across diverse markets
Take greenhouses off grid completely by adding components of water
we need to transition away from fossil fuels to avoid a climate change catastrophe. Solar is a promising component of this transition, nonetheless it has traditionally been conceptualized as a solution for to horizontal surfaces and roofs, both of which are limited in area within the urban landscape (where most people live) – Not anymore.
Turn windows into a solar energy generating unit.
SolarWindow is a US company based in Maryland. The technology functions similarly to a PV cell, only on a transparent window.
The technology has lower efficiency rate, nonetheless scale is where it really shines – the rooftop area of an average skyscraper is very small compared to the approximately 6 acres of windows it has.
Payback period is less than a year.
While big buildings in dense urban areas will see the highest returns, stakeholders include:
Step 1 – the company needs to scale its production while continuing to develop the product (increasing efficiency and transparency).
Step 2 – partner with a property owners to conduct pilot studies and familiarize utility companies to with the technology.
Step 3 – work towards Federal recognition of the technology as equivalent to rooftop solar (in terms of subsidies, depreciation and tax credit).
More than 620 million people, about two-thirds of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to an electrical grid. These populations rely on the use of Kerosene that contributes to CO2 emissions and indoor air pollution.
2. Technology Summary
M-Kopa IV Solar Home System is a pay-as-you-go home solar system that combines uses micro payments and mobile technology to provide electricity to people in Africa who are not connected to the electrical grid.
The system is rent-to-own: the unit requires a deposit of $35 and then customers make 365 payments of $0.43 though M-Pesa, a mobile money system to purchase the system.
The unit includes a solar panel, a control unit, two LED light bulbs, one portable LED flashlight, a rechargeable radio, and a USB port for charging cellphones
Electricity companies in Africa
Individuals without connection to electrical grid
Increase awareness of product by performing demonstrations in common community areas
Provide thorough training and education to customers on proper use and maintenance of solar systems
Strengthen repair services and customer service to allow for effective trouble shooting of problems and to complete repairs, if necessary
A key feature of this technology is that instructions are given via audio and visuals, making this technology easy to use for first time users and accessible for those who may not speak the language or for those who ma have an impairment.
Unreliable centralized grid management or utility system which keeps track of your consumption.
Lack of decentralisation of energy
Pricing for micro grid energy consumption based on usage
Blockchain allows consumers to produce energy, and to trade it directly with other consumers in a peer-to-peer network.
SolarCoin is a digital currency like bitcoin. The difference with bitcoin is that SolarCoin is not “mined“ by letting a computer work out some computations. It’s mined by producing renewable energy. If your domestic solar panel creates 1 MwH of energy, you receive 1 SolarCoin.
This solarcoin is kept in an online wallet that you can update manually or let it update and earn automatically by, for now, a Smappee energy monitor (soon other energy monitors will follow).
This same wallet can be used for three things:
to store the coins you create with your solar panel,
to receive payments for the energy you sell, and to,
pay for energy you trade with your neighbors.
In fact, you won’t even need to install energy production at your home. It will become perfectly possible to buy a solar panel, install it anywhere and collect SolarCoins.
Another benefit is that the entire transaction remains transparent due to a shared ledger amongst the neighbourhood.
Blockchain currency issuing agencies
Domestic users of renewable energy smart grid
Local public Utilities
Solar system installers and manufacturers
Siemens has set up a pilot project in Brooklyn where a mini and smart grid for 10 homes early last year, which is due to expand and include a school, hospital and park this year and potentially the entire neighbourhood by 2018.
Other companies and entrepreneurs should look at blockchain as a valuable way to share and track utilities.
Policy for enabling such technology to take flight so that it can reach scale quickly
1,613,853.5 SolarCoins have been granted so far, in 41 out of 215 countries
1. Sustainability Problem: Access to Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is a key piece of the puzzle to creating a low-carbon future. However, most people can’t personally support renewable energy for various reasons, including not being a homeowner or owning a home in a location that’s not suitable for renewable energy.
2. Technology Summary
Technology company Arcadia Power has created an online platform that allows anyone living in the 50 states of the U.S. to support renewable energy projects when paying their utility bills (regardless of whether they buy or rent, where they live, their utility provides green energy options, etc.)
Customers pay their utility bills through Arcadia, who in turn pays the customer’s local utility for the energy the customer consumed. Meanwhile, Arcadia offsets (buys and retires) all of the consumed energy with certified RECs.
Navigating buying and retiring RECs is not something that individuals could easily do before this platform and participating in community solar projects is not available to anyone living anywhere in the U.S., as the projects tend to look for “local” subscribers.
Arcadia makes putting your weight behind renewable energy easy (you don’t have to switch your utility) at a reasonable cost (switching to 50% renewable energy is free, switching to 100% renewable energy costs 1.5c/kWh)
The customer also benefits from a streamlined analytics tool that shows how much energy the customer is using, environmental impact, and what projects the RECs are coming from.
3. Organizational Stakeholders That Will Need to Use the Technology
The company currently is targeting individuals (renters and homeowners). I could see this tool also being attractive to small- and medium-sized companies that can’t or don’t want to invest in solar panels on their roofs for similar reasons as individuals. Depending on the structure of the company, stakeholders to use the tool could be the facilities and/or finance departments.
4. Steps in Deploying This Technology
Find project owners and developers to partner with to acquire their RECs
Negotiate REC purchasing agreements with these partners
Educate individuals and companies on renewable energy, RECs, and the platform to get them to try the free option first
Food is one of the biggest problem of next century and precise agriculture and using land wisely and efficiently is one of the solutions for that which this technology enables.
Technology Article Summary
It is a small chip with PV which has “everlasting” battery which has no need for maintenance at least 10 years. It connects wirelessly to sensors uses IoT platform. Apart from reducing maintenance costs this sustainable solution aims to reduce dispose of batteries which is harmful for environmental. It enables complete solution for precision agriculture and it connects cloud wirelessly.
It measures soil moisture, temperature, solar radiation intensity and some other parameters. As there are more connected sensors, the more algorithms can be run to improve the efficiency and quality of agricultural yields.
Farmers(for now)Later it may be everyone as it is very versatile chip
Later it may be everyone as it is very versatile chip
It has been tested successfully in Israel, Argentine and Spain.Right now it is deployed in Singapore. Also it will deploy to other fields such as air quality measurement, intelligent parking lots, waste management and drinking water infrastructure as it is basically everlasting chip without maintenance that could gather data whichever filed you want
While solar panels have proven their effectiveness, many things about the way we makes solar panels today serve as barriers for use. One such problem is precisely that they have to come as panels made of non-flexible material and whose weight can add up once you place many panels onto a surface. As such, there are limited places where one could apply solar panels, and there is definitely a lot of concern around load bearing constructions.
Sunflare, a company in China, developed a new solar surface that does not require panels. According to this article, they describe the new technology as:
Compared to traditional crystalline silicon solar panels, Sunflare solar panels are flexible because they do not use a glass substrate — rather, its substrate is a thin, high quality stainless steel. Likewise, Sunflare solar panels are lighter and thinner than traditional crystalline silicon because they are made of thinner layers of chemical elements and a lighter, stainless steel substrate.
“Our solar panels are easier to install because they don’t need a frame to support the panels,” said Gao. “In fact, the panels can be secured to any surface with a special double-sided tape.”
Given this development, there are now many new applications for the solar wallpaper, allowing a wider range of surfaces where they can be placed.
Other solar technology makers whose businesses may be affected
Current users of solar panels who may want to switch or complement their current systems
Current non-users of solar panels who found the cost or weight of panels too prohibitive but can use solar wallpaper
Environmental agencies and nonprofits
Create demo buildings for easiest uses of solar wallpaper (in factories, logistics centers, offices, etc.)
Create case studies for innovative uses of the solar wallpaper material (solar roads, solar bus stands, etc.)
Create payment plans that allow more people to afford the technology
The use of fossil fuel for generating electricity contributes to climate change. Although many people can install solar panels on their rooftops, some cannot do it due to issues with roof structures or shading from nearby buildings. As well, rooftop PV usually have an efficiency of 25% or less.
Image Source: smartflower POP
Technology: Portable Smatflower POP Solar System Produces 40% More Energy
The smartflower POP system automatically sprouts to open itself as an 18-square meter flower-like array as the sun rises. Every morning it also cleans itself. With a dual-axis tilting system it tracks and faces the sun throughout the day for maximum efficiency.
Being portable, it can be brought by the owners to their next home when they move. It has batteries that collect excess energy during the day and so power can be available at night. Aside from these features, the owners can monitor their energy accumulation, usage and direct it to whatever use they want, whenever. They can charge their car at night and use it during the day.
Propose the first 3 steps in deploying this technology.
1) Although the costs for installing solar panels are plummeting, there is still a need to do more research on how to make this technology available to most people. Dual-axis tracking is expensive so research on how to make this technology less expensive should be done. Cost can also be reduced by using efficient but less expensive batteries. Further research on how to reduce battery cost and tracking system should be accelerated.
2) Research on designing similar portable solar system should also be taken in order to increase competition and reduce the price of this technology.
3) Government and policymakers can help homeowners and business-owners through incentives on the use of clean energy such as sales tax exemptions or rebates.
Energy: Solar absorbers are used to transform solar radiation into thermal energy for a variety of applications – but many of these absorbers are inefficient. The inefficiency of the technology is a barrier to its large-scale replacement of non-renewable sources of thermal energy.
Researchers at the Masdar Institute and MIT have developed a new technique that can raise the efficiency of a solar absorber to almost ninety percent.
The technique involves piercing a solar-absorbing film with a pattern of very fine holes (less than 400 nm diamater).
The nano-porous absorber can absorb a broader range of wavelengths than traditional absorbers, and also uses less material – it has only two layers (a metallic layer over a semiconductor) with a total thickness of 170 nm.
The ultrathin film also exhibits low radiative losses.
3. Organizational Stakeholders
This technology is still in the research phase, but has potential to affect the following stakeholders:
Manufacturers of solar absorbers/collectors
Utilities using solar collectors to generate electricity
Building owners who could use thermal energy collected by solar absorbers for space and water heating
The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:
Researchers: optimize metallic coating to reduce costs of manufacture
Manufacturers: manufacture modular units using the ultrathin film technology
Building owners and developers: phase in solar thermal panels to replace heating-oil technologies