Solar has Become Dazzlingly Cheap for New Plants

image

Courtesy of Robin Mills @ The National:

‘I believe solar will be even more economic than fossil fuels,” said the Saudi oil minister Ali Al Naimi at a climate change conference in Paris last week.

Recent bids in Jordan confirmed last year’s results from Dubai – solar is now cheaper than gas-fired power in this region, with major implications for energy strategies.

In Manaar Energy’s 2012 report, “Sunrise in the Desert”, published in collaboration with PwC and the Middle East Solar Industry Association, we were optimistic on the future of solar power in the region and saw it as competitive with power generation from oil or from more expensive gas. Costs have halved in just three years, meaning solar can now beat all conventional generation apart from the very cheapest gas.

Bids in Jordan’s recent solar auction were just over 6 US cents per kilowatt-hour, slightly above the record 5.84 cents from Acwa Power last November for the 200- megawatt second phase of Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park near Bab Al Shams. Egypt, struggling with a gas and power crisis, is up next with a reported 6,500MW of solar deals.

Solar prices should continue to fall because of improvements in manufacturing and installation, and steady gains in efficiency. There is also the possibility of breakthroughs, such as the recently announced possibility of perovskite crystals replacing silicon, which could be cheaper and capture a broader range of the sun’s light. Continue reading

Solar-Panel Windows Made Possible by Quantum Dot Breakthrough

Courtesy of IBTimes:

image

Researchers created transparent solar cells using quantum dots.Los Alamos National Laboratory

Windows that double as solar panels could soon be a reality following a breakthrough in quantum dot research that could have significant implications on the way the sun’s energy is harvested in the future.

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Milano-Bicocca synthesised a new generation of quantum dots that they were able to embed in a transparent polymer to capture the sun’s energy.

Quantum dots – nanocrystals made of semiconductor materials – are already used in solar panel systems due to their low-cost and mechanical properties, as well as transistors, LEDs and lasers.

“The key accomplishment is the demonstration of large-area luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots,” said Victor Klimov, lead researcher at the Centre of Advanced Solar Photophysics at Los Alamos. Continue reading