two facets of solar: a plea to california voters

Posted by on Nov 1, 2008 in design, materials | No Comments

I’ve recently come across two interesting improvements to different methods of creating solar energy that are worth noting before november 4th.

the first is solyndra’s solar tubes, an improvement to the standard photovoltaic solar panel by arraying a series of thin cylinders across a surface. the improvement here is that the geometry of the cylinders can capture solar energy from a wider array of angles, including reflected energy from the surface below. solyndra’s tubes also are constructed without silicon, the most expensive material in a typical solar panel, making them a significantly cheaper system.

the second is ausra’s CLSR (compact linear solar reflector), which was recently unveiled at their new solar thermal plant in bakersfield, ca. though solar thermal energy is not as familiar to most as the photovoltaic method of producing power, it is unique in that it has the ability to store energy and distribute it to the larger power grid as needed. the improvements in CLSR as opposed to the conventional method of solar thermal is that it heats water as opposed to a synthetic solution, and it uses flat mirrors instead of parabolic. using water instead of oil is a far greener method of production, and using flat mirrors instead of parabolic is significantly cheaper.

so why the plea to california voters? this tuesday, the state of california will be voting on proposition 7, the renewable energy generation initiative statue. it is my humble opinion, that california voters should vote against the renewable energy generation initiative statue. why? because under proposition 7, the two innovations described previously would be discouraged.

proposition 7 mandates that half of california’s electricity come from renewable sources… that produce more than 30 megawatts. the problem is that both solyndra’s solar tubes and ausra’s CLSR technology, as they exist today, would not count towards this 50% because they are not currently deployed or designed for systems that large. solyndra’s solar tubes are designed to convert existing structures, like the roofs of big box stores and parking garages, into micro energy production stations through out the built environment. ausra’s bakersfield plant that uses the CLSR system only produces 5 megawatts. though ausra is building a similar plant in san luis obispo that will produce 177 megawatts, the two plants diagram the path of development of new technology by energy companies well- you start small and move bigger.

proposition 7 would actually discourage the development of small, local power stations and small, experimental power stations. though current renewable energy technology is very good, it is these very facilities that we need to develop cleaner, more efficient systems of production. vote no on 7.

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two facets of solar: a plea to california voters

Posted by on Nov 1, 2008 in design, materials | 2 Comments

I’ve recently come across two interesting improvements to different methods of creating solar energy that are worth noting before november 4th.

the first is solyndra’s solar tubes, an improvement to the standard photovoltaic solar panel by arraying a series of thin cylinders across a surface. the improvement here is that the geometry of the cylinders can capture solar energy from a wider array of angles, including reflected energy from the surface below. solyndra’s tubes also are constructed without silicon, the most expensive material in a typical solar panel, making them a significantly cheaper system.

the second is ausra’s CLSR (compact linear solar reflector), which was recently unveiled at their new solar thermal plant in bakersfield, ca. though solar thermal energy is not as familiar to most as the photovoltaic method of producing power, it is unique in that it has the ability to store energy and distribute it to the larger power grid as needed. the improvements in CLSR as opposed to the conventional method of solar thermal is that it heats water as opposed to a synthetic solution, and it uses flat mirrors instead of parabolic. using water instead of oil is a far greener method of production, and using flat mirrors instead of parabolic is significantly cheaper.

so why the plea to california voters? this tuesday, the state of california will be voting on proposition 7, the renewable energy generation initiative statue. it is my humble opinion, that california voters should vote against the renewable energy generation initiative statue. why? because under proposition 7, the two innovations described previously would be discouraged.

proposition 7 mandates that half of california’s electricity come from renewable sources… that produce more than 30 megawatts. the problem is that both solyndra’s solar tubes and ausra’s CLSR technology, as they exist today, would not count towards this 50% because they are not currently deployed or designed for systems that large. solyndra’s solar tubes are designed to convert existing structures, like the roofs of big box stores and parking garages, into micro energy production stations through out the built environment. ausra’s bakersfield plant that uses the CLSR system only produces 5 megawatts. though ausra is building a similar plant in san luis obispo that will produce 177 megawatts, the two plants diagram the path of development of new technology by energy companies well- you start small and move bigger.

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