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3M, Gossamer Space Frames produce new parabolic solar trough

American conglomerate 3M and Gossamer Space Frames unveiled a newly developed parabolic trough solar collector that they said will help cut equipment and installation costs. The Large Aperture Trough 73 was developed using 3M’s Solar Mirror Film 1100 and Gossamer’s LAT systems. With a concentration factor of over 100 times and an aperture size of 7.3 meters, the new system reportedly reduces the installed cost of a parabolic trough solar field by over 25 percent.


India’s largest thin-film PV plant delivers electricity

The 40-megawatt Dahanu solar plant in the western state of Rajasthan, India is now generating power capable of lighting up more than 70,000 households. The $147.5 million plant, developed by Reliance Power Ltd., is said to be India’s largest photovoltaic plant. Featuring thin-film solar modules provided by First Solar Inc., the plant is located near the village of Dhursar in the Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan, an area that is said to have one of the highest levels of solar irradiation in India.


Carbon nanotubes, sulfide used for efficient dye-sensitized solar cell

New research from Rice University and Tsinghua University finds that carbon nanotubes are a cheaper and more efficient alternative for platinum electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells.

Single wall nanotubes, grown in a process invented at Rice, were shown to be much more electroactive and potentially cheaper than platinum, which is used in conventional DSC’s. Combined with a conductor (sulfide electrolytes) synthesized at Tsinghua, the result yields a more efficient and robust solar cells at a fraction of the cost of traditional silicon-based solar cells.


Queensland, South Australia lead list of solar postcodes

The city of Dubbo in New South Wales is Australia’s top solar postcode with 28 percent of homes having installed solar power as of the end of 2011.

Australia’s Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator has released data on the 20 addresses in Australia with the most amount of installed solar power.


N. America’s largest rooftop system gets $11 million tax credit

Holt Logistics’ Gloucester Marine Terminal in New Jersey was awarded an $11 million federal tax credit for its $42 million rooftop solar power installation. The project, Riverside Renewable Energy, L.L.C., is said to be the largest of its kind in North America with 27,526 photovoltaic panels assembled on over 1.1 million square feet of rooftop, generating 9 megawatts of electricity.


Q-Cells revenue down by 20% in 2011; Market uncertainty blamed

A tough market environment and a severe price decline were cited by industry-leading German photovoltaic company Q-Cells as reasons for a drop in its sales for fiscal year 2011. The company published their unaudited annual results for the year this week, revealing that they achieved sales of 1.023 billion euros ($1.366 billion). While this puts them above their 1-billion-euro sales target for the year, the figure is 20 percent lower compared with 2010 sales which was at 1.354 billion euros.


M.I.T. proposes three-dimensional solar panel arrangement

By building solar cells arranged like cubes to give them a three-dimensional look, a team of M.I.T. researchers generated solar power output ranging from double to more than 20 times that of fixed flat panels having the same base area. The M.I.T. team first used a computer algorithm to explore possible configurations, and developed an analytic software that can test any given configuration under a whole range of latitudes, seasons and weather.


Chile’s largest solar power plant begins construction

Working on almost 2 hectares of land and using 5,000 polycrystalline modules, German renewable energy specialist Juwi and Chilean engineering company Kaltemp are constructing Chile’s largest solar power plant near the city of Vicuña.


Westinghouse Solar 'plug-and-play' solar panels promise savings

California-based company Westinghouse solar has launched a new line of “plug-and-play” solar panels which it says promises significant savings for both residential and commercial installers. “Instant Connect uses automated installation and has integrated racking and mounting requirements, and comes in a single package,” Gary Mull, Westinghouse Solar vice president for sales and marketing, told EcoSeed in an interview.


U.S. solar PV market worth $8.4 billion in 2011 – SEIA

The future looks bright for the U.S. solar industry, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association which placed the industry’s total market value at over $8.4 billion in 2011. In the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report by GTM Research and SEIA, the U.S. was found having a cumulative solar energy capacity of around 4,500 megawatts as of yearend 2011.


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