QUICK NEWS, May 26: CPV GETS RESPECT; THE SAFETY OF OCEAN WIND; FIRST BANK TO ZERO OUT ENERGY; TOYS R US TOYS WITH SUN
CPV GETS RESPECT
Is the Concentrated Photovoltaic Sector Heating Up?
Chris de Morsella, May 15, 2011 (The Green Economy Post)
"…Concentrated Photovoltaics or CPV is a relatively new and promising form of solar energy that is now beginning to make it out into the market. CPV systems use optics to concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a relatively small area of specially designed solar photovoltaic material that can work with highly concentrated light energy…
"…CPV systems concentrate light and can produce the same power from a much smaller area of solar cells…[T]hey may…[therefore] produce electricity for less than conventional PV can. CPV, like solar thermal systems, also known as CSP, first concentrate the incident solar energy onto a much smaller active area…where the sun’s energy is actually collected, but unlike CSP systems CPV uses photovoltaic tecnology to directly transform the highly concentrated photons into electricity, whereas CSP uses these concentrated photons to heat a working fluid, which then is used to generate electricity in a thermoelectric plant…"
A CPV array (click to enlarge)
"The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that it will help to bring this technology to market with a a $90.6 million conditional loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC to help secure financing for a 30-megawatt facility to be built near Alamosa, Colorado. The project is one of the first utility scale, concentration photovoltaic energy generation facilities in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in the world…
"…Cogentrix estimates the project will create about 75 construction jobs and 10 operations jobs. It will be located on 225 acres of land in the San Luis Valley. Commercial operation of the project is targeted for the second quarter of 2012…"
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"The multi-junction solar cells are nearly 40% efficient or about double that of more traditional PV. Cogentrix will use 23.5-meter-wide panels with more than 1,000 pairs of lenses and solar cells on each. The panels are mounted on tracking systems that keep the lenses pointed within 0.8 degrees of the angle of the sun throughout the day, to ensure that light falls on the system’s 0.7-square-centimeter solar cells…
"The CPV sector is tiny compared to other solar power sectors including traditional PV…[and] currently represents around one tenth of one percent of the total solar market…[but] is expected to begin a period of sustained and rapid expansion as…[technical challenges] are solved. Some analysts are predicting that it will double in size each year through 2015…Soitec…[has] announced a major 150-megawatt CPV solar power project plant for San Diego Gas & Electric to be constructed on a 1057-acre site in Southern California’s western Imperial County, and is expected to be completed in 2015."
THE SAFETY OF OCEAN WIND
Occupational safety: Offshore wind safer than onshore? Building and maintaining offshore wind farms is a risky business that has already claimed lives. But not for much longer.
Jason Deign, 16 May 2011 (Wind Energy Update)
"…According to newspaper reports…on November 12, 2009, a Dutchman became what appears to be the first-ever fatality in the offshore wind industry when a chain snapped on the tugboat Tycoon [working on the UK’s Greater Gabbard project]…Six months later Greater Gabbard claimed the life of Per Terp, a 42-year-old Siemens employee who was crushed by a 45-tonne wind turbine blade when the lifting frame that was supporting it broke aboard the jack up vessel Sea Jack.
"However…the number of reported fatalities in offshore wind is mercifully low. And the industry is waking up to the need to keep it that way…[Areas of concern are] lifting operations…[and] transfers from vessels to transition pieces, even though there have been few incidents so far in this area…"
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"Maintaining health and safety procedures is complicated by the fact that offshore construction often involves many layers and teams of contractors and subcontractors. In the rush to build out new farms, there is no guarantee all those involved have been properly trained…[Supervisors] need to be aware of the different health and safety issues involved in construction, where incidents are less likely but may be more serious, and operations, where they are more likely but less serious…
"…[M]ost of the risks [in construction] are well known and projects are tightly managed to ensure nothing goes wrong…In operations, however, the controls may be more lax [because of lesser dangers]…"
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"…[T]o minimise the chances of either [type of accident, developers should] learn what allied industries such as oil and gas know about offshore construction health and safety…[and] adopt the same practices…Offshore wind is indeed learning from oil and gas, and in many cases using the same contractors and experts…There are areas the oil and gas sectors have little experience in, however, such as working at heights, and which will need to be integrated into offshore wind’s best-practice handbook.
"…Siemens… has introduced a site safety programme that aims to keep senior management abreast of on-the-ground conditions so they can make decisions to reduce unnecessary complexity and cut the chance of incidents…[T]rade bodies such as RenewableUK…in collaboration with the European Wind Industry Association and the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Health and Safety Executive [have also contributed]…[Most think] wind power can be as safe offshore as it is on land, or even safer…[but] the greatest threat in offshore health and safety may be…old age…[Due to retirements,] the industry will soon have a major skills shortage of safety experts…"
FIRST BANK TO ZERO OUT ENERGY
TD opens the nation’s first net-zero energy bank
Chris Meehan, May 18, 2011 (Clean Energy Authority)
"TD Bank…unveiled the first net-zero energy bank in the U.S….The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., bank produces as much energy as it uses and is just the latest of TD Bank’s new energy-efficient banks with solar…
"Last year the company unveiled new 'green-store design standards,' under which new TD banks will be designed to be almost 50 percent more energy efficient than the company’s previous design standards."
More about TD Bank’s green buildings. From foxprovidence via YouTube
"The net-zero energy bank was built according to the standards, which include solar-powered canopies over drive-up tellers, where they’re available…[The bank’s rooftop] solar panels… produce between 18 percent and 20 percent of the site’s needs…The company buys the photovoltaic arrays…[which are expected to] pay for themselves in seven years…[and] last much longer…
"Last year TD Bank built more than 20 “Piggybanks” using the new design standards… The green building designs are still new to TD Bank, and some of the new banks were proposed before the new design standard was in place…[It takes some two years for] zoning and other requirements. Still, the design standards cover [80 percent] of the  new banks that it will open this year…"
TOYS R US TOYS WITH SUN
Toys“R”Us, Inc. Announces Plans to Install North America’s Largest Rooftop Solar Power System at Distribution Center in New Jersey; Upon Completion, the 5.38 Megawatt Structure will Occupy 869,294 Square Feet and Generate 72% of Electricity for the Facility
May 11, 2011 (Toys R Us)
"Toys“R”Us, Inc… plans to add the largest rooftop solar power installation in North America to its distribution center in Flanders, NJ. Staging for the system is currently underway and construction will conclude this summer. Upon completion, the 5.38 megawatt on-site solar mechanism will occupy 869,294 square feet and is estimated to generate 72 percent of the electrical needs for the Toys“R”Us® facility…
"This solar power installation will cover nearly 70% of the distribution center’s 1,281,000-square-foot roof and will consist of more than 37,000 ultra lightweight UNI-SOLAR® brand photovoltaic solar panels, manufactured by United Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices. Depending on weather conditions, the system is expected to produce approximately 6,362,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year."
The Toys R Us installation in Flanders, NJ (from Constellation Energy – click to enlarge)
"Generating the same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of an estimated 4,387 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent emissions from 860 passenger vehicles or that of the electricity used to power 532 homes annually.
"Constellation Energy…will build, own and maintain the rooftop solar power system. Toys“R”Us will purchase the electricity generated by the system from Constellation Energy through a 20-year power purchase agreement."
The huge solar panel-covered Flanders rooftop (from Google Maps via Martin LaMonica’s Green Tech)
"…The 20-acre rooftop solar installation…utilizes space that would otherwise go unused…The solar power system is comprised of thin-film photovoltaic panels that are flexible, lightweight, durable and maintain performance, even in sub-optimal lighting conditions…[T]he non-ballasted, non-penetrating and removable racking system allows access to the roof and prevents debris build-up and maintenance issues…
"Beyond the solar project in Flanders, NJ, the company is making a number of sustainable upgrades to its existing stores around the country and incorporating renewable and energy efficient features into its new locations…"