Friday, April 13, 2018

What Are Flotovoltaics?

Image of a floating solar array

Photo by Adam Warren (NREL).

What are flotovoltaics? It's floating solar and an emerging application where solar panels are designed and installed to float on bodies of water.

Localities in the United States are showing an increasing interest in installing this innovative solar technology and our technical experts at NREL have received numerous requests for analytical support as this new exciting new application for solar power begins to reveal its potential.
Learn more about flotovoltaics in our new FAQ at

Friday, March 30, 2018

Aging Wind Farms Are Repowering with Longer Blades, More Efficient Turbines

A crane lifts blades to be added to a wind turbine. Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NRELA crane lifts a blade being attached to a wind turbine. Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Old wind farms that have towered over the same fields for more than a decade may be generating more power now than ever before.

As America's biggest wind farms age, their owners are starting to "repower" them with more efficient turbines, new electronics and longer, lighter blades that can sweep more wind with each rotation. The result is a thriving new industry, new jobs and more renewable energy.

What makes a wind turbine break? NREL's drivetrain experts want to know.

One way to reduce the cost of #wind energy is to understand how to keep a wind turbine operating smoothly. Check out how researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are investigating the likely causes of premature drivetrain failure.

Check out this video to help explain this :

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Distributed Solar PV for Electricity System Resiliency

Distributed solar systems have the potential to supply electricity during grid outages resulting from extreme weather or other emergency situations. As such, distributed solar can significantly increase the resiliency of the electricity system.

In order to take advantage of this capability, however, the systems must be designed with resiliency in mind and combined with other technologies, such as energy storage and auxiliary generation.

A new paper from NREL presents the basics of designing distributed solar systems for resiliency - including the use of energy storage, hybrid fuel-use and microgrids - and provides policy and regulatory considerations for encouraging the use of these distributed system designs.

Learn more at :

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When Does Energy Storage Make Sense? It Depends.

An example electric usage profile with demand billing and TOU rates.  The high TOU rates are from 7 am to 8:30 pm.  Demand "peaks" at 1 pm.
February 25, 2018 by Lars Lisell

“It depends” is an engineer’s favorite response to just about every question.  But “it depends” is an appropriate response when evaluating whether installing an energy storage system is a good idea. Energy storage can be confusing. The technology adds value to electrical systems by charging when there is excess energy on the system, storing the power until it is required, then discharging when the energy system requires additional energy. Unlike traditional generators that turn fuel into electricity, an energy storage system is used to move energy around.  A few common applications for energy storage include moving energy use from a period of high consumption to a period of low consumption, storing renewable generation to be used at night, or storing grid power to be used during periods of grid outage.  For an energy storage system to make economic sense, the value of providing this service to a facility or the electrical system must exceed the cost of the energy storage system.  How can a consumer determine if an energy storage system makes sense for a facility?  The answer often lies in the utility bill.[1] 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The George Washington University Institute Solar Knowledge Library

The Solar Knowledge Library provides engaging and accessible videos about key solar energy topics, as well as links to more in-depth resources. The videos are aimed at educating professionals that are not part of the solar industry but still play a key role in expanding solar deployment opportunities in the United States.

For more information visit:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Powerful Mix of Solar and Batteries Is Beating Natural Gas

Updated on
From Climate Changed
Natural gas is getting edged out of power markets across the U.S. by two energy sources that, together, are proving to be an unbeatable mix: solar and batteries.

In just the latest example, First Solar Inc. won a power contract to supply Arizona’s biggest utility when electricity demand on its system typically peaks, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The panel maker beat out bids from even power plants burning cheap gas by proposing to build a 65-megawatt solar farm that will, in turn, feed a 50-megawatt battery system.

It’s a powerful combination for meeting peak demand because of when the sun shines. Here’s how it’ll work: The panels will generate solar power when the sun’s out to charge the batteries. The utility will draw on those batteries as the sun starts to set and demand starts to rise.

For the rest of the story visit:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Through ‘Virtual Power Plant,’ 50,000 Aussie Households To Get Solar, Tesla Battery Systems


Posted by Betsy Lillian February 5, 2018


South Australia’s state government has announced a plan to build what it calls the world’s largest “virtual power plant,” a network of at least 50,000 residential solar and battery systems.

Beginning with a trial of 1,100 Housing Trust properties, the program will install – at no charge – a 5 kW solar system and 13.5 kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery.

For the rest of the story visit:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

“Life-Changing” Internship Leads to a Rewarding Career in Indian Energy

Photo of Dr. Tommy Jones and attendees at a workshop in Alaska 

DOE contractor Dr. Tommy Jones speaking with Councilwoman Faye Ewan at the January 2017 Alaska Regional Energy Workshop led by the DOE Office of Indian Energy and hosted by Gulkana Village in the Ahtna region of Alaska.
Photo from Karen Petersen, NREL

My name is Dr. Tommy Jones. I am from Jones, Oklahoma, and I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Naknek Village Council, and a Native shareholder of Bristol Bay Native Corporation. In 2014, I first applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy student internship located at Sandia National Laboratories. The transformative experience solidified my desire to work in this field and to contribute to the fast-growing industry of energy development in Indian Country.

During my time as an intern (see my previous blog), my colleague Dr. Len Necefer and I collaborated on a research paper titled Identifying Barriers and Pathways for Success for Renewable Energy Development on American Indian Lands. The goal of the research was to hear from tribal, federal, private, and academic experts who are specifically working in tribal energy. The work was meant to help identify the barriers of bringing the significant renewable energy potential that exists in Indian Country to market for the benefit of tribal communities. Hearing from those who not only work directly on energy issues but rely firsthand on the dependability of energy systems far exceeded my expectations. This type of internship, where students have the opportunity to engage directly with leaders in their field, is exceptional. We weren’t sitting in an office making assumptions about communities across the nation; we were visiting these communities and hearing their stories. The stories we heard about these communities’ struggles, and more importantly their perseverance to meet their energy needs and promote economic development, was life changing. No longer are you simply a student or a researcher. Now, you are involved in the process to help Native Americans meet their energy visions, which benefits those communities, enhances your personal growth, and contributes to the energy independence of the United States of America.

For the rest of the story visit:

Tesla’s big battery is undercutting Australia’s energy cartels

When Tesla installed the world's largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia last year, it came with the promise that it would revolutionize the way electricity is produced, stored and sold in a region known for blackouts and market monopolizing. Less than two months later, that promise has been delivered to the tune of a multimillion-dollar saving, as the Tesla big battery essentially noped an attempt by Australia's energy cartel to capitalize on power fluctuations and send the market into overdrive.

For the rest of the story visit :