Roundup 12/20/18: New Solar Record, 100% Renewables in NY and DC, 41 GW by 2025

By Sushma Raj
December 20, 2018
Solar News Roundup

It's hard to keep up with the latest in clean energy.

That's why we publish weekly Solar News Roundups, to present the most important things for you to know.

Here's 5 solar and cleantech highlights for your week...

Clean Technology News

Alta Devices Sets 29.1% Solar Efficiency Record

Alta Devices, a US-based specialty gallium arsenide (GaAs) PV manufacturer has achieved a solar cell conversion efficiency record of 29.1%, as certified by Germany's Fraunhofer ISE CalLab.

Most Efficient Solar Cell EverAlta's Record Setting Solar Cell (Credit: Alta Devices)

Founded in 2007, Alta Devices manufactures solar photovoltaic applications for mobile devices by delivering the world’s most efficient, thin and flexible mobile power technology.

NASA is testing Alta Devices solar technology at the International Space Station. These tests can assess Alta’s technology for future NASA low-Earth orbit missions including their CubeSats.

“NASA’s interest in Alta’s record-setting performance demonstrates that our technology withstands some of the most challenging environments endured by autonomous systems in space, high altitude, and on land.”

- Jian Ding, CEO, Alta Devices.

What is a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) Solar Cell?

GaAs is an III-V semiconductor with a Zinc-Blend crystal structure and is considered the backbone of Alta’s technology, due to several unique advantages:

  • Highly durable as it is naturally robust to moisture and UV radiation.

  • With a low-temperature coefficient and a strong low light performance, GaAs cells generate electricity at high-temperature and in low light.

  • They are well suited to power products that need autonomous power such as small satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and autonomous vehicles.

Details on NASA Test

  • Alta was selected by NASAs's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to participate in the MISSE-X (Materials International Space Station Experiment) flight investigation launched in November on board the NG CRS-10 mission.
  • This test evaluates new solar cell and package technologies for future NASA missions.
  • Alta Engineers developed an array of nine solar cells with innovative packaging materials which are later fabricated and delivered to NASA to test.
  • After integrating the solar cells into the MISSE sample carrier, the experiment is transported to International Space Station on 17th November 2018.
  • NASA and Alta Devices will evaluate these cells after one year of exposure.

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US Renewable Energy Policy 

New York State And Washington D.C. Set to Go 100% Renewable

Washington and New York are taking big steps towards combatting climate change, committing to going 100% renewable by 2032 and 2042 respectively.

New York’s Green New Deal

While recently unveiling his “2019 Justice Agenda” at a speech at Hunter College, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched “Green New Deal” to eliminate the state's carbon footprint by 2040 by shifting to 100 percent renewable energy.

Even though his speech covers many topics, including economic, social and environmental justice, Cuomo expressed his strong desire to push for New York to clean energy transition and aims the state to be the most progressive state in the nation moving to renewables. With the reality of extreme weather across the globe, Cuomo expressed any delay in this matter would lead to dangerous results for future generations.

“We know what we must do. Now we have to have the vision, the courage, and the competence to do it.”

- Andrew Cuomo

 Washington D.C.’s Clean Energy Omnibus Act

The D.C. City Council, on Tuesday, made a historic win by unanimously voting the Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018. The bill, introduced by Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh, sets a 100% renewable energy target by 2032 with a 10% solar energy carve-out by 2041.

"It will place the District of Columbia at the national forefront in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve 100 percent renewable electricity."

- Council-member Mary Cheh (D)

Unlike Hawaii and California that have called for 100% renewable electricity by 2045, Washington D.C. and New York are upping their game as they move towards ambitious clean energy goals with aggressive timelines.

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Battery Storage:

Ensync Energy To Install Residential Energy Systems At Koa'e Workforce Housing Development

Ensync Energy Systems recently signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hawaii’s Koa'e Workforce Housing to incorporate EnSync Smart Home Energy Systems in a 134-unit housing development.

Ensync Energy provides end-to-end distributed energy resources management systems by their revolutionary energy synchronization system that enables a dramatic reduction in electricity cost and a substantial increase in reliability.

"The Koa'e community is the first announced deployment of our load control capability and the second for our True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange."

- Brad Hansen, CEO of EnSync Energy.

The Koa'e housing development will include 516 kilowatts of rooftop solar, 603 kilowatt-hours of energy storage and EnSync Smart Home's energy communications, command, and control platform across the property's 23 buildings. Integrating the energy supply from the PV generation and energy storage water heater load management, the system will maximize energy independence of each residential unit throughout the networked community.

EnSync Energy's first project in Hawaii, the new Koa'e housing development will be located on the island of Kauai and the project is expected to address the challenge of the housing shortage on the island. EnSync Energy is collaborating with its local subsidiary and developer Holu Energy to engineer and design the project and Mark Development, Inc. to construct and install the system. 

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Home Solar

U.S. Residential Solar to Reach 41 GW By 2025

A recent analysis by Credit Sussie, a leading financial services company, forecasts an increase in installed residential solar capacity in the United States and expects growth to reach 41 GW by 2025.

With only 3% of home rooftops contributing solar last year, the analysis indicates that there is still a lot of room for residential solar to grow in the US.

The analysis predicts the solar penetration would increase to 5% by 2020 and 11% by 2025. The number of installations will grow more than three times the current levels to achieve 41 GW by 2025.

Potential For Rooftops

A report released by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) in 2016 found that even the roofs of buildings as small as 5000 sq.feet have the potential to host 731 GW of solar.

This is almost enough to meet 25% of the nation’s electricity demand. This number would go up to 39% if we consider larger buildings.

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Sushma Raj

Written By

Sushma Raj

Sushma is a Digital Marketing Associate at Pick My Solar. She is passionate about clean energy technologies and the renewable world. When not at the desk, she can be seen either reading or trying her hand at cooking.

More articles by Sushma Raj

What's Pick My Solar? We empower our customers to adopt clean energy through transparency and choice. Our free, no-obligation platform provides competing solutions from top providers.

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