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World Cup Produces More Solar Energy Than Many Countries Competing

One of the highlights of the upcoming World Cup of football is the use of solar energy to power the large stadiums. However a new report reveals that one-third of the countries competing in the FIFA 2014 World Cup are unable to produce as much solar energy as one of the stadiums they are competing in.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Iran, Ivory Coast and Uruguay all produce less solar power than the 2.5 MW solar capability of the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia. Ghana produces the same amount.

The findings come on the back of a new Poor Peoples' Energy Outlook report by British NGO Practical Action. The report, which shows what is needed to end energy poverty, calls for a Total Energy Access approach to delivering energy which targets the home, work and community.


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Researchers Develop New Class Of Solar Material

Researchers in the University of Toronto's Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have designed and tested a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle that outshines the current state of the art employing this new class of technology.

This new form of solid, stable light-sensitive nanoparticles, called colloidal quantum dots, could lead to cheaper and more flexible solar cells, as well as better gas sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and more. The work, led by post-doctoral researcher Zhijun Ning and Professor Ted Sargent, was published this week in Nature Materials.

This new form of solid, stable light-sensitive nanoparticles, called colloidal quantum dots, could lead to cheaper and more flexible solar cells, as well as better gas sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and more. The work, led by post-doctoral researcher Zhijun Ning and Professor Ted Sargent, was published this week in Nature Materials.

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Eskom calls for restraint to limit outages

“Eskom calls on all consumers to help beat the peak over the next few months by using electricity sparingly, particularly between 5pm and 9pm. We request all electricity customers to save at least 10% of their electricity usage and sustain these savings,” the utility said yesterday.

Higher demand owing to colder weather conditions was again the chief cause for concern amid ongoing unplanned outages that the utility seems to have been at pains to bring under control lately. Capacity available to meet yesterday evening’s peak demand stood at 33 918MW, with demand forecast at 32 980MW.

The planned maintenance figure stood at 3 838MW, while unplanned outages had ballooned to 5 600MW – well outside Eskom’s standard unplanned outage allowance of 4 500MW.


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Northern California School District Debuts First Solar-Assisted Electric Bus

In the race to roll out cleaner, "greener" school buses, electric school bus projects are increasingly making Northern California School District Debuts First Solar-Assisted Electric Bus, with the latest news coming out of California's Silicon Valley. Health advocate Breathe California and Gilroy Unified School District have unveiled a full-sized electric school bus converted from diesel that is part of a new pilot project.

The ribbon-cutting event drew about 70 attendees, including the mayor as well as city and school board officials. Participants had the opportunity to ride the quiet, all-electric school bus and to see the solar array that will help generate electricity to fuel the bus.

The 50-passenger, Type-C electric bus, which will start transporting district students this fall, looks like a regular yellow bus until the engine compartment is opened and the large electric batteries are revealed. Currently the bus plugs in to charge up, but the plan is to eventually charge the batteries with solar power.


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'Home-made' electricity creating buzz in Germany

Berlin - Klaus Meier lists three reasons for generating his own electricity in his family hotel in Germany's southern city of Freiburg, "cost savings, energy efficiency, climate protection".

Like a growing number of German small businesses, home-owners, schools, hospitals and industrial plants, Meier has opted for energy self-sufficiency. Of the about 600 terawatt hours (TWh) Germany consumes each year, 50TWh are self-produced (about 8% of the total) in a trend that has seen solar panels installed on home roofs and gas plants set up in factories.

In industry, the share is around 20%, according to business and energy consumers groups. Their main goal: cost savings. Home-made power in Germany, which has among Europe's highest electricity bills, is not taxed unlike conventional electricity where one third of the customer's bill goes into the public coffers.

And neither are the do-it-yourselfers subject to the duties used to subsidise the country's wider "energy transition" away from fossil fuels and nuclear power and toward clean energy.


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Solar panel manufacturing is greener in Europe than China, study says

Solar panels made in China have a higher overall carbon footprint and are likely to use substantially more energy during manufacturing than those made in Europe, said a new study from Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. The report compared energy and greenhouse gas emissions that go into the manufacturing process of solar panels in Europe and China.

"We estimated that a solar panel's carbon footprint is about twice as high when made in China and used in Europe, compared to those locally made and used in Europe," said Fengqi You, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern and corresponding author on the paper.

"While it might be an economically attractive option to move solar panel manufacturing from Europe to China, it is actually less sustainable from the life cycle energy and environmental perspective -- especially under the motivation of using solar panels for a more sustainable future," he said.

The team performed a type of systematic evaluation called life cycle analysis to come up with these hard data.


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