Thursday, August 30, 2012

News and Events by CCRES August 30, 2012


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events August 30, 2012

Universities to Lead Energy Department-Funded CSP Projects


The Energy Department announced on August 28 new investments totaling $10 million for two university-led projects to advance innovative concentrating solar power (CSP) system technologies. The five-year projects are under the Department's SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat that can be used to produce electricity. Heat transfer fluids are a key component of CSP systems that transfer heat from a receiver to the point where the heat is needed to drive a turbine. The investments will improve heat transfer fluids to increase efficiency and lower costs for CSP systems.
Two university teams were selected to develop new heat transfer fluids. The University of California–Los Angeles will lead a team with researchers from Yale University and the University of California–Berkeley to investigate liquid metals as potential heat transfer fluids with the ability to withstand higher temperatures. And the University of Arizona, the second awardee, is teaming with researchers from Arizona State University and Georgia Tech to develop and demonstrate new, molten salt-based fluids as possible alternatives to traditional heat transfer fluids.
The projects will focus on making dramatic improvements to fluids that gather thermal energy from the sun and transport it to the power block, where the energy is used to drive a turbine that generates electricity. Today's state-of the-art heat transfer fluids are capable of operating at temperatures up to about 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit are needed to reach efficiencies greater than 50%, which allow CSP plants to capture more energy from solar power. The selected projects are working to develop heat transfer fluids that can operate at temperatures up to 2,350 degrees Fahrenheit, while simultaneously maintaining high levels of performance. See the Energy Department press release.

Energy Department Announces University Appliance-Design Winners


The Energy Department on August 23 announced that a University of Maryland team has won the Department's first Max Tech and Beyond Appliance Design Competition. The student challenge, which involved nine teams, aims to inspire students to pursue energy efficiency improvements in home and commercial appliances, helping to develop innovative ultra-efficient products.
The University of Maryland team chose to simplify the design of a standard wall-mounted air conditioner by separating the systems that remove humidity and provide cooling. After the students tested a fully functional prototype, they found that the design reduced energy use by 30% compared with typical wall-mounted air conditioners already on the market. Because the current largest consumer of electricity in most homes nationwide is the air conditioning system, this innovative design has the potential to substantially decrease residential energy use and save consumers money.
The runner-up team from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, developed a prototype of a natural gas-fired combination water heater and clothes dryer that can use the waste heat from the clothes dryer to heat water for the next washing load. The team demonstrated that with this approach, they could get a 10% dryer efficiency improvement compared to the best comparable products on the market.
The nine faculty-led student design teams were competitively selected and funded with up to $20,000 by the Energy Department to design, build, and test their prototypes during the 2011-2012 academic year. A panel of Energy Department experts along with those from the Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory judged each team's prototype based on its demonstrated ability to reduce energy use by 10% or more compared to best on-market products, or based on the prototype's ability to reduce production costs compared with typical high efficiency products already on the market by 20% or more. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the Max Tech website.

EPA Awards $9 Million to 13 Universities for Climate Change Impacts Research


The EPA announced on August 22 that it awarded $9 million in grants to fund 13 universities for technologies that can help predict and prepare for the impacts of extreme weather triggered by climate change may have on air and water quality.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was awarded $749,931 to examine the ability of models to represent the presence of extreme air pollution and the weather conditions. The project at MIT, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will use advanced statistical techniques to identify the drivers and occurrence of historical and future extreme air quality events in the United States from observations and models. The project combines the work of statisticians and atmospheric scientists. The other 13 grants were awarded to researchers at Columbia University, Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, University of South Florida (two grants), Public Policy Institute of California, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Washington. See the EPA press release and the list of projects.

New York Offers $107 Million for Large Solar Power Projects


New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on August 9 announced that $107 million is available for a major solar power incentive program that will increase the amount of electricity generated by photovoltaic (PV) systems throughout New York. The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, seeks proposals for PV systems greater than 50 kilowatts to be installed at larger commercial and industrial customer sites.
The newly established NY-Sun Competitive PV Program will make $36.4 million available in 2012 and $70.5 million in 2013. This phase of the program is available through the end of 2013 for PV projects in New York City and upstate New York at eligible customer sites. This is an expansion of a two-year-old program that previously focused on large PV systems for the commercial, industrial, and municipal sectors exclusively in New York City, Westchester County, and the lower Hudson Valley. All projects will require co-funding to best leverage state resources with funding capped at $3 million per project. See the New York press release and the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program initiative website.
The governor also signed a series of bills on August 17 as part of the NY-Sun initiative that will make solar energy more affordable for homeowners and businesses. The new laws include statewide tax credits for the lease of solar equipment and power purchase agreements, statewide sales tax exemptions for commercial solar equipment, and an extension of the real property tax abatement in New York City for solar installations. See the New York press release.

National Solar Tour Kicks Off in September


Photo of a house with solar panels and visitors enetering.
Local tours of solar houses are being offered throughout the United States starting in mid-September, with most on or around October 6.
Credit: MSB Energy Associates
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour officially takes place on October 6, but several events kick off as early as mid-September, and some offer weeklong action. Now in its seventeenth year, the annual showcase allows participants the opportunity to see innovative green homes and buildings that use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies. ASES estimates that more than 165,000 participants will visit some 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities across the United States.
Kicking off the nationwide series of tours, the Michiana Solar Tour is scheduled to take place on September 15 at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. The following day, the BRING Home & Garden Tour bus will take ticketholders to a variety of sustainable sites in Eugene, Oregon. Most tours will take place on or around October 6, but there are events scheduled through October 27. See the ASES National Solar Tour website and the list of tours


  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

Energy Efficiency Upgrades Part of a Winning Formula for Oregon School District


A while ago, we wrote about the quiet, rural community of Vernonia, Oregon, which had been through its share of hard economic times. After two “500-year floods” in an 11-year period devastated the area, damaging its schools and the community core, the town finally started to rebuild its school last April. More than a year later, residents of Vernonia had reason to celebrate when Former Governor Ted Kulongoski joined United States Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and several other federal- and state-elected officials last week for the ribbon cutting of a new energy efficient K-12 school and community center.
The "barn raising" mentality of the Vernonia community helped make the new school and community center a success. The energy efficiency upgrades were made possible using a combination of state, federal, private sector, and non-profit funds—paired with a $13.6 million municipal bond measure passed by the town’s voters.
A $1 million grant from the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program helped the school district incorporate energy efficiency measures, including an energy efficient integrated heating and cooling system. This feature, along with upgrades to the building envelope and lighting, are estimated to reduce the school district’s annual energy usage by 43%—saving taxpayers more than $62,000 per year for the 135,000 square-foot school. The energy efficient upgrades provide not only a healthier learning environment for students and faculty but bolster the school district’s application for LEED Platinum designation. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012




Most of the CCRES projects on small-scale renewables aim to trigger market transformation by improving conditions for suppliers and installers, and by providing easy access to good quality information for end users.
Before they can be expected to buy a renewable energy system, final users must be trusted to install them property.


Combination of sun and wood for producing warm water and heating for houses.  

In Croatia a combination of solar panels and firewood is proving to be a promising, reliable way of heating smaller buildings and private houses. Building owners can supply themselves with warm water and heating without resorting to imports and irrespective of the price of crude oil.

The CCRES SAW PROJECT aimed to bring together partners with a background in crafts from Croatia, EU and rest of the world to promote the necessary technologies. The goal of the project was the creation of training schemes, marketing, networks and public relations operations capable of being adapted to all final users in the future.



If you're interested in getting involved in actions of spreading knowledge and encouraging adoption of standards that promote CCRES SAW PROJECT please send us a email on

Zeljko Serdar
President & CEO
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

European Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference


Nearly Zero Energy Buildings first announcement (pdf, 1 MB)


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources


European Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference



28 February - 1 March 2013
A-4600 Wels, Upper Austria/Austria
Conference fee:
185 Euro, includes also the Energy Efficiency Watch Conference and the LED Conference

The fee also includes an entrance ticket to the tradeshow and conference documentation. All fees plus 10 % VAT
Conference languages:
English, German, Russian, Spanish
Organisation and conference office:
O.Ö. Energiesparverband
Landstrasse 45, 4020 Linz, Austria
Tel. +43/732/7720-14386
Fax +43/732/7720-14383

The European conference to discuss how to achieve “near zero energy buildings" (NZEB) in new construction & renovation: technologies, policies, financial instruments, definitions & national action plans, best practice examples, cost optimality of energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings.
The coming years will see a sharp increase in the market uptake of highly efficient buildings throughout Europe: by 2018, new public buildings must be "nearly zero energy buildings", by 2020, this will apply to all new buildings. According to the European Buildings Directive, a "nearly zero energy building" is a building that has a very high energy performance and the very low amount of energy required is covered to a very significant extent by renewable energy sources. Member States draw up National Plans for increasing the number of nearly zero energy buildings, covering both in new construction and renovation.

The Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference will offer:

  • presentations of criteria for "nearly zero energy buildings" (NZEB) and how this standard can be achieved
  • the latest technology trends and financing solutions
  • the meeting place for the global sustainable buildings community
  • an outlook on the developments on European and global markets for sustainable buildings, including "National Plans for NZEB"
  • inspirational case studies and site-visits
  • exchange of experience among experts and new business opportunities
  • WSED next - an event for young researchers on energy efficiency in buildings
  • a major trade show, the “Energiesparmesse“, dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings, with 1,600 exhibitors

Please also see the related conferences:

Upper Austria is an ideal location for such a conference: due to consistent policies, today there are more than 1,000 buildings meeting passive building standard and several thousand near zero energy buildings.

Topics for the "Call for Papers & Projects & Speakers"

  • innovative and integrated solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in buildings
  • best-practice examples for domestic, public, commercial buildings & social housing from around the globe
  • definitions, standardisation, performance requirements
  • financial instruments
  • user acceptance
  • innovative products and services for energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings
  • policies & programmes for NZEB (individual buildings, building quarters)
  • National Action Plans for NZEBs, regional and local strategies
  • market reports from local, regional, national markets
  • sustainability & durability & affordability
  • training & skills
  • partnerships & supply chains & business models
  • marketing and dissemination for NZEBs
  • results of EU funded projects (IEE, FP6+7, etc.)
> Further information on the Call



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Transparent Solar Panels

 Ideal for skylights, patio and deck covers.


 Anyplace you would like to let some light through the panels.

These panels can be integrated into a building so that they capture sunlight for electricity, but still allow about 15% of the light through.  

This provides good ambient lighting while providing some cooling by shade. 

 These can be added on to existing or new construction, but often are best when designed in from the start of new construction.

People who watch what their neighbors are doing may soon find themselves looking right through an energy-producing transparent glass solar panel, if the folks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are on the right track.
 The lab has produced a transparent photovoltaic module that is 14 times bigger than its last attempt.
Researchers are working to capture the sun's rays more efficiently and turn them into electricity, using a see-through solar panel no thicker than a plastic grocery bag.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Photovoltaic Solar Energy

You've seen the panels on rooftops and mirrors in the desert. But how much do you really know about the technology needed to capture the tremendous power of the sun?
  1. What is photovoltaic solar energy?

    ‘Photovoltaic’ is an amalgam made of two words: photo - photon which means ‘light’ and voltaic from Volt which is the unit used to measure electric potential at a given point.
    Photovoltaic systems use cells to convert sunlight into electricity. PV cells can be made from various so-called semiconductor materials. Today, silicon is the most widely used material, but other, usually compound (made from two or more elements) semiconductors are also used. PV cells are silent and non-polluting and utilize a source of energy that is practically inexhaustible.
  2. What difference is there between thermal solar energy and photovoltaic solar energy?

    A photovoltaic solar energy system converts sunlight directly into electric power to run lighting or electric appliances. A photovoltaic system requires only daylight (indirect sunlight) to generate electricity.
    The solar thermal energy system converts direct sunlight into heat. This thermal energy can be used to heat water or air in buildings and in many other applications.
    Both technologies use the irradiance of the sun even if they are quite different.
  3. What is a photovoltaic (PV) system?

    A photovoltaic (PV) system is a system that uses solar cells to convert light into electricity.
    A PV system consists of multiple components, including cells, electrical connections, mountings and means that regulate and/or modify the electrical output. Due to the low voltage of an individual solar cell (typically ca. 0.5V), several cells need to be combined into photovoltaic modules which are then connected together in an array.
    PV systems can be used for homes, offices, public buildings or remote sites where grid connection is either unavailable or too expensive. PV systems can be mounted on roofs, integrated in building façades or operate as stand-alone systems. The innovative PV array technology and mounting systems mean that PV can be retrofitted on existing roofs or easily incorporated as part of the building envelope at the construction stage. Modern PV technology has advanced rapidly and PV is no longer restricted to square and flat panel arrays but can be curved, flexible and shaped according to the building design.
    Photovoltaic cells are equally used in many daily electrical appliances, including watches, calculators, toys, battery chargers, professional sun roofs for automobiles. Other applications include power for services such as water sprinklers, road signs, traffic signals, remote lighting and security phones.
    PV systems can be either grid connected or off-grid.
    “Grid connected” means that the system is connected to the electricity grid. Connection to the local electricity network allows any excess power produced to feed into the electricity grid and to sell it to the utility, depending on local feed-in regulations.
    Such a PV system is designed to meet all or a portion of the daily energy needs. Typical on-grid applications are roof top systems on private houses.
    The diagram shows how electricity generated by solar cells in roof-mounted PV modules is transformed by an inverter into AC power suitable for export to the grid network. The owner then has two options: either to sell all the output to the local power utility (if a FiT is available) or to use the solar electricity to meet demand in the house itself, and sell any surplus to the utility.
    “Off-grid systems” have no connection to an electricity grid. Off-grid systems are contributing to rural electrification in many developing countries. PV is also used for many industrial applications where grid connection is not possible e.g. telecommunications, especially to link remote rural areas to the rest of the country.
  4. What is a PV system composed of?

    Elements of a grid-connected PV system are: PV modules - converting sunlight into electric power, an inverter that converts direct current into alternating current, sub-construction -consisting of the mounting system, cabling and components used for electrical protection and a meter to record the amount of electric energy fed into the grid.
    Off-grid (stand-alone) systems on the other hand, use a charge controller to charge a storage battery used for providing the electric energy when there is no sunlight, e.g. during night hours.
  5. What is an inverter?

    Solar cells produce direct current (DC). However, most of the electrical devices we commonly use work with a standard alternating current (AC) power supply. An inverter converts the DC from the solar cells into a useable form of AC.
    An inverter is moreover necessary to connect a PV system to the grid.
  6. What is net metering?

    Under a self consumption scheme, the consumer primarily uses the electricity generated by his PV system in his own home or office and sends any surplus energy to the utility grid for use by others.
    A bidirectional meter counts both the outgoing and the incoming energy flow. If the home or office requires more or less electricity than can be produced by the PV system, the balance is provided by the grid or the excess electricity is sold to the grid.
    With a net metering scheme, the utility company only charges the difference between the consumed energy and the produced surplus energy. In some countries, the surplus energy remains available for consumption for a limited amount of time and cannot be sold (you can’t have a ‘negative’ energy bill).
    In many countries the utility company purchases all PV electricity generated at a higher rate (FiT) than the tariff applied for consumed electricity. In this case, a dedicated metering exists for ‘PV generation’ and a second metering for ‘power taken from the grid’, applying a different tariff to each.
  7. What is the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) and how does it work?

    Utility companies are legally obliged to buy electricity from renewable energy producers at a premium rate, usually over a guaranteed period, ensuring a reasonable rate of return for the producer. The extra cost is shared among all energy users, thereby reducing it to a barely noticeable level. In addition, FiTs often include ‘tariff degression’, a mechanism according to which the price (or tariff) ratchets down over time.
    FiTs have been empirically proven to generate the fastest, lowest-cost deployment of renewable energy. This way PV significantly contributes to combating climate change securing energy supply, not to mention creating jobs and competitiveness.

    The FiT system means that the pay-back time for PV is reduced significantly. Germany has a good example of a FiT in place, and the country is world leader in installed PV power.
    This financing model has now been taken up widely around the world, as the table below shows:

    Countries, states and provinces that have adopted FITs
    Year Cumulative number Countries/states/provinces added that year

    United States
    Denmark, India
    Sri Lanka
    Portugal, Norway, Slovenia
    France, Latvia
    Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania
    Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Korea, Slovak Republic, Maharashtra, (India)
    Italy, Israel, Nicaragua, Prince Edward Island (Canada), Andhra, Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (India)
    Turkey, Washington (US), Ireland, China, India, (Karnataka, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh)
    Ontario (Canada)
    South Australia (Australia), Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Finland, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Uganda
    Queensland (Australia); California (USA); Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal (India); Kenya; the Philippines; Tanzania; Ukraine
    Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria (Australia); Hawaii, Oregon, and Vermont (USA); Japan; Kazakhstan; Serbia; South Africa; Taiwan
    Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malaysia, Malta, United Kingdom
    Source: REN21, 2011FiTs can be shaped according to a country’s RE resources, its electricity distribution system and its RE targets.
  8. Does PV technology need bright sunshine to work properly?

    A PV system needs daylight but not direct sunlight to work properly, however the power output is smaller. In fact, if a PV module is exposed to an artificial light source, it will also produce electricity.
    The light of the sun consists of both direct and indirect or diffuse light (which is the light that has been scattered by dust and water particles in the atmosphere). PV cells not only use the direct component of the light, but also produce electricity when the sky is overcast. It is a common misconception that PV only operates in direct sunshine and is therefore not suitable for use in temperate climates. This is incorrect: PV makes use of diffuse solar radiation as well as direct sunlight.

    The amount of useful electricity generated by a PV module is proportional to the intensity of light energy that falls onto the conversion area. The greater the available solar resource, the higher the electricity generation potential.
    Because the electrical output of a PV module is dependent on the light intensity to which it is exposed, it is certain that PV modules will tend to generate more electricity on bright days than when skies are overcast. Nevertheless, PV systems do not need direct sunlight to work, so even on overcast days a PV module will generate some electricity.
  9. How much electricity can a PV system produce?

    The electricity production of a PV system depends on external (environmental conditions) and internal (technology, layout of the system) parameters.
    The production of a PV system depends on:
    • The power of the PV system
    • Orientation towards the sun
    • Geographic location
    • The tilt angle or inclination of the roof. For European countries, the average optimal inclination is 30°-35°
    • The irradiance (light intensity) value on site
    • The climate zone
    • The way how BIPV is structurally integrated in the building shell (ventilated/ non-ventilated)
    Shadows on the modules (even if they appear only at certain times of day) can reduce the gain of the whole system and should be avoided if possible.
    The map below represents the yearly sum of irradiation (‘raw’ solar energy) on a horizontal surface.
    Alternatively, the maps represent solar electricity (kWh) generated by a 1kWp system per year with horizontal (or inclined) modules.
  10. What does grid parity mean?

    In light of decreasing solar electricity generation costs and increasing price for conventional electricity, solar power systems will equally become increasingly economic during the coming years. Over the next 10 years solar electricity will become cheaper than retail electricity (depending on location and electricity prices) for end electricity consumers.
    A considerable advantage of solar electricity is that it is mainly produced around midday when conventional electricity is particularly expensive. Solar electricity largely replaces expensive peak-load electricity at preferential customer prices, which is why it would be wrong to compare it with cheap base-load electricity.

    Grid parity (competitiveness with retail electricity prices) will be reached progressively from 2013 onwards in several European markets. Countries with the highest solar irradiation and higher electricity prices, such as Italy and Spain, have the potential to reach grid parity starting in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Grid parity is likely to be reached in Germany and France in 2015 as well and cover progressively most other EU countries up until 2020.

    Grid parity is defined as the moment at which, in a particular market segment in a specific country, the net earnings  of the electricity supply from a PV installation is equal to the long-term cost of receiving traditionally produced and supplied power over the grid. In other words, Grid parity is the moment at which it is equivalently profitable for an end consumer to buy a PV System and produce his own electricity without any direct incentives (FIT or net metering) than buying electricity from the grid over 25 years.
  11. Do PV modules lose efficiency each year?

    The degeneration of PV modules varies according to the type of PV modules installed. The loss of power production during a life cycle of 20 to 25 years is estimated to be 10 to 20% for crystalline PV modules.
  12. What is the carbon footprint of a PV system?

    When measuring the environmental impact of a product, it is important to take the direct and indirect impacts throughout the entire product life-cycle, from material sourcing, through manufacturing, transportation, construction, operation, dismantling and to product collection and recycling into account.
    PV systems have a very light carbon footprint; they have no direct CO2 emissions into air during operation. Small, indirect emissions are mainly linked to the energy required during the manufacturing process of the PV module. This depends on the amount of energy consumed during manufacturing and on the electricity mix (i.e. gas, fuel, nuclear, hydro) at the production sites. Other small indirect emissions are connected to the technical greenhouse gases used as process gases when manufacturing the PV module, its components or the manufacturing equipment.
    The carbon footprint (g CO2eq/kWh) will depend on the lifetime and the conversion efficiency of the PV system, the system design and its orientation, in addition to the solar irradiation where the relevant system is installed. Annual solar horizontal irradiation varies from approximately 800 kWh/m2 in Northern Germany to approximately 1700 kWh/m2 in Southern Italy and even up to 2500 kWh/m² (II) in the “Sunbelt area” resulting in higher electricity output for the same initial carbon input.
    The carbon footprint of PV systems - assuming a location in southern Europe - ranges from 16 to 32 gCO2 eq. per kWh compared to between 300 and 1000 g CO2 eq. per kWh when produced from fossil fuels.
  13. Is it worthwhile using solar energy in Europe?

    Definitely! In Germany, for example, the average of the annual solar irradiation is 1000 kWh per square meter. With efficient solar power systems, this is sufficient to generate a considerable volume of electricity and heat from solar power.
    Unlike other electricity generation technologies, solar is a highly modular electricity generating technology, scalable to powers suited for a single household up to large-scale ground-mounted installations.

    Small-scale PV electricity in central Europe is up to twice as costly as large-scale PV electricity in southern Europe due to the combined benefits of economies of scale of large systems and higher irradiation in the South. Nevertheless, small-scale domestic 'northern' PV is today as cost-effective as large-scale 'southern' PV when incorporating the cost to deliver it to the domestic consumer.

    PV will become soon a competitive solution where it is needed (i.e where electricity is consumed).

    Hence it is worthwhile producing solar energy in Europe, not least because this makes Europe less dependent on energy imports but also because:
    • The fuel is free
    • It produces no noise, harmful emissions or polluting gases
    • PV systems are very safe and highly reliable
    • It brings electricity to remote rural areas
    • The energy pay-back time of a module is constantly decreasing
    • It creates thousands of jobs
    • It contributes to improving the security of Europe’s energy supply
  14. Can renewable energy sources guarantee a secure power supply despite their dependence on the weather?

    Can renewable energy sources guarantee a secure energy supply despite their dependence on the weather?
    The best way forward to ensure a secure energy supply for the future is an energy mix of renewable energy sources and intelligent load management (smart grids) in combination with energy storage. This will enable renewable energy sources to ensure a secure, climate-friendly and sustainable energy supply.

    Solar power is particularly available during periods of peak load demand (midday and in summer) and is excellently complemented by wind power, where peak values are principally reached in winter. Further to this, biomass, hydropower and geothermal energy are continually available and counterbalance deficits.
  15. What is the lifetime of a PV system?

    The estimated lifetime of a PV module is 30 years. Furthermore, the modules’ performance is very high providing over 80% of the initial power after 25 years which makes photovoltaic a very reliable technology in the long term.
    Most manufacturers in general propose performance guarantees on the modules after 20 years of 80% of the initial output power. As regards the electronic components and accessories (inverters), the guarantee usually does not exceed 10 years.
    But this doesn’t mean that PV systems do not produce energy after 20 – 25 years.
    Most PV systems installed more than 25 years ago still produce energy today!
  16. What if there is a problem with the PV system?

    If a PV module has a defect, no longer produces electricity or produces much less electricity than before, it is generally covered by the manufacturer’s performance guarantee against a drop in efficiency of more than 20%.
    Most manufacturers indeed propose performance guarantees on modules of 20 and 25 years for 80% of the initial output power. On the electronic components and accessories (inverters), the guarantee usually does not exceed 10 years, although longer inverter insurances can be arranged.
  17. Is solar energy more expensive than conventional energy?

    In the light of decreasing solar power generation costs and increasing costs for conventional electricity (due to oil and gas prices), solar power systems will become increasingly economic during the coming years.
    A considerable advantage of solar power is that it is mainly produced during the day when the demand is high and therefore conventional electricity is particularly expensive. Another important feature is that PV is normally produced close to demand; therefore, a high investment on extending the electricity infrastructure is not required.
    In the long term solar energy will be much cheaper than conventional energy. Nowadays, like all energy production technologies (coal, gas, nuclear etc.) in the past and present, solar energy still needs financial support to further develop the technology and thus reduce prices to become competitive.
    However, solar energy is already well on the way: whereas the costs for conventionally generated energy have constantly increased in recent years and – faced with finite resources – will continue to increase by a considerable extent, increasing mass production has enabled the cost of solar energy to drop by an average of more than 10% per year.
  18. What contribution can solar electricity play world-wide with regard to total energy consumption?

    The solar PV market has been booming over the last years despite a dip in 2009. By the end of 2010 the global cumulative capacity was about 69.4 GWp, with 29.4 GWp added just in 2011.
    In the long term it is estimated that solar power could contribute to an increasing share of total energy consumption. With appropriate policies both in developed and developing countries, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and Greenpeace have devised that in a joint scenario photovoltaic systems could produce enough energy to supply electricity to 3.7 million people globally by 2030.
    The Solar Generation report published by Greenpeace and EPIA in February 2011 concludes that solar electricity can contribute largely to the energy needs of two-thirds of the world’s population - including those in remote areas - by 2030.
    The report confirms the impressive growth of the solar energy sector and demonstrates its potential of becoming a global energy contributor. It estimates that over 1800 GW of photovoltaic systems will have been installed worldwide by 2030, which represents over 2600 TWh of electricity produced per year or 14% of global electricity demand.
    In theory, every country could provide for its own energy needs from local renewable energy sources many times over.
  19. Can the solar industry also grow without government subsidies?

    Public incentives will no longer be required to help the development of energy produced by photovoltaic means in the long run/
    The solar industry will be capable of generating a high degree of growth without government subsidies in the foreseeable future.
    With increasing sales leading to economies of scale and efforts realized by producers to reduce the cost of photovoltaic products, it is expected that costs for photovoltaic energy will be competitive with electricity prices in southern Europe by 2015 and in most of Europe by 2020.
    Until then, the market introduction of solar energy is dependent on statutory frameworks if it is to become competitive and survive in the global market. The industry will require investment security for developing solar power manufacturing plants and for their high development input and, until then, consumers will require legally secure incentives to invest in installing solar systems. The cost reduction can be achieved through research development and large-scale implementation with cost-effective financing instruments.
  20. What are Green Certificates?

    Green Certificate, also known as Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), is a tradable commodity certifying that a certain amount of electricity (normally sold to the customer) is generated using renewable energy sources. The following sources are considered as renewable: wind, solar, wave, tidal, geothermal, hydro and biomass Typically, one certificate represents the generation of 1 MWh of electric energy.
    Green Certificates represent the environmental value of the renewable energy generated. The certificates can be traded separately from the energy produced. Several countries use Green Certificates as a means to bring the support of green electricity generation closer to market economy instead of more bureaucratic investment support and FiTs. Such national trading schemes are in use for PV in e.g. Poland, Sweden, Belgium (Wallonia and Flanders), and some US states.
    In practice, producers, wholesalers, retailers or consumers (depending on who is obliged) can be obliged to supply or consume a certain percentage from renewable electricity sources. For each unit of renewable electricity (e.g. MWh), a certificate is granted to the producer.
    This certificate serves as proof that renewable electricity was delivered into the grid.
    The graph below shows the costs per MWh versus the certificate value. Some technologies will be excluded from a Green Certificate market, while mature technologies are stimulated (only fictitious values are used to show the impact).
    Unlike the FiT, specific for each technology, a Green Certificate has no technology-specific price.
    Instead of compensating specific generation costs of the technology, a number of technologies will generate windfall profits, meaning that the compensation is higher than their actual generation costs.
  21. How long will the development of PV depend on FiTs?

    The major challenge for the renewable energy industry in general has been to make the cost of clean energy competitive with conventional energy. Householders or energy companies who wanted to install wind turbines or solar panels have been faced with lengthy pay-back times.
    Without increased consumer demand and political measures to facilitate access to the market, manufacturers of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels cannot produce the unit volumes that would be needed to bring prices down and drive technological innovation.
    The FiT has proven to be the most effective policy instrument in overcoming these barriers.
    The FiT allows the pay-back time for PV to be only years instead of decades (see also Q.7).
    In 2011, the majority of installed PV systems benefited from well-designed grant support, in particular the FiT mechanism. This provides fair remuneration to the investor and rewards the effort made in investing in a clean energy source. Solar energy is becoming more economically viable and should become cost-competitive with conventional energy by 2015 in southern European countries and by 2020 across most of Europe.
    Increasing customer’s demand and costs for conventional electricity, together with decreasing installation costs will make solar power systems increasingly economic during the coming years. During the next 5-10 years solar power will become cheaper (depending on location and electricity prices) for private households than conventional electricity. Thus solar power will become independent of subsidies much earlier than might be deemed at first glance.
    With stand-alone systems remote from the electricity grid, it is already worthwhile using solar technology today.
    The Renewable Energy Sources Directive reinforces the current legal framework and could facilitate the implementation of the FiT schemes throughout Europe.

    CCRES special thanks to
     European Photovoltaic Technology Platform

    Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Friday, August 24, 2012


photo          by       CCRES      SPIRULINA 

Spirulina   is simply  the  world’s most  digestible  natural  source  of  high quality  protein,  far  surpassing the  protein bio availability of even beef  ( which  most  people  consider  to  be  th e  #1 source of  protein ). The  digestive  absorption  o f  each  gram  of  protein  in  spirulina  is  four  times  greater  than  the  same  gram  of   protein   in   beef.  And   since   spirulina   already   contains   three   times   more   protein  ( by  weight )  to   begin   with,   the   net result is   that  , ounce   for   ounce, spirulina   offers   twelve   times   more  digestible   protein     than   beef. 
That’s   an astounding   difference.  

photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA 

 It   means    that   spirulina   is   the   ideal  food  source   for   people   working  to  get   more  protein   into  their diets : 
•  People on low-carb, high-protein diets.
People who exercise vigorously or engage in strength training. 
People who are frail, who have trouble gaining weight, or who are malnourished. 

photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA 

In   fact,   there’s   probably   no  better single food  source  on  the  planet  than  spirulina  for  these  people.  The  protein   found   in  spirulina   is  also   a complete  protein,  meaning   that   it  contains  all eight  essential   amino acids, unlike  beans, whole   grains   and other  plant- based   foods   that   typically   lack  one  or  more  amino acids.

photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA 

 part of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

News and Events by CCRES August 23, 2012


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources 

News and Events August 23, 2012

New Public-Private Partnership to Support U.S. Manufacturing Innovation


The Obama Administration announced on August 16 the launch of a new public-private institute for manufacturing innovation. The new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, was selected through a competitive process to receive an initial award of $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium. The consortium includes manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia "Tech Belt."
On March 9, 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion to catalyze a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs for manufacturing. The President called on Congress to act on this proposal and create the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation. Five federal agencies—the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA—jointly committed to invest $45 million in a pilot institute on additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital model. See the White House press release.

Energy Department Partnership to Certify Zero Net-Energy Ready Homes


The Energy Department on August 20 announced a new partnership between its Challenge Home program and the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) on a voluntary certification process for energy-efficient homes. The partnership will streamline certifications for homes that can offset most or all of their utility bills with a small renewable energy system. These homes are referred to as "zero net-energy ready" homes. Home builders participating in these certification programs gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by providing their customers with homes featuring energy savings, among other benefits.
The Energy Department's Challenge Home program certifies homes that are 40% to 50% more energy efficient than typical homes. It also helps to minimize the risk of indoor air quality problems and ensures compatibility with renewable energy systems. Through the Challenge Home program and its original Builders Challenge specifications, the Department has certified more than 13,500 homes, which are saving consumers more than $10 million each year. Among these certified homes, more than 1,350 are considered zero net-energy ready homes based on Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores of 55 or lower. PHIUS certifies building designs that are 65% to 75% more energy efficient than a typical new home, even before installing renewable energy systems. PHIUS has also trained nearly 400 construction professionals to build these homes. See the Energy Department Progress Alert.   

USDA Funds Boost Renewable Energy Production


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 14 announced that 106 projects in 29 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico have been selected to receive funding for the production of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. Funding comes through the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
One example of a selected project is in Washington County, Iowa, where a recipient is receiving a guaranteed loan to construct a 50 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at his agricultural business. The turbine is expected to generate approximately 103,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually—enough to meet the annual requirements of nine homes. WTE-Dallmann LLC in Calumet, Wisconsin, is another recipient of a REAP grant to help fund the installation of an anaerobic digester that will generate more than 4.8 million kWh of electricity—power for about 420 homes annually. The electricity will be sold to the local utility. See the USDA press release and the complete list of projects PDF.

FERC Awards License for Oregon Wave Power Station


Photo of a metal buoy bobbing in the ocean.
Ocean Power Technologies, which launched a device to convert wave energy off Hawaii's coast in 2009, plans to tap wave power off the Oregon coast.
Credit: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc
Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) announced on August 20 that its subsidiary has received approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a planned 1.5 megawatt wave power station off the Oregon coast. This is the first FERC license for a wave power station issued in the United States. The license provides a regulatory approval for the deployment of up to 10 OPT devices, generating enough electricity for approximately 1,000 homes.
Construction of the initial 150-kilowatt device is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for deployment about 2.5 miles off the Reedsport, Oregon coast later this year. The wave energy converter consists of an open steel cylinder extending downward into the ocean from a floating buoy. A piston is located midway down the cylinder, and as waves pass, the piston moves up and down along the cylinder, applying pressure to seawater-filled hoses that eject high-pressure seawater into a turbine, which drives a generator to produce power.
OPT has received funding for this first system from the Energy Department with the support of the Oregon Congressional delegation and from PNGC Power, an Oregon-based electric power cooperative. Specifically, FERC has granted a 35-year license for grid-connected wave energy production. After the initial device is deployed, OPT plans to construct up to nine additional devices and grid connection infrastructure, subject to receipt of additional funding and all necessary regulatory approvals. See the OPT press release.


  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

Building the Largest U.S. Energy Efficiency Project


The popular expression "go big or go home" means to go all the way. And an energy efficiency project at a paper manufacturer in Longview, Washington, went so big that it's thought to be the largest of its kind in the United States, ever. It's so big that the energy experts at ESource, who answer thousands of energy-related questions every year, couldn’t find a reported project that's saved more energy.
NORPAC is the largest newsprint and specialty paper mill in North America. Its 33-year-old mill produces 750,000 tons of paper a year and on a daily basis makes enough paper to stretch a 30-foot-wide sheet from their Northwest mill all the way to Miami, Florida. NORPAC is the largest industrial consumer of electricity in the State of Washington, requiring about 200 average megawatts of power—roughly 100 times more power than an average household uses in an entire month. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)