Startup Company Sets Efficiency Record, Works on New Solar Cell Design
Alta Devices, a startup company which engineers solar cells has achieved a new efficiency record of 30.8%. The company uses a dual-junction design that stacks two layers of semiconductors on top of each other in order to boost the cell’s performance. An efficiency record reflects the best a company can produce, but the average efficiency of what the company is making and shipping to customers is typically lower. Alta is making cells at an average efficiency of 26 percent but expects the averages to reach 27-28 percent next year. SunPower is shipping the most efficient silicon cells today, at 23 percent efficiency.
Georgia Power’s Learning Power program Educates 100,000 students
Georgia Power announced that 100,000 students in Georgia have now been instructed through the company’s Learning Power program. Learning Power is a statewide education campaign designed to bring energy education into classrooms. Eleven education coordinators work throughout the state teaching the Learning Power curriculum to elementary, middle, and high school students through in-class field trips at no cost to schools. The company’s aim is to improve academic achievement, help create well-informed future energy purchasers, and build awareness around careers in the electric utility industry.
Walmart expands Solar Installs in Ohio
Walmart has announced that it is working with SolarCity to install solar panels on 12 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs throughout Ohio. The solar installations will add approximately 6,000,000 kWh of generation production – enough to power more than 820 homes – and are expected to supply approximately 5-20 percent of each store’s overall electricity needs. Walmart’s goal is to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy. The United States EPA Green Power Partnership program ranks Walmart as the largest onsite green power generator in the U.S.
Romania to Scale Back Renewable Power Subsidies to Restrain Power Price Increase
Romania will scale back renewable power aid to limit electricity-price increases for consumers. Romania, which currently offers two green certificates for each megawatt-hour generated from wind, may cut the number to one or 1.5, and for solar to 3.5 from six. In monetary terms, the maximum value may drop to 30 euros ($39) from 55 euros. The total cost of renewables to consumers this year is about 500 million euros , an amount which is deemed by experts to be too steep for Romanian consumers. The country has raised electricity prices 10 percent this year, with clean-energy subsidies accounting for about 4 percent of the increase.