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:: solar power pays off even without subsidies

The German high-tech engineering firm Manz has achieved a technological breakthrough: its integrated production line for CIGS thin-film solar panels, the Manz CIGSfab, can be used to manufacture solar panels that in the future will supply power costing between four euro cents (Spain) and eight euro cents (Germany) per kilowatt hour, depending on the location.

:: Photovoltaics: The achievements - what next?

By the end of this year, 2012 we are going to reach the level of 100 GW of photovoltaic (PV) generators producing electricity installed worldwide. This corresponds in total to a PV semiconductor area twice as big as the Lake Geneva in Switzerland. This is quite an industrial revolution that is without equal: the global PV market is only a few years old; before 2004 it just did not exist in this dimension. By Wolfgang Palz

:: SolarSuperState Prize for Denmark, Spain, Germany, Vatican City State

The SolarSuperState Prize 2012 winner states have been selected according to their ranking in the SolarSuperState competition 2012. On 14 August 2012 in Zürich (Volkshaus), in the category Wind prices were awarded to Denmark and Spain and in the category Solar to Germany, Vatican City State and Italy.

:: Annual Renewable Distributed Energy Generation Installations Will Nearly Triple by 2017

The centralized model of power generation, transmission, and distribution is growing more and more costly to maintain at current levels, let alone expand to meet the rising electricity needs of growing populations.  Despite being smaller in scale, renewable distributed energy generation (RDEG) sources such as distributed solar photovoltaics (PV), small wind power, and stationary fuel cells, with less need for transmission and little to no emissions, are uniquely positioned to disrupt this traditional paradigm.

:: Solar Power Day and Night

Energy storage systems are one of the key technologies for the energy turnaround. With their help, the fluctuating supply of electricity based on photovoltaics and wind power can be stored until the time of consumption. At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), several pilot plants of solar cells, small wind power plants, lithium-ion batteries, and power electronics are under construction to demonstrate how load peaks in the grid can be balanced and what regenerative power supply by an isolated network may look like in the future.

:: No End-of-Year Rush Expected for German Solar Market in 2012

A midyear subsidy change approved by the German government for photovoltaic (PV) installations in rooftops will continue to drive solar demand for the remainder of 2012, although no year-end rally is expected that will boost overall PV capacity for the country, according to an IHS iSuppli PV Perspectives Market Brief from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS). The new feed-in-tariff (FIT), approved June 27 and retroactive to April 1, means the pattern for solar installation in Germany will change this year.

:: United by desert energy – North Africa, Middle East and Europe join forces on future energy supply

A joint power network involving North Africa, the Middle East and Europe (EUMENA) offers clear benefits to all involved. This is the key finding of the "Desert Power 2050" study, which was presented by the industrial initiative Dii in Munich on 21 June 2012. "A sustainable supply of power from renewable sources that is virtually free of CO2 can best be achieved by cooperation between the peoples of Europe and both sides of the Mediterranean. It is essential to develop such a market. Using the energy of the wind and the sun, we can leave the era of fossil fuels behind us and realize the Desertec vision", explains Paul van Son, CEO of Dii.

:: The new war with China over the sun

Not oil, coal or uranium are the biggest energy sources ever, but the sun. It shines eternally, environmentally friendly and for free. This is the fundamental difference between the conventional and the future energy supplies and therefore, the new “war over the sun” between China and the US is so important. It decides, more than anything else, about who will be the next super power. That’s why the US decided last weekend to impose duties on the import of solar cells from China.

:: Through a glass, clearly

One of the most instantly recognizable features of glass is the way it reflects light. But a new way of creating surface textures on glass, developed by researchers at MIT, virtually eliminates reflections, producing glass that is almost unrecognizable because of its absence of glare — and whose surface causes water droplets to bounce right off, like tiny rubber balls.

:: Global Clean Energy Investment a Record $263 Billion in 2011

Global clean energy finance and investment grew to $263 billion in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to new research released by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Among Group of Twenty (G-20) nations, the United States reclaimed the top spot from China, which led the global clean energy race since 2009. Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and India were also among the nations that most successfully attracted private investments last year.

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