Posts tagged flexible cells

Turning a landfill into an energy hill

There’s been chatter recently among members of the environmental movement that it makes little sense to create enormous solar farms on pristine desert land in the American Southwest when there are so many structures and other urban locations for installing solar power.  Well, here’s one community in Georgia that’s giving their local landfill the ultimate green makeover by installing solar panels atop the plastic lining that covers waste within.

From a mountain of trash to a tower of solar power

DeKalb county is planning to convert the Hickory Ridge landfill into a massive solar power plant by placing flexible solar panels over a specially designed extra-think plastic cover (pictured above).  The project, designed by Carlisle Energy Services and built in collaboration with BFI Waste Systems and landfill operator Republic Services is one of only two in the country, the other one being in San Antonio Texas.  The county hopes to generate enough power from the flexible panels to power 400 homes, not bad for land that’s traditionally considered an eyesore!  The flexible panels are a a better match for such setups than traditional panels because as landfill contents settle, hard panels would require a lot of readjustment to maintain proper light exposure.  The flexible panels will simply adjust to the ground they’re given.

I’m excited to see projects like this, which utilize spaces society has used to the point where they are no longer attractive for communal entertainment or enjoyment. It’s ever better to see that this project received $2 million in Federal stimulus money to get the plant up and in operation, better that than some of the other places our federal funds have gone lately!  With the announcement of the world’s largest nanotech thin-film solar plant to be built in the United States and the world’s largest solar farm getting the go-ahead in Mongolia (more on these tomorrow!), let’s hope those panels find use in outside-the-box settings like this where they can go beyond generation to actual community restoration.

Want to find out more?  http://bit.ly/e3Frst or http://bit.ly/f6sTG1

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NanoSolar produces solar cheaper then coal

NanoSolar flexible cell

Read More about NanoSolar’s breakthrough here

PopSci’s Best of What’s New 2007

Comparison of Solar Technologies

NanoSolar has long been a favorite of mine for their commitment to producing inexpensive solar cells with more durable materials than traditional solar cells.  They have funding from some of the biggest names in the business world, which probably explains why they haven’t had to go public yet.  When they do, I’m going to be standing in line (probably a long one!) to get stock.  Their PowerSheet technology, printed in a process similar to running a newspaper press, recently snagged Best of 2007 honors in Popular Science’s annual contest (see a nice Flash demonstration of the technology at the link above).

The most exciting news is that the NanoSolar process has been officially declared cheaper then coal.  That means there’s no excuse not to own some of these panels once they come off the production line in 2008.  The first commercially produced line of panels were auctioned off, sent to the Smithsonian, used in power plant settings, and other socialy important applications.  But NanoSolar for the masses appears to be just around the corner.  Keep an eye on this!

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