NASA's Parker Solar Probe will be the first spacecraft to "touch" the sun, hurtling through the sizzling solar atmosphere and coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers) of the surface. It's designed to take solar punishment like never before, thanks to its revolutionary heat shield that's capable of withstanding 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius).
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, an original operator of the dam when it was erected in the 1930s, wants to equip it with a $3 billion pipeline and a pump station powered by solar and wind energy. The pump station, downstream, would help regulate the water flow through the dam’s generators, sending water back to the top to help manage electricity at times of peak demand.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced the launch of a new award to encourage innovation and help revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. It will be known as the American-Made Solar Prize, a competition for entrepreneurs to develop ideas into concepts that improve the solar industry.
California will soon become the first state to require all new homes be built with solar panels. The California Energy Commission voted unanimously, 5-0, Wednesday to change a state building code that would require all new homes be equipped with the renewable energy technology.
Under the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), DOE will fund about 70 projects to advance both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technologies, as well as facilitate the secure integration of those technologies into the nation’s electricity grid. Funding will also support efforts that prepare the workforce for the solar industry’s future needs.
3D printing’s ability to rapid iterate designs is highlighted by the US Department of Energy (DoE) in a new competition. Via the DoE the US government is sponsoring a $3 million prize competition for inventors and entrepreneurs who can accelerate the US solar industry through rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and proof-of-concept testing.
Solar energy is clean, abundant, and irritatingly inconvenient: It doesn’t work at night or on cloudy days. You can convert sunshine into electricity and store it in a battery, but that’s complicated and expensive. And much of the time, what you really want isn’t electricity but heat for tasks like cooking or warming homes. What you want, in other words, is a way to bottle the heat of the noonday sun and then uncork it on demand.
Last month, the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended that President Donald Trump implement new tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 13. Cells are the components of solar modules, or panels, that produce electricity. Supporters say new tariffs on solar cells and modules are needed to save the remaining U.S. manufacturers and allow production in the U.S. to grow, the Journal reported.
Elon Musk has now offered to help Puerto Rico out, possibly by deploying solar power around the island. Puerto Rico is ideally situated for solar power in many respects. It’s relatively close to the equator-closer than any location in the continental United States-and it enjoys high amounts of sunshine for most of the year.
While domestic deployments of solar have grown nearly eightfold in the past five years, U.S. manufacturing has fallen behind. Previous trade cases were intended to stabilize pricing and result in new U.S. module capacity. But domestic production still hasn’t kept pace with deployments. We estimate that 87 percent of U.S. solar installations in 2016 used foreign-produced panels.