Alternative Energy

Solar Power News

The latest solar power news from our solar energy and photovoltaic news sources.

Jul 28, 2016

Solar Energy

Medieval village ruins converted into an art school unveil past secrets

Jul 28, 2016: Once the stomping grounds of Celtic tribes, Roman armies, and famed painters like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, this tiny village made from stone has enjoyed a colorful history thanks to its location along the ancient La Via Domita, the first paved trade route that passed through the Luberon Valley to link Italy and Hispania. The cluster of stone structures clings to a hillside overlooking spectacular valley vistas of lavender fields and the Luberon ranges. Like an open-air museum, the village...

RM Passive House in Spain is a zero-energy Mediterranean dream home

Jul 28, 2016: The Zero Energy RM Passive House by Barcelona-based architecture studio Calderon Folch Sarsanedas looks like a cluster of elegant pavilions connected with a central wooden terrace. The house, located in Spain, functions as a single-family residence that provides privacy for each member of the household. The 198-square-meter (2,131-square-foot) house is located on a beautiful site overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. its volume is broken up into several smaller volumes that share a 409-square-foot...

Tesla opens the Gigafactory's doors for a first look

Jul 27, 2016: Tesla opened its sprawling Gigafactory to members of the press on Tuesday for an exclusive tour, as well as a chat with CEO Elon Musk. Reporters got a sneak peek at the factory’s progress, now two years in construction, just two days before the facility’s official grand opening party on July 29. The factory, just outside Reno, Nevada, is around 14 percent complete, with some sections already bustling with robotic assembly machines. Once the plant is up and running at full capacity, Musk says...

Videos reveal birds, bats and bugs near Ivanpah solar project power towers

Jul 27, 2016: Video surveillance is the most effective method for detecting animals flying around solar power towers, according to a new study.

The Rio Olympic Village is unfit to live in with exposed wires and blocked plumbing

Jul 27, 2016: The preparations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games have been anything but smooth. The city has suffered a financial crisis and a police strike, contributing to major setbacks in the enormous construction project of the Olympic Village. With less than two weeks remaining before the opening ceremonies, the 31-building complex opened Sunday to welcome athletes from Australia, but the Olympic hopefuls found the conditions unfit for occupancy, with exposed wires and blocked...

Norway to build world's first floating underwater traffic tunnels

Jul 27, 2016: An ambitious new plan in Norway would install a series of "submerged floating bridges" to help travelers easily cross the nation's many fjords. At present, the only way to travel across the bodies of water involves taking a series of ferries, an inconvenient and time-consuming process. Each of the submerged bridges could consist of a large tube suspended under around 100 feet of water, and will be wide enough for two lanes of traffic. Each submerged bridge would be held up by pontoons...

Zero-carbon Nanjing Green Lighthouse is a beacon for sustainable design in China

Jul 27, 2016: The 5,500-square-meter Nanjing Green Lighthouse takes on a spiral form and is centered on a light-filled atrium that funnels natural light and fresh air to all floors. “We would all like to produce more ‘green’ buildings with lower energy consumption or low carbon emission,” says Archiland International. “The challenge is at the same time to make this necessary new buildings even more attractive than buildings of today and not just making engineering technology driven machines. With this...

SCAD artist weaves sustainably sourced yarns into vibrant environmental art and stories

Jul 27, 2016: The Heart of the Hive takes inspiration from the traditional yarn weaving craft Ojos de Dios—Spanish for “eye of God”—used by many indigenous peoples in the Americas as a meditative and spiritual practice. Hagerty modified the Ojos de Dios’ standard four-point shape into a hexagonal form akin to the shapes found in honeycomb. The colorful hand-woven pieces are made from threading and yarn sustainably sourced from a variety of places, including donations, local antique markets in France,...

The Denny Substation in Seattle is unlike any boring electrical substation you've ever seen

Jul 27, 2016: The 110.000-square-foot facility will generate, transform and distribute electricity in the rapidly developing South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle, and will support the Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation, UW Medicine, Amazon, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Facebook, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Google, and global health organization PATH. Related: CAST Architecture Unveils Solar Powered Pocket Parks for Seattle A fully accessible looped walkway rises 16 feet above ground level...

Serendipitous observation may lead to more efficient solar cells and new gas sensors

Jul 27, 2016: While investigating perovskite crystals, scientists made an observation that could make perovskite solar cells more efficient. It could also lead to new sensors for oxygen and water vapor.

INFOGRAPHIC: The real environmental impact of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Jul 27, 2016: The 2016 Olympics in Rio will begin in just over a week and despite several ongoing catastrophes, the games will go on. In light of this monumental event, we thought we'd take a closer look at its environmental impact and the solutions in place. Check out this thought-provoking infographic from Green Match for an inside look. Graphic via Green Match…

New solar-powered machine converts urine into beer

Jul 27, 2016: “We call it from sewer to brewer,” say the creators of a solar-powered system that is turning urine into beer. Belgium scientists hope to expand the technology to remote areas needing off-the-grid methods for creating drinkable water, but not before asking festival goers to #peeforscience and for a truly unique brew. Ghent University researchers developed the energy efficient system with developing countries in mind, where solar power is optimal. By collecting urine in a heated...

Elon Musk sponsors helpful robot who may one day do your chores

Jul 27, 2016: Related: MIT is 3D printing functional robots that could walk right off the printer Via Forbes Images via Fetch Robotics…

ByFusion turns all types of ocean plastic into eco-friendly construction blocks

Jul 27, 2016: The problem of ocean waste, particular the plastic http://inhabitat.com/tag/ocean-plastic/ variety, is a big one, and many creative people are working on ways to clean it up. Finding ways to repurpose the plastic debris http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/business_models/tom_idle/byfusion_creating_building_blocks_tackling_ocean_waste collected from the ocean is one component of that, and the U.S.-based startup ByFusion has responded with technology that recycles ocean plastic into durable...

Molten storage and thermophotovoltaics offer new solar power pathway

Jul 27, 2016: A new wrinkle on an old technology -- solid-state thermophotovoltaics (TPV) -- could provide a high-efficiency alternative for directly converting high-temperature heat from concentrated solar thermal to utility-scale electricity.

Saharan dust: Reliable forecasts for photovoltaic output

Jul 27, 2016: A hazy sky and dirty cars are well-known consequences of Saharan dust carried to Europe by air currents. As part of the “PerduS” project, researchers are currently examining how dust – as haze in the atmosphere and deposited on solar panels – affects the output of photovoltaic systems. The aim is to provide a more reliable forecast for the output of photovoltaic systems through a better prediction of the spread of dust.

Watering solar cells makes them grow in power

Jul 27, 2016: Perovskite solar cells are the rising star in the photovoltaic landscape. Since their invention, less than ten years ago, their efficiency has doubled twice and it is now over 22% -- an astonishing result in the renewable energy sector. Researchers have now clarified the relationship between air exposure and enhanced electric proprieties in perovskite solar cells.

Neglected London bakery transformed into beautiful luxury housing

Jul 27, 2016: Originally built in 1898, the newly renovated Bakery Place comprises a 12,000-square-foot Victorian-era site with three main buildings: the Bake House, the Lodge House, and the Coach Houses. Jo Cowen Architects transformed the buildings into 11 unique residential units that blend the buildings’ original history with comfortable modern living. Exposed brickwork, cast-iron columns, and cobblestone are paired with bright white-painted walls, light herringbone timber floors, and contemporary minimalist...

Playful Blauhaus residence in North Carolina powered by geothermal energy

Jul 27, 2016: This gable-shaped, geothermal house in North Carolina features a playful roof element that shoots water back down to the creek running through the property. STITCH Design Shop, who designed the house, drew inspiration from the owner's past homes in Germany. Blauhaus has a gabled roof section and a flat roof section joined together by an elevated roof deck. It is clad in cementitious siding and standing seam metal panels with red elements that accentuate the orthogonal geometry of the building....

6 abandoned grain silos repurposed into swanky modern homes

Jul 27, 2016: The steel grain silo is historically known for its resilience and functionality—not for its architectural beauty. But as clever architects continue to repurpose the cylindrical buildings into stunning contemporary homes, the historic silos are being revisted as affordable housing or even luxury condos. With enough elbow grease and vision, the clunky metal structures can be transformed into surprisingly modern homes and apartments. Need proof? We’ve rounded up six of our favorite adaptive reuse...

Morocco just officially banned plastic bags

Jul 27, 2016: Related: Scotland bans plastic bags, spares landfill 650 million bags in just one year Via…

These stunning photos of empty subways are colorful works of art

Jul 27, 2016: Related: + Chris M Forsyth Via CityLab Chris M Forsyth, Metro photo series, subway photos, colorful subway design, empty subways, worldwide subway stations, urban design, metro colors, subway images, city subways, subway station architecture, urban architecture,…

Lucirms upcycles glass bottles into gorgeous handmade lamps

Jul 26, 2016: According to Lucirmás, the majority of recycled glass ends up in pavement aggregate rather than in the production or new glass. In hopes of highlighting the importance and beauty of reuse, the design studio creates unique handmade pieces using a variety of techniques such as cutting with a wet diamond blade circular saw and thermal tempering. Waste minimization is a major focus of Lucirmás, which takes an eco-friendly approach to all aspects of the product’s lifecycle from design concept to end-use....

This luxury hobbit home in the UK could be yours for just $1 million

Jul 26, 2016: + Underhill Via CNET Images via Wm. Sykes & Son…

Starbucks trials recyclable paper coffee cups for potential global use

Jul 26, 2016: In the UK, only one in every 400 paper coffee cup is recycled. Starbucks is partnering with Frugalpac, a manufacturer of recyclable cups made entirely from recycled paper, to help combat this wasteful dilemma. The trial launched last week, possibly leading to the use of these Earth-friendly containers in franchises all over the world. Frugalpac, founded by engineer Martin Myerscough, aims at providing a better alternative to conventional paper cups. Every year about 58 billion paper...

Margot Krasojevic designs Belgrade trolly system powered by piezoelectricity

Jul 26, 2016: The project uses 3d printed piezoelectric cells applied to each trolley pole, trolley bus elevation, tire and overhead wire. Aluminum consolidated carbon nanotubes, which increase the heat and electrical conductivity of the material embedded within the structure, are combined with the steel frame concrete clad helix. Aluminium frames are frames are printed with piezoelectric crystals which generate electricity from the air flow and pressure exerted from the trolleybus and it's overhead wire movement. Related:...

European wind energy is now cheaper than nuclear power

Jul 26, 2016:   Wind energy has officially overtaken nuclear power as the most affordable energy option – at least in the countries surrounding the North Sea. In nearby European nations, the cost of wind is now 30% lower than nuclear, a promising development in the push for renewable energy around the world. At the rate of present installations, industry group WindEurope predicts these windfarms will generate a full 7% of all energy within Europe by 2030.   The reason for the drop...

Switzerland unveils cloud-like pavilion at Venice Biennale

Jul 26, 2016: Kerez’s pavilion is an attempt to think about, construct, and experience architecture differently. This experimental work designed for a specific location and occasion is an autonomous piece that, trying to avoid a conventional design framework, seeks greater innovation. Done to stand only for itself, and not to represent any other work of architecture nor a tendency or any other specific construction or design method, the Swiss pavilion is an abstract experience that boldly stands out from other...

Any picture or text could be inkjet-printed as a solar cell

Jul 26, 2016: Any picture or text could be inkjet-printed as a solar cell, using a newly developed technology. When light is absorbed in an ordinary ink, it generates heat. A photovoltaic ink, however, coverts part of that energy to electricity. The darker the color, the more electricity is produced, because the human eye is most sensitive to that part of the solar radiation spectrum which has highest energy density.

Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

Jul 26, 2016: Who would even want to win a gold medal when you could have a golden electric car? Some gold medal winners at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games hosted in Brazil will also take home a special prize from Nissan: a shiny gold Leaf EV. The gilded electric cars will be offered to any of the 16 athletes sponsored by the automaker’s British office, provided they earn a gold medal in their sport first. http://www.carscoops.com/2016/07/gilded-nissan-leaf-sweetens-deal-for.html More At the...

Rusty old ship transformed into a spectacular building filled with plants

Jul 26, 2016: Related: This pop-up rainwater pavilion in Edinburgh is designed to raise awareness about water Via Dezeen Images courtesy of shinslab architecture and photographer Kim Yong-Gwan…

Solar Impulse successfully completes solar-powered flight around the world

Jul 26, 2016: Today, Solar Impulse inhabitat.com/tag/solar-impulse/ completed its epic round-the-world journey, powered only by the sun’s energy. Swiss pilot and initiator Bertrand Piccard landed the experimental solar-powered aircraft in Abu Dhabi after 40 hours in flight from Cairo, Egypt—the XXth and final leg of an adventure that began more than a year ago. Taking turns piloting each leg of the journey, Piccard and SI co-founder André Borschberg have bagged numerous world records and XXX hours of flight...

SOM designs pedestrian-friendly revamp for the heart of Philadelphia

Jul 26, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTtsmrT7y6k SOM’s masterplan for Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station Precinct was selected by Amtrak and designed in collaboration with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors. The beautiful Beaux Arts 30th Street Station—the third busiest transit hub in the U.S.—will retain its architectural magnificence but be expanded to improve accessibility and comfort for the 30,000 passengers that use the trains every morning. New public plazas and pedestrian-friendly...

8 memorable milestones of the first solar-powered flight around-the-world

Jul 26, 2016: It took 26,098 miles, 510 flying hours, 17 individual flights, and zero fossil fuels. That’s the measure of the recently completed round-the-world flight by the Swiss-built solar-powered aircraft known as Solar Impulse 2. Designed, built, and piloted by two Swiss clean energy fanatics, SI2 flew around the globe to demonstrate the awesome potential of solar power. In doing so, the airplane and its pilots grabbed not only the attention of people around the world, but their hearts and minds as well. The Solar Impulse project was born out of a desire to show the world the potential of clean energy and it has certainly succeeded in that aim. Here’s a look back at the most memorable milestones of the epic circumnavigation.

14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery store to stop selling caged hen eggs

Jul 26, 2016: Related: Kid sisters raise $800,000 with origami to dig water wells around the world…

Handmade MPavilion will be the largest bamboo structure ever built in Australia

Jul 26, 2016: The 282-square-meter MPavilion 2016 designs have a rustic charm owing to its use of plant and earth-based materials. The roof and awning will be made of karvi panels, created from a mix of cow dung and earth, and will be supported by a 2.4-meter-high colonnade of bamboo columns. White lime daub will be applied to waterproof the structure. A 12-meter-tall tazia, an ornamental tower used in Indian ceremonies, will complement the structure and can be seen through the oculus in the suspended ceiling....

Scientists discover traces of air breathed by Earths very first animals

Jul 26, 2016: A literal breath of fresh air from the time of Earth’s first animals was recently found, extracted, and analyzed by University of Aberdeen scientists. The discovery of atmospheric gas trapped in a sample of halite shows that a breathable atmosphere was around before many scientists previously thought. The study, published in the journal Geology, details the analysis of an 815 million year old sample of halite, or rock salt. Oxygen measurements were taken from the traces of gases found...

Self-built Tinhouse is a contemporary take on Isle of Skye vernacular design

Jul 26, 2016: Set on the northwestern tip of the Isle of Skye, the 70-square-meter Tinhouse overlooks beautiful views of The Minch strait. The holiday home is both modern and rustic with its gabled form and corrugated aluminum skin. The metal cladding also helps protect the home from the harsh elements. Rural Design founders Gill Smith and Alan Dickson designed and built the Tinhouse over the course of five years and chose materials for “an ease of build by one person.” The architects write: “In this way,...

Inside the world's first airport potato farm at JFK

Jul 26, 2016: jetblue, jetblue farm, jetblue airlines, terminal 5 jfk, john f kennedy airport terminal 5, jfk jetblue terminal, farm at jfk, urban farming, airport farm…

VIDEO: Inhabitat Interviews the Designers of the LowLine Underground Park

Jul 26, 2016: By now, you've probably heard of the High Line, but did you know that there is also an underground park called the LowLine proposed for downtown Manhattan? It may have seemed like a pipe dream at first but with many residents backing the project and New Yorkers…

US, Canada and Mexico Pledge 50% Clean Energy Mix by 2025

Jul 25, 2016: Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto to announce new ‘aggressive but achievable’ goal at ‘Three Amigos’ summit in Ottawa Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto will commit to a new regional clean power goal at a summit this week in Ottawa, the White House has said. The leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico, meeting on Wednesday at the so-called “Three Amigos” summit,…

SolarCity and Tesla Deal Moves Forward

Jul 25, 2016: By Liana B. BakerREUTERS PALO ALTO, CA --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Tesla Motors Inc and SolarCity Corp have made progress in putting together a deal that will merge the electric car maker and the solar panel installer, people familiar with the matter said. The two companies, which count billionaire Elon Musk as a major shareholder, are in the final stages of carrying out due diligence on each other,…

Bright yellow dome home completed for Mama Dolfine's orphanage in Kenya

Jul 25, 2016: Remember the German kid who took his heart and mind to Kenya to build a school for Mama Dolfine's orphanage? Against a variety of odds, he and his team have completed what is probably the first of its kind in the East African country - a bright yellow dome home with sleeping space for eight. As he finds his feet as a social entrepreneur, Torsten Kremser of A Better Me Foundation is discovering just how much money is required to build decent facilities. The dome home, a community hub and temporary...

Storybook Transylvania hotel built with clay and sand opens soon

Jul 25, 2016: Nestled in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in the heart of Transylvania, a tiny Romanian town is now home to an incredible fairytale come true in the form of a hotel built from clay and sand. http://www.treehugger.com/travel/transylvanian-hobbit-hotel-built-out-clay-and-sand.html The hotel’s Romanian name is Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor, which translates to “Clay Castle of the Valley of the Fairies” in English, an absolutely fitting moniker for these ancient architectural accommodations....

This Russian man just rode a hot air balloon around the world in 11 days

Jul 25, 2016: Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov has set a new world record for the fastest hot air balloon trip around the world. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/24/russian-adventurer-fedor-konyukhov-breaks-record-for-flying-solo-around-the-world The 11-day journey, which began on July 12, took the 64-year-old adventurer from Australia, over New Zealand, across the Pacific Ocean, South America, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Southern Ocean. Upon landing near his starting point on Saturday,...

New graphene super batteries charge up in seconds and last virtually forever

Jul 25, 2016: With the aid of one of the strongest materials on Earth, a researcher at Australia’s Swinburne University has created a battery that charges up super fast and can be used over and over and over again, without losing efficiency. Researcher Han Lin developed the battery using a form of carbon called graphene, which is commonly heralded as one of the strongest materials on the planet. The new supercapacitor addresses many of the shortcomings of traditional lithium ion batteries, beating them in charging...

Penda unveils interlocked double-helix bridge for the Beijing Winter Olympics

Jul 25, 2016: Penda's latest bridge design features a series of double-helix arches inspired by the rings of the Olympic Games. The San Shan Bridge would span the Giu River outside Beijing, China just in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be hosted there. Penda’s design concept draws from the elliptical, connected rings that represent the Games, as well as the five major regions of the world that participate in the competitions. The architecture studio, based in Beijing and Vienna, proposed this...

First solar-powered, net-zero apartment building in Los Angeles opens its doors

Jul 25, 2016: Hanover Olympic is the first building to include net-zero, solar-powered apartments for the eco-conscious renting community in Los Angeles. Ten rooftop solar panels dedicated to each of the 20 Eco-Apartments provide solar energy directly to tenants, cutting their electricity bills by around $100 per month. Any excess energy produced by a total of 220 solar panels is fed into the grid for nighttime use. The eco-conscious project was developed by Hanover Company, developer and manager of high quality...

New Zealand is exterminating all rats and non-native predators

Jul 25, 2016: Related: Highly invasive New Guinea flatworms spotted in the U.S. for the first time Via The Guardian Images via Andrew on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons…