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Project receives funding for advanced solar-thermal research

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Project receives funding for advanced solar-thermal research


Project receives funding for advanced solar-thermal research

by Sophie Jenkins

London, UK (SPX) Apr 12, 2024






The University of Surrey, leading a collaboration with the University of Bristol and Northumbria University, has received a GBP 1.1 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop solar-thermal devices. These devices aim to revolutionize the way we heat homes and generate power, differing from traditional solar cells by converting sunlight into heat for energy production.

The research focuses on creating surfaces that selectively absorb sunlight and emit heat through near-infrared radiation. This project leverages the combined expertise of the institutions in photonics, advanced materials, applied electromagnetics, and nanofabrication to address a global need for efficient solar energy utilization.



Professor Marian Florescu, Principal Investigator from Surrey, highlighted the importance of the project: “The sun provides an immense amount of energy daily, much more than we currently harness. By advancing these solar-absorbing surfaces, we aim to transform solar energy use into a sustainable powerhouse for our increasing energy needs.”



Goals of the project include developing high-temperature solar absorbers, enhancing the efficiency of solar-absorbing structures, and improving the management of heat generated from sunlight. Prototypes will be constructed to demonstrate these technologies.



Professor Marin Cryan, Co-Principal Investigator from the University of Bristol, explained their focus on thermionic solar cell technology, which uses concentrated sunlight to initiate electron emission for high-efficiency solar cells.



Dr. Daniel Ho, Co-Principal Investigator from Northumbria University, added: “Our university leads in thermophotovoltaic research, utilizing advanced thermal analysis techniques. We’re excited to contribute to groundbreaking developments in renewable energy.”


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SCE Provides Quarterly Updates on Interconnection Capacity Analysis Improvements

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SCE Provides Quarterly Updates on Interconnection Capacity Analysis Improvements


SCE Provides Quarterly Updates on Interconnection Capacity Analysis Improvements

by Brad Bartz

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 30, 2024






Southern California Edison (SCE) has initiated quarterly status updates to address issues related to the use of Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) in processing Rule 21 interconnection requests. This comes as a response to concerns raised during the March 5, 2024, Interconnection Discussion Forum. The first report, submitted to the CPUC and various service lists, details SCE’s ongoing efforts to improve ICA processes.

In a proactive move, Southern California Edison (SCE) has begun issuing quarterly updates to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and related stakeholders on the status of their efforts to address challenges associated with Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) used in Rule 21 interconnection requests. This initiative follows queries raised during the Interconnection Discussion Forum held on March 5, 2024.



The first of these updates, provided voluntarily by SCE, outlines significant steps being taken to refine ICA processes. This report, dated May 24, 2024, was circulated to the Energy Division and the service lists of R.14-08-013, R.17-07-007, R.19-09-009, and R.21-06-017, ensuring transparency and open communication with all concerned parties.



The quarterly report highlights several key areas of focus, including:



Enhanced Data Accuracy: SCE is working to improve the precision of data used in ICA, ensuring that interconnection requests are processed based on the most reliable information available.



Stakeholder Engagement: Regular meetings and discussions with stakeholders are being held to address any concerns and gather feedback on proposed improvements.



Technological Upgrades: Investments in technology to streamline and expedite the ICA process, reducing wait times for interconnection approvals.



Policy Adjustments: Revisions to internal policies and procedures to better align with stakeholder expectations and regulatory requirements.



SCE’s commitment to providing these updates underscores their dedication to resolving ICA-related issues and facilitating a smoother interconnection process for renewable energy projects. Stakeholders are encouraged to reach out with any questions or requests for further information, highlighting the open-door policy SCE has adopted for this initiative.



Factual Background:



Who: Southern California Edison (SCE)

What: Quarterly status updates on ICA improvements for Rule 21 interconnection requests.

When: First report issued on May 24, 2024.



Bradley Bartz, founder of ABC Solar Incorporated, is a dedicated advocate at the CPUC, receiving numerous filings daily from various stakeholders. The “Today at the CPUC” series aims to provide the solar advocacy community with concise and relevant updates on critical CPUC developments.



CONTACT: [email protected]


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Upcoming Workshop to Address Net Billing Tariff and Net Energy Metering

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Upcoming Workshop to Address Net Billing Tariff and Net Energy Metering


Upcoming Workshop to Address Net Billing Tariff and Net Energy Metering

by Brad Bartz

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 30, 2024








A crucial workshop hosted by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG and E) will take place on June 5, 2024, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This workshop aims to gather feedback from stakeholders on Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Net Billing Tariff (NBT) bills. The workshop is part of the ongoing efforts to refine and implement policies following Decision 23-11-068.

On June 5, 2024, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, major California utilities-San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG and E)-will conduct a workshop focused on the Net Billing Tariff (NBT) and Net Energy Metering (NEM) programs. This workshop, mandated by Ordering Paragraph 16 of CPUC Decision 23-11-068, is designed to solicit input from stakeholders and address concerns related to these critical tariffs.



The workshop is a continuation of the CPUC’s efforts to adjust the NEM framework, which has significant implications for solar energy customers and the broader renewable energy landscape in California. The NBT, established as a successor to the NEM 2.0 tariff, introduces new compensation rates based on the Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC), which generally offers lower rates than the previous retail compensation model. This change aims to address perceived cost shifts from NEM customers to non-participating ratepayers but has been met with concerns from the solar industry about its impact on the adoption of rooftop solar (California Public Utilities Commission) (California Public Utilities Commission).



The new tariff structure under Decision 23-11-068 also includes provisions for virtual net energy metering (VNEM) and aggregated NEM customers, encompassing multifamily residences, agricultural customers, and large facilities such as schools. These successor tariffs are part of a broader strategy to recalibrate incentives and improve grid reliability by aligning customer compensation with the grid’s needs (JD Supra).



The upcoming workshop will be a platform for stakeholders to discuss these changes, provide feedback, and collaborate on solutions to ensure the NBT and NEM frameworks effectively support California’s clean energy goals. Specific details on how to join the workshop will be shared closer to the date.



Factual Background:



Who: San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG and E)

What: Workshop to solicit feedback on NEM and NBT bills

When: June 5, 2024, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM



Bradley Bartz, founder of ABC Solar Incorporated, is a dedicated advocate at the CPUC, receiving numerous filings daily from various stakeholders. The “Today at the CPUC” series aims to provide the solar advocacy community with concise and relevant updates on critical CPUC developments.



Link to the Solar Bible GPT by Bradley Bartz


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Research team achieves significant solar cell efficiency milestone

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Research team achieves significant solar cell efficiency milestone


Research team achieves significant solar cell efficiency milestone

by Simon Mansfield

Sydney, Australia (SPX) May 26, 2024






A research team has created a tandem solar cell using antimony selenide as the bottom cell material and a hybrid perovskite material as the top cell, achieving over 20 percent power conversion efficiency. This advancement highlights antimony selenide’s potential for bottom cell applications.

Photovoltaic technology converts sunlight into electricity, offering a clean energy source. Scientists aim to enhance the efficiency of solar cells, achieving over 20 percent in conventional single-junction cells. Surpassing the Shockley-Queisser limit in these cells would be costly, but tandem solar cells can overcome this limit by stacking materials.



The team focused on antimony selenide for tandem cells, traditionally used in single-junction cells. “Antimony selenide is a suitable bottom cell material for tandem solar cells. However, because of the rarity of reported tandem solar cells using it as a bottom cell, little attention has been paid to its application. We assembled a tandem solar cell with high conversion efficiency using it as the bottom cell to demonstrate the potential of this material,” said Tao Chen, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Science and Technology of China.



Tandem cells absorb more sunlight than single-junction cells, converting more light into electricity. The team created perovskite/antimony selenide tandem cells with a transparent conducting electrode, optimizing the spectral response and achieving over 17 percent efficiency. By optimizing the antimony selenide bottom cell, they reached 7.58 percent efficiency.



The assembled four-terminal tandem cell achieved 20.58 percent efficiency, higher than independent subcells. The tandem cell is stable and uses nontoxic elements. “This work provides a new tandem device structure and demonstrates that antimony selenide is a promising absorber material for bottom cell applications in tandem solar cells,” said Chen.



The team aims to develop an integrated two-terminal tandem cell and further improve performance. “The high stability of antimony selenide provides great convenience for the preparation of two-terminal tandem solar cell, which means that it may have good results when paired with quite a few different types of top cell materials.”



Research Report:Sb2Se3 as a bottom cell material for efficient perovskite/Sb2Se3 tandem solar cells


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