Solar Power to Energize Avatar Sequels for James Cameron

Nearly one megawatt of solar panels will be used to provide power for James Cameron’s film production company in Manhattan Beach, California.

Avatarjakeneytiri.jpg

Mr. Cameron said: “We have to do this. We have to do this for the future, for our children and we have to do it as a moral responsibility for the planet.”

Over 3,600 solar modules make up three arrays at Lightstorm Entertainment. Stellar Energy is the solar power company that provided the guidance for the permitting process, construction and logistics.

Of course, Avatar has a strong environmental theme, so using clean energy for the film production company that made the film is in alignment with its overall message.

Presumably, this new solar power project will help power the production of Avatar 2.
Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1oYSS)

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Germany: 80 Times More Peak Solar Power than U.S. Compared to Electricity Demand

I ran across this interesting statistic the other day and wanted to comment on it and some of the differences between German and U.S. solar energy policy. (This is the post I hinted at in my piece on the 2011 U.S. Solar Market Insight report yesterday.)

First of all, some more stats:

  • As of sometime in the first half of 2011, Germany has had over 20% of its electricity supply coming from renewable energy sources.
  • By 2011, its installed solar photovoltaics capacity was 25 GW.
  • In the U.S., cumulative PV capacity nearly hit 4 GW last year.
  • Solar power peaked at 40% of power demand in Germany last summer.
  • In the U.S., solar peaked at 0.5% of electricity demand last summer.
  • In other words, as stated in the title of this piece, compared to peak electricity demand, Germany has 80 times more solar PV on the grid.

So, basically, while the U.S. is now considered the most attractive country in the world for solar power, by far (by Ernst & Young, at least), and everyone in the industry has its eye on the U.S. and/or is trying to get a big foot in the door, taking a look at solar energy capacity compared to electricity demand should be humbling.

Now, the thing I noted yesterday, in that U.S. Solar Market Insight post, is that the majority of U.S. solar power growth has been in the utility-scale and commercial-scale solar categories. Additionally, that’s expected to continue, as a number of large CSP plants are in the pipeline and current trends in the PV sector are expected to continue along the same lines, as well.

On the other hand, “80 percent of the solar installed in Germany was on rooftops and built to a local scale (100 kilowatts or smaller – the roof of a church or a Home Depot store),” John noted several months ago.

Putting 2 and 2 together, Germany has put solar panels on a ton more of its houses than the U.S. That’s decentralized solar power than benefits citizens even more than centralized solar power. Imagine if the U.S. were more ambitious about decentralizing our electric grid and putting more solar panels on homes and small businesses…. Well, if you remember John’s post from October, we could power the entire U.S. with rooftop solar by 2026.

h/t Renewables International

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/17xut)

World’s Largest Solar Bridge Being Constructed in UK

4,000 Solar panels will go on the roof of Blackfriars Bridge

A remarkable rooftop solar project is now under construction in the UK. Solarcentury reports it is installing a solar roof containing over 4,000 photovoltaic panels above a bridge spanning the River Thames – a part of the Blackfriars station. When complete, the Blackfriars Bridge will be the world’s largest solar bridge.

This Victorian-style bridge, built in 1886, is being renovated by Network Rail to accommodate more passengers and provide improved train service. The project is scheduled for completion by mid-2012.

According to Solarcentury, the solar panels are expected to generate an estimated 900,000kWh of electricity annually, some 50 percent of the station’s energy requirements. CO2 emissions will be reduced by an estimated 511 tons per year. In addition to solar panels, other energy saving measures at the new station will include rain harvesting systems and sun pipes for natural lighting.

The Blackfriars upgrade is part of Network Rail’s Thameslink programme, intended to provide longer trains running on the Bedford to Brighton route through London. When the upgrade is complete, up to 24 trains per hour will be able to run on the central London section of the route, providing more commuter seating.

In a statement, Lindsay Vamplew, Network Rail’s project director for Blackfriars, said: “We’re creating a spacious, modern station and delivering a vastly improved train service for passengers, while at the same time installing London’s largest solar array to make Blackfriars more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.


Derry Newman, Chief Executive, Solarcentury, said: “Blackfriars Bridge is an ideal location for solar; a new, iconic large roof space, right in the heart of London.

Newman added that unknown to most, there are many buildings in London now powered by solar in the capital as investment in this technology increases. “For people to see that solar power is working is a vital step towards a clean energy.

Photos via Solarcentury

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/15JfY)