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Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Of 2013 (So Far): Part 1 (#1–10)

We’re trying to get more solar energy stories going here on Planetsave. To catch readers up, I’m doing a short series on the top 50 solar energy stories of 2013 so far. Learning from the Top 33 EV Stories article I recently published, I’m splitting this one into 5 posts. Otherwise, the page would take forever to load. Plus, it’s easier to swallow 10 at a time.

It’s pretty hard to actually rank these top 50 articles, so I didn’t even try. The list is in no particular order. The numbers are basically just for referring people (your friends, family, coworkers, etc) to specific stories you think are worth highlighting. Don’t forget to do that! Once the posts are up, I will add links here:

Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Part 1 (1-10)
Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Part 1 (11-20)
Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Part 1 (21-30)
Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Part 1 (31-40)
Top 50 Solar Energy Stories Part 1 (41-50)

OK, here are the first 10:
1. World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Is Now Under Construction
Antelope Valley solar

Image Credit: SunPower

MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. in April marked the start of construction on the 579 megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects (4 months after MidAmerican bought the project). The solar power plant (aka solar farm) is expected to be the largest in the world when completed.

Extra Notes:

The almost as humungous400 megawatt San Antonia solar power plant Alamo 1 is also now under construction.
The whoppingly large 750 megawatt McCoy Solar Project has received expedited review approval from California Governor Jerry Brown. Hopefully construction will begin soon.
Sempra this year completed the first 150 megawatt phase of the 700 megawatt Mesquite Solar farm.
Also in Arizona, the first 127 megawatt “block” of the 5-block Arlington Valley Solar Energy II (AV Solar II) solar farm was completed.

2. New Electricity Capacity On The California Grid Is Set To Be Almost 100% Solar In The 2nd Half Of 2013
Image Credit: California ISO

Image Credit: California ISO

Solar is growing fast, especially in California, where sunshine and healthy incentives make it competitive. Plus, utilities there have renewable energy mandates they have to hit. The stars have lined up for a fun second half of 2013, with nearly all new electricity capacity in the state scheduled to be from solar power systems.
3. So Many Solar Efficiency Records Set
solar cell efficiency records

Click to enlarge this beast.

Let’s just run down them:

Sharp sets 37.9% triple-junction, non-concentrator solar cell efficiency record. (Note: the US Navy is working on a triple-junction solar cell that it thinks will break through the 50% efficiency barrier.)
Amonix Inc. sets 34.9% outdoor concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar module efficiency record, as well as a peak efficiency record of 36%.
Ripasso Energy sets 32% solar stirling dish efficiency record.
Alta Devices sets 30.8% two-junction (aka dual junction) solar cell efficiency record.
Panasonic sets 24.7% crystalline silicon solar cell efficiency record.
SunPower sets 21.5% commercial solar module efficiency record with X-Series solar modules.
SunPower sets record (and second and third place) in solar module yield tests.
Solar Frontier sets 19.7% CIGS solar cell efficiency record, a 10-year record.
First Solar sets 16.1% cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) module conversion efficiency record.
Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology set 8.92% plasmonic polymer solar cell efficiency record for cells using nanoparticles.

4. Solar Grid Parity Now In Over 100 Countries

solar-grid-parity-map

This definition of “grid parity” is the cost of rooftop solar versus the cost of electricity sourced from the grid – this is sometimes known as “socket parity.” At least one source finds that 102 countries have now hit grid parity.

5. Solar Likely To Be #2 Source Of New Power Capacity In US In 2013

solar growth us

In an on-air Google Hangout in March, Recurrent Energy CEO and Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) Chairman Arno Harris noted that more solar power capacity is projected to be installed in 2013 than from any electricity source other than natural gas. And, by 2016, solar energy may actually be the #1 source of new power for at least one year.
6. World’s Largest Single-Unit Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plant Launched
CleanTechnica Director Zachary Shahan (me) at the Shams 1 CSP power plant in Abu Dhabi. Photo Credit: Marika Krakowiak / CleanTechnica

CleanTechnica Director Zachary Shahan (me) at the Shams 1 CSP power plant in Abu Dhabi. Photo Credit: Marika Krakowiak / CleanTechnica

The world’s largest single-unit concentrated solar power (CSP) plant launched in Abu Dhabi, UAE in March. The Shams 1 “will power thousands of homes in the United Arab Emirates and displace approximately 175,000 tons of CO₂ per year.” I was quite lucky to visit the solar power plant in January and learn much more about it.
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