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How X-Rays Helped to Solve Mystery of Floating Rocks

Experiments at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source have helped scientists to solve a mystery of why some rocks can float for years in the ocean, traveling thousands of miles before sinking.

Special X-Ray Technique Allows Scientists to See 3-D Deformations

In a new study published last Friday in Science, researchers at Argonne used an X-ray scattering technique called Bragg coherent diffraction imaging to reconstruct in 3-D the size and shape of grain defects. These defects create imperfections in the lattice of atoms inside a grain that can give rise to interesting material properties and effects.

Neptune: Neutralizer-Free Plasma Propulsion

The most established plasma propulsion concepts are gridded-ion thrusters that accelerate and emit a larger number of positively charged particles than those that are negatively charged. To enable the spacecraft to remain charge-neutral, a "neutralizer" is used to inject electrons to exactly balance the positive ion charge in the exhaust beam. However, the neutralizer requires additional power from the spacecraft and increases the size and weight of the propulsion system. Researchers are investigating how the radio-frequency self-bias effect can be used to remove the neutralizer altogether, and they report their work in this week's Physics of Plasmas.

Report Sheds New Insights on the Spin Dynamics of a Material Candidate for Low-Power Devices

In a report published in Nano LettersArgonne researchers reveal new insights into the properties of a magnetic insulator that is a candidate for low-power device applications; their insights form early stepping-stones towards developing high-speed, low-power electronics that use electron spin rather than charge to carry information.

Researchers Find Computer Code That Volkswagen Used to Cheat Emissions Tests

An international team of researchers has uncovered the mechanism that allowed Volkswagen to circumvent U.S. and European emission tests over at least six years before the Environmental Protection Agency put the company on notice in 2015 for violating the Clean Air Act. During a year-long investigation, researchers found code that allowed a car's onboard computer to determine that the vehicle was undergoing an emissions test.

Physicists Discover That Lithium Oxide on Tokamak Walls Can Improve Plasma Performance

A team of physicists has found that a coating of lithium oxide on the inside of fusion machines known as tokamaks can absorb as much deuterium as pure lithium can.

Scientists Perform First Basic Physics Simulation of Spontaneous Transition of the Edge of Fusion Plasma to Crucial High-Confinement Mode

PPPL physicists have simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma to the high-confinement mode that sustains fusion reactions. The research was achieved with the extreme-scale plasma turbulence code XGC developed at PPPL in collaboration with a nationwide team.

Green Fleet Technology

New research at Penn State addresses the impact delivery trucks have on the environment by providing green solutions that keep costs down without sacrificing efficiency.

Scientists Demonstrate New Real-Time Technique for Studying Ionic Liquids at Electrode Interfaces

This electron microscope-based imaging technique could help scientists optimize the performance of ionic liquids for batteries and other energy storage devices.

How Scientists Turned a Flag Into a Loudspeaker

A paper-thin, flexible device created at Michigan State University not only can generate energy from human motion, it can act as a loudspeaker and microphone as well, nanotechnology researchers report in the May 16 edition of Nature Communications.


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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

Describing the dizzying pace of technological innovation, former United States Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz urged graduates to "anticipate career change, welcome it, and manage it to your and your society's benefit" at the 211th Commencement at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Saturday.

ORNL Welcomes Innovation Crossroads Entrepreneurial Research Fellows

Oak Ridge National Laboratory today welcomed the first cohort of innovators to join Innovation Crossroads, the Southeast region's first entrepreneurial research and development program based at a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory.

Department of Energy Secretary Recognizes Argonne Scientists' Work to Fight Ebola, Cancer

Two groups of researchers at Argonne earned special awards from the office of the U.S. Secretary of Energy for addressing the global health challenges of Ebola and cancer.

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC Recognized for Leadership in Small Business Utilization

Jefferson Lab/Jefferson Science Associates has a long-standing commitment to doing business with and mentoring small businesses. That commitment and support received national recognition at the 16th Annual Dept. of Energy Small Business Forum and Expo held May 16-18, 2017 in Kansas City, Mo.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President's Commencement Colloquy to Address "Criticality, Incisiveness, Creativity"

To kick off the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Commencement weekend, the annual President's Commencement Colloquy will take place on Friday, May 19, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The discussion, titled "Criticality, Incisiveness, Creativity," will include the Honorable Ernest J. Moniz, former Secretary of Energy, and the Honorable Roger W. Ferguson Jr., President and CEO of TIAA, and will be moderated by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson.

ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has approved a new doctoral program in data science and engineering as part of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

SurfTec Receives $1.2 Million Energy Award to Develop Novel Coating

The Department of Energy has awarded $1.2 million to SurfTec LLC, a company affiliated with the U of A Technology Development Foundation, to continue developing a nanoparticle-based coating to replace lead-based journal bearings in the next generation of electric machines.

Ames Laboratory Scientist Inducted Into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Iver Anderson, senior metallurgist at Ames Laboratory, has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

DOE HPC4Mfg Program Funds 13 New Projects to Improve U.S. Energy Technologies Through High Performance Computing

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program designed to spur the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing is funding 13 new industry projects for a total of $3.9 million.

Penn State Wind Energy Club Breezes to Victory in Collegiate Wind Competition

The Penn State Wind Energy Club breezed through the field at the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2017 Technical Challenge, held April 20-22 at the National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado--earning its third overall victory in four years at the Collegiate Wind Competition.


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Casting a Wide Net

Designed molecules will provide positive impacts in energy production by selectively removing unwanted ions from complex solutions.

New Software Tools Streamline DNA Sequence Design-and-Build Process

Enhanced software tools will accelerate gene discovery and characterization, vital for new forms of fuel production.

The Ultrafast Interplay Between Molecules and Materials

Computer calculations by the Center for Solar Fuels, an Energy Frontier Research Center, shed light on nebulous interactions in semiconductors relevant to dye-sensitized solar cells.

Supercapacitors: WOODn't That Be Nice

Researchers at Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage, an Energy Frontier Research Center, take advantage of nature-made materials and structure for energy storage research.

Groundwater Flow Is Key for Modeling the Global Water Cycle

Water table depth and groundwater flow are vital to understanding the amount of water that plants transmit to the atmosphere.

Finding the Correct Path

A new computational technique greatly simplifies the complex reaction networks common to catalysis and combustion fields.

Opening Efficient Routes to Everyday Plastics

A new material from the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center, facilitates the production of key industrial supplies.

Fight to the Top: Silver and Gold Compete for the Surface of a Bimetallic Solid

It's the classic plot of a buddy movie. Two struggling bodies team up to drive the plot and do good together. That same idea, when it comes to metals, could help scientists solve a big problem: the amount of energy consumed by making chemicals.

Saving Energy Through Light Control

New materials, designed by researchers at the Center for Excitonics, an Energy Frontier Research Center, can reduce energy consumption with the flip of a switch.

Teaching Perovskites to Swim

Scientists at the ANSER Energy Frontier Research Center designed a two-component layer protects a sunlight-harvesting device from water and heat.


Modeling Reveals How Policy Affects the Adoption of Solar Energy Photovoltaics in California

Article ID: 673397

Released: 2017-04-21 08:05:58

Source Newsroom: American Institute of Physics (AIP)

  • Credit: Wang, Yu and Johnson

    Government incentive programs -- such as the investment tax credit (ITC) and California Solar Initiative (CSI -- increased the number of commercial solar PV adoptions.

  • Credit: Wang, Yu and Johnson

    Far fewer solar PV adoptions would have occurred if costs had decreased more slowly.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2017 -- One key goal for renewable energy in the United States is to promote the continued adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a clean energy workforce. 

Federal and state governments are working to strengthen U.S. solar manufacturing to help reduce installation costs, for example. But successfully promoting green energy in the long run will require a better understanding of the decision-making process behind adopting renewable technologies such as solar PV systems. 

This inspired a group of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, to explore the factors driving commercial customers in Southern California, both large and small, to purchase and install solar PV systems. As the group reports this week in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing, they built a model for commercial solar PV adoption to quantify the impact of government incentives and solar PV costs. 

“Gaining a good understanding of the driving factors will help us to evaluate current energy policies and to develop future policies,” said Wenyu Wang, a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Our work focuses on commercial customers because of the huge role they play in energy consumption.” 

The group believes that their research demonstrates the first quantitative exploration of commercial solar PV adoption mechanics. 

“Our model is built on top of a framework called a ‘Bass diffusion model,’ which is typically used to describe the adoption behavior of technology products within a market,” Wang said. “To do this, we collected historical solar PV adoption data within Southern California and calibrated our model with historical data.” 

“Our work provides a way to quantify the impact of government incentives and the solar PV cost on solar PV adoption,” Wang said. “This can help the state and federal government to evaluate the effects of their policies and to provide a better solar PV adoption forecast to electric utility companies.” 

When the group applied their model to Southern California, they discovered that it’s more difficult for commercial users to install solar PV systems in their buildings than residential customers. 

“A greater percentage of commercial customers occupy leased buildings or share buildings with other businesses,” Wang said. “In these situations, it becomes more difficult to ‘go solar’ because of a need to split the costs and benefits of solar PV systems.” 

And while it may be easy to assume that government incentives and decreasing costs are the main forces driving solar PV adoptions, “we found that they have more impact on larger commercial customers than smaller ones,” Wang said. “Another important finding is that smaller businesses encounter more hurdles involved in adopting solar PV systems than larger businesses, a phenomenon known as ‘small commercial solar gap.’” 

This finding is just one example of how this model can be used as a tool to positively impact renewable energy adoption. 

“Our model can help the government evaluate the impacts of energy policies on the solar PV market and to forecast the future solar adoptions,” Wang said. “It can be a useful tool for policymakers to further boost the adoption of solar PV systems.” 

The difficulties encountered by smaller businesses when adopting solar PV systems necessitate “appropriate government incentives and innovative business models to fully exploit the potentials in the commercial solar PV market,” Wang said. 

According to Wang, this modeling also helps grid planners to forecast the amount of solar energy demand so that they can update plans with more accurate solar PV adoption forecasts. 

The next iteration of their research will look at what appears to be a growing trend in the market of solar technology leasing, and what implications that might have. 

“Among the newly installed solar PV systems, we’re seeing an increasing share of third-party-owned systems, meaning that consumers are increasingly leasing their PV systems,” Wang said. “This new trend may further boost the solar PV market, so we’re now very interested in quantifying the impact of third-party ownership on promoting solar PV adoptions.” 

This research was supported by a grant from Southern California Edison. 

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The article, "A model for commercial adoption of photovoltaic systems in California," is authored by Wenyu Wang, Nanpeng Yu and Raymond Johnson. The article will appear in Applied Physics Letters April 25, 2017 (DOI: 10.1063/1.4979899). After that date, it can be accessed at http://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.4979899

ABOUT THE JOURNAL 

Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal covering all areas of renewable and sustainable energy that apply to the physical science and engineering communities. 

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