Skip to main content

EGEB: Printing solar panels, Minnesota energy battle, wind projects, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • The University of Louisville is researching a way to print solar panels as if they were newsprint.
  • Minnesota’s Senate and House are at odds on solar, energy policies.
  • The DOE announces funding for wind turbine projects.
  • New York needs more transmission lines to take advantage of upstate wind farms.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

The University of Louisville announced it’s been awarded a $1 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office for photovoltaics research. With the money, it will print thin-film solar cells using the same roll-to-roll platforms used to print newspapers.

Researchers at the university’s Conn Center have developed a technique for rapid processing of “commercially relevant” perovskite solar cells. Lead researcher Thad Druffel said,

“This technology roll can revitalize a declining printing industry and boost a growing solar industry. Our process will utilize centuries-old tools for a new market. The goal is to drastically reduce the cost of manufacturing.”

Minnesota Standoff

The Minnesota Senate and House seem to be split on a number of energy proposals in the state, the Star-Tribune reports. Politicians look to be taking familiar sides, as the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-led Senate are at odds with conflicting bills.

The House wants to expand the state’s Community Solar Garden program and increase the maximum size of an individual solar garden from 1 MW to 3 MW. The Senate would rather place restrictions, including limits on annual applications for the program.

The two branches are also far apart on Gov. Tim Walz’s 100% clean electricity goal by 2050. As the Star-Tribune writes, “The proposal passed the House, but it didn’t even get a hearing in the Senate so its chances don’t look good.”

The House legislation also looks to establish rebates of $2,500 and $500 to buyers of new and used EVs.

Minnetonka, Minnesota recently said it will run all city facilities and infrastructure on solar energy, made possible through the Solar Garden program.

Wind Funding

The DOE picked four projects to develop “next-generation” wind turbine drivetrain technologies. Each project will receive up to $400,000 in funding to research a generator that can scale up to 10 MW.

Two projects are focused on “direct drive” permanent magnet generator designs, while the other two projects will develop superconducting generators.

The DOE claims that “if successful, these four research projects will result in designs up to 50% smaller and lighter while reducing the cost of wind generation by 10–25%.” The technologies can be applied to onshore and offshore applications.

NY Wind Gridlock

The Albany Times Union reports on how New York state is finding wind power getting “stuck” upstate due to delivery issues.

The region needs new transmission lines to deliver more power downstate where it’s needed. Until then, large upstate wind farms will continue to produce more energy than they can transfer into the grid. The state lost about 73 megawatt hours of wind energy in 2018 — which could have powered about 7,000 homes for a year.

Anne Reynolds, executive director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said the increase in renewable energy has been “great news,” but:

“The bad news is we have a gridlock, a traffic jam, that is keeping it from getting down to New York City, where people are clamoring for greener power.”

Reynolds said the two solutions are investing in transmission lines and increasing offshore wind close to New York City “and we need to do both.”

The latter is expected to happen, but those offshore wind farms won’t be up and running just yet. Richard Dewey, an executive vice president for the New York Independent System Operator, told the Times Union the state is using $1.2 billion to upgrade transmission lines, which should at least partially help with the logjam.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.