Richmond Hill to covert all street, park and parking lot lights to LED

The light has gone off in Richmond Hill. This GTA town north of Toronto is converting most of its 17,000 street, park and parking lot lights to LED as part of a contract it has just signed with Ameresco, which will supply and install the new lights. But this is more than just about high-efficiency lighting. The town will be getting a “smart lighting control system” that allows staff to remotely monitor and turn off/on the lights. Is it worth it? Hell, ya. LEDs consume up to 60 per cent less power than “high pressure sodium” lamps currently used in most infrastructure. The town is expected to spend around $8 million to convert 15,000 lights and in return will enjoy $1.5 million in energy and maintenance …

Price of wind energy in the United States is at an all-time low, averaging under 2. 5¢/kwh

Wind energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report. The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2014, spurring demand for wind energy.

Drivers for low-priced solar photovoltaic systems in the United States

The price of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on homes and small businesses spans a wide range, and researchers have published a new study that reveals the key market and system drivers for low-priced PV systems.

Evaporation-powered motor and light

Scientists designed shape-changing composites that used evaporation to power locomotion and generate electricity.

‘Yolks’ and ‘shells’ improve rechargeable batteries

One big problem faced by electrodes in rechargeable batteries, as they go through repeated cycles of charging and discharging, is that they must expand and shrink during each cycle — sometimes doubling in volume, and then shrinking back. This can lead to repeated shedding and reformation of its “skin” layer that consumes lithium irreversibly, degrading the battery’s performance over time. Now researchers have found a novel way around that problem: creating an electrode made of nanoparticles with a solid shell, and a “yolk” inside that can change size again and again without affecting the shell.

UAE desert sand can store solar energy up to 1000°c

Researchers have successfully demonstrated that desert sand from the UAE could be used in concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities to store thermal energy up to 1000°C. The research project called ‘Sandstock’ has been seeking to develop a sustainable and low-cost gravity-fed solar receiver and storage system, using sand particles as the heat collector, heat transfer and thermal energy storage media.

Technology makes metal wires on solar cells nearly invisible to light

Scientists have discovered how to make the electrical wiring on top of solar cells nearly invisible to incoming light. The new design, which uses silicon nanopillars to hide the wires, could dramatically boost solar-cell efficiency.