3D printing’s ability to rapid iterate designs is highlighted by the US Department of Energy (DoE) in a new competition. Via the DoE the US government is sponsoring a $3 million prize competition for inventors and entrepreneurs who can accelerate the US solar industry through rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and proof-of-concept testing.
Solar energy is clean, abundant, and irritatingly inconvenient: It doesn’t work at night or on cloudy days. You can convert sunshine into electricity and store it in a battery, but that’s complicated and expensive. And much of the time, what you really want isn’t electricity but heat for tasks like cooking or warming homes. What you want, in other words, is a way to bottle the heat of the noonday sun and then uncork it on demand.
Last month, the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended that President Donald Trump implement new tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 13. Cells are the components of solar modules, or panels, that produce electricity. Supporters say new tariffs on solar cells and modules are needed to save the remaining U.S. manufacturers and allow production in the U.S. to grow, the Journal reported.
Elon Musk has now offered to help Puerto Rico out, possibly by deploying solar power around the island. Puerto Rico is ideally situated for solar power in many respects. It’s relatively close to the equator-closer than any location in the continental United States-and it enjoys high amounts of sunshine for most of the year.
While domestic deployments of solar have grown nearly eightfold in the past five years, U.S. manufacturing has fallen behind. Previous trade cases were intended to stabilize pricing and result in new U.S. module capacity. But domestic production still hasn’t kept pace with deployments. We estimate that 87 percent of U.S. solar installations in 2016 used foreign-produced panels.
The price of electricity generated by utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems fell to $0.06 per kilowatt hour this year, achieving a 2020 goal of the SunShot program three years early. Prices for residential and commercial systems are 86 percent and 89 percent toward achieving their price goals, the Energy Department reported.
New York City isn't in the "path of totality," but millions of New Yorkers will be able to see a partial solar eclipse on Aug. 21 -- and it's totally worth checking out, local astrophysicist and science celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson said yesterday (Aug. 14) in a briefing at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).
The jets will fly 70 miles apart, one in front of the other as they fly through the total eclipse zone that runs from Oregon to South Carolina. The jets, however, are launching from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They’ll meet up with the eclipse 50,000 feet above Missouri, and will keep with it as it passes over Illinois and Tennessee.
UT Professor Elizabeth MacTavish encourages parents to experience the upcoming total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, with their children. But how do parents explain one of nature’s most extraordinary events?
DOE’s mission is critical to the nation’s security and prosperity, and includes managing the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and reducing nuclear proliferation, coordinating the nation’s federal energy policy and functions, providing early-stage research and development for new technology, and helping key technologies overcome the “valley of death”--the gap between initial demonstration and commercialization--to help advance key industries.