HOW FOOD WASTE COULD BE TURNED INTO ENERGY

Last month a student from Mapua University made waves when he won the James Dyson Award for his ingenious solar panel design. The James Dyson Award is an international design award presented to innovators whose designs set out to solve a problem—for student Carvey Ehren Maigue, that problem was sustainability.

THE PROBLEM WITH SOLAR

Skeptics of solar energy have often pointed to one rationale as to why solar energy can’t be implemented on a national level: for solar energy to power anything, ideal sunny conditions need to be met, and they need to be met reliably. While solar panels do harvest energy on cloudy days, typical panels only convert 15-25% of the sunlight they receive into energy.

THE SOLUTION

Maigue’s AuREUS system (named for the aurora borealis phenomena) uses luminescent particles found in food waste combined with a resin substrate to absorb and reflect UV light. According to the design, the visible light reflects towards the edges of the panels, where PV cells will capture and convert the light into electricity.

The AuREUS system is designed to capture light on cloudy days and without direct sun, which will allow the panels to produce energy almost half the time. The system is designed using 80% sourced dyes from wasted food and vegetables as opposed to chemical ones, making the production of these panels more sustainable.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Maigue’s system design won the first-ever James Dyson Sustainability Award with a prize of $35,000 to continue developing his design. Maigue hopes to find a viable substitute for the blue dye used in the panels to reach 100% natural sourcing of dyes and create options for solar-powered transportation.

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NET ENERGY METERING 3.0 INFORMATION

Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) is the incoming law created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The new tariffs and fees will impact both residential and commercial solar systems built in California. 

As this notice is posted in November of 2022, the Proposed Decision from the CPUC outlining the proposed NEM 3.0 terms is expected soon. This comes after a year’s delay. Once the new agreement is finalized and passed into law, there will exist a designation of the deadline under which new systems will continue to qualify for NEM 2.0 rates. 

The new NEM 3.0 rates will be designed to lower the value of electricity during the daytime hours, when solar is producing, and increase the value of electricity during the evening hours, when solar homes and businesses purchase electricity. In short, NEM 3.0 will create a “sell low, buy high” proposition to new solar system owners. 

To Californians looking to install a solar system on their home or commercial building, the NEM 2.0 rates will be preferred. As of this post, the solar industry does not know the details of how different the NEM 3.0 rates will be from the NEM 2.0 rates. 

Please use the HES Solar website as a resource to learn more, and please take our offer to speak with an HES Solar Energy Consultant at no obligation.

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Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.
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