Signal in the noise

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Ever since Device Logic signed up to exhibit at Intersolar 2012 our inbox has been inundated with spam relating to (but not from) Intersolar.

I’ve never heard of Economy Tribune but these people took the time to send us snail mail signed by hand.

I’m inclined to get in touch with them.

Architectural Heliostats Deployed at DLR’s CeraStorE

On the 30th June 2011 DLR (Germany’s NASA) opened its new CeraStoreE research center which will specialize in ceramic materials and thermal energy storage… just the sort of thing you will find in receivers of solar thermal power plants!

The new CeraStoreE building was designed to be energy efficient and makes use of four architectural heliostats to provide additional light and heat which helps offset heating and electricity costs.

The heliostats are controlled by the Radiance solar tracking system which ensures the reflected light can be accurately targeted onto the building’s windows throughout the day. (Incidentally the same Radiance system has also been deployed for evaluation at DLR’s Jülich Solar Power Plant for some time).

Device Logic was on-site for the commissioning and we snapped some pictures below.

You can read more about CeraStorE and its work on ceramic materials for solar thermal power in DLR magazine, issue 127.128 [pdf]

New Radiance Hardware Revision

The latest iteration of the Radiance control hardware has rolled off the production lines and is being deployed.device_logic_radiance_hw42

Interesting new refinements include the ability to turn off indicators to save power. This helps large scale plants reduce their parasitic power use.

This revision of Radiance also uses M12 connectors for the motors, sensors and power and comms making installation and maintenance quicker and cheaper. The connectors allow the enclosure to remain sealed from the factory, through installation and eventually throughout its whole service life.

And last, but not least the new enclosure just looks cool. (Check out the website for a render of what’s on the drawing board for a future iteration).device_logic_radiance_hw42_flat

Large Scale Solar Deployment Roundtable

Device Logic attended the Large Scale Solar Deployment Roundtable in Canberra on July 8th.

A notable talk by Tony Stocken was on their upcoming plant, the Moree Solar Farm. The challenges BP Solar have faced with their Solar Flagships Program Round 1 winner highlight the underdeveloped nature of the renewables approval process in Australia.

Several questions from the floor pointed out that even though it is possible to get approval for construction of small plants, there are no mechanisms for helping builders of such plants actually connect them to the grid.

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Amanda Copping talked about the bankability of large scale solar projects and how the banks see the solar industry. Although banks seem very open to the idea of investing in solar they do not yet understand the risks, and this makes the investment decision more difficult.

Can you believe that there are only 11 weather stations in Australia capable of generating data of sufficient quality to plan a solar plant? The rest of the world’s not much better.

It’s interesting to note that both the Solar Flagship Program winners use tracking systems to optimise their plant output.