In the past two years, the price of solar panels has dropped about 80 percent. Yet electricity from solar panels is still too expensive to compete with power from fossil fuels because the cost of all the other components and activities involved in installation— hardware, labor, permitting and inspection — hasn’t seen a comparable decline. This problem is among those being addressed at the recently-opened Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions (CNES) Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The forecast calls for sunny weather this week in Austin, Texas, which is good news for 11 Georgia Tech students whose solar-powered car – the Endeavour – makes its racing debut there this Thursday at the Formula Sun Grand Prix.
The annual competition pits student-built cars from 12 North American universities against one another to test their handling of curves, braking and acceleration, all powered by the sun. The winner is determined by the total number of laps completed during three days of racing.
Thanks to a grant sponsored by solar energy firm SunEdison
and distributed by the national organization Engineers for a Sustainable World,
students will soon be able to purchase beverages from a solar-powered cart on
ESW-GT earned $2,340 for its proposal for a solar café or
kiosk used to raise funds for the chapter; Tech’s chapter chose to focus on
beverages, either hot or chilled.