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    How MCUs ease solar micro inverter design

    By Girish Mhatre | July 31, 2014

    solar array Solar micro inverters are emerging as an increasingly reliable and efficient way to get power “on the grid.” Rather than linking all solar panels in a solar installation through a central inverter, solar micro inverter systems place smaller, or “micro,” inverters in line with each individual solar panel. While solar micro inverters yield many benefits, including elimination of partial shading conditions, increased system efficiency, improved reliability and greater modularity, they can be extremely challenging for designers.

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      Renewable energy output from wind, solar hits record levels in U.K. Germany and U.S.

      By Girish Mhatre | July 31, 2014


      A boost in output from a growing number of renewable production sources and facilities around the world is pushing clean energy generation output to record levels according to the experts.
      The shift to renewable sources is especially pronounced in Germany, according to the Fraunhofer Institute, which reported that “six months of favorable weather and the accelerating production of solar and wind energy has had a major impact on Germany’s energy structure.”
      For the first time ever data shows, renewable sources in Germany accounted for a larger portion of energy production than coal, and lean energy is expected to see more adoption and implementation throughout Germany in the coming years.

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        Plug-in hybrid vehicles, vehicle-to-grid companies get major VC backing in Q2

        By Girish Mhatre | July 31, 2014

        Smart grid companies raised $81 million in venture capital, across 13 deals during the second quarter of of 2014 according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group. That is compared to $101 million in 21 deals during the first quarter.

        Heading the list of top companies is ChargePoint, a provider of an open electric vehicle (EV) charging network, which raised $22.6 million.

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          Sector booming as California projects double grid scale storage facilities

          By Girish Mhatre | July 31, 2014

          Grid-scale energy storage is gaining traction, especially in California which is touting a boom in storage facilities and capabilities.

          A recent California mandate calls for 1,325 megawatts of energy storage projects by 2020, to be scaled up every two years. The first installment of proposals due this year adds up to 200 megawatts.

          Accordng to a report on the website theenergycollective.com, as of mid-2014, more than 2,000 megawatts of energy storage projects have applied to interconnect with the state’s grid.

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            Electronic device charging stations find urban, sedentary companion in Boston’s park benches

            By Girish Mhatre | July 31, 2014

            soofa It caught Obama’s attention at the White House Makerfaire earlier this year, and now the city of Boston is embracing the the Soofa bench, an urban sit zone that double as an electronic device charging station. “Your cell phone doesn’t just make phone calls,” said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh last week. “Why should our benches just be seats?”

            According to a report in Bloomberg News, the multitasking benches, dubbed Soofas, have USB ports in which park dwellers can plug in their devices.

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              Distribution Automation and the Smart Grid: Coming of Age with a New Set of Challenges

              By Girish Mhatre | July 31, 2014

              distribution The concept of applying computing technology to the electricity grid has fascinated the utility industry, since the 1960s. But now, with twin challenges looming — an aging infrastructure and the need to accommodate renewable sources — the subject of “Distribution Automation” has become an imperative. In this application note,  David Andeen, Strategic Segment Manager for Energy at Maxim Integrated Products, Inc., reviews three key areas: asset protection, security, and asset management.