In this week’s news round up, we discuss upcoming changes for large utility providers across the country and an exciting update in solar technology.
Utilities to make increased investment into grid infrastructure
Several major utility companies are planning updates to their existing grid infrastructure to cope with increased demand and to meet state clean energy goals. The Wall Street Journal spoke with several utilities regarding these updates including DTE in Michigan and Southern California Edison, which serve a combined eight million customers.
These providers are planning investments of $30 and $35 billion, respectively, over the coming years to help meet increased electricity demand and update their grid infrastructure. These investments are expected to increase customer electricity prices despite already record-high utility bills. Similar investments are expected to spread throughout the country in the face of aging grid infrastructure and accelerating improvements in household electric appliances and electric vehicles. (Hint: the best way to avoid these increasing electricity prices? Go solar!)
Stanford Engineers develop solar panels that can function at night
Stanford University researchers recently published a study in which they demonstrated their solar cells could produce a limited amount of power at night. These solar cells incorporate a thermoelectric generator which takes advantage of the temperature differences between the cell and the surrounding environment to produce electricity. The researchers stated that their targeted application was for nighttime standby lighting or power for other smaller appliances in microgrid and off-grid applications.