If you are a DIYer, now there’s a true “plug and play” solar power generator in the true sense of the word.
PluggedSolar.com has developed turnkey solar systems that allow you to install them on your roof and then simply plug them into the wall socket, and you will be saving electricity costs immediately. The company claims a payback of the units to be about 7 years.
More details in this article from clean technica.
With all of the misinformation about solar power, it’s easy to lose sight of the impressive amount of investment that has been made for major solar power plants (not to mention of thousands of rooftop installations). Here’s a great infographic to give you not only the scale but also visuals of the impressive solar arrays in the southwest of the us.
See the article here.
WE CARE solar has come up with a solar powered pack designed to help with maternal care in third world countries where access to electricity can mean the difference between life and death to a child and the mother.
The kit contain “high-efficiency LED medical task lighting, a universal cell phone charger, a battery charger for AAA or AA batteries, and outlets for 12V DC devices. The basic system comes with 40 or 80 watts of solar panels, and a 14 amp-hour sealed lead-acid battery. The maternity kit comes with a fetal doppler
Read more at cleantechnica.com
Ask most people in Maine about solar power, and you get what seems like a sensible answer: “We’re too far north for it to really work here.” That also would be the wrong answer.
The world’s leading solar power country today is Germany, which sits at a latitude that runs roughly from the top of Maine to Labrador. Consequently, we get about 33 percent more solar energy than it does.
Over the last 20 years, Germany has installed more solar power than any country in the world, and it isn’t looking back. With more than a million separate solar systems in place, the country on a sunny day can produce as much as half of its energy needs with solar power. Meanwhile, we’re still daydreaming about “too-cheap-to-meter” Quebec hydropower and building pipelines for natural gas that will help as a bridge, but eventually will rise in price as we become more hooked on it.
Germany is headed toward an energy independence that we find only in campaign speeches. And with the money it is not shipping to Saudi Arabia, it’s building new jobs and houses and schools. What a crazy idea, that solar stuff…
See the full article here.
For organizations that need to install an office quickly, virtually anywhere in the world where the sun shines, the unique Ecos- Powercube can be up and running in no time without needing a generator.
The solar panels fold out, and the cube has batteries that are charged during the day that provide power all night long, if needed.
Perfect for a remote research station, exploration office, and of course, military purposes.
See more information from Ecosphere Technologies.
“In the last three years, however, the economics have turned decidedly in favor of PV technology. A glut of PV panels, made mostly in China, has pushed their prices down 62 percent 2010, sinking from $1.87 per watt to about 71¢. While at least three other concentrating solar plants are set to come online by 2016, many others are being converted to PV or canceled. “Right now, PV is the favored technology,” says Ben Kallo, an energy technology analyst with Robert W. Baird, a Milwaukee-based investment bank. “You are getting pretty close to fossil-fuel-type costs with PV technology in about 50 percent of the world, anywhere with high electricity prices and lots of sun.” At the same time, “no one’s quite mastered concentrating power,” Kallo says. Even though the supply glut has diminished, analysts expect PV panel prices to continue to decline, in part because panels are getting more efficient at producing power.”
See the entire article on Bloomberg Businessweek.
Oxford Photovoltaics (a commercial spin-off of Oxford University) has developed building glass in multiple colors that can generate solar electricity.
The glass is essentially a solar panel that can turn the entire building into a PV solar generator at very little extra cost – the building would require glass anyway.
Oxford Photovoltaics has added a layer of transparent colored organic solar cell materials to conventional glass. The solar glass can be almost any color; however, the efficiency varies depends on which one you choose. Black, as in typical solar panels, has the highest efficiency.
The additional cost of a solar glass building with this technology would be no greater than 10% of typical glass building façades. It’s believed that the solar glass could eventually replace conventional solar PV in glass buildings.
We’ve always thought that Arizona should be the place to lead the world in solar energy, given the enormous amount of sun they enjoy. The good news is that it’s beginning to happen. It turns out that it’s actually almost too hot in AZ for tradition PV installations – they lose their efficiency if the gets too hot. So Arizona turned to a different type of solar power using 3200 mirrors to direct the desert light at a special tank holding oil that in turn boils water and generates electricity through traditional steam turbines.
What is different about this plant is that the oil is also used to heat salt, which stores the heat and can be used to boil water for up to 6 hours after the sun goes down. This allows the plant to meet needs of customers for most of the time they aren’t sleeping.
The Solana plant was built by a Spanish company and cost $2 billion. It is guaranteed to be profitable, as the local power utility will be buying its output for 30 years.
A good article in the Scientific American – Solar Power lightens up with Thin Film technology, discusses companies that are focusing on thin film solar technology to reduce cost to very competitive levels.
It’s clear that once solar panels become cost-effective when compared to traditional sources of electricity, the adoption of this clean and renewable source of energy grows exponentially. Toward this end, researchers at RTI International have developed a new solar technology that could make solar energy 75% less expensive.
The RTI solar cells are developed from semiconductor particles, known as colloidal quantum dots, and can have a power conversion efficiency that is competitive to traditional cells at a fraction of the cost. An initial analysis shows that the material costs is approximately $20 per square meter—as much as 75 percent less than traditional solar cells.
The cells, which are composed of lightweight, flexible layers, have the potential to be manufactured using high volume, low cost roll-to-roll processing with inexpensive coating processes. Unlike traditional solar cells, the RTI-developed cells can be processed at room temperature, further reducing input energy requirements and cost.
You can read more about this promising technology in a paper published in Applied Physics Letters.