solarreviews:

Colored solar panels can satisfy HOA requirements for residential solar systems and encourage solar adoption by historic preservation committees.
Read about the panel efficiency and the various patterns and colors available for residents and business owners on the SolarReviews website. 

solarreviews:

Colored solar panels can satisfy HOA requirements for residential solar systems and encourage solar adoption by historic preservation committees.

Read about the panel efficiency and the various patterns and colors available for residents and business owners on the SolarReviews website. 

From the roof of our latest install you can see two of our previous installs! Good news travels fast! 

From the roof of our latest install you can see two of our previous installs! Good news travels fast! 

solarreviews:

More zoos are turning to solar power to offset their energy needs. Besides reducing utility bills, solar powered zoos are increasing solar’s visibility, while educating visitors about the benefits of this clean energy source.Read the full article on the SolarReviews website.

solarreviews:

More zoos are turning to solar power to offset their energy needs. Besides reducing utility bills, solar powered zoos are increasing solar’s visibility, while educating visitors about the benefits of this clean energy source.

Read the full article on the SolarReviews website.

With Help From Nature, a Town Aims to Be a Solar Capital

LANCASTER, Calif. — There are at least two things to know about this high desert city. One, the sun just keeps on shining. Two, the city’s mayor, a class-action lawyer named R. Rex Parris, just keeps on competing.

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Two years ago, the mayor, a Republican, decided to leverage the incessant Antelope Valley sun so that Lancaster could become the solar capital “of the world,” he said. Then he reconsidered. “Of the universe,” he said, the brio in his tone indicating that it would be parsimonious to confine his ambition to any one planet.

“We want to be the first city that produces more electricity from solar energy than we consume on a daily basis,” he said. This means Lancaster’s rooftops, alfalfa fields and parking lots must be covered with solar panels to generate a total of 126 megawatts of solar power above the 39 megawatts already being generated and the 50 megawatts under construction.

To that end, Lancaster just did what former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to do in 2006: require that almost all new homes either come equipped with solar panels or be in subdivisions that produce one kilowatt of solar energy per house. He also was able to recruit the home building giant KB Home to implement his vision, despite the industry’s overall resistance to solar power.

“Lancaster is breaking new ground,” said Michelle Kinman, a clean energy advocate at Environment California, a research and lobbying group. Ms. Kinman, who tracks the growth of solar energy in the state, calculates that the city tripled the number of residential installations in the past 18 months.

The city’s pursuit of solar self-sufficiency may exceed that of other municipalities, but California has long outpaced the country in its embrace of that technology. Cities like San Diego, near the Mexican border, and counties like Sonoma, in Northern California’s wine country, have been aggressive in converting sunshine into electricity.

The lifetime costs of a large solar facility are expected to be about 15 percent more than electricity bought from the state’s grid. Those projected costs are now roughly half of what they were five years ago, state figures show.

Around the country, photovoltaic energy is increasingly being embraced as panel prices fall. Nationally, photovoltaic generating capacity rose 76 percent in 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association; more than 40 percent of the country’s solar capacity of 7,700 megawatts came on line last year.

While the desert sunshine in California and Arizona helped put those states atop the national solar energy rankings, towns in cloudier regions are also adopting it. Napoleon, Ohio, for instance, benefits from 14 megawatts of local solar power.

But energy politics in Ohio and other Republican-run states are not solar friendly. Earlier this year Ohio’s Republican-dominated public utilities board blocked construction of a 50-megawatt solar facility on strip-mined land. In Republican-controlled Florida, state law prohibits third parties from installing the rooftop solar panels and then selling power to the homeowner, relieving the homeowner of large upfront costs.

Of course, it makes sense to see a city leader championing solar energy in a place like Lancaster, with some of the best solar resources in the world. But the city’s long-term population has many former military families, who are largely conservative. Many newer residents are migrants from the black and Hispanic precincts of Los Angeles.

But embracing solar power is not just a matter of energy costs or reliability. It’s also about jobs. Like many exurban areas in California, Lancaster was hit hard by the housing bust and the recession. The unemployment rate here is 15.5 percent. Municipal revenues declined, as did school budgets. As Mayor Parris saw it, solar power could mean lower public expenditures and more private jobs.

So solar self-sufficiency became his quest. It does not hurt that Mr. Parris is a showman. He brought a makeup artist to a photo session; he notes the legal awards he has won (slightly under $1 billion) in ads on city buses.

And while his competitive streak is seldom masked — he said his home has the biggest residential solar array in town and his new law office received LEED gold certification, a seal of approval for green buildings — the mayor couches his vision in terms of the science of complexity. “You need to be at the center” to take advantage of the forces spinning around you, he said.

“We want to make Lancaster the center” of renewable technology, he added. Entrepreneurs should know “that if they come and have an idea to create energy without a carbon footprint,” the local government “will move mountains for them.” Getting a permit for a solar installation, he said, takes 15 minutes.

Mr. Parris is aggressively pro-business. He has been hatching plans to create and store more energy locally with SolarCity, a major installer and financier of home systems, and BYD, the Chinese panel, battery and electric vehicle maker.

His solar push began about three years ago; City Hall, the performing arts center and the stadium together now generate 1.5 megawatts. Solar arrays on churches, a big medical office, a developer’s office and a Toyota dealership provide 4 more.

The biggest power payoff came with the school system. After the Lancaster school board rejected an offer from SolarCity, saying it was unaffordable, the city created a municipal utility. It bought 32,094 panels, had them installed on 25 schools, generated 7.5 megawatts of power and sold the enterprise to the school district for 35 percent less than it was paying for electricity at the time. Another 8 megawatts now come from systems operating at the local high school and Antelope Valley College.

Not surprisingly, the private companies in Lancaster’s collection of public-private partnerships praise him. “It’s so business friendly here, it’s not even funny,” said Jim Cahill, a regional vice president at SolarCity.

“A lot of what we’re doing appears to be public relations,” the mayor conceded. “It has that taint to it. But what we’re doing is scalable and portable.” Lancaster is already marketing its power to other municipalities.

Global warming, the mayor said, will eventually persuade others to realize that locally generated renewable energy may provide a safety net as the cost of cooling desert homes goes up.

Is global warming indeed a threat? Absolutely, he said. “I may be a Republican. I’m not an idiot.”

positive-press-daily:

Kia Opens its First Solar Powered Dealership Worldwide in South Africa

Kia Motors South Africa opened its first eco-friendly solar powered 3,620m² dealership in Weltevreden Park on 19 February 2013, which is a first in the local automotive industry, and for Kia dealerships worldwide. Official construction for this new dealership started in January 2012, and was completed one year later on January 2013.
The two major areas that contribute to this dealership’s eco-friendly philosophy include power saving in the form of renewable energy and water recycling.
The dealership is powered by 288 roof-mounted solar panels, creating a daily maximum of 69kW of power, which is enough to power an average of 22 households per day. The energy generated by these panels is split between three converters, providing three-phase electricity at a capacity of 50 Hertz and 240 Volts. This electricity then goes directly into the load as required. If the supply of electricity exceeds the demand, the remaining electricity is stored in three state-of-the-art battery banks.
In line with the dealership’s environmental policy, low wattage luminaires (fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps) are used in the major areas of the dealership. Standard high base 400-Watt lamps are replaced with 4 x 54-Watt lamps, providing the same light, but using less energy. Occupancy sensors have been installed in most areas of the building which will switch off automatically after a few minutes if no movement is detected, further contributing to the dealerships’ overall energy saving.
The second main contributor to the eco-friendliness of Kia Weltevreden is its ability to recycle water through its state-of-the-art filtration system. Rainwater is collected from the facility’s roof and is then distributed into six containers, each with a holding capacity of 10000 litres. This water is then pumped into the car wash where it is used, where after it gets pumped back into the water filtration system which purifies the water from oil, soap or any other dirt. This water is then filtered and pumped back into the containers, to be re-used in the car wash bay.
“The Kia brand has shifted to the next level. Not only do we offer consumers a competitive value proposition with our re-designed and re-engineered products, but ventures like our brand new solar powered dealership have given us the platform to become leaders in the industry”, comments David Sieff, National Marketing Manager of Kia Motors South Africa.


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positive-press-daily:

Kia Opens its First Solar Powered Dealership Worldwide in South Africa

Kia Motors South Africa opened its first eco-friendly solar powered 3,620m² dealership in Weltevreden Park on 19 February 2013, which is a first in the local automotive industry, and for Kia dealerships worldwide. Official construction for this new dealership started in January 2012, and was completed one year later on January 2013.

The two major areas that contribute to this dealership’s eco-friendly philosophy include power saving in the form of renewable energy and water recycling.

The dealership is powered by 288 roof-mounted solar panels, creating a daily maximum of 69kW of power, which is enough to power an average of 22 households per day. The energy generated by these panels is split between three converters, providing three-phase electricity at a capacity of 50 Hertz and 240 Volts. This electricity then goes directly into the load as required. If the supply of electricity exceeds the demand, the remaining electricity is stored in three state-of-the-art battery banks.

In line with the dealership’s environmental policy, low wattage luminaires (fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps) are used in the major areas of the dealership. Standard high base 400-Watt lamps are replaced with 4 x 54-Watt lamps, providing the same light, but using less energy. Occupancy sensors have been installed in most areas of the building which will switch off automatically after a few minutes if no movement is detected, further contributing to the dealerships’ overall energy saving.

The second main contributor to the eco-friendliness of Kia Weltevreden is its ability to recycle water through its state-of-the-art filtration system. Rainwater is collected from the facility’s roof and is then distributed into six containers, each with a holding capacity of 10000 litres. This water is then pumped into the car wash where it is used, where after it gets pumped back into the water filtration system which purifies the water from oil, soap or any other dirt. This water is then filtered and pumped back into the containers, to be re-used in the car wash bay.

“The Kia brand has shifted to the next level. Not only do we offer consumers a competitive value proposition with our re-designed and re-engineered products, but ventures like our brand new solar powered dealership have given us the platform to become leaders in the industry”, comments David Sieff, National Marketing Manager of Kia Motors South Africa.

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Apple experimenting with an iWatch, secures solar touchscreen patent

As Google continues to develop its glasses ecosystem, Apple has reportedly set its sights on a wristwatch and a new patent suggests it may have solar-cell answer to the power consumption constraints such a device would face.

Lunatik watchApple is reportedly interested in developing wearable iOS devices. Above: the Lunatik watch, which places an iPod Nano on the wearer’s wrist.Image: Minimalpeople familiar with Apple’s tests.

Apple is “experimenting with wristwatch-like devices”, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing 

The devices would be made of curved glass and, not surprisingly, run on iOS, the paper said.

Apple has discussed such a device with its key manufacturer Foxconn, the Wall Street Journal reportedin a follow-up piece.

A wrist watch could make a lot of sense in the context of Apple’s search for way to deliver products that are more accessible in lower income markets, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a report last month, the Times notes. Rumours circulated earlier this year that Apple was looking at plastic to bring the cost of an iPhone down to between $99 and $250

How far off Apple is from actually delivering the wearable device is not known, but both reports highlight that how much progress is being made on the hardware that would be necessary for such devices to make it to market.

For example, Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass screens used in the iPhone, has made a 01.mm thick bendable glass screen called Willow Glass, while Apple supplier Foxconn has been working on equipment with lower power requirements.

Apple may have its own energy solution to the power constraints a watch running iOS may face. The US Patents and Trademark on 5 February granted Apple patent No. 8,368,654for “Integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations”.

The solar patent would introduce optical sensing capabilities to the screen as a means to interact with it and to boost its energy generating capacity.

"The integrated touch sensor array and solar cell stack-ups may include electrodes that are used both for collecting solar energy and for sensing on a touch sensor array. By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved. In addition to being used for capacitive sensing, the integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations may also be used for optical sensing," Apple notes in the patent.

The patent adds: “When an approaching object, such as a finger, is detected the solar panel may switch to a capacitive sensing mode to more precisely locate the object. Alternatively, the solar panel may cycle between solar power/optical sensing mode and capacitive sensing mode.”

As well as a watch, Apple may also have been looking at other hardware avenues. According to theTimes, Steve Jobs told one of the paper’s journalists before his death that he would have liked the company to make a car “if he had more energy”.

Patent Approval Paves Way For Apple To Fire Up Solar Powered iPhone

In the negative hoopla surrounding Apple these days, it is a common lament that Apple is no longer innovating.  A newly approved patent suggests otherwise .

A solar powered iPhone from Apple may be in your future.  Battery technology has become a limitation in advancement of phones.   The new generation phones have faster electronics, bigger screens as well as higher resolution.  All of these demand more power from the battery.  Of course the fashion is to make a phone as thin as possible; this reduces the options available to phone designers.

Most of us have used or at least seen solar power calculators.  Why not use solar power to augment the battery in a smartphone?  Apple has a nice twist on the idea.

Yesterday the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple patent number 8,368,654 titled ‘Integrated touch sensor and solar assembly.’  Here is the abstract of the patent.

Integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations that may be used on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices such as a media player or phone are disclosed. The integrated touch sensor array and solar cell stack-ups may include electrodes that are used both for collecting solar energy and for sensing on a touch sensor array. By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved. In addition to being used for capacitive sensing, the integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations may also be used for optical sensing.

The diagram shows how such a panel may work on a phone.

In the top diagram the solar panel is completely exposed to a light source 1804 and all six electrode quadrants 1802 are producing electricity more or less equally. In this configuration that multiplexer can be in a power mode that maximizes the amount of time spent in solar power/optical sensing cycles in a given time period.

The diagram illustrates optical sensing and power production using a solar panel according to embodiments of this invention. Touch panel 1800 includes six electrode quadrants 1802. 

In the lower diagram an incoming object 1806, such as a user finger, blocks one or more electrodes 1802 of solar panel 1806. An algorithm may then be used to switch the device to a touch sensing mode that increases the number of touch sensing cycles in a given period.

Although not many consumers have noticed, Apple used a major advance in touch panels in iPhone 5 to reduce the phone’s thickness to 7.6 millimeters.

Apple may yet be the first to introduce the next major advance in mobile devices in the form of integrated touch sensor and solar panel.

Norwegians trap sunlight with microbeads, produce solar cells that are 20 times thinner, cheaper


Norwegian researchers are the happiest researchers

Researchers from the University of Oslo have used a bunch of “wonderful tricks” to produce silicon solar cells that are twenty times thinner than commercial solar cells. This breakthrough means that solar cells can be produced using 95% less silicon, reducing production costs considerably — both increasing profits (which are almost nonexistent at the moment), and reducing the cost of solar power installations.

Standard, commercial photovoltaic solar cells are fashioned out of 200-micrometer-thick (0.2mm) wafers of silicon, which are sliced from a large block of silicon. This equates to around five grams of silicon per watt of solar power, and also a lot of wastage — roughly half of the silicon block is turned into sawdust by the slicing process. With solar cells approaching 50 cents per watt (down from a few dollars per watt a few years ago), something needs to change.

Reducing the thickness of solar cells obviously makes a lot of sense from a commercial point of view, but it introduces another issue: As the wafer gets thinner, more light passes straight through the silicon, dramatically reducing the amount of electricity produced by the photovoltaic effect. This is due to wavelengths: Blue light, which has a short wavelength (450nm), can be captured by a very thin wafer of silicon — but red light, with a longer wavelength (750nm), can only be captured by thicker slabs of silicon. This is part of the reason that current solar cells use silicon wafers that are around 200 micrometers — and also why they’re mirrored, which doubles the effective thickness, allowing them to capture more of the visible spectrum.

Some microbeads (unrelated to the University of Oslo story, though)In essence, the University of Oslo researchershave devised methods for trapping those longer wavelengths, even when the silicon wafers are just 10 micrometers thick. The first trick is using microbeads — very small plastic spheres, uniform in size, that create an almost perfect periodic pattern on the silicon. These beads force the sunlight to “move sideways,” increasing the apparent thickness of the silicon by 25 times.

The University of Oslo is also experimenting with asymmetric microindentations on the back of the silicon wafer. ”Cylinders, cones and hemispheres are symmetrical shapes. We have proposed a number of structures that break the symmetry. Our calculations show that asymmetrical microindentations can trap even more of the sunlight”, says Erik Marstein, one of the researchers involved with the work.

The researchers are in talks with industrial partners to investigate whether these methods can be scaled up to industrial production. The researchers seem quite confident that their technology could come to market within five to seven years

wastedlandz:

How we keep the power high enough to keep all of you posted….

wastedlandz:

How we keep the power high enough to keep all of you posted….

solarreviews:

“Solar panels have a reputation as being unsightly, but this U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon show home sheds the stereotype that photovoltaic arrays are eyesores.” Read more: http://goo.gl/XRZVI

solarreviews:

“Solar panels have a reputation as being unsightly, but this U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon show home sheds the stereotype that photovoltaic arrays are eyesores.”

Read more: http://goo.gl/XRZVI