An Overview of Solar Panels

While buying a solar panel one must keep in mind various factors like where it will be installed, purpose; commercial or residential use, and budget.

Solar road in the Netherlands producing more energy than anticipated

A road made of solar panel material is producing more energy than the creators expected. Engineers created a solar power bike path near Amsterdam that is over 200 feet long last year, and the road generated over 3,000kwh during the first six months, according to Al Jazeera, enough energy to power a house for a year. The company that created the road, SolaRoad, claims that means the road can produce 70kwh per square meter per year. The road is made of solar panels, glass, rubber and concrete. The road can either power street lamps or add power to the general grid. Over 150,000 cyclists have ridden on bike path without a problem since the project began. The path is made to be non-reflective and to prevent skidding. SolaRoad is still refining its materials to make them even more weather proof and efficient, and the company hopes to expand to larger areas in the future.

OMG's PowerGrip Provides a Secure Connection for Solar Racks

The installation involved locating where the fastener is going, driving the fastener into the metal deck underneath the insulation and membrane, sliding the PowerGrip over the fastener head, and hot air welding it in place.

Wind Power Without The Mills

Bill Tucker for Forbes:  Vortex Bladeless is a radical company. It wants to completely change the way we get energy from the wind. Think wind stick instead of a massive tower with blades that capture blowing winds. Wind stick. Really. Lest you think I’m mad, I’ve included a picture of this bladeless generator that helps with the visualization and explains the company name. See? There are no blades. What that “stick” (the company prefers, mast) does is capitalize on an effect of the wind which has been a very serious problem for architects and engineers for decades. When wind hits a structure and flows over its surfaces the flow changes and generates a cyclical pattern of vortices at the tail end of the flow. This is known as the vortex shedding effect which creates something known as vorticity and that is what Vortex Bladeless uses to generate energy. For those who need a explanation that exceeds my ability to fully explain, check out this link on Wikipedia and then come back and join the rest of us who won’t wait for you. (you’re clearly ahead of us anyway)

Portable Solar Generators 101

It is important to pay attention to product specifications regarding the rate at which energy is coming in, the amount of energy stored, and the rate at which that energy is being consumed.

Case Study: Lyndon B. Johnson Public Housing Complex in Cambridge

Adopting a building-integrated solar air heating system for a multi-residential, high rise exterior retrofit of the Lyndon B. Johnson public housing complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MITEI releases report on the future of solar energy

From Melissa Abraham | MIT Energy Initiative :  Report highlights enormous potential and discusses pathways toward affordable solar energy. Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions — but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy, says a comprehensive new study, titled “ The Future of Solar Energy ,” released today by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). “Our objective has been to assess solar energy’s current and potential competitive position and to identify changes in U.S. government policies that could more efficiently and effectively support its massive deployment over the long term, which we view as necessary,” says MITEI Director Robert Armstrong, the Chevron Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT.

DIY Solar Trackers

The system incorporates panels and micro-inverters and steel and bearings and a microcontroller with an LCD display, to control the daily motion of the array. And, I might add, a light sensor to sense night time and daytime, and an AC current sensor to measure the amps produced (by the array) and amps consumed by the controller.

Solar Jobs Rivalry - MD vs. VA

Renewable Energy Corporation, a Baltimore solar panel installer, created the graphic below to show how Maryland and Virginia measure up against each other.

Engineering a better solar cell: UW research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites

One of the fastest-growing areas of solar energy research is with materials called perovskites. These promising light harvesters could revolutionize the solar and electronics industries because they show potential to convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently and less expensively than today’s silicon-based semiconductors.   These superefficient crystal structures have taken the scientific community by storm in the past few years because they can be processed very inexpensively and can be used in applications ranging from solar cells to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) found in phones and computer monitors.   A new study published online April 30 in the journal Science by University of Washington and University of Oxford researchers demonstrates that perovskite materials, generally believed to be uniform in composition, actually contain flaws that can be engineered to improve solar devices even further.   Cont'd...

Kyocera TCL Solar Inaugurates Floating Mega Solar Power Plants in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

1.7MW and 1.2MW installations will provide equivalent power for roughly 920 average households.

Interview with Neil Fromer, Executive Director, Caltech Resnick Sustainability Institute

We have researchers here developing systems that should be able to convert more than 40% of the incoming sunlight to electricity (current panels are ~20% efficient). We are also working with research groups that can generate fuels and chemicals directly form sunlight, or from biomass, hopefully at an efficiency and cost that will replace conventional fossil fuel materials.

First Offshore Wind Farm In The U.S. Kicks Off Construction

Offshore wind is coming to the United States. Construction on what will be the country’s first offshore wind farm started Monday in Rhode Island. The wind farm, which is being developed by Deepwater Wind, will be located off of the coast of Block Island, a small island about 13 miles south of Rhode Island. Once completed, the five-turbine, 30-megawatt wind farm will produce enough energy to power all homes and businesses on Block Island, which previously relied on diesel generators, according to the Sierra Club. The wind farm will also send energy to mainland Rhode Island. It’s expected to come online in fall 2016. Environmental groups, many of which have pushed for the project since it started going through hearings in 2013, applauded the start of construction. Bruce Nilles, senior campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, told ThinkProgress that the start of construction was a “landmark” moment for the U.S. wind industry, and that it “really makes real the promise offshore wind has” in the U.S., particularly on the East Coast. “This is technology that will play a very important part in decarbonizing electric sector,” he said.

A Guide to Safely Installing Solar Panel Arrays to Any Property Type

As the world continues to shift towards alternative energy sources, solar power will only continue to grow. Technologies will come and go and the astute product providers will continue to innovate.

'Mega' floating solar power plants open in Japan

Two floating solar power plants capable of providing electricity for 1,000 homes have been completed in Japan.   The latest such "mega-plants" at Nishihira and Higashihira Ponds in Kato City are the work of electronics giant Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, and took just seven months to install. The plant's 11,250 modules are expected to generate 3,300 megawatt hours (MWh) every year.   According to Kyocera, besides being typhoon-proof (due to their sturdy, high-density polyethylene and array design) floating solar plants are superior to their land-based equivalents because of the cooling effect of the water, which allows them to function more efficiently. Reservoirs are also an ideal location because the panels produce shade, which reduces water evaporation and promotes algae growth. A report by Korea Water Resources Corporation found that the lower temperatures of the floating modules mean they are 11 percent more efficient than land-based equivalents. The report identified unsolved issues with the plants, too, however. It said the study had to discard data collected when the panels moved in the wind, and said research into new mooring systems was "continually needed".

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Solar & Wind - Featured Product

POWER RAIL™ Commercial Mounting System

POWER RAIL™ Commercial Mounting System

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