Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Southampton airport gets solar-powered runway lights

Solar-powered lighting has been installed alongside Southampton Airport's runway.

Nick-named "Wig Wags" the flashing lights cost £25,000 in total and are used at junctions between the runway and taxiways.

Southampton is the first UK airport to install the lights which are also used by the US Air Force in Afghanistan.

An airport spokesperson said: "We've been able to minimise the environmental footprint and maintenance costs."

Solar energy

The five units, supplied by Systems Interface Ltd in Surrey, use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity and ensure the lights operate 24 hours a day.

Their batteries can store enough energy to permanently operate the lights for up to 120 days without any solar charging.

The lights have also been installed in areas of the airport where there is no access to power supplies, saving the £170,000 cost of laying cables.

They were trialled during last winter as replacements for the conventional lighting systems.
Mark Gibb, director of airside operations admitted: "It's a drop in the ocean, but nonetheless it is part of our overall commitment to, wherever possible, identify possibilities to reduce carbon emissions.

August sees record rise in UK home solar panels fittings


A record number of homeowners had solar panels installed this month, according to energy regulator Ofgem.

The devices have been fitted to 2,257 homes so far during August, up from 1,700 in July and 1,400 in June.

More than 6,688 homes have had solar panels fitted since April, when the government's scheme to reward people who generate their own energy altered.

The feed-in tariff system now enables homeowners to receive 41.3p for every unit of energy they generate.

This is regardless of whether they use the energy or sell it back to the National Grid.

After the panels are installed, the tariff is paid for 25 years and increased in line with inflation.

This replaces the previous system, under which people could obtain grants to help cover the cost of installing the green technology.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, solar panels usually cost between £6,000 and £12,000 to buy and install, depending on their size.

The panels most commonly installed by homeowners, consisting of eight panels able to generate up to 2.5kW, cost between £10,000 and £12,000.

The Trust calculates such panels could generate about £700 a year from the feed-in tariff, as well as saving homeowners about £100 a year on energy bills.

In addition, people could make about £25 to £30 through selling unused energy back to the National Grid.

MIT boffins unveil self-healing solar cell

For years scientists have managed to develop solar cells that are highly efficient in laboratory conditions, but quickly deteriorate when asked to cope with direct sunlight – which constitutes something of a drawback for a solar panel.

Now a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reckon they may have found the solution to the problem of deteriorating solar cells following the demonstration of a new cell design that manages to repair itself.

The cell mimics the ability of plants to convert sunlight into energy at the same time as continuously breaking down light-capturing molecules and reassembling them from scratch in order to avoid the debilitating effects of sunlight.

Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, who led the research team, said the cell was "basically imitating tricks that nature has discovered over millions of years", such as plants' " reversibility, the ability to break apart and reassemble".

The cell uses synthetic molecules known as phospholipids that form disks which then provide structural support to proteins that respond to light. The molecules then create "reaction centres" that release electrons when hit by light particles. When suspended in a solution these reaction centres spontaneously attach themselves to carbon nanotubes that hold the disks in place and also act as wires that can transmit the released electrons.

The research team then added a surfactant to the self-assembling mixture, which resulted in the seven components that make up the system breaking apart. Once the surfactant, which MIT said was similar to that used to break up the BP oil spill in the Gulf, was removed from the mixture using a membrane, the compounds spontaneously assembled once again into a perfectly formed, rejuvenated photocell.

The team then ran the cell through the same cycle of assembly and disassembly repeatedly over a 14-hour period and recorded no loss of efficiency.

Strano said that the initial experiment delivered very low levels of efficiency, because the concentration of the molecular structures in the solution was very low. However, the efficiency of each individual structure stood at around 40 per cent, double that of the most efficient solar cells currently available, while the team believes that, theoretically, the structures could reach close to 100 per cent efficiency. MIT said the team is now working on how to increase the concentration of the solution.

It is likely to take years to develop commercially available solar cells based on the technology, but the breakthrough suggests that one of the most significant technical challenges faced by emerging nanomaterial-based solar technologies could be overcome.

Is Solar right for you?

Solar is right for most every home, depending on your motivation. Are you interested in solar purely for economic benefit? Are you concerned for our environment or the social responsibility of your business? Are you concerned for our environment or the future health of your family? Are you bothered by the fossil fuel situation and wish to declare your energy independence? All of these are great reasons to go solar! Below are a few limiting factors to getting the most out of your solar electric system:

Why Solar Energy?

Solar energy systems reduce up to 100% your electricity costs, depending on system size. Utility prices are only going up every year. Solar energy provides you security from rising electricity rates.
A solar electric system adds value to any home or building and pays for itself for years to come. And, your solar system adds value without increasing your property taxes.
Solar is an environmentally responsible technology. Unlike fossil fuels, it does not emit pollutants which create harm to people and the environment.

TIPS for beginners builder.....!

Solar Panels for Beginners Tip #1

Don’t think you can build one solar panel and power your entire home. It won’t happen. However, you can run a small appliance, a light, or a small electric engine for several hours with one average sized panel.

Solar Panels for Beginners Tip #2

If you will have solar panels installed professionally, make sure it’s by a reputable company. There have been many people that have reported problems with less than reputable solar companies that never deliver as promised. Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area to find out which companies have unresolved complaints.

Solar Panels for Beginners Tip #3

Before you build a DIY solar panel, make sure you have enough roof space to correctly install the panel. Solar panels are not small and you certainly don’t want to end up with one too big for the area of the roof where it will be installed.

Building Your Own Solar Energy Panel

One reason why people often build their own panels is because it is much cheaper to do than to buy new solar panels. For beginners, there are a number of different ways it can be done and you’ll find most what you need at your local home improvement store. You can build a small one over the course of a weekend for about $200-$300. It will power a small shop or appliance. However, you can also loop these together to create more energy.

How Solar Energy Panels Work

Solar energy panels contain photovoltaic cells. This is where the energy from the sun is converted to electricity. While there’s quite a science behind it all, here are the basics. Silicon plates are used to allow electrons to flow freely through it. The silicon doesn’t have either a positive or a negative charge, so other elements, usually phosphorus, and boron are combined with the silicon, so the sun’s energy can be captured by the silicon. The photons from the sun bombard those silicon panels and this captured energy is converted into electricity that can be used to power household appliances, small shops, or even a entire home. Solar panels are looped together to create more energy. This is why you see many panels on the roof of a solar powered home.

Solar Panels for Beginners: What You Must Know

Solar power is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of renewable sources of energy. It’s a fantastic way to conserve the earth’s natural resources, but also provides one of the cleanest, most effective forms of energy available today. For those that are not familiar with this type of energy, you need to get a little information on solar panels for beginners, so that you know the important aspects, terminology, and a little bit of the science behind it all.

School builds green future with solar panels

PUPILS took a green leap into the future when solar panels were installed at their school – thanks to a project launched by a parent.

Edward Feild School in Kidlington has installed 22 panels in time for the new school term.

The project, brainchild of parent Alan Asbury, will save the school £350 a year in fuel costs and teach youngsters about renewable energy.

Dad-of-two Mr Asbury raised the idea with staff and governors two years ago and then helped raise the £23,000 needed.

He said: “The new solar panels will hopefully raise awareness of the need for and obvious benefits of renewable energy.”

The panels will provide 3,500 kWh, roughly the annual electricity of an average household.

Pupils will be shown data explaining how much energy, cash and carbon has been saved.

School business manager Caroline Murray said: “Now the children can see the panels, they are very intrigued.

“They will be able to learn about them in their science lessons and the meter readings mean they can make graphs or monitor how the sun changes throughout the year.

“We’re very excited about the scope of this new equipment.”

The project was funded by the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, and Barclaycard Pure.

Year Five pupil Fraser Day, nine, said: “It’s really cool to know that our idea has been put into action.

“We’re saving the school quite a lot of energy. We were going to have a wind turbine but we decided that it wouldn’t save as much money and they were too big.”

Erin Comess, also nine, said: “It’s really cool because we are saving energy and we can also sell the energy when we don’t need to use it.”

Headteacher Cathryne Wilkes said: “I’d like to thank Alan for his hard work and determination in seeing the project through to completion.”

Oxfordshire County Council is working with schools to cut CO2 emissions, currently about 36,000 tonnes a year.

Ian Hudspeth, cabinet member for growth and infrastructure, said: “This is a great example of the innovative ideas and hard work many of our schools are putting in to become more energy efficient and meet the environmental challenges of the future.”

IREC Announces Solar Licensing Database

In the database, licensing requirements for installing photovoltaic and solar thermal systems are documented for each state. These are organized alphabetically. Today, only 14 states have established specific solar license classifications, usually sub-classifications of electrical or plumbing licenses, and often specifically defined to limit the scope of work to direct solar installations and maintenance tasks. For additional information, resource links to state-specific websites and documents are included. IREC will update the database to keep pace with those changes as they become available.

“As licensing requirements emerge and change in individual states, IREC felt that it could contribute by providing this resource of existing requirements that can be used as a reference tool,” said IREC’s Director of Operations, Pat Fox.

“IREC is broadly recognized as a unique resource and conduit for change in the renewable energy arena. This database is just one of many IREC resources it offers free of charge to the public,” said Fox.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of renewable energy since 1982. IREC' s programs and policies lead to easier, more affordable connection to the utility grid; fair credit for renewable energy produced; best practices for states, municipalities, utilities and industry; and quality assessment for the growing green workforce through the credentialing of trainers and training programs.

First Solar Powered Car


Think back in time before automobiles came into the picture, one notable fact that you would observe would be the total lack of pollution, noise pollution, unhealthy emissions from the cars and no gasoline. It’s not that people didn’t travel, they did – but what they used was horsepower.
Now let’s think into the future, some basic similarities again, automobiles are in the picture but without the pollution, noise pollution etc. And again no gasoline! You would wonder how that is possible: Cars but no Gasoline? What would they run on? Well how about sunlight!
Solar power is something that is going to come up in a big way. There are many research projects about harnessing the sun’s energy and utilizing it for the betterment of mankind. So there might just be a future where transportation would not require any gasoline, it would be low cost and environmental friendly.
Work is already in progress to make this dream a reality. A team of fourth-year engineering students along with their professor, in Beruit, has been successful in building the first solar-powered vehicle in the Arab region. The American University of Beirut issued a statement in this regard. The vehicle has been aptly named Apollo’s Chariot. Apollo being the Greek God of the Sun as mentioned in mythology. This solar-powered vehicle is made entirely of steel and fiberglass and measures five-and-a-half meters in length and two meters in width. It’s a single seater and weighs about 700 kilograms, almost half the weight of an average sedan.
The Team of Elie Maalouf, Amin Kanafani, Ahamed Hammoud and Rawad al-Jurdi under the guidance of Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Daniel Asmar worked unceasingly for nine months to give shape to the “Chariot”.
This futuristic-looking vehicle with an aerodynamic design smoothly glides over the road with a total lack of noise and pollution. Eli Maalouf demonstrated the workings of the “Chariot” on Campus and impressed everyone with its effortless maneuvering. “Apollo’s Chariot “during the demo, moved forward, backward, along a curb and then up a small hill without any hitch.
Professor Daniel Amin in praise of this creation said that, “It looks like a rocket but moves like a swan,” “We actually built a car that runs on a new kind of energy. It’s almost like magic!”
Ellie said that the longest trip that he has ever made with the Chariot till now was, 50 meters and that he hopes that ” in the near future, I will be able to drive an improved version of this car, everyday ““ to university, to work, to go out with my friends.”
Professor Asmar purports that these solar-powered vehicles are important for research purposes for the time being and are yet still years from becoming available commercially. It would cost around a million dollars at present to build one that could be safely driven on streets.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Asmar. “This is a dream come true for me that would not have been “possible without our sponsors.”
To build Apollo’s Chariot a sum of $ 25,000, was raised through several local and foreign sponsors like Power Tech, a Lebanese co., Voluntariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo (VIS), A volunteer Italian association for development, Italian Cooperation, Byblos Bank, Bank of Beirut and Arab Countries (BAAC), Bridgestone tires and the AUB Department of Mechanical Engineering to name a few.
The car converts solar energy into 1000 watts of power with the help of 36 small and 8 large photovoltaic cells. The car includes components like cells and batteries, for capturing and storing solar energy, and a DC (direct current) motor for converting energy from the batteries into a uniform source of energy. A maximum power point tracker device is also used to maximize the amount of power delivered from the cells.
A 3,000- kilometer race by solar electric cars is held in Australia with the purpose of promoting research on solar energy. It is known as The World Solar Challenge and was launched in 1987. The next race is to be held in 2009. The team aims to keep on improving Apollo’s Chariot so that they are able to represent Lebanon and AUB at the Next World Solar Challenge

How to build the solar cell

The first step is to cut a piece of the copper sheeting that is about the size of the burner on the stove. Wash your hands so they don't have any grease or oil on them. Then wash the copper sheet with soap or cleanser to get any oil or grease off of it. Use the sandpaper or wire brush to thoroughly clean the copper sheeting, so that any sulphide or other light corrosion is removed.

Next, place the cleaned and dried copper sheet on the burner and turn the burner to its highest setting.

As the copper starts to heat up, you will see beautiful oxidation patterns begin to form. Oranges, purples, and reds will cover the copper.

As the copper gets hotter, the colors are replaced with a black coating of cupric oxide. This is not the oxide we want, but it will flake off later, showing the reds, oranges, pinks, and purples of the cuprous oxide layer underneath.

The last bits of color disappear as the burner starts to glow red.

When the burner is glowing red-hot, the sheet of copper will be coated with a black cupric oxide coat. Let it cook for a half an hour, so the black coating will be thick. This is important, since a thick coating will flake off nicely, while a thin coat will stay stuck to the copper.

The World’s Largest Rooftop Solar Installation 12 Megawatts of Power


Solar power is being increasingly used all over the world as a source of clean, renewable energy. In an effort to increase its renewable energy resources, General Motors has recently made it known that the biggest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation will be set up on its Zaragoza automobile assembly plant.
This plant, in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, Spain, will have approximately 85,000 solar panels, covering a rooftop area of around 2,000,000 square feet. General Motors estimates that the set up will be complete by the autumn of this year, and will generate something like 15.1 million kWh of power a year. That’s about how much 4,575 Spanish homes with an average yearly consumption of 3,300 kWh will use.
Glad to take the lead in using renewable energy, the Group Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Labor Relations, General Motors, Gary Cowger said, “The Zaragoza project demonstrates proof that GM is actively accelerating our efforts to be part of the solution to the environmental issues and challenges facing our world. We are proud to be a global leader in the usage of renewable energy.”
At present, the General Motors Company already has two of the biggest rooftop solar power installations in the United States of America. Both these installations are in California ““ one in their parts warehouse in Rancho Cucumonga and another in their parts warehouse in Fontana. The Rancho Cucumonga installation was set up in the autumn of 2006 and was the first public solar project over one mega watt in the country. Here, about half the power requirements of the parts warehouse is met by solar energy. The Fontana installation was set up in December 2007 and offers an annual output of approximately 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity ““ that’s about how much power 200 homes will consume in a year.
The General Motors Vice President for Environment, Energy and Safety Policy, Elizabeth A. Lowery explains GM’s stance. “As we develop new solutions in vehicle propulsion to reduce carbon emissions, we are also making significant progress in reducing the impact our facilities have on the environment. Our commitment to expanding the usage of renewable energy sources is part of our coordinated global effort to reduce energy, water consumption, waste and CO2 emissions,” she says.
As far as the Spanish Zaragoza installation is concerned, General Motors is working in collaboration with the Government of Aragon, Clairvoyant Energy and Veolia Environmental to expand their consumption of renewable energy. The thin film flexible solar laminates required for the installation will be UNI-SOLAR(R: 70.08, +2.97, +4.42%), manufactured by United Solar Ovonic. The installation will be created, owned and operated by Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy, who will lease the rooftop area from General Motors. Not only will the Zaragoza rooftop solar power installation cut costs for General Motors, it will also ease the power burden on the local power grid.
David Hardee, the CEO of Clairvoyant Energy is pleased with the project and its implications. “Clairvoyant Energy is delighted to be working with GM as we share their vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our company goal is to create a variety of solar electricity solutions as compared to fossil fuel electricity processes by 2014 and the way to get there is through lower costs and higher efficiency.”
Global industry leader in a world leader in environmental services, Veolia Environment will be involved in the engineering, construction, approval and system operations maintenance of the installation.
General Motors is certainly thinking green. The company is also one of the major consumers of landfill gas in America. This gas, which is produced as waste decomposes, is used by GM at their assembly plants in Fort Wayne, Shreveport and Orion and three other facilities, saving a quantity of energy equal to the annual energy needed to heat 25,000 households. GM gets an annual saving of over $5 million with their landfill gas set up.
General Motors with an NYSE standing of 10.78, +0.54, +5.27% has been a world leader in auto sales for nearly 80 years. The company was started in 1908 and now has a 266,000 strong team. Last year, GM sold almost 9.37 million Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling cars. OnStar, GM’s subsidiary, are experts in vehicle safety, security and information services.

SolarCity Provides San Francisco Electricity at Less than Grid Price


Lyndon Rive is the chief executive officer of SolarCity, a startup that leases solar panels to property owners. He encourages San Francisco residents to consider and take definitive action on going for solar energy.
Solar energy became a viable proposition in the city, even for those with less financial clout, due to incentive schemes launched by the authorities in July..
The incentive program for San Francisco extends monetary support, to be utilized for the installation of solar panels, ranging from $3000 to $6,000 to property owners, $10,000 to businesses and non-profit organizations and $30,000 to non-profit entities which provide low cost housing. The program is scheduled to stay in effect for a decade.
This drive to encourage the use of solar power complements a matching program to offer a discount of $1.90 per installed watt and also 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power. These incentives spell good times for even the less financially privileged in their attempt to opt for solar energy as an alternative.
Rive states that a majority of San Francisco residents pay a differential rate for their energy usage- those who consume more power have to pay a higher rate. The rates range between 12 cents per kilowatt-hour and 36 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending, of course, on consumption.
Before opting for solar energy, most clients of SolarCity have had to pay between 23 cents and 31 cents per kilowatt-hour for electrical power. But with the advent of the incentive package, even consumers who had paid as low as 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity can be expect to make savings upon opting for solar panels- according to Rive.
“For as low as $25 per month, you can get a 2.4-kilowatt capacity system,” he said.
Chris Clark, who lives in Inner Sunset, a misty area in San Francisco, is almost through with concluding a lease agreement with SolarCity. “It‘s going to reduce our bill significantly with the city rebate, probably 40 percent,” he said. Clark, who has to spend around $120 per month, on electricity bills, is expected to cut it down to $70 per month once SolarCity installs his system in August.
John Stubblebine, who belongs to Cupertino, California, had solar panels fitted out on his roof by SolarCity about a month back. He chose to pay an initial amount of 8 percent on the $35,000, 6-kilowatt solar panel system.
“You can choose to pay zero, 8, or 16 percent of the system. Since I chose to put in a slightly more expensive system, there would be a slightly higher rate without a down payment,” he said.
The immediate upshot of his investment was a reduction of his electricity bill from $158 per month to $116 per month. However, he noted that he was still required to pay a token charge to Pacific Gas and Electric for meter readings. Further, the rates he is required to pay for electricity have been altered from a static rate to one which depends on usage, with maximum rates applicable during the midday, when demand is generally highest.
“You settle your bill with PG&E by the end of the year. If you‘ve used more electricity than you produced, you pay all that. If you‘ve used less, you don‘t get money back,” he explained.
SolarCity, since its inception in 2007, has had enviable growth- from two employees to almost 300 currently- and harbors hopes of at least recording a 100 percent increase on its 30 million dollar profits for the current year.
Despite competition from Bay Area newbies like Sun Run, Clean Power Finance and GroSolar, SolarCity has extended its presence to places like Arizona and Oregon, with plans to cover the East Coast as well by 2009.

Solar Panels

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. They are made of semiconductors, most commonly the semiconductor silicon.

Some solar panel materials are:

Single crystal silicon
Multicrystalline silicon
Amorphous silicon
Gallium Arsenide
Silicon Nitride
Copper Indium Diselenide
Cadmium Telluride
Titanium Dioxide and Dye

Unique Business Seeks To Popularize Solar Power



Blake Jones had such strange ideas for his company, Namaste Solar Electric, that he confused many business analysts. Jones, whose company sets up solar power systems in Colorado, had this to say, “We did have a lot of skeptical, raised eyebrows at the beginning.”
“We even have had business schools bring teams of MBA students to come to do a case study,” Jones said.
Industry watchers were thoroughly perplexed by some of his company policies:
All company operations would have to be environmentally friendly.
Employees would have six weeks’ paid holiday.
A mechanism called FOH (standing for: frank, open, honest) would be in force in order to remove idle talk and ill will.
All workers, irrespective of their assigned duties, would be entitled to the same pay scale.
One percent of yearly incomes to be spent for the upkeep of solar panels gifted to social groups.
Landmark decisions made by the company to be based on participation of all employees of the company.
Jones probably hit upon some of the offbeat ideas of his company based on the collective experience he gathered during the process of his recovery from serious financial distress. Namaste is a Sanskrit word that is uttered whilst greeting and means “bow to you.” Blake, a civil engineer, was engaged by Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, belonging to the oil and gas sector, and spent five years working in the Middle East.
“But something in me realized there is something more. I didn‘t like the overdependence that we have on oil and gas. I think oil and gas, even coal are always going to be a very big part of our lives. But I think what we need to do, is we need a more balanced portfolio. I had a gradual awakening to wanting passionately to work with renewable energy because I thought there was a better way,” Jones said.
He traveled from the Middle East to Nepal and spent three years there installing solar and hydroelectric power units in far flung regions.
Although Jones has to cater to entirely different customer requirements in Colorado, solar energy is gaining acceptance as a viable and long-term investment in the state.
Jones selected a place where the residents are habituated to doing things differently. Boulder is an intensely forested land and offered ample scope for the use of renewable forms of energy.
“There is more interest in solar in Boulder then anywhere else in Colorado. That‘s one example of how environmentally focused our community is,” said Sarah Vanpelt, who is in charge of looking after the environmental concerns of the city.
State incentives that would make possible enhanced usage of renewable sources of energy received the approval of Colorado voters in 2004.
“And Boulder provides a rebate on a portion of the sales and use tax that property owners pay to purchase and install a system, and we use those funds to provide grants to nonprofits to install solar on affordable housing, low-income housing, and on nonprofit facilities,” Vanpelt said.
“So I think we will continue to see growth in the green industry and in renewable energy, both solar and wind,” she said.
Namaste is currently undergoing revamping of its warehouse spanning 15000 square feet in order to house its offices.
It’s adhering to the most stringent standards set forth by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in this endeavor. This implies use of skylight, recycled construction material and making the building reachable by public transportation.
Also, there is no doubt that the building’s energy requirements will be met by solar units that Namaste specializes in. Outside of a solar awning, most of the solar panels will be installed on the roof.
Marc Smerekanicz, construction manager, had to put in some well thought out ingenuity on his part in order to cater to requests to comply with LEED standards.
“Thinking in a different way than what I was brought up to think of as the construction process, that‘s the way of the future,” Smerekanicz said.
The last three and a half years have seen Namaste doing more business than any other company in Colorado. The company has expanded from just three employees to 45 and revenue growth has taken a soar beyond all expectations.
“Whatever perspective you look at, we‘re being profitable, and it‘s exactly what we need to do to prove that our business experiment, that our company model is going to work,” Jones said.

Lagunitas School District to Have Largest Solar Energy Facility in West Martin

Lagunitas School District will be among the first schools in California to implement solar energy. The school district is planning to inaugurate the solar facility that has been installed in the campus in August this year. The installation and implementation has been done in partnership with Solar Power Partners, California, an energy company specializing in renewable energy sources like solar power. The solar facility that the company has installed in.
Lagunitas will account for almost 65% of the school’s power requirements.
The deal, a Power Purchase Agreement, between the two parties is of 15 year duration, and was developed by Solar Power Partners. The company has ownership rights to the solar facility. The deal was struck in April 2008, and the facility will be ready for operation as soon as August 2008, a mere four months later.
The facility is a 58.52 kilowatt (kW DC) one, and is expected to generate around 86,000 kilowatt hours (kWh). The Lagunitas School District solar facility will have carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 70 metric tons a year, which is roughly equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions that are released through the use of 7,600 gallons of gasoline. These numbers have been determined and published by the United States Environment Protection Agency.
“We chose Solar Power Partners because of their expertise and ability to assess our needs quickly,” said Lawrence H. Enos, Superintendent, Lagunitas School District. “They have established a dependable renewable energy system that would not only cost zero out of pocket today, but would help protect the school district against increasing electricity prices. Beyond providing a solution that our school district could never afford on its own, SPP is helping us teach our students how innovation, finance, government, and good will can all come together for the benefit of generations to come.”
Solar Power Partners worked in collaboration with Borrego Solar, using the company’s products for the project. Borrego Solar supplied photovoltaic modules that were sources from Evergreen Solar in the project. These US-made modules apparently have the smallest carbon footprint in comparison to other similar products.
The idea of the power Purchase Agreement is to allow various organizations to install solar facilities at a much lower cost, using tax credits to reduce the capital investments. It also has the advantage of being able to provide power at sustainable and predictable energy levels. This particular Power Purchase Agreement, with a duration of 15 years, will cut back costs at Lagunitas School District to the tune of $110,000. This figure has been arrived at considering cumulative savings, and in the same way, if the school decides to leverage its extension options, the savings could well total up to more than $420,000.
“We have developed a flexible solution that is designed to fit the stringent requirements of school administrators,” said Alexander V. Welczeck, president, Solar Power Partners. “It should never come down to a question of whether a school can purchase a book or help save the planet. We”˜re glad we could set a practical example of affordable sustainable energy for both the public and private sector.”
Solar Power Partners is known to integrate the latest technologies, along with expertise and best practices of the solar energy industry. The company leverages the financing strength that can be gained through the use of Power Purchase Agreements allowing various building owners the facility to achieving energy independence with lower costs.
Borrego Solar Systems is a solar developer, designer and installer of grid-connected solar electric systems for commercial, government and residential purposes. The photovoltaic systems of Borrego Solar are proficient, consistent and economical.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Electric Company Signs Historic 800 MW Solar Power deal with OptiSolar SunPower



Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, recently announced that it has made an agreement with Topaz Solar Farms LLC, a subsidiary of OptiSolar Inc and High Plains Ranch II, LLC, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation. This significant contract is a double utility-scale, photovoltaic (PV) solar power deal for 800 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy.
Ultimately, this collaboration is expected to produce 1.65 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year. Such an amount of energy would in fact be able to power 239,000 residential homes annually.
PG&E has linked up with Topaz Solar Farms to produce 550 MW of thin-film PV solar power and will generate the remaining 250 MW of solar energy needed from its tie-up with the High Plains Ranch II.
“These landmark agreements signal the arrival of utility-scale PV solar power that may be cost-competitive with solar thermal and wind energy,” said Jack Keenan, chief operating officer and senior vice president for PG&E.
“We will continue to explore such innovative technologies as we aggressively work to increase the amount of renewable energy we provide our customers,” he added.
The Topaz Solar Farm project aims to use low-cost, thin-film PV panels from OptiSolar to deliver its 550 MW of solar energy annually. This would mean that the company is undertaking to produce, 100,000 megawatt-hours of renewable power per year.
The project is expected to make its first delivery in 2011 and then be in full production two years later.
“We are very happy to be working with PG&E to help meet California’s requirements for clean, renewable energy and are committed to working closely with the local community as this project moves forward,” said Randy Goldstein, chief executive officer of OptiSolar.
“Our solar farms are quiet and emission-free, with solar panels mounted near ground level to minimize visual impact. Implementing cost-competitive solar power on this scale establishes thin-film photovoltaic generation as an important contributor to global sustainability,” Goldstein stated.
SunPower’s California Valley Solar Ranch is to deliver a much lesser load of solar power in comparison to OptiSolar. The 250 MW of solar power will first be delivered in 2010, a whole year ahead of OptiSolar and will produce about 550,000 megawatt-hours of solar electricity per year. SunPower expects to be in full production of the renewable energy requirements by the year 2012. The ranch plans to use crystalline PV solar cells from SunPower which will supply 50 percent more energy than the normal crystalline cells.
“Today, high-efficiency photovoltaic technology is a competitively-priced component of utility-scale peak power generation,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer of SunPower.
“Our experience constructing more than 350 megawatts of solar systems on three continents allows us to deliver utility-scale systems quickly and at a scale of hundreds of kilowatts to hundreds of megawatts. We design our solar systems to maximize energy harvest while adapting to the natural topography of the site and serving the needs of the community,” he concluded.
The Pacific Gas and Electric Company is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric companies in the United States. The past six years have seen the company take giant strides towards renewable energy and has linked up with several companies to produce more than 3,600 MW of renewable power. Of this, the solar energy contracts provide a total of 2,500 MW of renewable power. For the future, the company has even bigger plans looking towards wind power, biomass and geothermal energy sources. Currently, the company caters to more than 15 million people in northern

Residential Solar Panels

Residential Solar Panels are the most discussed topic among science lovers and scientist across the world. We are all aware of how Global Warming is going to eat into our own personal lives. Oil prices are rising day by day. We are facing a huge shortage of fossil fuels. Pollution is also increasing on a daily basis. The toxic chemicals released by cars, factories and other day to day activities or events would surely lead to the end of the world very soon. If we really want to provide our children with a safe and secured future then we have to switch to residential solar panels. If every household in a society decided to shift to residential solar energy instead of the normal electricity then we both save a lot of money and also provide our mother nature with a sigh of relief.


There are various sorts of residential solar panels available in the market. We need to first understand why and for what purpose do we need a solar panel. Then we need to buy a solar panel whether readymade from a branded shop or by the parts so that we can assemble it. If you love to do it yourself then DIY Solar panels are also there in the market. All you need is access to proper clear sunlight. The rest can be taken care off. Residential solar panels would save almost half your monthly electricity bills. It would also mean no wastage of energy. Now you can be free from regular power cuts. Residential solar panels come in various shapes and sizes. They are also of different category. Everything depends on our requirement and how much we are ready to invest initially. If you produce more energy then you actually need in that particular day then you can easily transfer the electricity to the main grid. Prevent children from playing near the solar panels. They might harm it easily. The panel can be divided into three parts, the frame, the battery and the converter. Residential solar panels are also very flexible and can be moved from one lace to the other. The residential solar panel is to be kept away from dirt and pollution. To maintain it properly all we need to do is clean it and wipe it regularly so that the efficiency of the panel is always at a high.


If you ever think that you do not want to continue with this panel then you can also easily sell it. But he would only be a fool if he actually lands up selling the panel. The residential solar panel would help one save a lot of his hard earned money. It would also help your children enjoy the benefits. By using solar panel you could be a proud member or contributor to this new revolution. Go Green!