Sunday, October 16, 2011

Solar Water Distillers

Water is the most precious resource in the desert, and the desert makes up most of Mexico. There are no wells in communities so rainwater is collected in deposits. This rainwater is not safe to drink, and so families need to boil the water using wood fires. A solar water distiller can provide safe drinking water, so there is no longer a need to boil water. The distiller is basically a box in which water is evaporated and collected. The distiller is expected to last many years. Distillers can provide better quality water while reducing the work involved and the health and environmental impacts of burning wood.

Battery-less Flashlights

Flashlights are used sparingly in Mexico because batteries are so expensive. One alternative is a durable, long-lasting flashlight that does not use batteries. This kind of flashlight gets power just by shaking it (the LED bulb lasts a long time and they are sealed and waterproof).

Solar "Hot Pot" Ovens

Solar ovens are really cool and cheap. Solar ovens are a great alternative to cooking over traditional wood fires. The hot pot can be left outside during daylight hours to cook many different types of food. It saves people energy, since they don't need to get wood. Other benefits are that it doesn’t have as much of an environmental impact, and it reduces the exposure of women and children to smoke.

Why we use Solar Energy ?

Solar energy is a great alternative source of power. Solar panels may be expensive but in the long run they are better for two reasons. One, they lower the electricity and heating bills. Two, they are better for people and the environment because they don’t pollute the air like the burning of fossil fuels.Let’s look at this a different way to see why you should use solar energy. Even though using solar energy can be more expensive than burning fossil fuels, it is clean and sunlight is easily available. Also, you may not realize it but lots of everyday things use solar energy. Things like lights in the yard, calculators, and even cars. The Nuna 3 is a race car made by the Dutch Nuna team. It is completely powered by solar energy.

What is Solar Energy ?

During photovoltaic conversion, solar energy is collected through panels, called solar panels. Solar panels are covered with large modules which are covered with lots of little PV cells, or photovoltaic cells. The PV cells collect the light from the sun. Once the light is inside a PV cell. A photon is a particle of solar energy. Within the semiconductor, energy of the photons shifts to the electrons. This energizes the electrons. Then the electrons break out of the semiconductor to get to the silicone atoms. Then they flow into the electric current. Usually a solar cell is made of a glass protective layer, an anti-reflective coat, and electric contacts. We use PV cell systems every day. Common tools like watches and calculators are powered with PV systems. Look at the top of a calculator. Do you see the little squares at the top? Those are lots of little PV cells. Usually PV cells don’t generate much electricity. PV cells generate about ½ a volt per square decimeter. A solar panel making fifty watts of electricity is about four decimeters by ten decimeters. What if you don’t know how much energy your appliance or machine needs? Well, the answer is easy.

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.

"This is one small but important example of using new, innovative technology."

The airport has a target of cutting electricity use by 2.5% throughout 2010.

Mr Gibb added the airport would look at replacing actual runway lights with solar powered models when they come for up for renewal.

Solar Power

Solar power is produced by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. This is done by using solar panels, which are large flat panels made up of many individual solar cells. It is most often used in remote locations, although it is becoming more popular in urban areas as well. This page contains articles that explore advances in solar energy technology.In a market-friendly scenario, Nano solar claims to be able to produce electricity at 5-6 cents/kilowatt hour almost as cheap as power from coal and at about one-third the cost of other solar power. Nano solar claims: Nano solar claims mass production of solar power will now become feasible with their differently manufactured solar panels. Conventional silicon-made solar panels have a stiff competitor from CIGS semiconductor printed solar panels - composed of copper, gallium, indium and selenium - which perform as good as conventional solar panels in lab conditions. An inexpensive printing process makes it ideal for mass production by an automated facility with robots and other hi-fi equipment.

Other Interesting Solar Energy Facts:

1.In 1447, Leonardo Da Vince predicted a future solar industrialization 2.In just one hour, every day, more Solar Energy strikes the surface of the Earth than could be used by the entire population in a full year 3.In 1990, a completely solar powered aircraft (no fuel use at all) flew more than 3000 miles across the USA 4.Fierce weather is a side-effect of global warming, and in in 1998, $130 billion dollars in damages due to weather were recorded around the world (more than the combined totals from 1980 - 1990) 5.Roughly 2 Billion people (nearly 1/3rd) of the world’s population is without electricity 6.The USA makes up 5% of the world’s population, but uses more than 26% of the world’s energy 7.In energy consumption from a single source, ovens are number one, followed by microwaves and air conditioners 8.Third world countries with abundant sunlight and no electric infrastructure are the fastest-growing market for solar energy - in developed countries, industry and utilities are the lartgest consumers 9.Shell Oil, a leading petroleum company, predicts that 50%, or more, of the world’s energy will come from renewable energy sources (including solar) by the year 2040

Solar Energy Facts About Solar Systems:

1.A typical solar electric (PV) system includes: solar panels, a dc-ac inverter, a battery, a charge controller (if batteries are used) and the wiring and mounting frame 2.A kilowatt PV System can be installed in 1-2 days, with a typical cost of around $10,000 (not accounting for any federal, state and local incentives/credits) 3.A typical 1kW PV System will consist of about 10-12 solar panels (depending on the size (wattage) of the solar panels) which are installed facing south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere 4.A typical a 1kW PV System requires about 100 sq ft of roof/ground/pole space for installation 5. In a sunny climate (5.5 hours of sun/day) a 1kW PV System will produce around 1600 kWh of electricity per year, whereas, the same system in a cloudier climate (2.5 hours of sun/day) will produce about 750 kWh per year 6.On the Eco-Friendly side, a 1kW PV System will prevent around 170 lbs of coal from being burned every year, 300 lbs of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere and save 105 gallons of precious water from being consumed 7.A typical Solar Energy System comes with a 5-year warranty, however, the solar panels will generally have a 20-year warranty 8.With a proper battery backup, a Solar Energy System can produce 100% of a home or business’ energy needs (including nighttime and cloudy hours) 9.Solar Energy can easily be stored in batteries, reflected, insulated absorbed, transmitted and used to power your home/office appliances

Solar Energy Facts About Usage:

1.Solar Energy is measured in kilowatt-hours - 1 kilowatt = 1000 watts 2.The abbreviation for kilowatt-hour is kWh 3.1 kWh is the amount of electricity used to burn a 100 watt incandescent light bulb for 10 hours 4. In 1999, the US DOE (Department of Energy), reported that the average American household used 866 kilowatt-hours/month (an average cost of $70.68) .5 On average, 30% of energy consumption is used for hot water heating

General Solar Energy Facts:

1.Solar Energy is far more environmentally friendly than traditional energy forms 2.Solar Energy is available in several forms, for several uses, including electricity, hot water heating and radiant/space heating 3.Solar Energy is often found in our day to day lives, including heating swimming pools, power for cars, running attic fans and lighting (both indoors and outdoors) and Solar Energy even powers millions of calculators around the world every day 4.Solar Energy can even be used for cooking 5.Solar Energy is becoming dramatically more popular than ever before - Currently, the world-wide demand for solar energy products can not be met by the supply

World energy consumption

nergy markets have combined crisis recovery and strong industry dynamism. Energy consumption in the G20 soared by more than 5% in 2010, after the slight decrease of 2009. This strong increase is the result of two converging trends. On the one-hand, industrialized countries, which experienced sharp decreases in energy demand in 2009, recovered firmly in 2010, almost coming back to historical trends. Oil, gas, coal, and electricity markets followed the same trend. On the other hand, China and India, which showed no signs of slowing down in 2009, continued their intense demand for all forms of energy. In 2009, world energy consumption decreased for the first time in 30 years (-1.1%) or 130 Mtoe (Megaton oil equivalent), as a result of the financial and economic crisis (GDP drop by 0.6% in 2009).[7] This evolution is the result of two contrasting trends. Energy consumption growth remained vigorous in several developing countries, specifically in Asia (+4%). Conversely, in OECD, consumption was severely cut by 4.7% in 2009 and was thus almost down to its 2000 levels. In North America, Europe and CIS, consumptions shrank by 4.5%, 5% and 8.5% respectively due to the slowdown in economic activity. China became the world's largest energy consumer (18% of the total) since its consumption surged by 8% during 2009 (up from 4% in 2008). Oil remained the largest energy source (33%) despite the fact that its share has been decreasing over time. Coal posted a growing role in the world's energy consumption: in 2009, it accounted for 27% of the total.

Solar energy can pay off in about 10 years

Max Buzard lives what he sells and installs through Royer Technical Services, also in Hampton. Both are solar power enthusiasts, living in houses that make the energy they use. Instead of just paying electric bills, they can get checks back from clean-energy brokers and the power company. "Photovoltaic solar panels actually start paying for themselves right after installation," says Buzard. He estimates 10 solar panels in 235-watt sizes cost about $14,000 installed; add in a 30 percent federal credit, register for renewable energy credits and you pay for the system in less than 10 years. "Our home has 25 solar panels of various sizes. We went from $225 per month on the budget plan to $70 a month -- a savings of $155. In addition, we receive solar payments of $200 per megawatt generated. Last quarter, we received $400." For the Cukers, the savings and payback are just as great. "Dominion (Dominion Power Co. in Virginia) charges us about $8.25 a month for staying tied to the electrical grid, so we spend just under $100 per year on our electric bill," says Cuker, who shares the house with wife Dawn. "However, even though we use almost all the energy we make, we sell the credits for the renewable energy on the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) market. Since installing the first systems in 2009, we have made $1,940, which leaves us about $800 to the good each year, after subtracting what we pay Dominion." SRECs are a way for utilities to buy the clean energy produced by anybody who makes solar energy and is tied to the grid, according to Cuker. "Even though the homeowner uses most of the energy produced, the fact that it was done without burning dirty fuels is what is traded," he says. "Current rates for SRECs are about $200 per megawatt." Buzard's solar lifestyle includes a 33-foot-tall wind turbine that spins with the breezes at his waterfront home. But, he's not sold on wind turbines for individual homeowners. "The bang for the buck just isn't there," says Buzard, 54. "I only get wind from 180 degrees because homes in the neighborhood block it at this height. "For homeowners, solar panels are the way to go." Buzard's solar panels are small, attractive units he installed on short poles camouflaged by shrubbery. Some are located on the roof of his boathouse. Microinverters attached to the panels convert the solar energy to power the house can use. The number of solar panels a house needs is based on its energy use, so cost varies from house to house. Typically, a turnkey installation with ten 235-watt solar panels runs about $14,000; add in a 30 percent federal tax credit and your cost is about $10,500, said Buzard. Cuker, 57, wholeheartedly agrees about the solar panels, but he's taken it a step further, making some innovations on his own. Living in their 1936-built house since 1988, Cuker wanted to showcase how an old house, not just a new house, can become near energy neutral, meaning it generates at least as much energy as it uses. In 2009, he worked with Solar Services of Virginia Beach, Va., to install solar cells. Encountering a problem because the roof on the main structure has a roof line with east-west slopes, and not the desired southern slope, he designed and built a five-part solar awning on the south side to carry the solar panels. Each awning section supports two 215-watt panels, for a total of 10. "We adjust the slope of the awning with the changing seasons to get the best angle on the sun and maximize production of electricity," he says. The first year, the Cuker household made about 60 percent of their electricity needs. In 2010, Solar Services installed 10 additional panels on the east-facing roof of an addition on the house. Combined, the solar panels produce about 100 percent of the home's electricity needs now, including air conditioning for summer. In addition, the Cukers installed a solar hot water system. He also designed, built and installed a 20-foot-long "solar heat wall," using acrylic panels that heat a back room; it cost about $500 in materials. A fourth system is a solar-powered attic ventilator he created with two small solar panels and two engine cooling fans for less than $200. The Cukers' cost for all this solar is offset by a 30 percent federal tax credit for the $38,000 spent on the photovoltaic system, meaning it cost them about $26,600. The solar hot water system, which cost just less than $7,000, also got the 30 percent credit, as well as $4,000 from a special Virginia fund that encourages clean energy, helping the hot water system pay for itself within a year, according to Cuker. During winter, the Cukers heat the house with a ventless natural gas log fireplace for about $250 for the season; they save about $30 per month by having the gas service stopped in April and restarted in November. "The electrical system is tied to the grid," says Cuker. "So we don't store the energy we make, but share it with the Dominion system of distribution." Which means the house has a "net meter" installed on an exterior wall. "It's one that counts backward when we make more energy than we use," says Cuker.

Solar energy to cut bills

A LOCALLY-BASED Caribbean company is offering to feed electricity into the national grid, almost immediately lowering household electricity bills, and saving Barbados millions of dollars in the long term. Solaris Global Energy Ltd, which has been on the solar water heating market for the last three decades, yesterday offered its plan to Government at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) at Hilton Barbados, with general manager David Rowe suggesting the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems on 20 000 homes. “The plan is that over ten years, 20 000 house owners will provide PV solar electricity to the Barbados Light & Power grid through PV systems installed on their roofs [by Solaris],” said Rowe, adding that the project, dubbed Sun Stream, would have to be on roofs where the PV panels faced the south or west and were free of shade. According to Rowe, while all of the solar power feeds into each house, thereby satisfying the energy needs of each household, energy would be simultaneously feeding into the national grid. As a result, an average homeowner using 13 kilowatts per hour with an average BL&P bill of $280 per month would automatically get a new BL&P bill of $246.40 – about 12 per cent less. And, Rowe added, if a homeowner defaulted on payment, the energy supplied to the house could be suspended while, at the same time, that energy would still be feeding into the grid. “This is a win-win. If I can get the firms on board to help me with the funding for it, or if a bank – each system averages between $20 000 and $40 000 – is going to lend $30 000, they’re going to ask how can they be sure they will be repaid.

California has 1 in 4 U.S. solar energy jobs

Through the centuries, scientists have found innovative ways to harness the power of the sun — from magnifying glasses to steam engines. Converting more solar power into electricity is high on the political agenda in many countries, amid the push to find domestic energy sources that are less polluting than fossil fuels. Despite rapid growth in recent years, solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of electricity use in the United States. Solar power is more entrenched in European countries like Spain and Germany, which have promoted its development with strong incentives called feed-in tariffs that require electric utilities to buy solar power at a high, fixed price. The United States accounted for $1.6 billion of the world’s $29 billion market for solar panels; California is by far the leading solar state. In the last two years, China has emerged as the dominant player in green energy — especially in solar power. It accounted for at least half the world’s production in 2010, and its market share is rising rapidly. China’s Big Three solar power companies — Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy and Trina Solar — all announced in August 2011 that their sales in the second quarter were up between 33 and 63 percent from a year earlier. But, analysts say, China has achieved this dominance through lavish government subsidies in its solar industry that are detrimental to American companies and other foreign competitors. While most U.S., Japanese and European companies still have a technological edge, China has a cost advantage, analysts say. Loans at very low rates from state-owned banks in Beijing, cheap or free land from local and provincial governments across China, huge economies of scale and other cost advantages have transformed China from a minor player in the solar power industry into the main producer of an increasingly competitive source of electricity.