Giving Thanks for Solar Power – Round up for 11/28/08

November 28, 2008 at 11:30 am 1 comment

There is certainly a lot to be thankful for with this latest group of solar power new items!

First we have an update on a story I wrote about earlier ( https://askthefm.wordpress.com/2008/10/05/the-weeks-sola…october-5-2008the-weeks-solar-news-october-5-2008/) about the Vatican embracing solar power in a big way.  It seem that the project is complete now just in time for the holidays.  However according to Treehugger.com (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/11/vatican-completes-rooftop-solar-array.php) The Vatican has more and even bigger plans on its quest to become a carbon neutral state.

Excerpt: “Reuters is reporting that the governor of Vatican City, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, said that the Vatican is considering building a 740 acre solar array on land it owns north of Rome. The land now contains the transmission center for Vatican Radio; the mooted solar power system would supply six times the energy the radio station requires, with the remainder of the electricity to be sent into the Italian national grid.

Also on this story and providing a distinctly different opinion of the effectiveness of the installation is Ecofriend.org (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-tech-vatican-city-goes-green-with-a-huge-solar-roof/).

On the pure research from those marvelous folks at MIT are at it again.  They have been showing off improvements to solar technology that could improve the efficiency by as much as 50%!  There is a great article at Greenbang.com (http://www.greenbang.com/6593/power-boost-for-solar-cells/). It is interesting to note that the story hasn’t hit MIT’s Technology Review yet…..

Excerpt: “But a team of physicists and engineers at MIT in the US have used computer simulations to boost the output from solar photovoltaic cells by as much as 50 per cent.

How have the MIT boffins done this? They applied an anti-reflection coating to the front and a combination of multi-layered reflective coatings and tightly spaced array of lines to the backs of ultra-thin silicon films, which cause the light to bounce around longer inside the silicon layer, giving it time to deposit its energy instead of just being reflected back out into the air.

Next is news that Sharp the Japanese technology giant is investing 1.05 billion in a solar power generating partnership in Italy that should eventually generate 189 MW of power for the southern part of the country. The story is on Greenbang.com (http://www.greenbang.com/6623/sharp-sets-up-105bn-solar-power-venture-in-italy/).

The biggest story, at least from my perspective (I live in Southern California) is the announcement by the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaragosa of a plan to generate atl east 10% of the power needed by LA from solar power. While I have my concerns about how this is going to be accomplished I am certainly applauding the attempt.  The full story is here at the LA Times site: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-solar25-2008nov25,0,2714480.story

Excerpt: ” The plan calls for enough solar panels to produce 1,280 megawatts of power, a goal that would be reached through a combination of private and public generating facilities and the installation of solar panels on homes.

“Nobody’s contemplated that many megawatts for one city,” said Rhonda Mills, Southern California director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and a solar power advocate.

The announcement Monday is the latest in a series of renewable energy initiatives touted by the mayor in recent weeks, including using redevelopment funds to lure “clean” technology companies and investing city pension dollars in environmentally friendly companies.

Lastly in honor of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and a major shopping day her in the US is a solar powered item: The Solar Powered LED Patio Light!

I agree with the writer at Ecofriend.org (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-gadgets-solar-powered-led-patio-umbrella-light/) that this type of device is more for the convienence than any benefit to the planet as it is made in a mostly environmentally unfriendly way.

Excerpt: ” The plastic used in the construction of the lights would have used up more energy than what the solar panel would ever generate in its lifetime. The lights would have been wonderful had they been made of a more ecofriendly material.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are home safe after whatever shopping you attempted this day.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: News, Solar Power. Tags: , .

Solar Power Update for November 24, 2008 New Building Materials and Technology for December 1, 2008

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