Solar Power News for May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009 at 8:40 am 2 comments

It seems that we are back on the solar band wagon just in time for the official start of summer, Memorial Day (at least here in California!). There are new records, interesting items and construction news so let’s get started.

First here is a device to keep your other devices charged while you are enjoying the outdoors, the powwerbrella (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-gadgets-powerbrella-charges-portable-devices-with-solar-electricity/) via the good folks at Ecofriend.

Excerpt: “Designed for use at outdoor venues such as cafés and restaurants, hotel and resort swimming pools and outdoor lounges, the Powerbrella incorporates the Power Plastic on the surface of SKYShades’ retractable and fixed architectural SKYbrella. Testing for the Powerbrella has been done in 2008 at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando. Physics students at Lake Highland checked the effectiveness of the Powerbrella to withstand the elements, its ability to generate clean green energy and the amount of resulting power that could be stored in batteries for reuse.

It also looks like our friends in the Congress are doing what they can to stimulate the alternative energy industries with the “American Climate and Energy Security Act” . There is a great story here on Clean Beta (http://cleantechlawandbusiness.com/cleanbeta/index.php/3731/us-house-puts-revolutionary-climateenergy-bill-in-play/) and for those of you into such things here is the link to the legislation (http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1630:energy-and-commerce-committee-passes-comprehensive-clean-energy-legislation&catid=122:media-advisories&Itemid=55).

Along this same line, the Chinese solar manufacturer, Suntech is planning a second public offering. The story can be found here also on Clean Beta (http://cleantechlawandbusiness.com/cleanbeta/index.php/3740/suntech-plans-follow-on-public-offering/).

On the construction news front we have Lockheed going to build a very large solar thermal plany in the Arizona desert (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-tech-lockheed-martin-to-build-solar-thermal-plant-in-arizona/) and the folks at Budweiser in Contra Costa County have installed solar to help offset the power consumption needs of their cold storage building (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/05/22/budweiser-cold-beer-storage-building-installs-solar/).

Also the modular housing folks are finally getting firmly on the bandwagon with their i-House (why does all of this stuff have to sound like it is manufactured by Apple?).  Anyway the story is here on Ecofriend (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-homes-clayton-homes-introduces-solar-powered-modular-i-house/).

Next we have a story via Ecogeek that really interests me (http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2762/).  It is all about taking the street lighting off the grid via solar and wind power options.  It always gets me angry when I see these lights on during the day and I also have a really good idea of what they consume power wise during the dark hours.

Excerpt: “French company Windela has created a street lighting system that works without any connection to the grid. The Windelux is powered by both a small vertical wind turbine and a solar PV panel.The lamp is comprised of 84 LEDs and automatically switches on when a photosensitive cell detects that it’s dark. A built-in control system stops the wind generator if the wind speed is too high and also allows the pole to act as a Wi-Fi relay.

Well we also have a new solar panel efficiency record courtesy of Sanyo.  The new record is less than 1% better than the previous one and still only gets us to 23%, sigh….Anyway the story is here on Ecofriend (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-tech-sanyo-develops-world-s-most-efficient-silicon-solar-cells/).

In the design and wouldn’t be nice section we have a concept of the busstop of the future via Treehugger (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/solar-powered-bus-stop.php). The stop has a lot of good features that all require the connection ot the internet and of course power. However it doesn’t seem to provide any more protection from the elements that the traditional ones do, leading to a less that wonderful experience in certain parts of the country. Also I can’t wait to see what the taggers and other vandals will do to something like this.

Excerpt: “Riders can plan a bus trip on an interactive map, surf the Web, monitor their real-time exposure to pollutants and use their mobile devices as an interface with the bus shelter. They can also post ads and community announcements to an electronic bulletin board at the bus stop, enhancing the EyeStop’s functionality as a community gathering space.

To go along with the theme of transportation we have some Welsh folks talking about a solar powered car that can achieve 100 mph! The story on Ecofriend (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-cars-welsh-solar-car-reduces-emissions-not-the-thrill/) is unfortunately short on a couple of details that I am curious about, especially what the range of the vehicle drops down to when you are attaining those speeds?

Lastly today we have an attempt to make solar panels prettier to please all of those pesky home owner associations. The story on Treehugger (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/solar-trees-camouflage-about-as-well-as-cell-phone-towers.php) has an obvious opinion I can agree with.  The company mentioned, Solar Botanicals is trying to disguise a solar power set up as a tree or grove of trees.  I can only imagine what this is going to look like and with the technological hurdles facing them as well as the complex city planning and zoning issues surrounding such a product.  I wish them all the luck in the world but I think we are a long way from seeing anything here that is going to be pleasing to the eye or fool anyone into thinking it is anything other than a attempt to hide something.

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: Solar Power. Tags: , , , .

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