TAG: Solar energy

PhotoFlow Harvests Solar Energy and Rainwater

photoflow

Two of the most important needs in developing country are a reliable source of off-grid power and a source for potable drinking water, and one design firm, NOS, thinks they might have the answer to both of those needs, in one integrated package. The “PhotoFlow” uses eight triangular solar modules to harvest the sun’s energy, which are mounted together in an octagonal structure on the top of a water tank. The system can catch and channel rainwater hitting the panels into a central filter and then into the water tank for storage. “Each module is equipped with first-generation monocrystalline silicon… read more

GoSunStove: Portable High-Efficiency Solar Cooker

Solar cooking

Using the free energy supplied by the sun to cook our food is a great way to get started with renewable energies and sustainable and appropriate technology, but because most of the solar ovens on the market are large and unwieldy, and not very efficient, solar cooking hasn’t been very widely adopted, except in places with no other alternative. But a new portable high-efficiency solar stove that can heat up quickly and efficiently, as well as hold the heat in during cloudy intervals, promises to bring solar cooking into the 21st century. The GoSunStove, weighing in at just 3.5 pounds,… read more

Portable Solar Tracker Boosts Efficiency 30%

Portable Solar Tracker Boosts Efficiency 30%

To get the most electricity possible from a solar panel array, the cells need to be facing directly at the sun at all times during the day. However, many photovoltaic arrays are installed at a fixed orientation and at a fixed angle, which allows them to produce an acceptable amount of energy during large parts of most days of the year. But for the other times of the day, such as mornings and evenings, and at different times of the year, those PV panels aren’t generating very much electricity. With a large enough array, and a big enough battery storage… read more

U.S. White House Installs Solar Panels

U.S. White House Installs Solar Panels

As part of an energy retrofit meant to improve the building’s overall energy efficiency, the United States White House will be getting solar panels to offset at least some of the iconic structure’s electrical demands. But the move to install a renewable energy source at a very notable location in the U.S. may help to do a lot more good in the long run than just through the electricity they generate, just by their very presence at the home of the President of the United States. According to the Washington Post, an official with the White House confirmed that solar… read more

Indian Railways Developing Solar-Powered Air Conditioning

Indian Railways to use Solar-Powered Air Conditioning

Solar power may eventually be used to power air conditioned coaches on railways in India, potentially cutting down on the use of fossil fuels to cool down the passengers. A new project from Integral Coach Factory and Indian Institute of Technology Madras will work to design a viable substitute for powering the air conditioning on passenger trains, some of which currently use an additional “power” car to provide energy for the AC systems. “We have asked IIT Madras to find ways to tap solar power and use it for interior lighting and air conditioning. An MoU was signed a month… read more

Dirt Cheap Solar Cells Could Be Coming

Dirt Cheap Solar Cells Could Be Coming

With today’s solar panels typically retailing for around $.75 USD, it’s no wonder that home solar power systems aren’t more widespread, as it takes a considerable investment to install a home-scale solar array. But if you can imagine a world where access to solar power could be as cheap as $.10 to .20 USD per watt, it’s simple to see that installing solar power systems for buildings and homes would become more of the norm, enabling owners to not only save money, but to be somewhat self-sufficient in their energy systems. And that day could be coming, as a new… read more

Low Cost, High Efficiency Mobile Solar Sensor Developed

Low Cost, High Efficiency Mobile Solar Sensor Developed

A new, highly efficient and low-cost mobile solar sensor for field analysis of solar cell performance has been developed by researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Electronics Science and Technology Division. The new sensor, which costs about $20 USD to produce, takes aim at the growing number of mobile solar power units, and the device can serve to measure and analyze solar cell irradiance performance and spectral distribution, which can help to improve both efficiency of systems and to forecast power supplies. “We have invented a novel minimum size, ultra-low power spectral radiometer unit with integrated data storage… read more

Report: Solar Energy’s Land Use Footprint

Report: Solar Energy's Land Use Footprint

A new report from the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sheds some light on the land use requirements for solar energy plants, which should help improve the planning and development of solar plants in the US. While previous attempts to calculate what the land footprint is for solar electric arrays relied on estimates and calculations from modelling, this report is based on actual data from 72% of the solar power plants currently installed or now under construction in the United States. “Having real data from a majority of the solar plants in the United States will help… read more

Combined Wind and Solar Energy Charger

K-Store_greenblack-K3s

This gadget is a triple-treat for off-grid power, being capable of charging via an AC wall outlet or USB connection before you go, or with wind and solar power while out in the field. The Kinesis Industries K3 Charger has a large rechargeable lithium-ion battery inside it (4000 mAh), that can be used to power just about any mobile devices, from phones to music players to GPS units or cameras. The unit has adapter tips for various devices, and can be stood up, laid down, or hung, making it versatile and easy to use. K3 Specs: Nominal DC Output: 5V… read more

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

What’s more fun that racing around a solar powered vehicle? How about a race that involves 47 teams of them from 26 countries in a world solar and electric car competition that is the largest of its kind in the world? The World Solar Challenge is a global event that was initially the idea of Hans Tholstrup, who built a solar vehicle called the Quiet Achiever. In 1982 he took his handcrafted vessel on a drive from the west through the east of Australia. Not wanting to contain the fun and challenge of building a solar car, he enticed others… read more