New Solar Energy Possibilities for Homes
Guest Contributor post by Matt J @ South Shore Roofing A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, using new and eco-friendly technologies. There are many different systems and technologies for powering your house while being eco-friendly and saving energy. One of the most popular and efficient systems is solar electric system, which includes solar...
Full mAh capacity range of NiMH (the good chemistry) rechargeable batteries for Solar Lights are now available!
Solar lights for the home and garden come with pre-installed, pre-charged batteries from most (safe to say, all) manufacturers when you buy them online or directly at stores. What many people don't realize is that these rechargeable batteries will eventually run their course and lose all of their effective capacity after about 2 years of nightly use. These solar light batteries are almost always r...
CES 2016: Solar Powered Gadgets of the Future.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a prominent global electronics and technology focused trade show that takes place every year in Las Vegas. Held in January each year, it is known for introducing the latest technology trends and most innovative electronics. This year, solar energy was at the forefront with a huge variety of tech that uti...
Holiday Gift Guide: Solar Tech for your Home, Kids, and the Outdoors.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor The gift that keeps on giving has never been greener, and the time to buy one for your friend or loved one is quickly approaching. This year for the holidays, instead of giving some trite piece of clothing or kitchen appliance, try looking for the perfect gifts for those eco-friendly friends who wants to help benefit the environment, or perhaps for a family...
The Benefits of Floatovoltaics.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor Now that most governments, environmental organizations, scientists and even the Catholic Church have agreed on the need to combat climate change, innovative solutions are being sought in many quarters. The old ways of doing things simply won't cut it now that we're aware of the harmful effects of traditional means of power generation, such as the burning of...

New Solar Energy Possibilities for Homes

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on May 13, 2017 in Creative Solar, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

Guest Contributor post by Matt J @ South Shore Roofing

A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, using new and eco-friendly technologies. There are many different systems and technologies for powering your house while being eco-friendly and saving energy.

One of the most popular and efficient systems is solar electric system, which includes solar panels. They can help seize the sunlight and heat and create electricity. With them you can cut your costs significantly in the long run. And the added bonus is that they look great.

Solar Panels on a residential roof.  Image courtesy of www.southshoreroof.com.

Solar Panels on a residential roof. Image courtesy of www.southshoreroof.com.

Small solar electric or photovoltaic systems are reliable producers of electricity for your home, they use natural, renewable energy, the sun, they do not pollute and are extremely cost effective. This kind of system includes solar panels for your roof that absorb the energy from the sun and use it to generate heat or electricity.

There are two main categories of rooftop solar technologies that are being used today and from which you can choose:

  • The first one is photovoltaic (PV) which uses solar cells to convert the sunlight directly into electricity. The performance of a solar cell is measured in terms of its efficiency at turning sunlight into electricity. It is energy-efficient, as well as cost-effective. PV devices can be used to power anything from small electronics (calculators and road signs) up to homes and large commercial businesses.
  • The other is thermal which uses sunlight to heat water or air for the interior of your house. The heated water stays in an insulated tank, much like with a conventional water heater, and you can use it whenever. By using solar energy, rather than fossil fuels, solar thermal systems reduce utility bills, as well as the emission of carbon-based greenhouse gases. They do cost more to install than traditional water heaters, but they can save you a lot of money on your water heating bills.

Solar panel technologies are advancing even further, in both their use and design. For example, they can now be designed in a way that makes them less visible and prominent than the standard solar panels, even incorporated and hidden within the structure of your roof. According to iAltEnergy, thin panel technology allows for thin laminated continuous strips of panels to be hidden in the profile of the roof or even incorporated in your windows.

Solar pathway lighting for around the home and garden.  Image courtesy of www.southshoreroof.com.

Solar pathway lighting for around the home and garden. Image courtesy of www.southshoreroof.com.

You should also think about solar lighting and batteries for your home, both indoors and outdoors. These lights are just as good as your standard ones, intensity-wise, if not better. And they are certainly better when it comes to energy and power consumption, which is minimal – they are powered by the sun. They are small and can be charged and connected to a system of solar batteries. These batteries are also powered by the sun. The way it functions is simple. During the day, the lights are powered by sunlight, and the battery system charges. When the sun goes down and the lights cannot absorb its energy anymore, then they are powered by the solar batteries. Both the lights and the batteries are very affordable and good for the environment.

CES 2016: Solar Powered Gadgets of the Future.

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on February 5, 2016 in Creative Solar, Latest Technology, Solar News - Comments: 1 Comment »

by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a prominent global electronics and technology focused trade show that takes place every year in Las Vegas. Held in January each year, it is known for introducing the latest technology trends and most innovative electronics. This year, solar energy was at the forefront with a huge variety of tech that utilize the power of the sun. Here are some of the most impressive solar-powered products featured at the 2016 event.

The GoSun Sport Solar Oven is a 100% clean energy solar cooker that can cook food in 20 minutes! Image courtesy of www.gosunstove.com.

The GoSun Sport Solar Oven is a 100% clean energy solar cooker that can cook food in 20 minutes! Image courtesy of www.gosunstove.com.

GoSun Stove

The GoSun Stove is a portable cooking stove that is powered by solar energy. The small tubular metal and evacuated-glass cylinder can reach temperatures of up to 550°F or 290°C. It is low maintenance, capturing the sun’s rays even on cloudy and winter days to steam, bake, fry, roast or boil meals in as little as 20 minutes. The highly effective solar oven is expected to help combat global warming by reducing dependence on fossil fuels for cooking. We should expect the latest model to ship by this summer.

The Misfit Shine Monitor is a chic new way to track fitness, sleep and daily food patterns. Image courtesy of www.misfit.com.

The Misfit Shine Monitor is a chic new way to track fitness, sleep and daily food patterns. Image courtesy of www.misfit.com.

Swarovski Fitness Tracker

One other trend at CES came in the form of wearables and fitness trackers. However, the Misfit Swarovski Shine, really stood out for its solar-powered design and flashy looks. The face of the tracker is a single large crystal embedded in a crystal-studded band, and the device is powered by a solar cell inside the central crystal. This fitness tracker combines advanced solar power technology with fashionable design, and is expected to make a splash when it comes on the market later this year.

The slim Sol bag by Samsung is ideal for charging smart phones and tablets while on the go. Stylish and efficient, a sure way to keep energized with free energy from the sun. Image courtesy of www.mashable.com.

The slim Sol bag by Samsung is ideal for charging smart phones and tablets while on the go. Stylish and efficient, a sure way to keep energized with free energy from the sun. Image courtesy of www.mashable.com.

Samsung Sol Bag

Samsung has created a different kind of wearable. The Samsung Sol Bag is a purse and a solar charger all-in-one. About the size of a small laptop, its stylish hexagon pattern belies the solar cells that charge your Galaxy phone in as little as four hours. Although it can’t store power (so you have to enjoy the sunshine a bit while it charges), it is expected to be quite a hit with consumers when it hits the shelves in late 2016.

The new solar charger kit, known as the NRG Sunbook is another great way to charge your devices with free energy from the sun. Image courtesy of www.digitaltrends.com.

The new solar charger kit, known as the NRG Sunbook is another great way to charge your devices with free energy from the sun. Image courtesy of www.digitaltrends.com.

The Sunbook 7 and Sunbook 14

The Sunbook by NRG – touted as “Simple Portable Solar Power”- is a basic concept that is quite revolutionary. This portable solar panel can be used to charge your phone, using the Sunbook 7, or your tablet with the Sunbook 14 with a basic kickstand and LED-light indicator light to ensure good sun placement. The detachable battery pack must be charged up in the sun before using it to charge electronic devices using free, clean, renewable energy.

Capable of charging in 30 minutes at up to 80% capacity, the Activeon SolarX video camera has its charging capabilities built into it. A sure way to keep the camera rolling when out and about. Image courtesy of www.activeon.com.

Activeon Solar X

The Activeon Solar X is a video camera with a 2 hour battery life that is charged completely by the flip-up solar panels attached to its sides. Charging is supposed to require less than 30 minutes to reach 80 percent battery power. Video quality is 2,160p through a f2.4 wide-angle lens, and it has a 2-inch touchscreen and WiFi capability for uploading videos. It is expected to be available in March and is currently priced at $430.

All this focus on solar is unsurprising, since the solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. This is no surprise as renewable energy use has been steadily growing, accounting for 13 percent of the energy generated in the United States, according to Ohio Gas. Solar power, in particular, is an excellent way to reduce the human impact on the environment. For that reason it can be expected to be used in a wide range of gadgets and larger applications in the coming years.

The Benefits of Floatovoltaics.

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on October 15, 2015 in Creative Solar, Latest Technology, Solar News, World News - Comments: 2 Comments »

by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor

Now that most governments, environmental organizations, scientists and even the Catholic Church have agreed on the need to combat climate change, innovative solutions are being sought in many quarters. The old ways of doing things simply won’t cut it now that we’re aware of the harmful effects of traditional means of power generation, such as the burning of coal and the combustion of gasoline. Solar photovoltaic panels are one means of addressing this issue, but this equipment often takes up a lot of space – land that could be otherwise put to productive use. Now entering the picture is a method for placing solar panels on top of water, a type of technology dubbed “floatovoltaics.”

Floatovoltaic installation in Thailand. Image courtesy of www.greenbiz.com.

Floatovoltaic installation in Thailand. Image courtesy of www.greenbiz.com.

Although there are issues with covering up the surfaces of lakes, ponds and other natural habitats, these elements of our beautiful landscapes aren’t usually under consideration for floatovoltaic projects. There are vast areas of salt water, waste water, reservoirs and other places in which floatovoltaic setups will have little negative impact on either wildlife or aesthetics. By employing currently-unused watery areas to collect solar rays, we can avoid having to devote agricultural or other productive land to this task. Floatovoltaic systems can achieve better efficiency in converting solar energy into electricity than traditional equipment. Because they’re constantly being cooled by the water beneath, floatovoltaic setups aren’t subject to overheating as ground-based solar arrays are. Research suggests that this cooling effect makes floatovoltaics 8 to 10 percent more efficient than old-school solar solutions.

The way it works is that the panels are tied together and secured atop bodies of water so that they can’t float away. Certain components, particularly the wiring, need to be waterproof, which means that floatovoltaic systems tend to cost more for the initial hardware and installation than a normal solar array. On the other hand, they’re relatively safe from erosion due to sand and damage from humans or animals. The electricity produced by floatovoltaics can be used locally or tied into the pre-existing electric grid to power homes and businesses some distance away. Indeed, one of the advantages to this means of electricity production is the fact that revenues can be generated by selling excess energy to energy providers and nearby utility firms.

Large floating solar array (floatovoltaics) on a standing body of water. Image courtesy of www.arisesolar.com.

Large floating solar array (floatovoltaics) on a standing body of water.
Image courtesy of www.arisesolar.com.

Another aspect of floatovoltaics that’s getting a lot of attention in drought-stricken areas, like California, is the fact that by covering bodies of water, they counteract evaporation. The Los Angeles Reservoir has been losing a lot of water to evaporation, making drought-related problems throughout the state worse. In a bizarre scheme, officials released millions of “shade balls” into the reservoir. These balls are specially coated to block sunlight and thereby hinder evaporation, and they also inhibit the growth of algae. Instead of introducing these shade balls, which have raised ecological concerns among some observers, public authorities could instead employ floatovoltaic panels to achieve the same ends while simultaneously generating some revenue through the sale of electricity.

Black plastic shade balls implemented onto Los Angeles Reservoir surface. Image courtesy of www.abcnews.go.com.

Black plastic shade balls implemented onto Los Angeles Reservoir surface. Image courtesy of www.abcnews.go.com.

Several similar projects are already underway right in the Golden State. A winery in Napa Valley hired SPG Solar, since acquired by SunEdison, to place the appropriate infrastructure on an irrigation pond. This allowed it to avoid having to cut down valuable vines while still becoming self-sufficient in electricity production. Sonoma County, in the San Francisco Bay Area, has decided to lease the rights to six ponds full of wastewater to the company Pristine Sun, which will set up floatovoltaic cells. The project is expected to generate electricity for 3,000 households while bringing in $30,000 annually in payments for the water rights.

Japan’s Kyocera is one of the leading enterprises in developing this kind of solar energy. It has created the largest such system in the world in Hyogo Prefecture and is working on an even bigger project at Yamakura Dam in Chiba Prefecture. Amazingly, the equipment will be able to withstand winds stronger than 100 miles per hour and is designed so that earthquakes will not affect its operations. French firm Ciel et Terre is partnering with Kyocera for the job, and it’s also working on creating floatovoltaic systems for use in Thailand.

Floating solar array in Australia. Image courtesy of Infratech Industries.

Floating solar array in Australia. Image courtesy of Infratech Industries.

From populous India and arid Australia to tech-savvy Japan and green-energy-conscious Brazil, countries around the world are working on using floatovoltaic technology to augment their clean energy efforts. Because it uses much of the same equipment as normal solar power, albeit with certain modifications, we’ll see floatovoltaic solutions march step-by-step in line with further advances in the solar industry as a whole. Extending humankind’s renewable energy efforts to aquatic environs means that total solar production will increase without putting pressure on scarce land resources.

MIT researchers claim to have created a 24/7 solar power system.

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on February 8, 2015 in Latest Technology, Solar News, World News - Comments: No Comments »

Researchers at MIT claim to have developed a liquid catalyst system combined with solar (photovoltaic) cells that will generate renewable energy 24/7. “A liquid catalyst was added to water before electrolysis to achieve what the researchers claim is almost 100-percent efficiency. When combined with photovoltaic cells to store energy chemically, the resulting solar energy systems could generate electricity around the clock, the MIT team said.” (R. Colin Johnson via www.eetimes.com)

Basic electrolysis diagram.

A generalized electrolysis diagram illustrating the potential of 24/7 energy from the sun. Image courtesy of www.nmsea.org.

What this means for the renewable energy industry is that a solar array system can be designed where it generates electricity during the day (weather permitting) that can carry on through the evening hours. This process coupled with energy storage via rechargeable battery storage units, could revolutionize the way we design our future communities and industry. Micro-grids are thus a very probable solution to weaning the world off of non-renewable energy sources that are environmentally damaging and costly.

Renewable energy from the sun will extend beyond sunset.

Renewable energy from the sun will extend beyond sunset. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

The future is looking very bright for our ever-expanding energy usage. Renewable energy is not just around the corner, it is here today. And with proper designs of cities and communities, autonomy is a very real option that will become the norm, rather than the exception.

Solar flowers using renewable energy from Your Solar Link.

Solar flowers using renewable energy from Your Solar Link. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

24/7 renewable solar energy? Yes! Gonzo approved!

24/7 renewable solar energy? Yes! Gonzo approved!

The cleanest of renewable technologies (to date): Hydropower and the Dilemma of Lake Mead.

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on October 31, 2014 in Solar News, World News - Comments: No Comments »

There are several technologies that currently exist (and scientists are working to find others) that use clean and renewable energy methods to produce energy; notably, electricity. One of the cleanest (thanks to the pioneering work of Nicola Tesla) and impressive is that of hydropower. Given that hydropower is quite simply the harnessing of electricity by the flowing of water, and in the case of Lake Mead and its corresponding Hoover Dam, falling water. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US by volume and serves as a source of water and electricity generated by the dam supplies private and public utilities in Arizona, Nevada and California. Furthermore, Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction that brings in nearly 1 million visitors per year. However, with the current drought that is impacting the Southwest, this feature is rapidly depleting, thus will affect all the above industries and the recipients of water and electricity downstream.

Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Image courtesy of www.qtlv.com.

With the dam producing an average of 2,000 megawatts of power, a halt in the water going through the dam’s turbines will have significant consequences. No water, no electricity. To put this into perspective, the Agua Caliente facility in Arizona (the largest solar array system in the world with more than 5 million solar panels) produces about 290 megawatts of power. So, it would take almost 7 Agua Caliente’s to meet the output of 1 Hoover Dam. It can be done, however, the dam provides more than just electricity. The tourism and most importantly, the water is of the highest priority to inhabitants in the region. What can be done to curb this crisis? Appropriate technology, passive design of homes and offices, energy efficient appliances and a revolution in the way we live our lives are all measures that we can take as a society to ease the demand of electricity and keep progressing into a positive future. Certainly, properly designed cities that take into account the size of the population and productivity are a must and can be done by our city planners. It just takes the will to do it and the courage to make it happen.

Agua Caliente solar array facility.

Agua Caliente solar array facility in Arizona. Image courtesy of www.scientificamerican.com.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Stainless steel solar wall light.

Stainless steel solar wall light from Your Solar Link. Image courtesy of www.yoursolarlink.com.


 
 


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Green Gardener Corner


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