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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
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.
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.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
When you think of solar lights, you may have visions of those lights found around homes and gardens that put out enough light to show you where they are and illuminate just a little bit of area around them on the ground. Furthermore, they usually charge enough to last only one night. So, if it is cloudy or rainy the following day, they may not emit as much free light as after that first full-day’s charge. Well, there are solar lights out there that are powerful enough to compete (and surpass) with the scale up to traditional street lights. SolTek Renewables is a company that supplies these powerhouses to customers around the globe.
With each light containing all of its own components to be stand-alone units, they are a practical and economic solution that are finding their way onto city streets and parking lots, eventually saving users (taxpayers) millions in electricity usage fees by going off-grid entirely. These solar lights are so efficient that they maintain system autonomy for anywhere between 3-6 days (typically longer). This means that if they charge under one day’s requirement (between 2-4 hours) of sunlight, then they will continue to illuminate as specified for 6 nights under total cloud cover. In regions such as the Southwest, a week with no sun is a rare occurrence. Additionally, the solar panels are efficient enough to gather some charge even under cloud cover. So, there is no stopping these street lights from operating as a serious contender to grid-tied lights. Users are guaranteed that the lights use renewable energy (local utilities can’t guarantee that 100% of their electricity comes from renewable resources) and that each light has a zero-carbon footprint.
The wave of the future is keeping things local. And solar street lights do just that. Just another way to make things work for the better and progress into a positive future.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
Juicebar Pocket Solar Charger.
This stylish, sleek and reliable pocket size Universal Battery Charger (Juicebar Solar Charger) is proven to be your best friend in a situation when conventional electric supply is not available or if you are trying to use eco-friendly renewable power supplies.
Great as a solar phone charger for any type of Mobile Phones, IPhones, PSA, PDA, Mp3 Players, Satellite Navigation, and much more.
Get it HERE.
SOLAR PATH LIGHTS.
Stainless Steel Conical Solar Path Light (Set of 2).
Path solar lights are an excellent choice for lighting your garden paths, walkways, driveway perimeters and other regions in your landscape. They are often used in multiples to guide the way along a set of stairs or a dark walk.
Featured Stainless Steel Solar Light set uses 2 ultra-bright LEDs for maximum light output and minimum battery usage.
The lights are safe around kids and pets and water and corrosion resistant.
Read more HERE
STONE SOLAR SPOT LIGHTS.
Stone Solar Spot Lights (also known as Solar Rock Lights) completely camouflage with existing landscapes and look like any other rock in your garden.
SOLAR GARDEN FOUNTAINS.
How to start using ecologically friendly energy to power up your garden fountains and other garden water features?
Why not go with a solar powered water pump?
To accommodate your needs the Solar Fountain Pump Systems we carry range from 2 to 8 Watt. Browse our collection of solar water pumps for your fish ponds and solar fountains.
Enjoy your garden water features and your energy savings at the same time. Make a note of the various power levels and the flow rate of the solar water pumps before your purchase.
Please write us your review after your purchase. Your opinion is important to us!
DECORATIVE SOLAR ACCENT LIGHTS.
Solar accent lights (Set of 2) create an enjoyable and inviting glow for your landscape.
They are designed to mark a place.
Solar Spot Light - $26.99
Super High Output Spot Light (4 Super Bright LEDs). Free Shipping!
Solar spot lights like this one rely on energy from the sun to charge their batteries and provide light throughout the night.
This means that there is no need to tap into the electrical grid for these lights to operate.
The solar spot lights will work consistently, even if the whole neighborhood is dealing with a power outage.
Learn more about Solar Spot Lights at http://www.yoursolarlink.com/solar-spot-lights, where we have a great selection of solar spot lights to choose from.
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