Researchers and product developers are on the cusp of designing solar cells that may be applied as a spray paint. This means that the surface area (rooftops, fields, etc) of solar collection may find its way onto everyday items, including shopping bags, labels and clothing. Lucelo Technologies in Texas is currently on that path and has (at an early stage) been able to develop a paint that is applied to surfaces and gathers solar energy that is converted to electricity. Instead of the traditional P-N exchange that is used in solar panel systems, Lucelo is able to use nano-crystals to absorb sunlight. And this solution is something that can be added to spray-applicators that you can buy at your local hardware stores. A true do-it-yourself solar system that can be painted onto the side of your home, rooftop, carport shelter, or even on tents while you’re out camping and need to get some electricity to run your LED lights at night.
Greater efficiencies in lighting (LED comes to mind) coupled with advancing rechargeable battery technologies will usher in this wave of do-it-yourself solar technology to just about anyone. Efficiency ratings for the current solar spray hovers around 3% (which is much lower than what current solar panels produce at 15%-20%), but give it some time. Just as solar panels used to have a very low rating, this new method will soon follow suit in building up its efficiency, thus making it a more viable option for low-power demands.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
ExpoSolar, which takes place Oct. 31- Nov. 1 in downtown San José Costa Rica, will be the first event of its kind in Central America to focus only on solar power. It is organized by the Costa Rican Solar Energy Association (Asociacion Costarricense de Energía Solar, or ACESOLAR). During the event a wide variety of firms will present their products, including systems for heating water and photovoltaic systems for generating electricity.
EXPO SOLAR in Costa Rica – October 31-November 1, 2014.
Costa Rica is perhaps one of the most technologically advanced nations in Latin America.
Currently 50 companies are involved in the solar energy business in Costa Rica. They offer services in a number of areas, including consulting, construction, design, installation and distribution, among others.
TEC students, who recently won the prestigious prize for “Favorite House” with their “Casa Tropika” at the Solar Decathlon Europe competition this year in France, also will be present. This was an impressive win not just for the 35 students who put the project together, but also for the country, which beat out submissions from all over the world. The winning Costa Rican entry is a single-family, intelligent house for senior citizens that not only feeds the dog, but also automatically dispenses medications to residents, and of course, is completely solar.
An Israeli solar “tree” was designed by artist Yoav Ben-Dov.
It features solar panels positioned as leaves on metal branches made of pipes and was designed to blend into parks and other green public spaces.
Apart from offering shade, Sologic’s eTree has a water fountain, a WiFi hotspot, a docking station to charge devices, and lights up with LEDs at night, according to the company.
“I wanted to integrate the idea of solar energy to the community by creating the eTree,” Sologic chairman Michael Lasry told NBC News.
The six-year-old Israeli company got its start by providing solar energy systems to homes and businesses.
The first eTree is due to be unveiled Thursday at a park near the town of Zichron Ya’akov, in northern Israel, according to Ynetnews.com.
Meanwhile in US Nevada the neon and incandescent lights of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign will be energized for the first time by newly installed solar trees in a switch-flipping ceremony, marking a new era in Southern Nevada’s clean energy history.
The effort was jointly spearheaded by Green Chips and Clean Energy Project and funded through generous donations from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), NV Energy, the Las Vegas Centennial Commission and Bombard Renewable Energy. CEA owns and operates International CES — the annual worldwide gathering for consumer technologies and new products — which runs through Jan. 10 in Las Vegas.
There’s a configuration to installing solar panels. The rules that are all pretty rigidly prescribed. There’s also a direction they face: South. However they might actually be facing the wrong way.
By having them face south — which almost all the rooftop panels in the U.S. do — they’re in peak position to catch a face full of sun at both rise and set, thereby collecting the most total watts per day.
The problem is that, even if those are the peak time to gather solar energy, those are not the peak times to use energy. If we wanted to lower the total stress on the power grid, a better choice might be installing them to face west, which would result in more energy in the afternoon when energy usage is at its height.
At this point in most parts of the US, there is plenty of electricity available from other sources in the morning and midday. Crunch time is late afternoon, when temperatures are higher and air-conditioners are working hard, and inefficient plants running on natural gas or even coal are cranked up to the maximum. At that point, the declining sun is hitting the solar panels at an oblique angle, reducing power output. “The needs of the grid may mean that they should be pointed west,” more toward the setting sun, said Mr. Tong , the vice president for strategy and government affairs at Clean Power Finance, an investment firm. That way, a bigger portion of their production would come at the hours when electricity was most needed. But their total production would be a bit lower, and that would hurt panel owners, at least under current rules.
Image: North American Solar Stores.
So what is all this talk about “fracking” and is it a good solution for our energy needs? Well, it depends on what you mean by “good”. If you are talking about a short-term emergency energy solution, then you could say it is “okay” (but certainly not “good”.) If you are talking about long-term and sustainable practice, then it’s a great big “NO”. You can argue for it until you are blue in the face, but when it comes to the final product and what it takes to get that product, “fracked” products are bad news. To put it in a short essay, the folks at gracelinks.org have put it succinctly, so we will repost their work in its entirety for you here:
“The United States is home to what some estimate to be the largest known shale gas reserves in the world. Often referred to as the “bridge fuel” that, according to the oil and gas industry, will aid in the country’s energy transition from coal to renewable sources like wind and solar, natural gas now fuels nearly 40 percent of the country’s electricity generation. Natural gas use has soared in recent years, but so too has the controversy surrounding the environmental, public health and social impacts of how the fuel is obtained.
The Marcellus Shale formation, located in the Northeast U.S., is of particular interest to the oil and gas industry, not just because of its large, untapped reserve, but because of its proximity to major population centers. That proximity, however, also raises significant public health concerns. Of primary concern is the potentially damaging impact of natural gas drilling on water resources. A new process conducted by drilling companies has the potential to increase pollution exposure, and concerned members of the public; some state and federal regulators and the environmental community are keeping a close watch on the process.
The method combines a new form of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing – more commonly known as fracking. The process blasts open fissures in underground shale-rock formations by injecting a high pressure combination of fluids, chemicals and proppants causing the fossil fuel to flow to the production well. During the fracking process, millions of gallons of fracking fluid – a mixture of water, sand and toxic chemicals – are injected into the ground to break up the shale and release natural gas. While each company’s formula is a closely guarded secret, in some cases the mix includes known carcinogens.
Some of the fracking fluid remains underground where it could potentially contaminate groundwater in the future, but much of it is brought back to the surface as wastewater. That wastewater contains fracking chemicals as well as naturally occurring radioactive materials and metals found in the surrounding soil. The wastewater is often pumped into holding ponds where it can leak and settle into surrounding groundwater, and impact wildlife. The contamination of groundwater is of major concern for those who live near drilling operations and rely on drinking water wells. And the contamination of watersheds that provide drinking water for millions of people in cities hundreds of miles away from any natural gas drills poses a significant threat as well.
While the natural gas industry argues that fracking will create new jobs, the potential harm to water resources could endanger existing economies. Most proposed gas drilling projects are located in rural areas where a ready supply of fresh water is essential to agriculture, tourism, sport fishing, hunting and manufacturing. Drilling accidents, which can and do happen, can have a profound impact on these industries, and the boom-bust cycle of energy extraction can irreparably change the way of life in rural communities. For a cautionary tale, just look to mountaintop removal mining for coal and the devastation caused to Appalachia’s ecology and public health.
Federal and state responses to the threats to water resources posed by fracking have been mixed at best. At the federal level, regulation is insufficient due to certain explicit exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act granted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The EPA is just now starting multi-year research into the impacts of fracking on water resources, and while preliminary results will be available in 2012, the final report is not expected until 2014.
At the state level the picture is mixed. New Jersey’s legislature, for example, has approved an outright ban on fracking (pending the Governor’s signature), while New York is proposing to ban the practice from certain sensitive areas. Pennsylvania has already received billions of dollars in natural gas drilling investment, making tougher regulations a difficult sell. In all states, however, proper enforcement of any regulations on this rapidly expanding industry will be difficult for overburdened, underfunded and underprepared environmental agencies.
The role that natural gas fracking will play in the United States’ energy future is quickly evolving. The nation is shifting towards electricity generated by natural gas – over the past ten years 81 percent of new electricity capacity has been gas-fired – and state governments are playing regulatory catch-up with the drilling technology’s rapid expansion to meet this burgeoning demand. As states debate how best to protect air and water resources from any potential fracking side effects, the federal government is taking another look at its own imperfect research and oversight. New technologies like “micro-LNG,” which allow production of natural gas for markets without pipeline networks, add to the need for regulators to get a firm grasp on the changing natural gas landscape. Please check this page often as we will update with the latest fracking news and research.”
So, why are we reposting this and giving you the dirty details on the fracking debate? Well, being as we are purveyors of sustainable energy, there is no better autonomous solution (at the time of this writing) than solar technology. The other side may say that solar uses vast amounts of energy to create the panels and resources for the LEDs, but the same can be said about the initial costs and materials for the fracking and dirty energy industries. Let it be known that we are talking about sustainability and appropriate technology here, neither of which fracking is sustainable nor appropriate.
Go solar today! Don’t let them scare you into thinking it is not a viable option (okay, it isn’t so great of an idea at 90 degrees latitude, but how much of the world population lives at the north and south poles?) Once you have broken from the spell of a 100-year conditioning, you will find that there are alternative energy solutions out there (check Your Solar Link and their supply of off-grid solar lighting) and available to you at this very moment.
Take the power back!
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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