The Indian Space Research Organization and US National Space Society launched a joint forum to develop partnership in harnessing solar energy through space-based solar collectors.
Image by NASA. An orbiting tower of solar panels, shown extending into space, could gather power to use on Earth.
Just like a solar satellite in the 2002 Bond movie “Die Another Day”, they are planning to launch giant, possibly inflatable structures of photovoltaic arrays and antennas that catch the suns rays and create a focused microwave beam back to collectors on Earth. A special receiving antenna on the ground — called a rectenna — would then turn the microwave energy back into electricity, which would be fed into the power grid.
Image from New Scientist. Sunlight is reflected off giant orbiting mirrors to an array of photovoltaic cells; the light is converted to electricity and then changed into microwaves, which are beamed to earth. Ground-based antennas capture the microwave energy and convert it back to electricity, which is sent to the grid.
The initiative, announced Nov. 4, is spearheaded by former president of India A.P.J. Kalam and the National Space Society, a nonprofit dedicated to making humanity a space faring civilization.
Space-based solar power has the potential to turn Earth into a “clean planet, a prosperous planet, and a happy planet,” Kalam said during a Thursday press conference announcing the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative.
Addressing the press at the National Press Club in New Delhi, Dr Kalam said, “By 2050, even if we use every available energy resource we have: clean and dirty, conventional and alternative, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, coal, oil, and gas, the world will fall short of the energy we need.”
One of the major advantages of space-based solar energy harvesting is that it is not a ground-based solar energy resource. An array of solar panels stationed in a geostationary orbit around the world will receive sunlight for 99 percent time of the year. Plus there are no losses due to atmospheric interferences.
This partnership between the two countries is likely to gain strength as the United States has now removed some technology-transfer limitations which were forced on some scientific research organizations in India after the 1998 nuclear tests. Organizations like the ISRO and Bharat Dynamics will now have access to some sensitive and unique technology.
The U.S. military has already experimented with solar energy beaming and ways to deliver power to remote areas of the globe. For the US, the deal would potentially create thousands of jobs. For India, the project would mean huge amounts of clean energy which it could use to electrify its rural areas and help its economy to thrive.
Image from Himin Solar Energy. Dezhou Solar Valley in China.
The base will be a clean energy technology hub that China hopes will rival Silicon Valley in California. “This is an experiment. It is a big laboratory,” said Huang Ming – an oil industry engineer turned solar energy tycoon.
Image from Himin Solar Energy. Dezhou Solar Valley in China
The $740 million plan has attracted about 100 companies and factories, a research center and wide boulevards illuminated by solar-powered lights.
China’s Solar Valley in Dezhou (Promotional Video)
The main developer for the park’s plan is a company called Himin Solar Energy. It was started by Huang Ming who is often called the ‘Sun King’ of China. Although he says: “I prefer to be called solar madman.” The building that serves as headquarters for Himin Solar Energy is located at the Sun-Moon Mansion and is currently the largest solar powered office building in the world.
Image from Himin Solar Energy.
Sun-Moon Mansion – Himin Solar Energy’s headquarters. Night view.
Image from Himin Solar Energy.
Sun-Moon Mansion – Himin Solar Energy’s headquarters. Day view.
Image from Himin Solar Energy.
Sun-Moon Mansion – Himin Solar Energy’s headquarters. Day view.
An intriguing mix of raw capitalism and socialist planning is giving companies such as Huang’s Himin Solar Energy Group a shot at making a difference.
The city of Dezhou already requires that all new buildings be equipped with solar water heaters (the type made by Huang’s company). Last year they spent $10 million to install solar lighting along several miles of road.
Huang’s company is the world’s biggest producer of solar water heaters. It recently opened a low-carbon five-star hotel and is building Utopia Garden, a gigantic, eco-friendly luxury apartment complex – both with solar-heated pools.
“Renewable energy doesn’t mean people have to be uncomfortable,” Huang states.
Last year, China invested about $34 billion in solar panels, wind turbines and other alternative energy technologies, nearly twice as much as the United States, where green technologies spending unfortunately fell sharply.
Huang notes that, so far, solar energy is “a drop in the ocean” on the road to the major Environmental and Economical changes but he said that Dezhou offers a model for the future. “I like big plans,” he says.
Image from Himin Solar Energy. Huang Ming presents Dezhou Solar Valley.
Who would expect that the small islands of Hawaii are the solar hot water leaders within the United States!
Image from mauisolarproject.org
Check out the size of Hawaii’s solar energy market compared to other key states:
Source: Solar Energy Industries Association.
Considering the fact that Hawaii’s population is a mere 2.5 percent of California’s, it is not difficult to see why the 31st and 50th states deserve notice.
Image from mauisolarproject.org
Hawaii supports solar hot water with a mix of policies:
• An upfront solar hot water rebate of $750 for residential systems ($125/deferred kilowatt-hour for commercial systems)
• A state tax credit of 35 percent.
• The broader 30 percent federal tax credit.
• A requirement that all new single-family homes come with solar hot water system installed beginning in 2010, cutting energy costs by 30%.
What does this means for a typical residential buyer?
If the initial system cost is $7000 (a conservative estimate — Hawaii Energy Efficiency Program estimates the average initial cost is $6,620).
After the upfront rebate of $750, your contractor bill would be $6,250. With the 30 percent federal tax credit, your expenditures would total $4,375.
Finally, after the state tax credit of 35 percent, your ultimate costs would come to a mere $2,500. Of course, this is assuming that you have the appetite for these tax credits — check with a tax expert to see if this is the case.
A residential solar hot water system can pay off in 2 years, and a system lasts between 15-20 years!
As noted above, for a tiny island state with a population just over 1 million, their contribution to and example for the solar hot water market is truly commendable. Many of these efforts had developed from Hawaii’s lack of traditional energy resources and the related need to import oil and gas.
Their Renewable Energy Policy begins by explaining:
The objectives in the area of Alternate and Renewable Energy are to promote commercialization of Hawaii’s sustainable energy resources and technologies in order to reduce the state’s high dependence on imported oil, increase local economic development and reduce the potential negative economic impacts of oil price fluctuations.
Clearly, well-built motivation to implement renewable energy sources leads to prominent results.
The state of Hawaii has a goal of at least 70 percent renewable energy use by 2030. “Achieving this goal is nearly impossible without widespread use of solar water heaters,” Hawaii Sierra Club director Jeff Mikulina says. “The solar roofs bill is smart policy, sensibly crafted to smooth a transition toward zero-energy homes of the future.”
Image by This Old House.
Hawaii, which has always been a dream vacation destination and an ideal residence across the Pacific, has become a sensible renewable energy policy leader!
Kapalua, Maui, HI. Image by Your Solar Link – www.yoursolarlink.com
Using the sun to heat the water in your home will reduce your monthly utility bill, and your family’s carbon footprint on the world.
There is a lot of different companies on the market offering solar water heating systems. One of them is VELUX. It is bringing its Solar Water Heating system, proven for years in Europe and around the world, to the United States.
The Solar Water Heating System. Image by Veluxusa.
Why solar water heating systems?
Today’s energy methods need to become more sustainable, renewable and efficient. Natural resources such as gas and oil have been tapped so much that they are beginning to run low, making them ever more costly and difficult to find. High emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels are also causing noticeable global climate changes.
Energy prices continue to rise, and environmental concerns are high on the nation’s agenda. Savvy homeowners are on the lookout for alternative energy sources. VELUX, a global leader in skylights and other solar technologies, is meeting this need by providing solar hot water heating systems. As you can see, there are many benefits to solar hot water heating that make it a great energy choice.
Cost effective solution.
On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50% – 80%. Also, because the sun is free, you’re protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes. Other financial incentives include:
* Anticipated payback period of 3 to 7 years, in years with state and federal incentives.
* Solar energy systems can take advantage of the sun’s free energy year round.
* Solar energy can be produced even at low temperatures.
* Federal tax credits help pay 30% of the system and installations costs. Many states and utilities offer additional support.
* Between tax credits and energy savings, this system offers a faster return on your investment than other types of solar energy systems.
* Lower first-time start up cost than solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
* Solar energy is an unlimited resource.
* Solar energy does not produce harmful emissions or require transportation or pipelines like electric energy does.
* Solar water heating systems installed in the U.S. help reduce our household energy consumption, and the nation’s reliance on toxic fossil fuels.
* Solar water heating systems will work anywhere in the U.S., not just sunny states.
The Solar Water Heating System. Image by Veluxusa.
How it works?
Water heating systems are economical and effective.
Here’s an easy way to learn the way solar panels work.
What is solar power?
Solar energy is radiant energy that is produced by the sun. Daily the sun radiates, or sends out, a huge amount of energy. The sun radiates more energy in a single second than people have used since the beginning of time!
The energy of the sun derives from within the sun itself.
Like other stars, the sun is a big ball of gases––mostly hydrogen and helium atoms. The hydrogen atoms in the sun’s core combine to create helium and generate energy in a process called nuclear fusion.
During nuclear fusion, the sun’s extremely high pressure and temperature cause hydrogen atoms to come apart and their nuclei (the central cores of the atoms) to fuse or combine. Four hydrogen nuclei fuse to become one helium atom. However the helium atom contains less mass than the four hydrogen atoms that fused. Some matter is lost during nuclear fusion. The lost matter is emitted into space as radiant energy.
It takes countless years for the energy in the sun’s core to make its way to the solar surface, and somewhat over eight minutes to travel the 93 million miles to earth. The solar energy travels to the earth at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, the speed of light.
Simply a small percentage of the power radiated by the sun into space strikes our planet, one part in two billion. Yet this volume of energy is enormous. Each day enough energy strikes the United States to supply the nation’s energy needs for one and a half years!
Where does all this energy go?
About 15 percent of the sun’s energy that hits our planet is reflected back into space. Another 30 percent is used to evaporate water, which, when lifted into the atmosphere, produces rainfall. Solar power also is absorbed by plants, the land and the oceans. The remaining could be employed to supply our energy needs.
Who invented solar energy?
Humans have harnessed solar power for hundreds of years. As early as the 7th century B.C., people used simple magnifying glasses to concentrate the light of the sun into beams so hot they would cause wood to catch fire. More than a century ago in France, a scientist used heat from a solar collector to make steam to drive a steam engine.
At the beginning of the 20th century, scientists and engineers began researching ways to use solar energy in earnest. One important development was a remarkably efficient solar boiler introduced by Charles Greeley Abbott, a United States astrophysicist, in 1936. The solar hot water heater became popular at this time in Florida, California, and the Southwest. The industry started in the early 1920s and was in full swing right before World War II. This growth lasted up to the mid-1950s when low-cost gas had become the primary fuel for heating American homes.
People and world governments remained largely indifferent to the possibilities of solar power until the oil shortages of the 1970s. Today, people use solar energy to heat buildings and water and to generate electricity.
How we use solar power today?
Solar power is employed in a variety of ways, of course. There are two very basic types of solar energy:
* Solar thermal energy collects the sun’s warmth through one of two means: in water or in an anti-freeze (glycol) mixture.
* Solar photovoltaic energy converts the sun’s radiation to usable electricity.
Listed below are the five most practical and popular solutions on how solar energy is employed:
1. Small portable solar photovoltaic systems. We see these used everywhere, from calculators to solar garden products. Portable units may be used for everything from RV appliances while single panel systems are used for traffic signs and remote monitoring stations.
2. Solar pool heating. Running water in direct circulation systems via a solar collector is a very practical solution to heat water for your pool or hot tub.
3. Thermal glycol energy to heat water. In this method (indirect circulation), glycol is heated by sunshine and the heat is then transferred to water in a hot water tank. This technique of collecting the sun’s energy is much more practical now than in the past. In areas as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, solar thermal methods to heat water are economically sound. It can pay for itself in three years or less.
4. Integrating solar photovoltaic energy into your home or office. In many parts of the planet, solar photovoltaics are an economically feasible approach to supplement the power of your own home. In Japan, photovoltaics are competitive with other types of power. In the USA, new incentive programs make this form of solar power ever more viable in many states. An increasingly popular and practical way of integrating solar energy into the power of your home or business is through the use of building integrated solar photovoltaics.
5. Large independent photovoltaic systems. When you have enough sun power at your site, you may be able to go off grid. You may also integrate or hybridize your solar power system with wind power or other forms of renewable energy to stay ‘off the grid’.
How do Photovoltaic panels work?
Silicon is mounted beneath non-reflective glass to produce photovoltaic panels. These panels collect photons from the sun, converting them into DC electric power. The energy created then flows into an inverter. The inverter transforms the energy into basic voltage and AC electrical power.
Solar cells are prepared with particular materials called semiconductors like silicon, which is presently the most generally used. When light hits the photovoltaic cell, a particular share of it is absorbed inside the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is given to the semiconductor.
The energy unfastens the electrons, permitting them to run freely. Solar power cells also have more than one electric field that act to compel electrons unfastened by light absorption to flow in a specific direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by introducing metal links on the top and bottom of the Photovoltaic cell, the current can be drawn to use it externally.
Do you know the positives and negatives of solar technology?
Solar Pro Arguments
- Heating our homes with oil or natural gas or using electricity from power plants running with fossil fuels is a reason behind climate change and climate disruption. Solar power, on the other hand, is clean and environmentally-friendly.
- Solar hot-water heaters require little maintenance, and their initial investment may be recovered within a relatively small amount of time.
- Solar hot-water heaters can work in almost any climate, even in very cold ones. You just have to choose the best system for your climate: drainback, thermosyphon, batch-ICS, etc.
- Maintenance costs of solar powered systems are minimal and the warranties large.
- Financial incentives (USA, Canada, European states…) can aid in eliminating the price of the initial investment in solar technologies. The U.S. government, as an example, offers tax credits for solar systems certified by by the SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation), which amount to 30 percent of the investment (2009-2016 period).
Solar Cons Arguments
- The initial investment in Solar Water heaters or in Solar PV Electric Systems is higher than that required by conventional electric and gas heater systems.
- The payback period of solar PV-electric systems is long, as well as those of solar space heating or solar cooling (only the solar domestic hot water heating payback is short or relatively short).
- Solar water heating does not support a direct conjunction with radiators (including baseboard ones).
- Some air-con (solar space heating and the solar cooling) systems are very pricey, and rather untested technologies: until recently, solar air-con has not been an economical option.
- The efficiency of solar powered systems is determined by sunlight resources. It is in colder climates, where heating or electricity needs are higher, that the efficiency is smaller.
Article by Barbara Young.
Barbara Young writes on motorhome solar panels; in her personal hobby site 12voltsolarpanels.net. Her work is devoted to helping people save energy using solar energy to reduce CO2 emissions and energy dependency.
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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