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.
The America’s biggest solar services firm and its leading installer of rooftop solar systems, SolarCity announced on Wednesday that it’s now offering bonds online to everyday investors, the New York Times reported.
Bonds are a form of debt: the purchaser pays the bond seller a fixed amount, then the seller pays back the amount over a pre-determined amount of time along with interest. SolarCity’s bonds will be sold in $1,000 increments, and will be available to any U.S. citizen, 18 or older, with a domestic bank account. In one, two, three, or seven years bonds will offer interest rates between two and four percent.
The company has already raised $575 million through the conventional bond market, which is generally only available to wealthy and institutional investors, and is run through middlemen in the financial services industry.
SolarCity will handle the bond sales and the paperwork through its own website, and the plan is to offer $200 million worth of bonds initially, but expects to make additional offerings on a fairly regular basis in the future.
The company will also pay back the bonds using the monthly electricity payments from its solar customers. “The big innovation in this announcement is not solar-specific; it’s the offering of simple, attractive corporate bonds to the general public,” observed Shayle Kann, the vice-president of Greentech Media, a renewable technology research outfit.
Researchers in The Ohio State University have created a “solar battery” by combining the energy-harvesting panel with the energy-storing medium at a microscopic level.
The device could change the way solar power is used. In the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers report that they’ve succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device. Ohio State’s Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, led the team that made the breakthrough, which was reported this week in Nature Communications.
Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery. The panel, like any other solar cell, produces electrons when struck by sunlight. But then, instead of having those electrons piped to a separate battery unit and leaking as much as 20 percent of them in the process, they built the battery right into the panel. The solar-sensitive part is porous, and gives access to a battery layer that attaches and detaches oxygen from lithium ions to store energy.
“Basically, it’s a breathing battery,” Wu explained in a news release. And, strangely enough, the panel is tuned to a certain wavelength of reddish light by using iron oxide as a dust — also known as rust.
“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”
He and his students believe that their device brings down costs by 25 percent. Combining the production and storage of solar power could indeed reduce costs and make solar-powered devices compact.
The invention also solves a longstanding problem in solar energy efficiency, by eliminating the loss of electricity that normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery. Typically, only 80 percent of electrons emerging from a solar cell make it into a battery.
With this new design, light is converted to electrons inside the battery, so nearly 100 percent of the electrons are saved.
The design won the $100,000 clean energy prize from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2014, and the researchers formed a technology spinoff called KAir Energy Systems, LLC to develop it.
Scanning electron microscope image shows nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide (larger image) which cover the surface of a piece of titanium gauze (inset). The holes in the gauze are approximately 200 micrometers across, allowing air to enter the battery while the rods gather light. Image courtesy of Yiying Wu, The Ohio State University.
The U.S. Department of Energy aims to make electricity from the sun cheaper than that from burning coal or natural gas.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Silicon translates sunshine into electricity—and Earth receives enough sunshine in a daylight hour to supply all of humanity’s energy needs for a year. But despite being as common as sand, photovoltaic panels made from silicon—or any of a host of other semiconducting materials—are not cheap, especially when compared with the cost of electricity produced by burning coal or natural gas. The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) aims to change that by bringing down the cost of solar electricity via a new program dubbed “SunShot,” an homage to President John Kennedy’s “moon shot” pledge in 1961.
The U.S. Department of Energy aims to make electricity from the sun as cheap as that from burning coal or natural gas – by 2017.
Image: Dennis Schroeder, NREL Staff Photographer.
“If you can get solar electricity down at [$1 per watt], and it scales without subsidies, gosh, I think that’s pretty good for the climate,” notes Arun Majumdar, director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–e), the DoE’s high-risk research effort. “With SunShot, the goal is to reduce the cost of solar to [$1 per watt] in the next six years.”
As it stands, melting silicon or depositing thin layers of copper indium gallium selenide, then manufacturing photovoltaic modules and installing them on rooftops or in large arrays in the desert, can cost as much as $10 per watt. And whereas some technologies can deliver modules for roughly $1 per watt, installation at least doubles that.
“We are making solar for the masses…to get to [a] cost point that is viable,” said Bruce Sohn, president of Columbus, Ohio–based First Solar, the world’s largest thin-film photovoltaic manufacturer, which claims it can produce its modules for less than $1 per watt, on a panel at ARPA–e’s second annual summit on March 1. “We are looking to make something that can compete head to head with fossil fuels over the long term.”
As part of the new SunShot initiative, DoE committed some $27 million to fund novel methods for producing solar cells and their components—like 1366 Technology’s effort to grow pure silicon wafers directly rather than hewing them from long ingots of the material or Solexant’s effort to build thin-film solar cells from semiconducting materials that are neither toxic nor rare. The goal is to produce solar modules at roughly 50 cents per watt with attendant hardware and installation costing the same amount. To reach that target the photovoltaic cells will have to convert at least 20 percent of the sunlight that shines on it into electricity and cost only 25 cents per watt by 2017. “The future of the U.S. depends on three securities: national, economic and environmental. The foundation of all of this is innovations in energy technology,” Majumdar said in his own speech to the summit. “The future is still up for grabs. How do we win the future? Invent affordable clean technology. Make them locally, sell them globally.”
Of course, harvesting the sun’s power is not limited to photovoltaic panels. The DoE push also will incorporate efforts to create solar-thermal power plants that can store the heat of the sun for 12 to 17 hours by 2020, along with attempting to address some of the issues surrounding permitting, inspection and connection of solar systems to the electricity grid. “We want change, we want innovation, we want to overthrow the old energy order,” said former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a summit keynote address. “We want a new era of energy and a new era of American competitiveness.”
Already, electricity from the sun costs roughly the same as that generated from burning fossil fuels in places like Hawaii, which remains the only state to rely on imported oil for the bulk of its power. And solar power represents the fastest-growing sector of electricity generation. U.S. solar production in 2010 increased by nearly one gigawatt (billion watts), although that represents roughly the amount of electricity one nuclear power plant can produce. But even at that pace of adoption—spurred by both federal and state government largesse—solar still produces less than 1 percent of all U.S. electricity. And in 2035, by which time the DoE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that solar will have grown fastest among all energy resources (increasing sevenfold), all renewables put together, solar included, will only provide 14 percent of U.S. electricity.
The EIA has often been wrong in such long-term forecasts, but competing with natural gas—newly cheap thanks to the vast resources tapped by fracking in the eastern U.S.’s Marcellus Shale Formation—may prove difficult, even with SunShot. “Natural gas has low capital cost, higher fuel cost but overall lowest costs,” noted EIA Administrator Richard Newell at the ARPA–e conference. “There are significantly higher costs for other power sources.”
Yet, even at a higher price, solar can offer benefits, which is why Duke Energy has invested $50 million putting solar arrays on the roofs of grocery stores and some of its other large customers. “Distributed solar can be thought of as a distributed resource, a multiple value resource,” Duke Chief Technology Officer David Mohler told ARPA–e attendees. “The proper comparison for that is not the cost of a bulk power system, it’s the cost and benefit of having an embedded resource.”
And flexible solar cells in sheets have already found novel applications powering the telecommunications and other electronic equipment of U.S. Marine units deployed in Afghanistan. Small-scale solar is also booming in places such as Kenya that do not have an electricity grid for charging cell phones or batteries that power lights at night. “We will need every energy resource we can lay our hands on,” said Kurt Yeager, executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, an effort to develop the smart grid in the U.S. “There are two billion people in the world without access to electricity. Security means giving them energy.”
Of course, the DoE has already invested some $1 billion in solar energy research since the turn of the century, funding efforts to develop “black” silicon or cells employing quantum dots. “If renewables are cost-competitive with fossil fuels then it’s a very, very different world,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said at the ARPA–e summit.
Secretary for the US Department of Energy, Steven Chu, discusses the big picture of how the United States uses Energy and why innovation in clean technology is the key to Winning the Future.
Yet, despite inventing the technology in the 1950s and more than 30 years of government support, the U.S. share of the global market for photovoltaic modules is down from more than 40 percent in 1995 to just 6 percent in 2011. China’s Jiangsu Province alone—home to Suntech Power, the world’s largest maker of photovoltaic panels—has begun investing more than $152 million a year in solar technology since 2009.
“Just because we lost the lead doesn’t mean we can’t get it back,” Chu said. “We still have the opportunity to lead the world in clean energy…but time is running out.”
Article by By David Biello.
Is the future of oral hygiene solar? Are we ever going to stop depending on toothpaste? Will we be using solar power instead of toothpaste one day? In Japan, the Shiken company is trying to give answers to these questions by field testing an unusual solar-powered toothbrush that doesn’t require toothpaste.
Soladey-J3X a solar-powered toothbrush.
The Soladey-J3X is a solar-powered toothbrush designed by Dr. Kunio Komiyama (dentistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan) and Dr. Gerry Uswak. The first model was designed 15 years ago (it was described in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology) and more work has been done since then in order to perfect it.
Now, Komiyama is back with a new model, the Soladey-J3X, which he says packs twice the chemical punch compared to the original.
It is a solar-powered toothbrush with a solar panel at its base that transmits electrons to the top of the toothbrush through a lead wire.
Soladey-J3X a solar-powered toothbrush.
These electrons react with acid in the mouth, creating a chemical reaction that breaks down plaque and kills hazardous bacteria. This means no toothpaste is required – helping you save more money in the long run (as well as water, since there is less rinsing to be required).
Image from www.kk-shiken.co.jp. Soladey-J3X a solar-powered toothbrush. Plaque removal mechanism.
Soladey-J3X a solar-powered toothbrush.
Researchers have already tested the toothbrush in cultures of nefarious bacteria that cause periodontal disease. The solar-powered brush caused complete destruction of bacterial cells.
How much power does the Soladey-J3X need to be effective? To get fully charged this toothbrush needs only as much sunlight as a solar-powered calculator.
The Soladey-J3X won the first place prize out of 170 entries at the annual FDI World Dental Conference in Dubai last month. This gives Komiyama confidence that there is scientific merit to the brush.
Learn more about this solar-powered toothbrush at the Shiken company’s website.
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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