October 30, 2009

Hello Kitty Solar Planter

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It certainly didn't take long for Hello Kitty to go green. With almost every electronic you can think of in the feline design, they now have a Solar Kitty that will not only light up a space, it comes with a planter as well. You can now pre-order the 9 1/2 x 11 3/4 × 15 3/4" cutesy combo.

Via Solar Hello Kitty


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October 30, 2009

Site O' the Week: Sanyo Provides Light for Quake Victims

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Sanyo has donated 1,000 solar rechargeable eneloop powered lanterns to earthquake victims in Sumatra. The lights will be given to the Indonesia Red Cross and distributed to those without power. What else can we say except kudos to the company and name it our SOW this week.

Via Sanyo

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October 29, 2009

Sun Supplies Power for Traffic Light

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A group of designers from Taiwan have created this solar-powered traffic light. Red, yellow and green LEDs shine in one space instead of the traditional three. Cheng-Tsung Feng, Yao-Chieh Lin and Bo-Jin Wang won a Lite-On Silver Award for their prototype that will hopefully become the real thing in years to come.

Via Yanko

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October 29, 2009

ReNu Wins Best Design Award

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The product that won first prize at the recent Consumer Electronics Association i-Stage competition was the ReNu Solar Charger. Regen's slick-looking system consists of a freestanding power module with solar cells, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that powers up by day and an intelligent user interface. The panel will be available in February for $199.00 and can be used with Rengen's iPod Dock.

Via Rengen Living

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October 28, 2009

Dell Constructs Solar Grove

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Computer company Dell now has a solar shaded parking structure. Dubbed Solar Grove, Envision Solar and McBride Electric built a system that produces 130KW of power from 516 photovoltaic panels. The space is roomy enough for 50 cars and also houses 2 solar charging stations for vehicles. Dell hit its carbon neutral status last year in an effort to become "the greenest technology company on the planet."

Via energy matters

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Sun Jar Sets the Mood

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The Solar Sun Jar incorporates a frosted Mason jar with a solar cell, rechargeable batter and LED lamp. After charging, the light automatically comes on but can also be overridden with a manual switch. At a size of 6.7 x 4.7 x 4.7", enjoy the moment without needing an outlet.

Via Solar Jars

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October 27, 2009

Belfast Constructs Solar Car Chargers

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Northern Ireland is the proud owner of its first solar powered car charger. Located outside the Hilton Hotel in Belfast, the device can provide juice even on a cloudy day. The Cross Group has the franchise for the chargers and hopes that there will be many more of them in the next 5 years, when sales of electric cars will be on the rise. At a cost of £30,000 (~$49,000.00) apiece, we don't foresee them outside the local equivalent of a Motel 6.

Via Belfast Telegraph

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BLOOM is Future of Mobile Living

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Created to support 6 vacationers for a week, the BLOOM is a mobile living module. Designed by Olga Kalugina, it will feature solar panels on its roof and batteries to supply all the heat and power the home needs. Lateral parts of the module fold up to transport the portable housing unit, then it unfolds from the center to the outside. We are so waiting to see this future of mobile home parks.

Via ecofriend

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October 26, 2009

Bangladesh Gets Converted Irrigation Pumps

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A new solar powered irrigation pump has been built in the Kaishar Char village in Savar, Bangladesh. Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Limited converted a 10HP diesel pump and says that it will save up to 760MW of electricity and 800 million liters of diesel in a year. While the company admits building it was not inexpensive, they also claim it will last for the next 20 years. They plan on installing more throughout the country and have already sold 10 to government and nongovernmental organizations.

Via energy bangla

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Solar Pumpkin Statue

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While those around are inflating their electricity bill with Halloween decorations, you can be the green orange one with Tektrum's Pumpkin Statue. At a size of 10 x 6 x 4.75", the resin-made device charges during the day so that it shines at night automatically for up to 8 hours. The heavy, waterproof solar veggie has a built-in LED that will last up to 100,000 hours.

Via Tektrum Pumpkin Statue

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October 23, 2009

Go Cowboys! With Solar Gnome

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Dallas Cowboy fans, show your support during your next patio or tailgate party with this Solar Gnome. The 15" NFL licensed dude is made of a resin material and is designed with official team color and logo. A charge during the day means that your gnome will shine by the time you get to that last keg.

Via Dallas Cowboys Solar Gnome

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Site O' the Week: Mother Earth News

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Mother Earth News has been around as long as we can remember, as it came out in print over 30 years ago. So it is no surprise that one of the leading green magazines deserves our SOW honor. They have always been concerned with such topics as renewable energy, homesteading, green transportation and sustainable farming, so of course they are a fine source for all things solar. The News is still available in print for now at a reduced rate of $10.00 for 6 months.

Via Mother Earth News

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October 22, 2009

Ugandan Schools to Receive Solar Systems

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The Kyocera Corporation has volunteered to install 600W solar systems in 15 Uganda schools. The project should take about 5 years, converting 3 buildings a year. Each system's equipment can be used in educational activities, including lighting and TV watching. Statistics claim that only 20% of urban and 4% of rural areas have electricity in the country.

Via Kyocera

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Calgary Adopts Solar Speed Readers

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Next time you travel to Calgary, you may run into their new device that posts the speed limit, instead of one that tells you your speed. The solar speed reader flashes the number and will also chastize the driver. Ald. Andre Chabot claims that when using the other kind, "There's been some cases of people actually speeding up to them to see exactly how fast they can get that thing to register." The city has purchased 16 at a cost of about $6,000.00 apiece, sans berating voice.

Via Calgary Herald

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October 21, 2009

Gratzel Panels Make For Colorful Radio

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Lea Longis designed this Helio DAB radio that utilizes Gratzel solar panels to provide it with power. The mini-jukebox is not only self-powering, but when the panels catch the sun they are aesthetically pleasing as well. The Gratzel panels have been described in this way, "There's a revolution going on in solar energy, which is about to become part of our daily lives in unexpected ways - appearing with multiple forms, richly colored and with multiple functions. "

Via Tuvie

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Cover your Fence Posts With Solar Caps

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The Accent Garden Outdoor Decor FenceCap is a fine way to utilize solar energy while not having to make major adjustments. Designed for 4" posts, each contains a bright, white, water resistant LED bulb that can last up to 100,000 hours and solar panels. The included Ni-Cd AA battery will run for about 2 years before needing a replacement. Best of all, it will automatically come on when dark.

Via Accent Garden FenceCap

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October 20, 2009

LG POP Features Optional Solar Charger

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LG has been working on a new compact phone dubbed the POP. Also known as the GD510, it plays music and movies, has a 3" WQVGA touchscreen and is compact and more affordable than most. But the best aspect of the cellie is that it has an optional solar cell that can charge in 10 minutes for 2.25 minutes of talk time or 180 minutes of standby. We know that's not really so much, but it's a small step towards saving the planet. The POP will launch this month in Europe before moving on.

Via LGE

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NESS Affordable Hot Water Systems

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It's great to go solar, even better if you can do it at a low price. In New England, that's where NESS (New England Sustainability Strategy) comes in. They offer Solar Hot Water Systems that would normally cost over $7,000.00 for less than $3,000.00. After installation, the savings will add up to $300.00 - $700.00 per year. On their second go round with the program, they have already gotten 160 residents to sign up. If you would like to be a part of it, apply here.

Via NESS

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October 19, 2009

Carmanah Marine Lantern a First

The M650 solar LED marine lantern, a first of its kind, automatically adjusts to fit its location with built in "intelligent deployment." Carmanah Technology's light provides visibility of up to 4 nautical miles for about 5 years, but it is the rigorous testing that it had to go through that makes it stand out from other lamps. Check out the video from the Canadian company as the lantern goes through being beaten, thrown against walls and subjected to fire hoses and electrical surges.

Via Maritime Journal

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Team Germany Wins Solar Decathlon 2009

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The results are in. Team Germany won the Solar Decathlon 2009 last week, their second time doing so. Their idea was to "push the envelope with as many new technologies as possible." The house is a 2-story cube almost completely covered with PV panels with single crystal silicon on the roof and copper indium gallium diselenide on the sides. The group claims that electricity production is twice that needed.

The house also includes furniture that serves multiple purposes and/or fold up when not in use and a combination boiler/heat pump system. The cost of the home is $650,000 to $850,000. Illinois, Team California, Team Ontario/BC and Minnesota round out the top five.

Via Solar Decathlon

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October 16, 2009

Sunforce Solar Charging Kit

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If you read us regularly, then we know that you want to do your bit to save the planet, like we do. So why not start by erecting your first solar system? This kit from Sunforce provides up to 60W of power for your home, RV, boat or remote area. The 4 weatherproof panels can withstand wind, rain and hail moving up to 50 mph. Also included in the kit is a 54 x 12 x 42.2" frame, a 200W inverter, a wiring kit, a 7A controller and a built-in LED charging indicator.

Via Sunforce Solar Kit

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Site O' the Week - Grant Associates Solar Trees

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Singapore will be housing a new green botanical garden next to their Marina Bay at a size of 54-hectares (about 72 soccer fields.) To be built by the Grant Associates, architects Wilkinson Eyre and engineers Atelier 10, the Marina South Gardens will feature huge solar trees that stand 25 - 50 feet high. They will be used as hot water heaters, solar panels, venting ducts and rainwater harvesting systems. The project should be completed by 2011. Take a peek at more designs via the link to see why they have earned our SOW this week.

Via Grant Associates

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October 15, 2009

Sun Boxes' Music Aligns with Nature

Craig Colorusso built 20 speakers, each with a solar panel and guitar sample. Collectively the Sun Boxes play an entire composition, but when anyone wanders between them, they receive an alternate experience. Because the music samples are of different length and because Mom Nature created clouds, the music changes constantly and stops after sunset.

Via Important Records

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Students Erect Solar Panel On Campus

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After receiving a $14,500.00 grant, Washington's Stanwood High School's agriculture department installed a solar panel on its campus. About 30 students built the 1,360W panel which will supply their nursery plants with light and heat as well as power their aquaculture laboratory that houses 10,000 juvenile salmons.

Via HeraldNet

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October 14, 2009

Green Badge Wearable Solar Cell

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Leon Zhu feels that solar powered cell phones aren't so practical as they are usually kept in a pocket when not in use. The designer's idea is to incorporate a solar cell module with a photo-electric conversion coat and an ultra-thin battery pack that can be worn or clipped to clothes or bags. The Green Badge harnesses the sun and stores it in its built-in necklace to power up those phones. It can also be used as a light source on its own.

Via Design Boom

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Chameleon Solar Globe

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Do you ever tool around your neighborhood and see weird shiny globes that seem to serve no purpose? You can one up them with this Chameleon Light that you can plant on its garden stake, place on your porch or float in your pool or jacuzzi. And yes, the 6.4 x 6.7 x 6.4" globe changes colors.

Via Solar Globes


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October 13, 2009

Dow to Carry Solar Shingles

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Apparently, Dow Chemicals will soon be in the solar shingle business as of next year. Because they can be integrated with asphalt, the CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) cells can operate on a higher than 10% efficiency and will cost 10 - 15% less on a per watt basis than the usual polysilicon cells.

Via Slashdot

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SolarGorilla Charges Your Laptop

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There is now a solar charger for laptops and notebooks. The Powertraveler SolarGorilla has a clamshell design, two solar panels and comes with a variety of tips. The charger is also compatible with any electronic device with a power socket, such as an iPod, iPhone, PDA, MP3/MP4 player or handheld game. The SolarGorilla is water-resistant, folds up for traveling and has an LED to display charge intensity.

Via SolarGorilla

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October 12, 2009

i-Scoob it in the Snow

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The i-Scoob is a concept that will make snow treks more fun and environmentally friendly. The two seater snowmobile has a hybrid internal combustion engine/electric motor. Foldout solar panels give extra energy in places where there is no power source and options include its engine working as a generator or the ability to plug into an electric socket. Controlled with a joystick, it also has an LCD that displays performance, navigation and climate control information. Heat is retained inside as the i-Scoob is designed to use the greenhouse effect.

Via Diseno-art

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Dubai to House Vertical Village

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Dubai is certainly the place to use solar power in a big way. Graft Lab's Vertical Village will combine residential and entertainment facilities as well as a hotel. It was designed with a solar collector array that automatically positions itself towards the sun. The roof itself breaks up the solar field and heats up water to reduce the amount of air conditioning needed.

Via Graft Lab

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October 9, 2009

DIY Solar Print Kit

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With the holidays coming on, you can make your own greeting cards and save a bit of energy and printer ink. Toysmith's Solar Print Kit provides 2 frames, 2 pre-printed stencil sheets, 12 sheets of solar paper, three note cards with envelopes and complete instructions. Refills are also available.

Via Toysmith Solar Print Kit


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Site O' the Week: Louis Vuitton/Voltaic Solar Bag

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Even designers can think green, as evidenced by this Louis Vuitton bag upgraded by Mark Farina to use a solar panel that can charge your LV 888 cell phone. Using a Voltaic solar panel kit, the bag features 1.3W solar panels and battery. Voltaic was so pleased with the idea that they put Farina's DIY instructions on their site. We are so pleased we made them our SOW this week. The project will cost you between $100.00 - $200.00, depending on the parts used.

Via Voltaic Systems

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October 8, 2009

RVs Go Greener

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Even RVs are becoming more eco-friendly. Manufacturers are making them more fuel efficient with diesel engines/batteries that get more mpg and some have sleeker front ends. They are also making them lighter and many of them are powered by solar and wind power. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association says that up to 20% of RVers use solar panels for their on board systems.

Via Peter Greenberg

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SonUmbra Tree Provides Shade and Company

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The SonUmbra is made up of light-emitting fabric that has been woven into branches. Designed by Loop.pH, its canopy captures sunlight during the day, then shines all night. The "sonic shade of light" is intended to be a shelter from the sun in remote areas by day and a great place to meet by night. Displayed at this year's London Design Festival, MoMA and Mowbray Park, Sunderland, the electroluminescent fibers make it not only practical but artistically aesthetic.

Via Loop.pH

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October 7, 2009

Swiss Alpine Solar Lodge

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The Swiss Alpine Club has built a mountain refuge that gets 90% of its energy from solar power with the remaining 10% from cooking gas. Located near Zermatt, the edifice uses the melting nearby Gorner, Grenz and Mount Rose glaciers as its water source. With a metal exterior and a wooden interior, the 6.3 million dollar lodge can accommodate 120 visitors.

Via AFP

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Helius Solar Backpack

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Helius' Solar-Power Backpack can charge your iPod, PMP, cellie and most other electronic gadgets in about 2-4 hrs. At a size of 18 x 13 x 9" and a weight of a mere 3.5 lbs., the bag supports notebooks up to 15.4", has interior and exterior pockets, a headphone port and is made out of long-lasting 840D nylon. The backpack comes with multiple adapters for most brands of PDAs and cell phones.

Via Solar Backpacks

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October 6, 2009

Bluetooth Headset Has Infinite Standby

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The Stylish Solar Power Bluetooth Headset actually has infinite standby time under sunlight. With 5 hours of listening/talk time, it can support up to 2 notebooks, cell phones or other electronics. The earpiece has a volume control button, noise reduction technology and comes with 4 sizes of headphones and a cradle. Also chargeable by USB, the headset carries a MSRP of $66.90.

Via Mobile Brando

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Maine High School Develops Solar Car Kit

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Art Haines, a mechanical designer, drafted 8 students from Skowhegan Area High School in Maine to develop and build a 2-seater street legal car (in 35mph zones) with a solar panel mounted on its hood. After the original prototype was completed, they came up with a pre-welded DIY kit that anyone can order for $5,500.00 (batteries not included.)

The SUNN EV has a 10HP DC motor, two shocks, large diameter wheels and an 85W solar panel. The vehicle can travel up to 30 miles at a speed of up to 25 mph when fully charged by the sun or wall outlet. Owners can select color and configuration when choosing between the truck or SPIRIT 3-wheeler.

Via SUNN EV

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October 5, 2009

Solar LEDs Light Up With Flexibility

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Solar Vision Pole has a different attitude towards off-grid lighting. Instead of needing bracing for wind like ordinary lamps, the pole itself is wrapped up with a flexible panel. Four gel batteries located in its base charge an LED light that can produce up to 50W of light after 6 hours of charging. The result is a lamp that will run all night. While $5,000 seems like a high price, we can think of some college campuses and parking lots that could benefit from the poles.

Via EDN

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Tokyo Bids for Olympics With Solar Stadium

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So the Olympic Committee chose Rio over Chitown as the host of the 2016 games, but you have to admire Tokyo's proposal with their environment-friendly approach that included a solar powered stadium. Perhaps they will consider building it anyway as an effort on their part to help the planet.

Via Tokyo 2016

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October 2, 2009

La Crosse Solar Battery Charger

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While solar power is often used to cut back on batteries, we find La Crosse Technology's AlphaPower Battery Charger quite creative. It works with NiCad and NiMH AA/AAA rechargeables and can do both sizes simultaneously. The device has overheat-detection for preventing overcharge. There are four different modes, charge, discharge, recharge and test and 4 LCD displays for readout.

This kit comes with 4 AA and 4 AAA batteries, 4 C and D adapters and a handy travel bag. If you already have batteries, La Crosse also sells the charger separately.

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Site O' the Week: Google

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Our SOW honor this week goes to Google, who took it upon themselves to go greener. At the recent Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit hosted by Reuter's in San Francisco, Bill Weihl said engineers are working on solar thermal technology that will drop the cost of 18 cents a kW-h to about five. The company has invested about $50 million in the mirror tech so far and is testing to see if it can handle desert conditions before its debut.

Via GCAES

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October 1, 2009

UKY Entry in Solar Decathlon, S-KY BLUE

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Last week we showed you Texas Rice University's Zerow House that was entered in the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC. Take a look at the University of Kentucky's S-KY BLUE Home. The home is 800 sq. ft. with solar panels on its roof and along the sides for powering. It also features custom-built cabinets, 100% access to sunlight and KY native plants placed along the deck.

Via University of Kentucky

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Solar Charging Corridor to be Built on CA Hwy. 101

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SolarCity generally makes residential power systems, but has teamed up with Holland's Rabobank to create a 5-station solar charging corridor between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The 240V stations will be placed along Hwy. 101 and should be 3 times faster than current ones. One solar powered station has already been placed in Santa Maria.

Via Reuters

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