January 29, 2010

Happy Flower Bobblehead

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As a twist on the singing flower, this solar Happy Flower's petals and leaves bobble as the sun hits it. It works with both natural and artificial light, and needs no batteries. Cheer up someone's home or office, or think Valentine's Day.

Via Happy Flower

Sheila Franklin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 29, 2010

Solar Snob Site O' The Week: Sol Inc.

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Our SOW award goes to Sol Inc., a company that is donating solar lighting systems to Haiti. The lights will be used at food distribution areas, medical stations and along roads leading to Port-au-Prince. They have also launched an initiative for others who want to help. Purchase a Tropical Solar Light System for the country and Sol Inc. will match your donation. The TSL takes less than an hour to install and can withstand 170 mph winds.

Via Sol Inc.

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January 28, 2010

UA to Construct Solar Tech Park

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The University of Arizona Tech Park is using solar power to make themselves and others aware of same. They will be building a 45 acre park covered with parabolic solar mirrors. When the $32 million project is completed next year, it will generate enough energy for over 1,500 homes and will reduce up to 1,600 tons of carbon emissions. In addition to producing electricity, it will also house a research and development facility.

Via UA News

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January 28, 2010

Energy Roof Goes Up in Italy

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The Energy Roof, designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, is powered by the sun and wind, and is completely self-sufficient. The west wing is covered with solar cells while the east wing has 5 wind turbines. Located in Perugia, Italy, the decorative and strange looking canopy is an entrance to an underground gallery that displays the history of the city and connects to a metro station.

Via Coop Himmelb(l)au

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January 27, 2010

Solar Bibles en Route to Haiti

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A US based group is sending audible Bibles to Haiti. Designed to run on solar power, about 600 "Proclaimers" are apparently en route. The organization believes that it will provide the homeless spiritual relief. They have been around for a while and their free audio books come in 482 different translations in about 150 different countries, in this case French and Creole, Haiti's native languages.

Via ABC

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Subscribe to Energy Matters and They Will Plant a Tree

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If you would like to make a difference in helping the planet, subscribe to the Australian based Energy Matters newsletter, a free weekly source of information, and they will donate a tree in a place where it is needed. Their solar and wind experts have reported that it has already planted about 20,000 trees in the last 18 months in areas such as Africa, Asia, India, the Philippines and South America.

Via Energy Matters

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January 26, 2010

BYD Looks Ahead to Solar Vehicles

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Warren Buffet's latest investment is in BYD (the letters are the initials of the company's Chinese name), a firm that is involved in production of batteries, mobile phones and automobiles. The company showed off its electric cars at the recent NAIAS and says that it is looking into solar power to run their vehicles in the future. The $22,000 car is expected to be imported to the US sometime next year.

Via CNN

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Heliotropis Combines Art and Light

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Anthony Castronovo designed the Heliotropis, a combination of bronze, ceramic and glass in the shape of a flower. His outdoor sculpture features petals that will open during the day, close at night and are illuminated with an LED array. Solar panels in the leaves collect the sunlight and Arduino microcontrollers let the flower to respond to such environmental aspects as temperature, barometric pressure, light, and wind. The Heliotropis will be erected in Rumson, New Jersey with a target date of sometime this year.

Via Anthony Castronovo

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January 25, 2010

Solanterns Shed Light in Kenya

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Solanterns are being sold in Kenya to replace kerosene lamps that can cause fires and damage users' lungs. At an initial price of 2000 Ksh (~$25.00,) families will save money in the long run as kerosene usually costs about $90.00 per year while the lantern will last for 3 yrs. before the battery needs replacing. The company's goal is to replace a million of them.

Via Solanterns

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EADS Astrium Needs Solar Partners

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EADS Astrium is looking for partners to help produce a solar power demonstration in orbit. The satellite system collects sunshine and then transmits the energy to the planet with an infrared laser. Chief technology officer Robert Laine says that they are testing it in labs and improving the efficiency of the system. He is hoping that a launch will be possible in the next decade.

Via BBC

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January 22, 2010

Solar Light Sticks Brighten Walkways

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These Light Sticks quietly get their power during the day, then illuminate your walkway, backyard, driveway or other external sites. Easy to install, the devices are slimmer than most, easy to install and will last up to 100,000 before needing to be replaced. The set of four 2 x 2 1/4 x 27 3/4" stakes run on included AA batteries.

Via Solar Light Sticks

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Abandoned Site Becomes Solar Apartment Complex

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What was once an abandoned industrial site in Oakland, California, has become a 99-unit housing development that cost over $41 million to complete. The Ironhorse at Central Station not only has a unique name, it has affordable one, two and 3 bedroom apartments that are solar powered. They have a total of 185 photovoltaic modules and 42 solar water heating collecting. Designed by David Baker and Associates, and built by J.H. Fitzmaurice, the Bridge Housing owned complex targets families with incomes from $18,000 to $50,000. The company is accepting applications now.

Via Bridge Housing

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January 21, 2010

German Company to Plant in Oregon

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CentroSolar Group AG, a solar module manufacturer, will be building a manufacturing plant in Gresham, Oregon. The Germany based company recently received $4.7 million in federal tax credits but there are no details yet as to site or amount of jobs the project will provide.

Via Biz Journals

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eSolar to Build Solar Plants in China

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California based eSolar has teamed with China's Penglai Electric to create at least 2 GW of thermal power plants within the next ten years. The first CSP to be built in Tulin, China this year will consist of 92mW and will be co-located with biomass electricity generation facilities. eSolar claims to be the first company to provide solar benefits to China.

Via eSolar

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January 20, 2010

Sequim Installs Solar Panels on High School Roof

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Sequim High School, in Sequim, Washington, has received a state grant for $25,000 to green up their roof. Bill Seabolt, a retired engineer who teaches the same at the school, is leading the project that installed 10 new solar panels on the roof. Excess power is to be sold back to the Clallam County Public Utility District grid. Having only spent $20,000 on the endeavor, the remainder was used to purchase an energy module with a solar array, wind-powered generator and fuel cells.

Seabolt righfully claims, "There's a lot more out there than auto shop. I'm trying to expand their horizons."

Via Peninsula Daily News

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Disco Ball Comes in Solar Version

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Party on! Have your own mini disco experience with the mirrored, solar powered Disco Ball from Kikkerland. The 12 x 9 x 9 globe can be used indoors or outside. Add a BeeGee or two and let the fun begin.

Via Kikkerland

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January 19, 2010

Sungen Chargers Fold Up

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Sungen introduced a new series of foldable chargers at the recent CES 2010. With built-in battery and solar panels, a full charge is reached after 18 - 25 hours of sun. The company also released a kit for RV refrigerators and other appliances.

Via Sungen

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New Jersey Houses Enormous Solar Carport

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What is being touted as the largest solar-powered carport in the US has been constructed at an auction facility in Bordentown, NJ. In an area of 13,000 sq. meters, the 1MW structure, built by Alpha Energy, has 5,880 solar panels of 170W capacity and is about the size of three American football fields. It was constructed with 11 inverters so that if one array is damaged, 90% of the total power can still be supplied. The system should generate more than 1,056,000 kilowatt hours per year which is enough to power 114 homes.

Via Alpha

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January 18, 2010

University Develops 'Oil and Water' Solar Cell Assembly

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The University of Minnesota has been working on a method of self-assembling of small solar components that combine to make cells. The researchers plan to mesh silicon and gold on a 2 dimensional sheet by using an oil/water mix. This has resulted in needing only 3 minutes to create a 64,000-component device. The team believes that this method can lend itself to many types of electronic components.

Via BBC

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ULVAC Combines PV and EV in Charging System

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Tokyo's ULVAC has combined photovoltaic power-generation with rapid charging for electric vehicles. The company will be building a facility that includes solar panels, power conditioner, power supply and a power-generation control monitor for Chigasaki City. Any power not used for charging can be sold back to local electric companies. The system takes about 25 minutes for 80% of the EV's capacity.

Via Solar Industry Mag

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January 15, 2010

Kikkerland Dynamo AM/FM/Weather Radio

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Kikkerland's AM/FM Radio also gives weather updates during emergencies. The 3 x 2.2 x 3.2" gadget works on solar power or by hand cranking, and can be used for camping as well. We like the design and green color, but remember not to leave it out during the summer on your lawn.

Via Kikkerland

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Solar Snob Site O' the Week - Sopogy

Sopogy, our SOW, stands on the forefront of solar technology. Their products use algorithms to follow the sun and harness its energy while leaving a minimal footprint. The SopoNova 4.0 is a solar collector that can produce a temperature as high as 392° F. SopoFlare is a solar system that is roof mounted. Utilizing a parabolic trough, the system follows the sun and can capture a heat of 150-250° F.

Via Sopogy

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January 14, 2010

Concord Keystone USB Eco Chargers

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Concord Keystone, maker of the Eco Tag, has announced two new portable Eco Chargers, one being a flat panel and the other foldable wallet type. Both connect via USB and are available in in 4.5 Volt, 300 mA and 5.0 Volt, 600 mA capacity. Made with polymers that protect the solar cell, the lightweight, thin and flexible chargers are perfect for the outdoorsy types and are temperature and shadow-resistant.

Via Imaging Resource

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UNR Student Develops Solar Distillation Pond

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Francisco Suarez, a doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Reno, is developing a process that will save ecosystems in closed basin regions, such as the Great Salt Lake and Salton Sea, where the evaporation rate leaves a high concentration of salt and minerals. His solar pond traps heat in the storage zone on the bottom, which can reach temperatures of up to 195º F. It can then desalinate the water with a patented membrane distillation system that uses the solar heat as the energy source.

Via UNR

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January 13, 2010

Arnie Approves 244 Green Projects

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In spite of their financial woes, or perhaps because of them, California has become the first American state to sign an agreement with the Department of the Interior that will allow 30% tax cuts for using the Recovery Act. The Governator has 244 projects that will result in the state's obtaining 33% of its power through renewable energy by 2020. Solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric plants are all a part of the master plan.

Via Instal Biz

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Midnight Meals With Solar Grill Light

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Now you can barbecue during the night with the Solar Grill Light. Outdoor and salt-spray tested, the 4 LED bulbs will last about 50,000 hours and the built-in panel charges the included 3 AA Ni-Cad batteries. When fully charged, expect up to 4 hours of light. Made of stainless steel, it clips to any shelf up to 1" thick.

Via Solar Grill Light


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January 12, 2010

Thin Solar Film to be Produced in Italy

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Sharp, Enel Green Power and ST Microelectronics have decided to work together to produce thin film solar cells in Italy. This type of cell can better maintain a conversion in any climate. The plant is expected to produce a first year's capacity of 160MW, expanding in time to 480MW. Most of the them will be sold in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Via Sharp

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Updraft Towers Planned in Arizona

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The Aussie based EnviroMission will be erecting two solar updraft towers in La Paz County, Arizona, that will produce 200 megawatts of power. The structures use the greenhouse effect and thermal convection to drive turbines that produce energy. The idea has been kicking around since the 80's and the company had planned to erect one in New South Wales but ran out of funds. We are pleased that someone had the $750 million it will take to build the 2,400 ft. tall towers.

Via EnviroMission

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January 11, 2010

Tokyo Displays Solar Roof Orbs

These may look like giant light bulbs, but they are actually solar roof orbs, a less expensive alternative to panels. Situated on a roof top in Tokyo, the devices catch and transmit sunlight into the home. These are definitely not a good idea for small buildings surrounded by trees or taller buildings.

Via Inventor Spot

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Canada Plans Eco Friendly Cité Verte

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Canada tends to be on the quiet side of things, but not with the planned Cité Verte. Backed by Quebec's government, the $300 million project includes 800 homes that use 30% less energy and reduce water usage by 50%. The project includes on-site solar power, LED street lamps, waste recovery, rainwater management and narrow streets to encourage less car usage and promote self-service bicycles.

Via Canada.com

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January 8, 2010

Etón ARC Radio/Flashlight/Charger

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Etón has combined an AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with a flashlight with 3 LEDs and small electronic charger in its American Red Cross MICROLINK FR160 with 3.5 mm headphone input . At a size of only 5.25", it has its own solar panel so no batteries are needed. It can also be charged via USB or hand cranking in times of an emergency. The case is designed to withstand the elements and rubber gaskets and plugs help keep the radio dry.

Via Etón

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f-Tec Solar GPS System

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Since your GPS unit is located on your windshield anyway, think how nice it would be if it was solar powered. f-Tech had the same idea when they came up with this the Solar Bluetooth GPS . The device has a 51 channel MediaTek receiver, 1Hz max update frequency and 45mA power consumption. You should get up to 20 hours of usage from 50 channels on a full charge of its battery, 30 if you also have the renewable energy generator. Capable of tracking signals down to 158dBm, a red light means a fixed position and blue means a connection.

Via f-Tech

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January 7, 2010

ECO Building Only Ten Square Feet Area

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More space for the product means less space for the edifice. Designer Igor Davydov's building only needs about 10 sq. ft. The ECO Building runs on both wind and solar energy and can be used for multiple purposes, although we are somewhat partial to this sheep concept.

Via i green spot

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Solar Powered Robots to Direct Qatar Traffic

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Ashghal, Qatar's Public Works Authority, is working with their Science Club to create a solar-powered robot for controlling traffic. The bot can work for 24 hours and runs on solar cells connected to a battery. Made of light fiber to fit in with Qatar's severe weather, designer Rashid Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary General of the club, will be working on several of them in the months to come.

Via The Peninsula Qatar

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January 6, 2010

Infinity Urban Commuter Trike

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Tim Tobola designed the Urban Commuter Trike as his contribution to less dependence on oil. The solar panels, with a charge of 2 hours to its battery, can give the vehicle 20 - 30 miles of traveling. With weight sensitive front wheels, the rider can easily change directions. When not in use, the Infinity can fold up to save space on the planet.

Via Earth Techling

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Solar Bible Speaks to You

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Now even bibles come solar-powered. The handheld audio book contains the Old and New Testaments. A one-button push can select both book and chapter. The Solar Bible has a built-in speaker, volume control, pause, bookmark and move back or forth in 15 sec. intervals. A full charge will give you up to 14 hours of play and earphones are included for privacy.

Via Solar Bible

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January 5, 2010

Keystone Eco Tag Charges While Traveling

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With those long waits at the airport these days, what could be better than Keystone's Eco Tag that can charge two AAA batteries within 4 hours even with indoor lighting? It can also be charged via USB before your flight. The device can also double as a luggage tag with a write-in area.

Via Concord Keystone

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Clarence House to Go Green

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Because Prince Charles was poo-pooed for going to the recent UN COP15 in his private jet, he has decided to make his residence a lot greener. He is planning on installing solar panels on the roof of Clarence House, his residence in the UK. Estimates say the conversion could cost as much as £150,000 (~$243,000) but that he could make up for the loss by 2021. Note that "officials" say that they will only install them if they "do not compromise the appearance." Yeah, that's a green comment.

Via Daily Mail

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January 4, 2010

od-do arhitekti Solar Lamp

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od-do arhitekti's Solar Lamp faces the sun throughout the day and collects energy via its photovoltaic cells, then it powers up LED cells at night. The company has other green ideas, most of them in various stages of completion, but many of them are award winning designs nonetheless.

Via od-do

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Radish Creates Paperless Room Reservations

Google engineer Aaron Spangler took advantage of the company's 20% project that allowed him to spend a fifth of his time on his own. Noticing that there were lots of paper room reservations placed on conference room doors, he devised the Radish project. The prototype has radio transmitters that send and receive data wirelessly and is powered by solar panels, even if only office light is available. This will save the company about 6 reams of paper a day. Spangler says that his objective is equip all the conference rooms with Radishes.

Via Google

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January 1, 2010

DIY Solar Food Dryer

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Eben Fodor, an organic gardener and travel guide writer with a background in engineering and solar energy, has written The Solar Food Dryer with step-by-step details on how to build your own. Keep your extra vegetables, fruits and herbs all year long by preserving them in the dryer made with inexpensive, readily available materials. Not only does the book come with several designs, it also has resources, solar charts and food drying tips.

Via Eben Fodor


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Site O' The Week: MOFA Corridor for Peace and Prosperity

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What a great way to start a New Year! Japan has gotten together with the Palestinian Authority to help build two solar energy projects on the West Bank. A whopping $23 million will be used to aid in the Authority's current energy problems with another $16.7 used to build a photovoltaic solar energy plant. Most of the electricity used by Palestinians comes from Israel's power grid and the new structure should bring light to about 20,000 residents.

This is part of the "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" initiative that will include an agro-industrial park that Japan wants to build. We think this idea is fine enough to award Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs our SOW this week.

Via MOFA Japan

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