April 30, 2010
Ripe Radish Glows and Grows
Radishes may not be our favorite vegetables, but we are thinking that the bunnies that frequent our backyard may mistake them for the real thing. Designed by Arthur Xin, the "Ripe Radish" collects energy by day and glows red during the night. It also doubles as a flowerpot so that you can grow the real thing.
April 28, 2010
Last Resort - This Ain't Your Grandma's Houseboat
Copenhagen's RAFFA Architecture & Designs have come up with the Last Resort, a solar-powered home that floats on water. A glorified houseboat, its solar array powers both the engine and the home itself. At a size of 5 x 15 meters, it has two decks and is large enough to have a living room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bath. Although still only at the design stage, the company has already gotten several orders for it. We so want one.
April 26, 2010
Solar Lamp Blossoms
The Blossoming Garden Solar Light soaks up energy to bloom during the day and closes up at night. A solar panel located at the bottom charges the batteries that power up the LED lights and petals. At a height of 16 1/2", it comes in both pink or and white for $34.95 apiece.
Via The Green Head
April 22, 2010
Kiran Solar LED Lantern
Celebrate Earth Day all year with the D. light Kiran Solar LED Lantern. With two brightness settings, it has an integrated 0.3W solar panel, a multiple-setting handle and can withstand high temperatures. The tough and sturdy design makes it super for camping, traveling or backyard fun.
Via Solar Lighting
April 21, 2010
DDA To Illuminate Downtown Detroit With Solar Power
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been given a $100,000 grant from the DURP to install solar-powered lights to some of the older, mostly empty buildings in downtown Detroit like the old Harmonie Club. The lighting will be used on street-facing windows and exteriors in an effort to make them a bit more cheerful, but we bet they are also hoping that someone will come along, purchase them and make Detroit literally brighter again.
April 19, 2010
Solar Impulse Takes Flight
The Solar Impulse Plane has made its first successful flight. The plane reached 5,500 ft. in altitude and performed a few test maneuvers during its airborne 87 minutes. After the event, pilot Markus Scherdel claimed it was an "intense moment." The team plans two more test flights before its around the world flight scheduled for 2012.
Via Solar Impulse
April 16, 2010
Sunflower House Enters Solar Decathalon 2010
Tianjin University students have built the eco-friendly Sunflower house. Obviously, it gets its energy from the sun and features an energy efficient kitchen and recycling toilet system. The team plans to enter the home into the Solar Decathalon 2010 in Madrid this June.
April 14, 2010
XsunX, Intevac Team for CIGS Cell Production
XsunX has teamed with makers of hard disc drives Intevac to produce CIGS thin-film solar cells. The result is a 5 x 5" wafer that is about 1/100th of the thickness of a conventional cell and will save about 75% in costs. CEO of XsunX Tom Djokovich says of the unlikely alliance, "We are taking proven science and manufacturing methods and combining these to produce a product that reduces the structure defects caused by large-area processing techniques."
April 12, 2010
Pearl River Tower Erected in China
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill are building the almost zero-energy Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China. Both wind turbines and solar panels provide heat, ventilation and air conditioning. It also has a double skin curtain wall, chilled ceiling and under floor ventilation. The 2.3 million square foot structure has 71 floors and recently received its top one. The tower should be completed by the end of this year.
April 9, 2010
Pep Up Your Garden With Solar Tulip Lights
Nothing says tacky like these Solar Tulip Lights. Outshine your neighbors with their pink flamingos with 17 x 2 1/2" plastic flowers that will soak up the sun's juice by day and come on automatically at night.
Via Solar Tulip Lights
April 7, 2010
Mark Udall Introduces SUN Act
Senator Mark Udall announced that his new bill, Solar Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Act of 2010, allows larger solar projects to get a 30% tax credit in Colorado like residents do now. Paul Spencer, of the Clean Energy Collective in the state, says that solar adoption should rise to 67% in the next five years, surely good news for the planet.
Via Mark Udall
Masdar First Zero Carbon City?
Masdar plans to be the first zero carbon city. It is being designed by British architects Foster and Partners and will cost Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, between $15 and 30 billion. A large solar farm will power the city and a circular field of mirrors send light towards a tower that will produce heat and power generators. Masdar will be using some electricity for air conditioning, desalinization and electronics, but the motto here is "Only use energy when you have exhausted design."
April 6, 2010
SF Restaurants Switch to Solar
Two restaurants in San Francisco have gone solar. Dosa uses it for heating its hot water and Café Organic utilizes it for power. While it would seem that Fog City would not be the best place for the technology, we have often noticed that hard core sunshine is not needed to produce energy. Both buildings worked in conjunction with California Sun Light & Power.
Via Sun Light & Power
ideal Star Creates Solar Thread
The Tokyo based company ideal Star has developed a method to produce solar cells in flexible, thin threads. The first prototype is 5cm long and 0.8mm in diameter. The company claims that when they can make them longer, they can create sheets or fabric for curtains. While conversion efficiency is only around 3% for now, they say that up to 10% is possible. ideal Star hopes to commercialize the technology within the next five years and that mass production would be less expensive than that of standard silicon cells.
Via Headline News
April 5, 2010
Dezhou, the Solar City
Dezhou, a city in east China, has been been becoming a solar city over the past decade. Previously its residents only had public showers, but now almost all of them have solar powered water heaters in their homes. The lighting that sparkles at night is further proof of the town's reputation. There are about 100 solar based enterprises, which accounts for 16% of the hot water heating and a revenue of 5 billion Yuan annually.
Sithe Global Forgoes Coal for Solar and Natural Gas
The Nevada Clean Energy Campaign has gone one step further in its goal. Sithe Global Energy has decided not to build a new coal-burning plant near Mesquite, Nevada. Instead, it will erect a 100-MW photovoltaic solar plant and a 700-MW natural gas plant. It seems that during the past few years, about 125 proposals for coal-burning plants have been scrapped and we think that is a good thing. Somehow we just don't get how coal can be made clean and good for the environment.
Via Nevada CEC
April 2, 2010
Go Solar Heating With Updated Guide
Want to convert your heating system to a solar one? "Solar Water Heating", written by Bob Ramlow and Benjamin Nusz, is part of the Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series and has been recently updated and expanded. It starts with the history and gives examples of systems, including advantages and disadvantages of each. The 272 page book will help you find the proper size, type and then help you with installation, operation and maintenance. The guide is now available for pre-order.
Via "Solar Water Heating"
Malaysian Students Build Solar Cookers
We think it is great that more students are getting involved in designing green gadgets to make others' lives simpler. Some of them from the Universiti Malaysia Sabah devised 10 solar power cookers made from recycled materials such as paper, cardboard and aluminum foil. One of them, the heat-trap box, is made of plywood with a glass panel that captures solar rays. The solar oven takes about 10 minutes to cook an egg but only a couple of minutes for prawns and cuttlefish.
Via The Star
April 1, 2010
Sunblazer Panel Gives Back Energy
Genesis Electronics is developing a 2 x 4" solar charger that they claim has a panel that stores enough energy to power a smartphone and have some left over. Their Sunblazer G-1000 model, designed for the iPhone, snaps on and has a built-in support stand. It also features LED charging indicator lights and comes with a USB charge cord for gloomy days and a holster for housing. The charger is in the last stages of development so contact Genesis for more details.
Via Genesis Electronics
West Sacramento Port 100% Solar
The Port of West Sacramento, located northeast of San Francisco, is powered by solar energy alone. They recently installed a 637kW system that should reduce their costs by more than $20,000 annually. It houses 3,536 solar panels covering 90,000 square feet atop two rice warehouses. The system produces enough energy to power 89 homes per year and will eliminate more than 34 million lbs of carbon-dioxide emissions over the next 25 years.
Via Central Valley Business Times