May 31, 2010
SEPA List of Top Utilities Integrating Solar
The Solar Electric Power Association has released its top utility companies that are integrating solar energy. Overall, the report shows that integration has expanded by about 66%. The states include California, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Colorado and New Jersey. Yeah, we did a double take after reading that last one, too.
May 28, 2010
Eton Scorpion Solar Radio
The Eton Scorpion is a multi-use device for travelers, campers and those who fear the end of the world. It features an AM/FM digital radio with weather band, an 3 LED, USB phone charger, torch and bottle opener. Recharge by the sun now and, should doomsday arrive, you can hand crank. The Scorpion is splashproof, has a rugged exterior and an aluminum carabineer for attaching.
May 26, 2010
Anheuser-Busch to Install Solar System
Anheuser-Busch has announced that they will be installing a 300 panel solar energy system at their Newark, New Jersey brewery. The result will be that it will produce 5% of their energy that equals out to 535,000 kilowatt hours per year. Claiming that it wants to be the 'Best Beer Company in a Better World,' they already use Bio-Energy Recovery System (BERS) that turns nutrients in wastewater into fuel.
May 24, 2010
Envision Solar Creates LifePorts
Envision Solar International has been working on LifePorts, carports with solar panels on the roof that will provide enough energy for both your home and car. Non-drivers can benefit from LifeTrees, a shade-providing pole that holds up to 8 solar panels. Both should be available later this year.
May 21, 2010
Solar Bluetooth Car Kit for Hands Free Calls
The IOGear Solar Bluetooth Car Kit will allow you to make hands-free calls and should appease all local laws and Oprah. A full charge provides between 11 and 13 hours of talk time with the added bonuses of echo cancellation and noise reduction. Usable for two phones at the same time, the kit comes with a windshield and visor mounting bracket.
Via IOGear Solar Bluetooth Car Kit
May 19, 2010
Shikoku to House Huge Solar Plant
Shikoku Electric Power has plans to build a solar power plant next year with Kyocera supplying 9,000 modules. When built, it will combine with an existing one to create an enormous solar installation in Shikoku, Japan. The output will be 2,200MWh of electricity, enough to offset 700 tons of CO2 per year.
Via Fareast Gizmos
May 17, 2010
Hammacher Solar Speaker
Leave it to Hammacher Schlemmer to come up with almost anything. This time it is a Solar Speaker with a rechargeable lithium battery. Housed in an aluminum and rubberized body, it features two 5W full-range speakers, a headphone jack and input line. Three hours of charging provides an hour of use. At a size of 6 3/4 x 11 ¾ x 3 1/2", it works with most iPods, iPhones and MP3 players and can be plugged into AC on gloomy days. The solar speaker and its remote are available for $199.95.
Via Hammacher Schlemmer
May 14, 2010
ClimateWell Solar Air Conditioners
Eco-Kinetics has introduced ClimateWell Solar Air Conditioners that will certainly help you deal with the heat less monetarily this summer. Each unit produces 10 kW of power with only 10W of electricity. An LCD control panel acts as control. The company says that their ACs are good for housing, commercial buildings and industrial applications.
May 12, 2010
Light Up Your Darkness With Solar LED
For all those dark places, the Smart Solar LED lights up keyholes, entrances and handles. Three interchangeable covers (white, brass or chrome,) are easy to mount with adhesive pads or screw holes. One button push gives a light that lasts 10 seconds then automatically switches off. A fully charged battery (powered by a low light level solar panel) can withstand ~720 operations.
Via Smart Solar LED
May 10, 2010
Sign Solar Bill of Rights
Last November, we introduced you to SEIA's Solar Bill of Rights, designed to expand the US solar market by both policy and education. Take a peek at it and then do your bit for the planet by signing it here.
1. Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses.
Millions of Americans want to put solar on the roof of their home or business, but many are prevented from doing so by local restrictions. Some homeowners associations have prevented residents from going solar through neighborhood covenants, which allow for the association to veto any changes to a property's aesthetics. Some utilities and municipalities have also made it prohibitively time-consuming and/or expensive to have a system permitted or inspected.
2. Americans have the right to connect their solar energy system to the grid with uniform national standards.
Currently, each state (in some cases, each utility) has a unique process for connecting solar systems to the local electricity grid. National interconnection standards will create a uniform process and paperwork, creating a simple process for the homeowner. Connecting a home solar system shouldn't be any more complicated for the homeowner than setting up an Internet connection.
3. Americans have the right to Net Meter and be compensated at the very least with full retail electricity rates.
Residential solar systems generate excess electricity in the middle of the day, when the owners aren't usually at home. Net metering requires the utility company to credit any excess generation to the customer at full retail rates at a minimum - effectively running the electricity meter backwards when the system is generating more electricity than the occupants of the house are using. Allowing customers to net meter is critical to making solar an economically viable option for most homeowners. Setting a minimum threshold of full retail rates also ensures the option of creating feed-in-tariffs.
4. The solar industry has the right to a fair competitive environment.
The highly profitable fossil fuel industries have received tens of billions of dollars in subsidies from the federal government for decades. In addition, fossil fuel industries are protected from bearing the full social costs of the pollution they produce. The solar energy industry and the public expect a fair playing field, with all energy sources evaluated based on their full, life-cycle costs and benefits to society. Therefore it is critical that solar energy receive the same level of support, for the same duration, as the fossil fuel industry.
5. The solar industry has the right to produce clean energy on public lands.
America has some of the best solar resources in the world, which are often on public lands overseen by the federal government. But even though oil and gas industries are producing on 13 million acres of public lands, no solar permits have been approved. Solar is a clean, renewable American resource and solar development on public lands is a critical component of any national strategy to expand our use of renewable energy.
6. The solar industry has the right to interconnect and build new transmission lines.
Over the last 100 years, the transmission grid in the United States has been built as an uncoordinated patchwork of local systems. A decades-old power grid forces solar generators to play by decades-old rules for planning, building, and paying for access to the transmission grid. Expanding the use of renewable energy in the United States will require policies and investments that allow remote areas rich in solar resources to connect to major population centers with significant demand for electric power.
7. Americans have the right to buy solar electricity from their utility.
Many utility companies have never thought to offer their customers the option to purchase clean solar energy, rather than dirty energy from coal or other fossil fuels. Nation-wide over 90% of people support increased use of solar energy, and over three-quarters believe it should be a major priority of the federal government. Despite this, only around 25% of utility customers in the US have the ability to actually purchase clean, renewable power from their utility, and only a tiny fraction of those programs offer solar energy. Utilities should be required to offer the electricity source that their customers want.
8. Americans have the right to - and should expect - the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry.
Solar energy systems are an investment as much as a physical product. Consumers deserve top-quality information and treatment from solar energy providers and installers. Consumers should expect the solar industry to minimize its environmental impact through panel recycling and other programs, and communicate information about available incentives in a clear, accurate and accessible manner. Finally, consumers should expect that solar systems will work better than advertised, and that companies will make every good faith effort to support solar owners over the life of their systems.
May 7, 2010
Universal Solar Charger
This Universal Battery Charger works with two AA, AAA, C, or D batteries at a time. It has a weather-resistant cover and blocking diode to prevent reverse flow. The device is small and lightweight enough to take camping or on business trips.
Via Solar Chargers
May 5, 2010
Green Tech Book Includes Solar OLED
Those who invest in the book "Gruen Produzieren" ("Green Production Technologies") will receive an added bonus, an OLED, powered by a solar cell. The book itself, edited by the German Engineering Association in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is a sort of who's who of Germany's green leaders combined with projects going on at research centers.
May 3, 2010
Celebrate SolarDay 2010
Celebrate SolarDay and you may win some good stuff. If you were considering switching over to solar power, now might be the time. Somebody will win a $5,000 credit for a solar installation so it might as well be you. Sign up at the link below. It's free and you can get a free audit on SolarDay 2010, June 19.