This absolutely has to be the silliest endorsement for solar power we have ever seen. There are forces trying out there trying to get President Obama to turn the White House completely green with solar panels but that just hasn't happened yet. We know he wanted to do that eventually but certainly he has had other, more important things on his mind the last four years. Here's hoping Bo's own inaugural party given by Rooftop Revolution will be the hint his owner needs.
Visit the site that planned and provided the party for the First Dog last week. While you are there you can sign a petition to help get those panels up on the White House roof.
A new documentary will be premiering on PBS' "Independent Lens" on November 5. "Solar Mamas" tells a story about India's Barefoot College, a place for learning alternative careers for rural men and women. The program documents Rafea, a Jordanian mom who takes up solar engineering. We plan to watch it and hope that the school can continue its valiant efforts. For more information, you can hit the PBS link and find out about the Barefoot College here.
When companies like Solyndra go under, one wonders why many so many other solar power companies are also struggling to stay afloat.
GTM Research has released a report that may be able to clear the matter up. About 30 gigawatts of solar panels are expected to be sold globally this year while production capacity is almost twice that at 59GW. Prices have gone down more than 50% since 2011 and will continue to drop resulting in smaller companies not being able to compete. And because of the adverse weather conditions early in the year, production was reduced.
There is more to it of course, but it certainly comes down to supply and demand at decreasing prices with the smaller fish left behind. The import tariff on Chinese cells, imposed after some were selling products for less than they cost to manufacture and ship in an effort to build up their country's market share, will effect solar energy's future as well as the expiration of the "safe harboring" 1603 Treasury Program in December 2011.
The GTM report states that the PV market should rally by 2015. Good news for all companies that can hang in there. Check out details of the report via the link.
Pres. Barack visited Boulder City, Nevada to tour Sempra Generation's Copper Mountain Solar Facility last Wednesday. He spoke briefly and admired both the system and Hoover Dam, commenting that "This city has always been about the future." While some believed the move to be political and were disgruntled that tourists would be denied road access, the mayor saw it as a way to bring attention to the growing industry.
While the area already houses 700,000 solar panels, Mayor Roger Tobler says that in the next 3 - 5 years, there will be the potential for 1,500 to 3,000 new jobs. As the area has had its share of economic problems the past few years, an increase of revenue and extra employment should give them a welcome boost.
Don't hold your breath waiting for that solar cell phone. Nokia recently completed a study and tested 5 of them in different areas and climates. Some of the results were obvious, as those used closer to the equator worked better. The greatest charge occurred in Kenya while the Artic Circle needed the phone's user to constantly seek the sun. The smaller phones had less efficient solar panels and the angle that the light entered them made a difference as well.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 585 (the Kehoe Initiative) Sept. 22 at Marshall Elementary School in Fowler that restores funding for the California Solar Initiative Rebate Program. TerraVerde Renewable Partners also attended the event and plans to oversee solar installations for the Fowler USD. They say it will save about half a million in electricity costs in its first year and over $2 million in the next five years. Building is set to begin in 2012.
Solyndra, a solar power tech company partially backed by the DOE and visited by President Obama two years ago, has announced that it has filed bankruptcy. It cancelled its public stock option earlier this year and laid off 1,000 workers. A combination of competition from Chinese companies, ability to only be used on industrial flat roofs and failure to "raise incremental company" probably contributed to the loss.
It's sad to see green energy companies fail, (it is the third major solar company to do so,) but then adopting the changeover to alternate power sources has historically been slow.
Team Obama announced last October that they intended to install solar panels and a hot water heater on the roof of the White House by the first day of summer, but sadly the project has not been completed. While the Energy Department claims that they are working on it, a feat this large probably entails more than a minor installation.
A lot of fuss is being made about the missed deadline but we figure that the administration has been busy with other matters, i.e. fighting terrorists and readying the White House for Will and Kate. Perhaps they could be part of the newly approved $1.4 billion dollar Project Amp, with solar panels to be installed on buildings nationwide. Not only will this contribute electricity to power grids, it should create about a thousand jobs.
See if your state is on the top ten solar list released by the New York Times. California ranks first with 47% of the power that is coming out of the US, not surprising as the former Governator was pushing for it when he was in office, followed by New Jersey with a mere 14%. Here is the remainder of the list:
New Energy Technologies has announced a new type of technology that could be more efficient and lower priced than most solar power tech used today. Solar Window is a liquid, see thru compound that can be applied without a high-vacuum. Developed by a USF physics team, the resulting coating is less than 1/10th thick and uses what they claim are the "world's smallest functional solar cells." Between the lower cost and easier application, we think that NET may soon help make solar energy fit into more energy budgets.
Emily Cummins recently became an Oslo Business for Peace Honouree for the work she has done developing a solar refrigerator that was originally devised by Mohammed Bah Abba with his pot-in-pot refrigerator. Her fridge can be made of cardboard and recycled metal with organic material such as soil or sand placed between the chambers that is soaked in water. The sun warms the material, the water evaporates and the temperature is reduced to 43º, a process that is similar to the way that your body does when it sweats.
The fridge is already being used in various African countries like Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The 23 year-old is the first female and only European to be so honored by the jury of Nobel Prize winners.
As part of Prez Obama's push to make the White House Residence greener, there will soon be solar panels on the roof. The Department of Energy announced last week that a solar water heater will also be installed as a way of not only leading by example, but also as a way of getting the word out to the public. As we mentioned previously, Jimmy Carter originally had the idea, only to have them removed by Ronald Reagan when he took office.
It would seem that the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL and MLS have decided that green is in and has asked the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop and distribute a solar development guide suggesting stadium add-ons to help them. Those that have already done their bit for the overall good include the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles (it seems that Nokia took the hint as well,) the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix and several MLB fields and parks.
When you think about the sun, what else comes to mind but humming "hot hot hot" in a Cure-ish kind of way? Well, if you happen to be NASA you think of it as a star that needs to be studied. To this end, they plan to launch a Solar Probe Plus (as shown in this artist's rendering) sometime before 2018, equipped with a solar wind particle detector, 3D cam and a device to measure its magnetic field.
Won't it burn up before it gets there, you ask? Of course, it will we answer, since the sun sends out temperatures exceeding 2,550º F. But, before its demise, the $180 million SPP will send back data that NASA scientist Lika Guhathakurta says, "for the very first time, we'll be able to touch, taste and smell our Sun."