Solar Powered Air Conditioners are Becoming More Elaborate

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Air conditioners can consume an incredible amount of power. Between the electricity the compressor utilizes and the torque of the motor in order to spin the fan, your electric bill can skyrocket over the summer. In order to reduce the cost of this unit, some have installed solar panels onto the roof specific to the sole use of the AC device. However, innovative designs have made development of these units far more elaborate than in previous years.

Mobile Cooling – Many people like the idea of being able to maneuver a cooling device set on wheels in order to maximize the effect in any given room. Developers have created a small unit that can be rolled across the floor while being connected to a solar panel. With some of these smaller units, you can essentially place the panel in the window as long as the sun’s light can reach. These can be incredibly useful if you need a solution that can travel with you from one room to the next.

Ductless Heat Pump Units – Operating at 18,000 BTU, some of these ductless heat pump units can reduce power consumption by nearly 97-percent. Solar panels as well as the mini-split design allows for installation nearly anywhere. Once the sun light is minimal, the heat pump automatically switches to an energy efficient device taking its power from the grid. Although some of these are not 100-percent dependent on solar power or battery backups, the units can still reduce your day-time spending per kilowatt hour.

Hybrid Heating and AC – Some units have been developed to act as both air conditioning and as heaters in order to keep rooms comfortable year round. Although this isn’t necessarily a new idea, the addition of solar power to operate these units decreases your spending regardless of season changes. Some of these miniature HVAC systems can range from small 5,000 BTU devices to more powerful machines producing more than 40,000 BTUs. Depending on your own room requirements, hybrid systems can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter while using less power from the grid.

Central Air – Central air is an efficient method of keeping the home cool in the summer. Solar power adaptations have been created that can operate in a hybrid unit offering cool air as well as heat. Using energy efficient technology and including its own dedicated solar panel, these units are far less costly to maintain than the gird-dedicated counterparts of the past.

Do it Yourself Projects – If you can’t find something that fits your budget or your specific needs, you can always build one yourself. There are many different ways that these units can be assembled – most of them using upcycled parts from various machines. Your own imagination and skills with a soldering iron will play a role in how elaborate you make your own solar AC unit. You may even design something that is marketable to make a few extra dollars.

With each passing year, an innovative method is developed to include solar energy. Air conditioners, outdoor camping showers, ovens, toys, boat engines and more have been adapted to utilize one of the most abundant sources of power humankind has discovered. What was once an expensive addition for the upper class has decreased in cost to the point where nearly everyone can benefit in one form or another from solar energy. Imagine what will be developed tomorrow.

Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in Houston, Texas, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.

Realistic Reasons to Back Solar Power

Realistic Reasons to Back Solar Power

To think that humans know everything there is to know about science and the natural evolution of our planet is nothing short of asinine. Technology has been developed to allow us to understand our position in the cosmos better, but should we call ourselves experts? There is still so much to learn about how our planet behaves. Although global warming extremists push the envelope on reasons why we should invest in renewable energies, there is a truth behind all of the rhetoric. Our current methods are grossly antiquated.

1. Renewable Resource – The Sun will continue to produce consumable power to humans for billions of years. As soon as it’s done producing power, we’re going to have more pressing problems than global warming. Even cloudy days are able to produce enough power to maintain a home. It is a resource that everyone can agree that we have in an abundant supply.

2. Oil Wars – Regardless of personal views on the economics of the world, were are riled by those who would dare cut off our oil supply. We are willing to sacrifice lives over dead plants and life-forms. If we were to do away with oil as a whole, would there still be a cause for war? It would no longer be a driving force to have relations with a country we know to be corrupt. The demand would be gone, as would the power these countries have over a large portion of the world.

3. Costs – Even with subsidies and tax credits, one would still have to live in their homes for more than 10 years in order to experience the benefits from solar power thanks to the effects of financing. However, the cost of photovoltaic equipment manufacturing has already began to decrease since 2012. As many locations around the globe are looking more and more at this renewable energy source, more innovative technologies supporting photovoltaic equipment is being produced in order to reduce costs of installation in order to entice sales. Before long, everyone will have one – much like cell phones morphing into smartphones.

4. Less Dangerous – Nuclear power plants are catastrophes waiting to happen. A simple breakdown of a nuclear power plant can render the entire location unlivable by human standards. Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi disasters are prime examples of how little we truly care about human life over the need to power our computers and cash registers. If a solar panel breaks, it could take a matter of a day or two to replace it without having to call in a HAZMAT crew.

5. Cumulative – For every household and business that erects a solar array to put power back into the grid, more power is conserved reducing the chances of brownouts. For every kilowatt hour produced by these units, one kilowatt hour can be used at your neighbor’s house. Theoretically, many solar arrays within an area should decrease the electric bills of everyone since less power is being consumed as a whole.

Set aside the views of those who propagate global warming as a scare tactic. There are real life reasons why we should be investing in alternative energy sources, none of which concern the natural evolution of Earth. The planet will be here long after humans have perished. We should be more concerned with saving ourselves.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.

 

Photovoltaic PV Solar Panels on the rise

Lowered costs and increasing efficiency have helped the steady increase in the use of Solar PV panels.
There have been some incredible advances in the methods used to capture solar energy.  Solar paint and thin plastic cells are some of the new technologies but PV panels are still the most efficient way to capture energy from the sun.

The modular nature of solar cells are also being used in more creative and aesthetically pleasing ways. Each cell must have a separate connection because stringing them together has the same effect as Christmas lighting, if one goes out, there all do. Being modular, however, increases the versatility of the panel placement.

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Increased efficiency has also made the technology workable in areas that don’t receive a huge amount of direct sunlight. Solar power is a small thing that most landowners can take advantage of to reduce costs and stabilize energy bills.

HIT Solar Cells

Cheaper Manufacturing for HIT Solar Cells

This is a guest post by Mathias Aarre Maehlum of  Energy Informative

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig, Germany, has been working on making the manufacturing of HIT solar cells cheaper by engineering an improved coating process.

Hetorjunction with Intrinsic Thin layer (HIT) solar cells are currently one of the most promising new technologies in the PV industry. They have consistently shown high performance in laboratory conditions – in some cases up to 23% – significantly higher than the majority solar modules on today`s market.

Fraunhofer IST`s new way of producing HIT solar cells includes hot wires instead of the plasma-CDV process, which allows for cheaper mass production. The plasma-CDV process is dependent on large quantities of silane gas to function. Somewhere of 85-90% is lost through the process and becomes waste, which of course brings costs up.

By using the hot wire method “we can use almost all of the silane gas, so we actually recover 85 to 90 percent of the costly gas. This reduces the overall manufacturing costs of the layers by over 50 percent. The price of the wire that we need for this process is negligible when compared to the price of the silane” states Dr. Lothar Schäfer, department head at Fraunhofer IST.

The generators that power the manufacturing system are also ten times less expensive in terms of energy consumption than those that power the plasma CDV-process.

Even though the technology seems to have significant advantages over convetional ways of producing solar cells, it is still nowhere near being released on the market. It will likely be another three to five years until Fraunhofer IST`s new technology will be used for large-scale manufacturing of solar panels.

For more information on the new technology, check out the official press release.

$467 Million for Solar and Geothermal

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Congratulations to the president for making a good decision, he has done some things well and other poorly but this is a good step.

For one, these are the two alternative energy sources that have by far the most potential.  Ignoring investment into bio-fuels and wind is very smart.

Also the bulk of the money goes towards research and development, which is important because this will allow us to perfect the technologies before putting them into widespread use.

$350 million for geothermal shows great foresight as, in my opinion anyway, this is truly a source of unlimited dependable energy.

Many will probably aygrue that this money would be better spent on some other part of the economy and as someone who has been laid off due to this recession I can understand the point.  However, this constitutes a very small chunk of the overall stimulus package and if you don’t think long term, you’re doomed to live in the past.

Plus I plan on having kids and I know they will benifit from this even if I don’t see the results anytime soon.

Interactive renewable energy map

NRDC Map

This is an interesting little tool showing the potential energy of different parts of the US.

also more on this later but

“Several types of energy resources and specific technologies used to capture these resources claim to be renewable, despite either relying on dirty fossil fuel energy resources or creating other pollution hazards in the process. Following are three often-cited resources whose proponents claim are renewable but in fact they are not:

  • Coal waste from coal mining
  • Methane gas from coal mines
  • Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities, i.e. waste incineration”

Solaren and Pacific Gas and Electric take on Space based Solar Power

These two companies are implementing the proven along with some mysterious new technology to make Space based Solar economically feasible.  I wrote a post a while ago about this subject and now with a serious commitment (albeit without the space elevator), I’m very excited to see how well it works.  Have to wait until 2016 though unless California politicians decide to fast track the necessary approvals.

PGE Blog

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