Why and how to joyfully move our butts around town, without mucking the place up.

Pages with tag Solar Power

  • Dept of Energy posts videos pushing Solar Energy -- wasn't Trump Admin going to kill Solar? Most of the Trump Administration appointees are people who seem tasked with killing the departments they're overseeing. The US Department of Energy is headed by Rick Perry, who in the 2012 race had promised to kill that department. We've been worried the DoE programs on solar energy and other clean energy technologies would vaporize, and we'll all fry in a few years because climate change will be running rampant. These are very real concerns, but it's useful to check whether the reality measures up to that fear. These video releases are perhaps a sign that the Dept of Energy will continue promoting solar power.
  • Energy 101: Concentrating Solar Power From towers to dishes to linear mirrors to troughs, concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies reflect and collect solar heat to generate electricity. A single CSP plant can generate enough power for about 90,000 homes. This video explains what CSP is, how it works, and how systems like parabolic troughs produce renewable power.
  • Energy Department Announces Projects to Advance Cost-Effective Concentrating Solar Power Systems and 2014 CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER REPORT Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a technology that harnesses the sun’s energy potential and has the capacity to provide renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of customers in the United States. This report discusses how 2014 marks a significant milestone in the history of American solar energy—with five U.S. Department of Energy-funded CSP plants expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.
  • Newest Products from Enphase Energy Meet the Needs of the California and Hawaii Markets <p>In California and Hawaii, policy changes are underway requiring "smart inverters" for solar power systems. Requirements going into effect in September call for what's called "Phase 1" functions, comprising a set of "autonomous" actions providing "grid support" functions like voltage or frequency support. That is, these functions happen automatically without any explicit control, and act in reaction to grid conditions. For example the voltage or frequency might go out of bounds, and rather than disconnect from the grid the inverter instead shifts into a mode of helping to correct the problem.</p> <p>The industry developed a supplemental standard, UL1741SA (Supplement A), defining those autonomous functions. Shortly Enphase, and the other solar inverter manufacturers, will be unable to sell inverters in California that lack this feature.</p>
  • Solar-Electric VW Bus conversion Generally speaking solar powered electric vehicles aren't feasible because the weight and aerodynamics of the solar array offset any gain the solar panels might give. It's a dream many have, solar powered vehicles, but in reality-land it doesn't work too well. Unless your vehicle already has the aerodynamics of a brick, such as the old-school VW Bus. This nice video shows an excellently thought-out VW Bus EV conversion that has an excellently thought-out solar array attached to the roof. The installation covered the struts holding the array in place, for example, to minimize aerodynamics problems. Going by what's said in the video, the system offers 40-50 miles of EV range (using a lead-acid battery pack, the next phase is a Lithium-ION pack giving a couple hundred miles rage) but a fairly lengthy recharge time because the system produces 12 amps peak. That last bit confirms the problem with solar powered EV's -- it's difficult to carry enough panels to recharge the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time. Also notice that the VW Bus is parked at an odd angle in the parking lot, because it has to be oriented optimally to the sun.
  • Toshiba Achieves World's Highest Conversion Efficiency in 5 cm X 5 cm Film-based Perovskite Solar Cell Mini-modules The battery-breakthrough-of-the-week comes from Toshiba. They're announcing an update to the SCiB battery using a new battery anode doubling the storage capacity of the batteries. Energy stored (kiloWatt-hours) per unit of volume is double that of the previous generation SCiB, and the maximum recharge rate is high enough to support a 6-minute recharge time. They claim the battery can withstand 5000+ discharge/recharge cycles while retaining 90% of its original capacity, and that it works well in cold weather. If all this pans out it can be a real game changer in the electric vehicle industry, as energy storage capacity and recharge time are key concerns. On the other hand a 6 minute recharge time is unlikely to be implemented for the general public because it requires a 500 kiloWatt or more charging station.