June 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
Date: 2012-06-08, 10:37PM PDT
Reply to: email@example.com
San Diego based electrical solar contractor looking for a couple good solar installation crews.
Crews consist of
(1) lead installer/ lead
(1) helper / installer
ability to read and understand blueprints
able to layout any rooftop
able to install solar flashings, racking, and hardware
able to install solar panels the know how to change configurations in the field
able to do asbuilts on existing prints for office
able to collect payments per instruction
able to install single line conduit, wire, fittings, and per code
able to work on live electrical panels
able to understand the theory of solar panel systems
must have experience in ( Snap rack, UniRack, ProSolar ) racking / flashing systems
must have experience in Emphase systems programming of monitoring devices
must be able to handle deadlines
must be on time professional in appearance
must have experience in Job Measures, job inspections, and job completion paperwork
Crew is expected to have their own
work truck with ladder rack
extension ladders/ ladders in general
own power/ battery tools
own hand tools
own conduit benders
positive attitude appearance towards work
Our firm is a DRUG FREE environment testing maybe part of consideration for employment
Please email resumes to craig’s list and we will call the candidates that are qualified for the position
- Location: San Diego County
- Compensation: based upon experience
June 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
Honda has announced that its new thin-film solar cell technology is now being used at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. As the founding sponsor of the Aquarium, Honda is providing the technology to power the Aquarium’s new June Keyes Penguin Habitat. The 11-killowatt system provides a new clean energy source that will reduce the Aquarium’s reliance on grid-supplied electricity by more than 14,000 kilowatt hours per year.
The installation of Honda’s solar panels at the Aquarium also marks the first public demonstration of the panels in the United States. Honda currently has the thin-film solar panels—which are manufactured by subsidiary Honda Soltec—installed at 22 Honda facilities worldwide. In the U.S. Honda’s motorsports engineering facility in Santa Clarita, California and its manufacturing plant in Indiana both get their energy from the sun.
Honda CIGS thin-film solar panels use a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) that require less raw material, energy and related CO2 emissions to manufacture than conventional crystal silicon solar cells. CIGS panels are substantially thinner than traditional solar panels and enable stable power generation even when the cells are in the shade.
“Deploying Honda solar cell technology in the new penguin habitat is a great expression of our company’s focus on advanced environmental technology, as well as environmental education and conservation. It’s really a perfect match,” said Stephan Morikawa, assistant vice president, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We are honored to support the Aquarium’s mission in this way.”
The new June Keyes Penguin Habitat opened to the public May 17, 2012.
June 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
From L-R are New York City Department of Education Division of School Facilities CEO, John Shea; Custodian of PS 194 Anibal Maldonado; Principal of PS 194, Rosa Sifuentes-Rosado; and Executive Director, Solar One, Chris Collins. Sarah Pidgeon, at right, is the Director of Education at Solar One.
Out of the twenty-two schools that participated in this year’s Green Design Lab Energy Challenge, P.S./M.S. 194 in The Bronx rose to the top, cutting its energy use by 21%, and winning the $12,000 prize for first place. The runners up, PS 84-Steinway, in Astoria, and the Academy for Environmental Leadership, Bushwick Campus, in Bushwick, reduced energy use by 17 and 14 percent, respectively, to win $9,000 each.
The Green Design Lab is program by Solar One that teaches students about energy and electricity. The Energy Challenge is the culmination of a year’s worth of learning, where the schools square off to see who can cut their electricity bills by the most. The average savings of all the schools combined was over 8%, saving the school system $75,000.
June 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
- Six states, twice as many as last year, now generate more than 10 percent of their utility-scale electricity from wind, solar, and/or geothermal. Topping the list for percent of in-state, utility-scale generation from renewables in 2011 were South Dakota (22.3 percent), Iowa (18.8 percent), and North Dakota (14.7 percent).
- The number of registered hybrid cars in the U.S. grew to nearly 2 million while all-electric vehicles neared the 50,000 registered-vehicle milestone. California had nearly half a million hybrids and more than 22,000 pure EVs registered at the end of 2011.
- The 29 states with renewable portfolio standards, along with Washington, D.C., account for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s total generating capacity.
- California’s clean-energy venture capital dollars in 2011 — more than $3.7 billion — exceeded the total of all the other 49 states combined.
- Clean-energy patents granted to U.S. entities in 2011 exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time. Such patents were granted in 32 states, although more than half of them were distributed across just three states: California, New York, and Michigan.
- The top five states in our Index are perennial clean-energy leaders California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, and Colorado. But many states from coast to coast demonstrate leadership in different aspects of clean energy. The top 25 includes such key election-year ‘swing states’ as New Mexico, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Pennsylvania
Nationwide, U.S. solar installations grew 109 percent, adding 1,855 megawatts of new PV to the grid – thanks to falling PV prices, favorable policies in key states, and the aggressive business strategies of installers/financiers like Solar City, SunRun, and SunEdison. U.S. wind capacity grew at a solid pace as well, with 6,816 MW of new capacity good for a 27 percent increase in wind-derived electricity generation over 2010. Perhaps even more significantly, 35 percent of all new U.S. power capacity in the past five years has been from wind.
Government and private capital poured $48.1 billion into clean energy in the U.S. in 2011 — the total among asset financing, public market, venture capital, private equity investment, and spending on small distributed projects — regaining the nation’s position as the world’s largest clean-energy investor and dethroning China, which had held the top spot for the last two years. Even the jobs picture contained good news, with research published by the Brookings Institution showing the U.S. “clean economy” as one of the labor market’s few
bright spots during the recession, growing by 8.3 percent from 2008 to 2009 — almost double the rate of the overall economy during the same time period.
Clean tech in the U.S. obviously faces huge challenges: low-cost natural gas, unprecedented global competition in virtually every industry sector, and government budget constraints, just to name a few. But as if those very real challenges weren’t enough, the industry now has to deal with something perhaps even more daunting: being used as a political cudgel in a presidential election year.
To hear some tell it, clean energy, with Solyndra as its poster child, is nothing more than a federal tax dollar-wasting boondoggle, lining the pockets of a few well-connected executives and creating few American jobs. The Chevy Volt is derided as the “Obamacar” (they don’t call an election year “The Silly Season” for nothing) while TV and web ads, blogs, and commentators charge that tax credits and grants “were given to foreign companies” — conveniently ignoring the fact that these incentives went to global wind and solar firms to build projects and employ workers in America.
Distortions in attack ads are one thing, but the anti-clean tech brigades are now having a serious impact not just on politics, but policy. Legislation has advanced in both the House and Senate that would cut the U.S. military’s research and use of biofuels, and extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind power, truly a make-or-break incentive for the U.S. wind industry, continues to be held hostage in the political wars. But here’s a fact: the PTC extension (hopefully before the Congressional recess in August) is supported by such tree-hugging, left-leaning organizations as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Association of Manufacturers — as well as Republican senators and members of Congress from states such as Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and North and South Dakota. Oh, but that’s just because it’s in their economic self-interest, right? You better believe it! I wonder what all these folks think about the ads attacking the clean-tech industry.
When this column appears, I will be in Japan on a week-long, four-city speaking tour organized by the U.S. Embassy. I’ve been invited to speak about clean-tech success stories at the state and local levels in the U.S. — and what lessons the Japanese can learn in growing their own clean-energy economy after shutting down all of their nuclear plants in the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster. Much of the rest of the world still looks to the U.S., where most of today’s clean-tech industry was born, for guidance in the way clean energy should be developed and deployed. As we anticipate the next five months of political ugliness before the November election, it’s imperative that we stand firm against partisan attacks that could damage our industry for a long time.
June 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Commerce sent a clear message to the American renewable energy community: “We don’t support you.”
By levying tariffs ranging from 30-250 percent on all solar panels imported from China, the ruling will constrict the growth of renewable energy here in America; driving up the prices for installers, their customers, and, ultimately, the American taxpayer. The legislation threatens to kill the very blue-collar jobs it claims to save.
Last October, the U.S. subsidiary of the German company SolarWorld Industries filed a petition claiming that Chinese manufacturers were infiltrating the US market, “dumping” their panels at less than cost in a drive to put U.S. manufacturers out of business. Chinese government subsidies, SolarWorld claims, made it impossible to compete.
Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturer Solyndra, the beneficiary of a $535 million Department of Energy loan guarantee, continued its controversial Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Perhaps this one example shows best how hypocritical this ruling is: the loan guarantee allowed Solyndra to receive loans at very low interest rates, despite it being a high risk, pre-revenue start-up. At what rate could Solyndra have raised money from other sources? Our calculations show that this “subsidy” was easily worth over $2 billion to Solyndra, and is just one of many similar “subsidies” provided right here within the U.S.
The irony is that becoming the world’s leading solar manufacturer is not a role the U.S. should seek to fill. The market that SolarWorld and Solyndra were fighting for is one of razor-thin margins, increasing automation, and commoditization. Meanwhile, companies like SolarCity, Sungevity, and Urban Green Energy are focusing on the actual implementation of solar and renewable energy technologies. In doing so, we are growing extremely fast and creating thousands of American jobs. These jobs, far outnumbering what would be created in manufacturing, cannot be outsourced. Further, our companies scale globally, bringing proven business models overseas and increasing the presence of American companies as leaders in the worldwide renewable energy industry.
If any more irony were needed, we can look to an email we received shortly after the tariff announcement from Conergy, a prominent U.S. supplier of renewable energy products. Conergy announced that in the wake of the Department of Commerce’s announcement that they would now be offering solar panels from Hyundai at “competitive pricing.” Yes, that’s right — this tariff does nothing for U.S. manufacturers, it only moves business from China to Korea.
For years, the world has berated China for unsustainable energy practices, and now, after investing millions to promote renewables, they are being punished directly for being too competitive. Worst of all, in punishing Chinese companies, The Department of Commerce is punishing American companies as well. Solar job growth in California was 166 percent from 2005 through 2010, despite the poor economy, and a recent report from LinkedIn showed that renewable energy continues to be one of the leading sources of job growth in the United States. Meanwhile, the difficulties for solar panel manufacturers have been due to one reason: excess supply as demand hasn’t scaled up as fast as original expectations, often set by overzealous politicians. In fact, Chinese suppliers are currently under great pressure as well — you can look at their stock prices to see how badly they are already suffering.
As a country we have a choice: Do we continue to compete as we have done so well throughout the last century, using innovation to become leaders in every industry? Or do we turn inward and tell ourselves we can’t compete against outside forces, and put up trade barriers to protect ourselves against the outside world? Hey, it works for North Korea, right? The answer to sustainability lies not in escalating a trade war with China but in creating jobs and spurring innovation here in America.
Nick Blitterswyk, David Droz, Micah Steiger – Urban Green Energy
Nick, David and Micah work for Urban Green Energy, a renewable energy solutions company based in New York. Urban Green Energy designs distributed wind and solar energy systems for residential, commercial, and telecommunications facilities around the world.
Image: Taxes sign via Shutterstock
June 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
Last weekend, I passed the 5,000 follower mark on Twitter. While that 5,000 number has never been a goal, it’s a great mile marker to look back and reflect on what I’ve learned about Twitter and solar marketing, and why over 5,000 people would ever waste their time following me. The short answer is that I worked hard to ensure that it wasn’t a waste of their time and attention — or mine.
First, let me give you some raw numbers from Twitter, which keeps track of most of these stats. There are other programs that fill in the gaps. If you don’t know the terminology below, it’s time to learn it.
As of this writing on Thursday, June 7, 2012, here’s where I am:
- Followers: I have 5,026 followers.
- Following: I’m following 1,862 people.
- # of Tweets I’ve written or RT’d: 16,593
- Years on Twitter: I signed up on June 09, 2009, so all of this was accomplished in almost 3 years to the day.
- Follower to Tweet ratio: I’ve gained about 1 follower for every 3.3 Tweets.
- Time spent: I have no idea exactly how much total time I’ve spent, but perhaps a total of 20-30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Maybe 5 minutes a day on weekends.
- # of clicks on links attached to my Tweets: 75-100 per week
- # of RT’s” of my Tweets: About 54 per week.
- ROI: Yes! But we’ll have to get into what we mean by ROI below.
The above stats reflect my @SolarFred Twitter account, only. It does not include any of the Tweets I’ve done for client accounts, so my cumulative total Twitter stats are actually higher.
And what have I learned? So much, and more than I can sum up. But briefly, here are 9 things that I’ve learned about solar marketing and Twitter:
Lesson 1) Using Twitter is free (cheap!), but it’s also a lot of hard work.
It may only be 20 or so minutes a day and 5 minutes each weekend, but you do need to think about what you’re Tweeting, why, and to whom. So join the solar Twitter-sphere, but if you want to be effective, put the time in to figuring out a strategy first. You’ll be much more effective.
Lesson 2) Twitter is social. Duh, but not so duh.
I’ve met and interacted with a lot of people through Twitter, both in the solar world and outside. Some are solar celebrities, some are actual celebrities, some are reporters, and many became customers or referred customers. I would say that 80 percent of those interactions were just “conversations” about a common cause: solar. Twitter is social media marketing. It’s not just about you. You must be interested and interact with the people you’re following. You’re developing a (brand) relationship, not an immediate sale. The value comes later when these interactions not only lead to a purchase, but also these people recommending you a zillion times. See? Not so duh.
Lesson 3) In terms of numbers following you, it’s quality, not quantity.
Want thousands of followers fast? Fine. Follow anyone. Just randomly pick people and follow everyone. 70 percent to 80 percent will follow you back, and your number of followers will rise. Nice. Except if you’re all about vanity numbers? It never looks good that you’re following more people than are following you. Worse, look at your Twitter stream and you’ll see a stream of mostly useless blah, blah, blah from people who have little to no interest in solar, regardless of sector. On the other hand, if you focus on just following prospects, solar advocates, competitors, and solar news sources, you’ll grow a smaller following, but a very powerful and useful one who will recommend you to friends, family, and pets. Trust me. It’s quality, not quantity for solar Twitter success.
Lesson 4) Twitter is more than 140 characters.
Sure, people have back and fourth conversations on Twitter, but 90 percent of what I Tweet and re-Tweet has a web link to something: Blog post, news, photo, press release, etc. That’s why it’s important to have a blog incorporated with Twitter. The two work very well together to stretch that 140 characters into more useful information that drives leads and web traffic, plus builds solar brand relationships.
Lesson 5) Twitter is not an advertisement. Really.
Related to #4, but this is must-know lesson: If all you do is Tweet about your solar product/service and “Get a solar quote from our wonderful service and save!” or just Tweet your press releases, you’re wasting your time, and hence, moula. You’ll be ignored and dismissed as a spammer, and rightly so. It’s better to follow the advice below. And that is…
Lesson 6) Twitter is a community. As much as Twitter isn’t an ad platform, it is a little town center. So, while you may be on Twitter to increase sales and referrals, and that’s grand, you have to act like you’re part of a virtual solar community, whether it’s the solar industry community or the green advocacy community. Doesn’t matter. Chose one or both, create lists of influential members, and then contribute to that community through supporting the town’s causes (Tweets) or at least by contributing useful solar information.
Lesson 7) You can have a vibrant solar seminar and gatherings through Twitter.
I wrote about this already, but in case you missed it, read this post. You can also get real people together in one place through Twitter, and I don’t mean virtually. I’ve hosted many “Tweet-ups” at solar conventions, and I’ve benefited tremendously from meeting fellow Tweeters in person. The next one is at Intersolar if anyone’s interested. But those personal interactions never would have happened without first without virtually “meeting” people on Twitter, and believe me, those relationships can be very strong.
Lesson 8) You can make life long friends on Twitter.
Related to Lesson 7, but in addition to business relationships, you can make great friends on Twitter. Also, you can suddenly lose them. Nevertheless, you really can never have too many friends in the world, and I’m honored to have made so many through Twitter from all over the world. These friends are a fraction of the 5,000 followers, but still, it’s a pleasure to know them.
Lesson 9) Twitter has an ROI, but it’s is up to you how you measure it.
People always ask me about the ROI of Twitter. Yes, there is a return on your mostly time investment, but you must have a strategy, number one. Two, you can measure success through web traffic reports and clicks to see if your strategy and execution is working. Many solar companies are on Twitter for brand recognition alone. Others use Twitter for brand protection and customer support, responding to complaints. And of course, there’s lead generation, and yes, I’ve generated many, many, leads for myself and my clients through my 16,000 plus Tweets. So, Twitter’s return on investment can be measured in many different ways. The most important value, though, is in customer relationships, brand loyalty, and if you do it right, leads and referrals.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned — so far. As the technology changes and I build relationships with more followers, there will be many more lessons. As always, Twitter is just one more way…to UnThink Solar.
Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” develops social media strategies and advises solar companies on marketing, communications, and branding. Contact him through UnThink Solar or follow him on Twitter @SolarFred.
About the above word cloud. It was created through words automatically drawn from my recent Tweets through a program called Tagxedo, a fun free marketing tool. Use it.
June 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Solar Blog | No comment
Global Energy Mix Survey
We conducted a telephone survey of executives involved in corporate energy strategy at 100 companies with revenues of US$1 billion or more. Questions focused on energy spend, types of energy used, energy strategy, and outlook.
The companies were those in energy-intensive sectors with a balanced global distribution. 72% have revenues exceeding US$1 billion, and 28% revenues of US$10 billion or more. They are mostly spread between North America (35%), EMEIA (35%) and Asia-Pacific (30%). The largest industry groups are diversified industrial products (29%), retail and wholesale (16%) and automotive (9%).
Respondents opting to disclose participation include British Airways, Celgene, Goodyear Tire Rubber Company, Magna International, Arvind Ltd, China Southern Airlines, Marks Spencer Group and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana SpA.
High energy costs
High energy costs expected to increase further set the context for the discussion. For half the respondents, energy expenditure represents 5% or more of operating costs. 22% said 20% or more of operating costs go on energy.
In absolute terms, this translates into an annual energy spend of at least US$50 million for 40% of respondents, with 27% spending US$100 million or more.
73% of respondents foresee already substantial energy costs rising over the next five years. 38% expect energy costs to rise by 15% or more in this period.
Formal energy strategy and implementation plan
To address this, 70% of respondents have a formal strategy and implementation plan to manage the mix of different energy sources used. 51% have a global strategy and 46% say this applies at country or business unit level.
Interestingly, 16% of respondents said their strategy is not limited to their own operations but extends to their supply chain.
Energy strategy objectives
When asked to comment on their energy strategy objectives, the majority said:
- Cost reduction through efficiency was their primary concern
- Also key were energy conservation and minimizing their carbon footprint
- Many also have targets to meet a portion of their energy needs from renewable sources
- Ensuring reliability of energy supply is also key
Respondents said financing and capital issues related to energy mix projects was the biggest strategy implementation challenge:
- Financing and capital issues related to energy mix projects (47%)
- Identifying and accessing government grants and incentives (40%)
- Assessing and selecting technologies (39%)
- Measuring or tracking progress in meeting strategy objectives (37%)
C-suite input and oversight
Energy mix is a truly strategic issue for the world’s largest corporations and as a result receives high-level executive attention.
- For 36% of respondents, the CEO is the final decision-maker
- For 40%, energy mix strategy is decided by the COO, CFO, GM or board chairman
Company energy self-generation
A number of large, well-known corporations have launched initiatives to generate their own energy for a number of reasons, such as reducing energy price volatility, increasing security of supply, decreasing costs, or meeting carbon objectives. These include IKEA, Google, Toyota, Toshiba, Hertz, FedEx, ATT, BMW, Renault, VW, Audi and PepsiCo. VW, for example, is investing €1b in offshore wind to meet renewable energy objectives and provide a natural hedge against volatile energy prices.
Our survey suggests this practice is not yet widespread, but is likely to increase. 51% of respondents report no self-generation and only 20% generate more than 10% of their energy needs. A third though expect to meet a bigger share of these needs this way over the next five years.
Key barriers – return and risk concerns
The leading reason for not investing in self-generation is that the payback period is too long, with financial return and risk concerns also highlighted.
Factors like upfront investment, a company’s level of experience with energy projects, site availability and technology readiness are relatively unimportant, which suggests that the right financial models could unlock corporate investment in energy generation.
Reducing energy costs remains the main objective of energy efficiency initiatives. However, important secondary aims include shrinking a company’s carbon footprint, limiting exposure to fluctuating fossil fuel prices and reducing risk related to fossil fuel availability.
The most important methods of achieving energy efficiency objectives are:
- energy demand management (47%)
- building energy management systems (20%)
- energy efficiency lighting (18%)
- building automation (18%)
The majority of respondents anticipate increasing energy efficiency over the next five years; 60% say initiatives to reduce energy consumption through efficiency will increase, and 22% say these initiatives will increase significantly.
Renewable energy use
Our survey looked at renewable energy use from two perspectives: energy generated by company-owned or controlled assets, and energy bought from outside parties. From either perspective, we found renewable energy usage among large corporations set to increase from an already substantial base over the next five years.
Renewables in company energy self-generation
41% of respondents report generating some form of renewable energy with company-owned or controlled resources. Most of these generate power with photovoltaic solar (25%), followed by biomass/biogas generation (20%) and the use of biofuels in company-owned fleets (19%). Wind and geothermal have 7% uptake.
Renewable energy still makes up a relatively small proportion of company generation though. Only 11% of respondents say it accounts for more than 5% of their total energy production.
This looks set to change though:
- 51% of respondents say company-owned renewable generation would increase over the next five years
- 16% expect it to increase significantly
Renewables in purchased electricity
In contrast, 68% purchase some electricity generated from renewable sources. In terms of total consumption, this divides into those who consume a little renewable electricity and those who consume a lot.
Pricing remains a key factor in renewable energy adoption. Only 39% say they would be willing to pay a premium for renewables, highlighting the importance of achieving grid parity and developing innovative project financing models.
Nonetheless, respondents predict growing use of renewables over the next five years; 46% say theirs will increase and 9% say it will increase significantly.
As a significant (and rising) share of operating costs go on energy, energy mix has become a strategic issue at the C-suite level of billion-dollar corporations.
While reducing energy costs through efficiency is often a strategy’s main objective, a number of other goals also exist, like energy security, carbon reduction and price stability. Regulatory compliance and reputational and brand aspects also play a part.
Self-generation of energy and integration of renewables have been adopted at significant rates to meet these ends, with adoption set to increase over the next five years. The main barriers to this are related to risk and financial return, suggesting adoption could come even faster with financing innovations and increased cost-competitiveness of renewables.
Only those corporations with a strong, diverse energy strategy will create a competitive advantage in today’s more resource-efficient, low-carbon economy.
This article was originally published on Ernst Young and was republished with permission.
Lead image: eco city via Shutterstock.
June 8, 2012 at 9:39 am | Solar Blog | No comment
Smart modules will be on display at Intersolar Europe
SolarEdge Technologies, a leading global provider of end-to-end solar power optimization systems and monitoring solutions, announced today that it is cooperating with leading module manufacturers to expand the offering of smart modules to the market. SolarEdge will present smart modules with embedded power optimization, safety and PV monitoring capabilities at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany, one of the world´s largest solar energy trade fairs.
SolarEdge will showcase at Intersolar, modules from JA Solar, Yingli Green Energy, LDK Solar, Upsolar Group, Phono Solar, and Tianwei New Energy who will benefit from SolarEdge’s next generation power optimizer, including the new IndOP™ technology. Smart modules with SolarEdge’s new IndOP™ technology can operate without the need for additional interface hardware and can work directly with any third party inverter as well as with the broad range of SolarEdge solar inverters.
“We are very excited about the market potential for smart modules optimized by SolarEdge because by using SolarEdge technology, we are enjoying the highest product quality and performance.” Says Mr. Jiang Yong, VP GM of Module Manufacturing from JA Solar. “With SolarEdge’s large existing install base, 25 years warranty, field experience and global presence, we are confident about entering this market.”
Smart modules optimized by SolarEdge, available in the market since last year by Solon Energy, are able to perform module-level MPPT, thus eliminating power losses caused by module mismatch, shading, and dust collection. The SolarEdge power optimizer has the highest known efficiency in the industry of 99.5%. In addition, SolarEdge power optimizers enhance system maintenance by monitoring the performance of each module. The smart modules also include the built-in SafeDC™ feature which automatically shuts down a modules’ voltage whenever inverter or grid power is shut down. This safety mechanism mitigates high-voltage risks during installation, maintenance and firefighting.
SolarEdge will be presenting its products and services from June 13 to15 at the Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich Hall, C3 at Stand 110.
About SolarEdge Technologies
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Solar power and photovoltaics
June 8, 2012 at 2:07 am | Solar Blog | No comment
ScienceDaily (June 7, 2012) Imaging nanoporous metals with beams of electrons provides deep insights into the unusual optical properties of these materials.
Gold is usually thought of as being a shiny metal — however, in its porous form, gold actually appears dull and black. The surfaces of nanoporous gold are rough and the metal loses its shine. Michel Bosman at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and co-workers have now experimentally demonstrated that the dullness is a consequence of the way incoming light couples to the electrons on the gold surface1.
A beam of light hitting metal can cause all of the electrons at the surface to oscillate in unison. If the light is within an appropriate narrow band of wavelengths, it gets absorbed by the surface and creates half-matter hybrid particles known as surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). Bosman and his team showed that the narrow-band absorption of many SPPs across a surface can combine to give the broadband high-absorption characteristics of nanoporous materials. “Our measurements show that these materials are not black at all when looked at up close; they are actually very colorful,” explains Bosman. “They only appear black to us because we look at them from far away, where over a large area all the different colors have been absorbed.”
These effects caused by the SPPs occur at the sub-micron level. For this reason, conventional optical imaging methods do not offer the resolution necessary to view SPPs directly. In response, the team used imaging techniques based on electron beams. By firing electrons at the surface and measuring the energy that they lose during their interaction with the material, Bosman and his team were able to calculate the energy required to create a SPP, and from this they could infer the wavelength of light that it would absorb.
The researchers scanned their electron beam across both gold and silver films, which enabled them to generate a two-dimensional map showing both the wavelength of light absorbed at a particular point as well as the local surface geometry (see image). The varying shape and size of the nanopores gave rise to SPPs that absorb light at a wide range of wavelengths.
The concept could lead to improved power conversion efficiency in photovoltaic devices. “These results show that it is possible to design the color of a gold or silver film,” says Bosman. “It will, for example, be possible to more efficiently absorb the energy of sunlight, by tuning the light absorption of the gold or silver to that of the solar spectrum.”
The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute for Materials Research and Engineering
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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), via ResearchSEA.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
- Michel Bosman, Geoffrey R. Anstis, Vicki J. Keast, Jackson D. Clarke, Michael B. Cortie. Light Splitting in Nanoporous Gold and Silver. ACS Nano, 2012; 6 (1): 319 DOI: 10.1021/nn203600n
Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.
June 8, 2012 at 2:00 am | Solar Blog | No comment
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Here at Inhabitat we love finding urban gardens flourishing in the most unlikely places, like this brilliant school bus turned mobile greenhouse! The Green Urban Lunch Box is a 35-foot bus in Salt Lake City no longer making the rounds on the schoolbus circuit. Now, it has the much more exciting task of teaching kids and adults about the amazing scientific, agricultural and social aspects of growing food in urban environments. The bus keeps busy touring local community events and farmers’ markets, boasting a team that dishes all the dirt on gardening while handing out seeds as they go!
Faced with the usual challenge of finding a small plot to plant veggies, the founders of the project stumbled on the idea of creating a “bus field”. Since then the bus has evolved into a budding transportable garden and education center packed full of cool growing techniques. They’ve included a drip irrigation and a solar-powered aquaponics system, and have plans ahead to install a mushroom bed and on-board worm composting.
The team’s secondary focus is their ‘Back-Farm Program’ which links senior citizens and people with disabilities with their neighborhoods via the the shared space of the community garden. With the aim of making locally-grown vegetables more accessible to communities, the team has already developed six gardens in the Salt Lake City area.
Currently the Green Urban Lunch Box is pushing it’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds, so take a look for more information about their green schemes and lend a helping hand.
+ Green Urban Lunch Box
Images courtesy of The Green Urban Lunch Box