Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The $1 Watt barrier.... Reality? Or Myth?

You talk to various groups in the Solar photovoltaic industry and they say that the $1 per Watt barrier is the measure to beat. Sort of like the 4-minute mile. Everyone is shooting for it. Unfortunately, according to a recent post in Greentech Media... this is way wrong. It depends on what the cost per Watt already is in your particular power grid. If you are in an expensive cost-per-Watt area already, you might not have to reach $1/watt to make your investment in solar photovoltaics worth the effort.

What this barrier also doesn't look at is the rate of inflation. If folks were talking about the purchasing power of the dollar about 15 years ago or even 5 years ago... it has no bearing on what that dollar is worth today. There are also more efficiencies involved... and you must also see how many days of insolation you have in your particular location. You'll get far less solar photovoltaic energy from an Alaskan photovoltaic installation in the winter than you would in Arizona or Hawaii. Of course, you'll get a whole lot more photovoltaic energy from a solar installation in Alaska during the northern hemisphere SUMMER.

For more information on this you can go to the Greentech Post About Cost per Watt Barrier for Photovoltaic Power.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Offshore Windfarms in Denmark! As Seen From Space!

I was doing some work on my Squidoo lens on Space Exploration, and I stumbled over the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) website. One of the links on their site was for satellite views of the Offshore Wind Farms, Copenhagen, Denmark. Since it's such a different way of seeing these types of alternate energy production, I thought I'd include it here for your enjoyment and viewing pleasure.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Solar Quonset Hut in Victoria Province, Australia!

I was exploring the web today when I stumbled over a beautiful architectural example of what can be done for energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency! I was working on my Squidoo lens on Quonset Huts and found this Solar House at Mt. Best, north of the Toora Windfarm and East of Melbourne about 10 kilometers North of Victoria Province's Australian Highway A440.

The Solar House on Mt. Best also has its own wind-power generator, and uses energy conserving and energy-efficient architectural design techniques to maximize the solar and wind power generated.

Very nice. (From the looks of the place, I'd love to live there!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Some Ranting on Solar - Alternatives to Photovoltaics

(I posted this in a different forum -- but since it's MY writing, I claim it as my own *grin*)

Solar doesn't always have to be about the "photovoltaics" (although that always seems to be the *sexy* thing that gets the media hype).

Solar mirrors and solar heat have been used long, long, long before the photovoltaics were even invented.

Parabolic solar collectors aimed at water pipes can create a good steam pressure (aka "head") to run turbines to generate electricity... also, the flat-plate mirrors (sun-tracking mirrors called "heliostats") can be focused on salt-containers and heat-exchange units to create thermal heat to run generators. These can be done on a large scale--like the solar-collecting troughs of Solar-1 plant in Nevada, the heliostats of Solar-1 plant near Barstow, California .. .or the large test facility near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

But on a smaller scale, individuals can spray-paint copper-piping with flat-black paint and enclose those pipes into a glass-faced box such that the water flowing through the pipes can either radiate heat into their dwelling or provide hot water for washing.

Yes, we should look into the "industrial-strength-sized" solar concentrating plants for large-scale power generation. But this technology isn't new or even a "breakthrough". This technology (and the underlying concepts) have been used for decades. I'm happy to see that the governments and the research institutions are looking at it again.

Passive solar homes have been around since the 1800's. Tromb walls, clerestory windows, thermal mass, phase-change-materials (PCM), radiative heat exchangers, proper insulation, proper landscaping, -- all of these go a long way to making more energy-efficient homes... but combined with active solar concentrators AND photovoltaics... along with wind and other technologies, you can really squeeze more energy out of highly available sources.

Squidoo lens on Environmental Alternatives
Squidoo lens on "Moving Electrons"


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Electric Jeepney is LTO-licensed in the Philippines-a Start of the Green Movement

The Philippines Land Transportation Office (LTO) released the first-ever license plate for an electric vehicle to a locally-assembled electric jeepney.

The 14-passenger e-jeepney, manufactured by PhUV Inc. (the business arm of the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines – MVPMAP), is now going through pilot testing on the Legaspi jeepney route in Makati City.

Some of the parts and components for the vehicle obviously had to be obtained from offshore international manufacturers (such as the motors from a China manufacturer), but the design, fabrication, and assembly were accomplished by PhUV, Inc. in the Philippines. A second e-jeepney is slated to be added to the Salcedo Village route in Makati City.

As part of the e-jeepney transportation system, the Green Renewable Independent Power Producer (GRIPP) organization (PhUV, Inc. and environmental group Green Pease are GRIPP members), funded in part by the Doen Foundation of the Netherlands and Green Peace, is in the process of creating a biodigester for generating electricity from biodegradable household wastes and a depot to store and serve as the charging station/terminal for the e-jeepneys.

PhUV, Inc. plans to add three body styles of the smaller electric tricycles (e-trikes) to their assembly lines to serve the transportation needs of the more rural areas of the Philippines. PhUV is making two demonstration "e-trikes" (a 5-seater and a cargo pickup). The vehicles can run at speeds of 40 kph and require 6 to 8 hours of charging.

PhUV stated that they plan to sell 200 units of the e-jeepneys during the next two years. Green Peace has ordered 44 of the units of which 26 will be delivered by the end of this year.