Category Archives: Uncategorized

Significantly Lower Prices in Solar PV Modules

Solar PV module prices have fallen considerably over the past year. The same is true for peripherals or “accessories” like PV inverters, switches, or mounting hardware.

This development may be linked to the equally considerable lowering of incentives for solar installations in major markets such as the U. K. and Germany.

While these subsidy cuts very clearly — and disappointingly — point to the fact that apparent booms in installation numbers have been little more than government-controlled spending plans (rather than reasonable households coming to the conclusion that it’s a good idea living more environmentally-friendly), the lowered prices in and by themselves offer numerous opportunities for households wanting to jump on the Renewables bandwagon now.

A full installation for single or multiple family homes as well as for small businesses can be had for relatively low cost now that over-inflated prices have de-flated (as they do with all “bubbles” once they are over with)…

Add to this the availability of more and more cheap Asian products, and you have found yourself a nice buying opportunity — along with the good feeling of Being Green without being bribed to do so by a government agency.


Solar-Friendly Farm for Sale

With over 200 sq m of soth-southwesterly roof space, there is an enormous opportunity in Sweden’s Värmland province for smart investors and solar-friendly real estate buyers coming to market.

Solar-friendly smallholding on the shores of Lake Vaner, Värmalnd province, Sweden: English is spoken, feel free to enquire for details!  --  Resthof, nur 2 km zum riesigen Vänersee: Ferienhaus für bis zu 8 Personen

The Mellgarden small farm is a classical Scandinavian smallholding and is situated right in the Lake Vaner area (the largest body of freshwater in Western Europe). On top of the cast roof space that can either be used for own generation purposes or potentially leased-out to third-party Renewables operators (including any eco-friendly neighbours), the property boasts a beautiful and solid timber villa (built 1904) plus two farm buildings and an extra garage on a total area of 3430 sq m (or just under 1 acre/approx 1.5 acres U. S.). Details and a complete listing are available here.

How to Ephemeralize Using Micro Wind and Solar Technologies

The concept of Ephemeralization is a very powerful description of the general idea of “doing more with less” or using resources efficiently. It has been described by Richard Buckminster Fuller, dubbed “Earth’s Friendly Genius”, as one of the Generalized Principles of the Universe and, thus, a powerful force that applies to each and every person or object just like a natural law (e g gravity).

Richard Buckminster Fuller, outlining the Generalized Principle of Ephemeralization (or “doing more with less”), has laid out the blueprint for an Economy of Abundance.

Generating clean energy from Renewables clearly is an integral part of what “Earth’s Friendly Genius” (Buckminster Fuller) had in mind. As a futurist, Buckminster Fuller knew very well that history is a reflection of the amount and efficiency of energy use by humans.

De-centralized clean energy from Renewables brings the individual (private households, small businesses, charities and other small organizations) closer to attaining Abundance. It helps us all leaving the iron grip of power companies, the national grid, bureaucracies and similar collective institutions behind and re-gain a part of our freedom and some wealth at the same time. Creating more energy than we consume, we even contribute to bringing about a wider Economy of Abundance along the way.


Miniwindanlagen und Nennleistung: Die kleinen Mogeleien aus Asien

Die Gepflogenheiten bei der Ermittlung der Nennleistung bei Kleinwindanlagen werden von zumeist asiatischen Herstellern zunehmend unterwandert: im Bestreben, ihren eigenen Produkten ein auf den ersten Blick “besseres” Abschneiden zu ermoeglichen, versuchen die ueblichen eher zweifelhaften Vertreter der Branche in China (und mitunter auch Japan) durch “Nennwindgeschwindigkeiten” von albernen 12 m/s hohe “leistungsdaten” aus ihren Anlagen herauszukitzeln.

Wenngleich dies bei ahnungslosen Kaeufern leider zu Fehlentscheidungen (meist zugunsten irgendwelcher nicht-so-tollen Billiganlagen) fuehrt, vermag diese Praxis bei genauerem hinsehen natuerlich nicht zu ueberzeugen — fuehrt in vielen Faellen langfristig sogar zu eigener Rufschaedigung und unzufriedenen Kunden. (in der Regel ist der Kaufpreis dann jedoch laengst vom Hersteller einkassiert.)

Neben den genannten Billiganlagen aus China gehoert jedoch auch die technisch anspruchsvolle und solide gebaute Airdolphin-Miniwindanlage in diesen Bereich. Schade.

Die uebliche Meßmethode fuer Miniwindanlagen ist, die Nennleistung bei einer Testgeschwindigkeit von 8 m/s (und nicht bei 12) zu ermitteln! Auch fuer Miniwindsysteme (also Anlagen zwischen 1000 Watt und 15 KW Nennleistung bei 8 m/s) sollte dies gelten.

Die untere Grafik reicht ueberhaupt nur bis 8 m/s und ist damit ein laudables Beispiel…

Vergleichsdaten bei anderen Geschwindigkeiten, auch jenen oft in Taeuschungsabsicht herangezogenen 12 Metern pro Sekunde, koennen ja vom jeweiligen Hersteller gern zusaetzlich angegeben werden.

Angesichts dieser Situation ist es lobenswert, daß zahlreiche Europaeische, britische und amerkanische Hersteller weiterhin technisch einwandfrei bei 8 m/s messen.

How Solar PV Really Works

Solar PV produces electric current actually in a similar way as batteries albeit much more intelligently as neither any components wear out nor is there any poisonous substance involved (like acid in batteries, which also wears out through use). Solar cells, while also degrading as there is no Perpetuum Mobile in our environment, last a lot longer than those “stone age” or “state-of-the-Arch” energy generation technologies called batteries — PV cells usually last for 25 years with at least 80% of their original capacity — and can produce energy for 35+ years before they become really “sucked-out”.

Over 95% of today’s solar cells consist of the semiconductor material silicon. Semiconductors are materials whose electrical conductivity increases under light or heat.

For the production of solar cells, the silicon is doped, which means that other chemical elements are added to it, either creating an electron surplus (n-conductive layer) or an electron shortage (p-conductive layer). This means that the doped areas become charged, and if two differently doped semiconductor areas convene, a so-called space charge region is created at the boundary layer (p-n junction), meaning there is a difference in electrical potential across the boundary.

This is what makes them somewhat related to batteries which use acid and two different metals to create the same effect for a limited time — until the battery becomes dis-charched or “empty”.

In order to achieve the desired effect in solar cells, the initial silicon material is normally p-doped lightly and a thin surface layer heavily n-doped. This creates the space charge region required for separating the charge carriers, known as electrons (negative charge) and holes (positive charge).
Different than batteries, solar cells do not need any added substances (like acid) in order to work, but the entire process is induced by just exposing them to sunlight (or even just daylight, i e it also works on an overcast day).

When the energy from the sunlight hits the semiconductor material, the photons transfer their energy to the material, and the electrons and holes achieve a higher energy state, allowing them to move. The negatively charged electrons will move to the positively charged region, and the positively charged holes move to the negatively charged region. This process repeats itself, and the net flow of charge across the boundary is the electricity that is generated by that cell! To generate usable amounts of electricity, cells are arranged into modules, which are in turn arranged into your PV array.

The front contact is a metallic grid, enabling the sunlight to penetrate into silicon between the contacts. Moreover, solar cells are also coated with an anti-reflection coating, serving to protect the cell and to reduce energy losses resulting from reflection. This layer gives the solar cells their typical bluish black appearance.

The basic output is then converted to voltages and currents in accordance with specifications needed using rectifiers, inverters or micro inverters, and similar electrical equipment.

Home Power as a Business: Using Renewables for Hedging Yourself Against Two Major Risks

Home power may very well save you during the upcoming economic downturn. It’s a bit like owning precious metals or “opting out” of our over-networked way of life in other ways. The beauty of investing in residential-scale Green Energy is its capability of hedging against two of the most likely economic risks threatening your money today: overall currency instability and consumer price inflation. These might materialize as soon as the end of summer 2012 and would likely be visible as a slight — and then accelerating — downturn and an increase in prices including energy and utility bills at one go. The supporting fundamentals for both are in place, it’s just a matter of time for them to materialize. As noted above, both are likely to happen rather soon (and yes, even though it may sound contradictory from a conventional economic point of view to have both a severe recession or even deflation and an increase in energy prices at roughly the same time, this is still a very likely scenario).

Click here to read more…


Small Wind Turbine LE-300 Wren at a Glance

Small Wind Turbine LE-300 Specifications:

Rotor Diameter: 1 metre
Rotor Type: 3-Blade upwind
Blade Material: Glass Reinforced, UV resistant Nylon
Rated Output: 85watts @ 8m/s (18mph)
Peak Output: 300watts
Cut-in speed: 3m/s (6.7mph)
Weight: 6kg
Generator Type: 3-Phase Brushless NIB rotor PMA
Output voltage: 12 or 24V
Warranty 5 years

LE-300 low-price micro wind turbine

LE-300 is the most affordable and lightweight, yet powerful and robust micro wind turbine you can think of. With a rotor diameter of just 1.0 metres and its tiny weight of just 6 kgs, this low-priced and very versatile Home Power generator is fast and easy to set up and deploy. Quality-built in the U. K. and using maintenance-free and sealed-for-life rare earth generators, the design life of this unit is 20 years. Expected annual power production is 240 KWh to 1050 KWh (for sites averaging  4.1 m/s or 8.0 m/s resepctively).   Why choose the LE-300 Wind Turbine

  • Extremely quiet because of our WhispowerTM blades
  • Lightweight – just 6kg – and easy to mount
  • Starts generating in very low winds, delivers high power in very strong winds
  • Robust aluminium chassis finished using Airbus approved paint
  • A4 stainless steel fixings used throughout.
  • Pairs of top quality, marine grade, sealed for life bearings used
  • Excellent reliability with a 5 year warranty
  • Superior battery protection system

Low-Energy Lamps: What’s Right, What’s Wrong?

When it comes to low-energy lamps, it is often confusing to know what’s right and what’s wrong: too much irritating advertising, sometimes unwarranted claims of “eco-friendliness”, price wars that can distort the picture. In order for you to make informed decisions, we would like to help you educate yourself about energy-saving lamps.

First of all, it is important to point out that CFLs are NOT the way to go: every tube including the ones contained in CFLs leave poisenuos heavy metals when discarded (like mercury contaminating drinking water supplies). CFLs also have a high-current “ignition” unit that emits Electromagnetic Fields or EMFs that are potentially harmful to your health. Also, CFLs are roughly 30% less energy-efficient than their more recent LED counterparts. The last point alone partly defies the idea of “eneergz efficiency” for CFLs.

LED (light-emitting diodes) have entered the race for lighting our buildings a lot later but have been around for some time now. Even if their price tag usually shows higher upfront prices, these are amortized by LED-based lamps’ better efficiency. An old 60 W light bulb can be replaced with LED lams of just 4 W, therefore using just 1/15th of power. So it’s a good idea to pay a few pennies more upfront and get LED lamps right away that last longer (25-30 years, almost like a good mini wind turbine). The bottom line is that LED lamps surpass those low-energy CFLs and can total 90%-94% in energy savings and pay for themselves many times over, despite their higher initial purchasing cost.

Also, LEDs don’t wear out from heavy turning on and off and are thus suitable for all kinds of rooms including the ones you enter for just a few moments before switching the light off again. Remember, those strobe lights for bikes use LEDs without any wear and tear.

Add to this the absence of any harmful EMFs and the peace of mind that you may use them even at less than 5 ft from your head, and the LED is the clear overall winner for your lighting needs.

Atlantic Canada: The Nova Scotia “ComFIT”

The highest mini wind FIT in the world is offered by the Canadian province of Nova Scotia since September 19th, 2011, but with a twist: the province has skipped solar energy altogether (not just PV but even highly efficient solar thermal and CSP) which has rightly been called ‘outright criminal’ by a local Halifax, NS newspaper; also, the ‘ComFIT’ scheme is limited to community projects only and thus excludes mainstream participants. It seems the province tried to make an ‘impressive program as cheap as possible’ and that some learning is still required in Nova Scotia. We do hope that current flaws are not permanent and that improvements will follow soon.

The Nova Scotia ComFIT appears to be a work in progress anyway with numerous updates and revamps being made already. Initially, the small wind band was even higher (at Can$0.66 per KWh) and has already been significantly reduced. We hope that reasonable additions will include an attractive FIT rate for solar technologies too and would like to stress that, although being less famous for their sunshine than Nova Scotia itself, even the U. K does have solar incentives including a very promising solar thermal FIT equivalent of 18p per KWh.

NEW: iPhone app monitoring Home Power systems

A new iPhone app for monitoring Home Power systems while on the move has been announced by Enecsys, a micro inverter manufacturer based in the U. K. and Germany.

The new iPhone app is compatible with all Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) and displays generation information from Enecsys micro inverters. Micro inverters are a novel and efficient way of converting DC power from solar panels to appliance-grade AC (120 Volts/60 Hz in America or 230 Volts/50 Hz in Europe). Unlike central or string inverters connecting to an entire array of PV panels and requiring complicated and costly DC cabling, micro inverters plug in to one or two solar panels each and connect to the grid using ordinary plugs and a free socket.

Whereas central and string inverters usually require installation by a certified electrician, micro inverters are suitable for do-it-yourselfers as setup is easy and similar to plugging in a PC, radio or stereo equipment.

The new iPhone app makes monitoring of photovoltaic modules even simpler and more convenient. Launched at Intersolar Europe 2011 later this month, the app will be available direct from Apple’s iTunes store. Please register here to get notified once the app is released and available for immediate download.