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Ice Bear 30 Hybrid Air Conditioner

Have you ever noticed in the rate section of your electric bill that you pay a significantly higher rate per kilowatt hour (kWh) during what the utility calls “peak hours”? If you are on a “Time-of-Use” rate the electric utility company charges you a premium per kWh consumed during hot summer days when everyone is using air conditioners and the demand for electricity is skyrocketing. This peak hour usage accounts for a majority of most peoples annual electric costs, depending on how much you use your air conditioners. Typically air conditioners are the largest load on your electric service, therefore commercializing an efficient air conditioner is the holy grail of energy efficiency. I have wrote about the GreenCore PV Powered Air Conditioner and the AC Sun solar thermal air conditioners in the past, although the Ice Energy‘s Ice Bear 30 Hybrid Air Conditioner uses Ice, the same type that comes out of our refrigerators as a storage method for cool air. The Ice Bear 30, is a piggy back unit that connects to most air conditioning systems and requires no modification to existing duct work or structure, Ice Bear hybrid A/C unit integrates seamlessly with the conventional 3-10 ton rooftop and split-system air conditioners that cool most light-commercial and residential buildings. Now this is the “cool” part, quite literally. The Ice Bear 30 stores cooling energy at night, when electricity generation is cheaper per kWh, cleaner and more abundant, by freezing water within an insulated storage tank to create and storing cooling capacity for the next day. During the day, the Ice Bear, using the energy stored the previous night to provide cooling by circulating chilled refrigerant from the tank to a modified evaporator coil within the conventional air conditioning system. Ice Energy already has Ice Bear 30 units successfully installed, the company is manufacturing product and setting up their distribution network, which is great to hear because most companies in the “smart air conditioning” space do not yet have a product to offer to the public. You maybe thinking, how is this post related to solar photovoltaic panels or solar energy in general. Well its always better to “Reduce then Produce” as a strategy to get the most out of your solar power system. Many times a solar power system will require too many panels to offset your total usage because your home or business is energy inefficient. Products such the Ice Bear 30 combined with a solar power array could be a very cost effective and reliable application of solar energy production and energy efficiency. What do you...

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AC Sun’s Solar Air Conditioner

A while back I wrote about a solar air conditioner called the Greencore Air that was a highly efficient air conditioner powered by photovoltaic (pv) panels. This week a Danish company AC-Sun, announced they are developing a unique solar air conditioner. We’re fascinated with solar air conditioners because typically these are the largest and most expensive load on homes and businesses across the world, which can make a very cost effective application of solar energy if a company can release a reliable product. The most interesting part about AC-Sun’s solar air conditioners is that instead of using solar panels to generate electricity to power an AC, it uses solar thermal technology which boils water, creates steam to drive a turbine which can cool a room. It’s using the sun’s heat to cool a room! The AC-Sun’s system is based off an already known thermal process, which includes a traditional solar thermal panel that provides energy to an expander that ends up operating a compressor. A compressor is a critical unit in air conditioning and is important in the overall process of creating cool air. Unfortunately, you can’t buy AC-Sun’s solar air conditioner today, they are still developing the product and according to the company the product will be on the market in the middle of 2010. What do you think about solar air conditioners? This is a very interesting niche of solar energy, has anyone seen other companies dabbling in this...

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Touch-screen device for tracking solar panel and home energy usage

Open Energy a company I wrote about recently, that manufactured solar roofing tiles has also announced they are working on a device that helps solar power system owners visualize their home energy usage and solar panel production. The device has a wireless Internet gateway that can show solar power production along side electricity usage. The device can also pull in gas and water usage data that can help home owners make educated decisions on the fly about their resource consumption. Open Energy’s monitoring device will be out on the market next year and will cost between $1,100 to $1,400 USD which includes other monitoring services along with the hardware. More companies are developing ways for consumers to track energy production from solar panels and compare it to a home’s energy usage. Monitoring software and devices are becoming more of a standard when purchasing a solar power system. Traditionally consumers have to rely on reading the LCD screen on an inverter to figure out the production for that day. But a device or web software the analysis of the home energy usage and solar panel production can be analyzed in greater detail. Customers want to know in real time what the system is doing, we are very used to information on demand, these devices, software and hardware help solar electric system owners really understand how their system is...

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Energy Savers Love the SkyStream 3.7

According to an article titled, “Wind turbines smart choice, energy savers” by Danie M. Huffman of the Weatherford Democrat a man named Curtis Kelly got sick of his high electric bills and decided to invest in a Skystream 3.7 to offset this dependence on the utility grid and lower his monthly bill. Kelly has paid up to $340 per month for his electric service and wit the Skystream 3.7 he could see a reduction of $80 – $120 dollars per month on his bill depending on the wind speeds he receives that month. The SkyStream 3.7, developed jointly with the US Department of Energy is one of the most reliable grid interactive small scale wind turbines on the market and the payback period can range from 5 to 7 years. The wind turbine makes most financial sense when there is an average wind speed of at least 10MPH. Many companies claim that the SkyStream 3.7 can eliminate a customers entire electric bill, although most likely it will just reduce consumption because most customers use a lot of energy, and it would take more than one SkyStream 3.7 to eliminate a bill. Kelly chose the SkyStream 3.7 because of the built in inverter, that turns the DC power into AC electricity that is used by most appliances and the quite nature of the wind turbine itself made the SkyStream 3.7 stand out as he was making his decision on which turbine to go with. The longest part of the installation is pouring the concrete base and allowing it to cure for two to four weeks, the wind turbine itself can be put up within a day. There are customers who are comfortable installing the SkyStream 3.7 on a Do-It-Yourself basis while others require a professional to help them with the installation similar to Kelly. What do you think about small scale wind power? Do you think they are a feasible option for the common American to reduce their dependence on the grid? Please...

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Why efficiency is key on deciding what solar panel to buy.

As more solar panel producers enter the market, consumers are confused on what brand to buy. What should you look for when purchasing solar panels to power your home or small business? Not all solar panels are created equal, efficency matters! If you are a homeowner with limited roof space, well you should care more about efficiency more then anyone. The more efficient the solar panel, the more watts you generate per square foot, that’s the bottom line. Sanyo Solar Panels are highly efficient and this is why we like them, because you produce more electricity with every panel. Even though Sanyo’s are priced at a premium compared to value or cheap solar panels, the return on investment is much quicker on a Sanyo system because of the efficiency. So the first thing to do when comparing two brands of solar panels is to look at the specifications sheets and compare the efficiencies, you will be surprised how much more efficient premium panels are. What do you think are highly efficent panels always worth it or is it better to go with more cheaper...

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Energy Saving Tips from Southern California Ediosn

If your considering solar or wind power you better be thinking about energy efficiency. Most energy hogs that call in to inquire about a system that can eliminate their entire bill often end the decision making process for renewable energy with their tails between their legs because of the high upfront cost of producing their own energy. When consumers have to produce their own energy, its expensive to be inefficient, although consumers are spoon fed electricity from the utility company most do not even think about energy efficiency, typically people just pay the bill and think they have no control over the final value each month, this is a common misconception. Southern California Edison (SCE) has released a new webpage to provide consumers tips on how they can save energy. This is especially good information for people looking to reduce the upfront cost of going solar, by implementing the tips on the utility’s website a solar power shopper could shave thousands of dollars from the final cost of a solar power...

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