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Canadian Solar pledges to recycling solar panels

Many people worry that solar panels at the end of their life cycle, which is 30 to 50 years could cause an environmental problem when they need to be trashed. SolarWorld was the first company in the industry that created a recycling program for solar panels but recently a company called Canadian solar that manufacturers low cost solar panels in China has also pledged to recycle old solar panels. Canadian Solar became a member of PV Cycle, an organization that promotes the voluntary take back and recycling of end of life solar panels. This is good to see more companies create policies towards the problem of what’s going to happen when all these solar panels being installed today need to be thrown away 30 years from now. Do you think it’s important that solar panel manufacturers have a policy towards recycling solar...

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santa moncia forces solar panels to the back of the bus

Santa Monica is making it more difficult for citizens of their city to go solar all of a sudden. A city known to be friendly to solar panels have all of a sudden changed their tune by introducing a city ordinance that would require solar panels to be installed on the least visible area. According to the city council document the pending city ordinance states: A critical aspect in evaluating where to install photovoltaic systems, especially on an existing building, is the performance of the system. However, there is no reason that the solar installation professional should not also consider aesthetic aspects when designing a system. To address this concern while retaining a ministerial review process, the proposed ordinance would require solar equipment to be installed in the location that is least visible from the street, with the provision that energy performance is not significantly reduced or the cost of the solar system is not significantly increased compared to a location that is more visible from the street. The new city ordinance was introduced on June 30th but still needs to go through a second hearing before it goes live. The city of Santa Monica claims that by requiring citizens to install solar panels on the least visible location, it would help the city streamline the permitting process, what a bunch of baloney! If anyone from the city of Santa Monica is reading this blog post, especially a city official. What I want you to know is that by forcing citizens to install solar panels in the least visible location the city is BREAKING THE LAW. According to California’s Solar Rights Act It’s illegal for any city to create unreasonable barriers to the installation of solar energy systems, including, but not limited to, design review for aesthetic purposes. The only reason the city can block you from installing solar panels in the area you prefer is if the solar panels pose a public health concern. check out the paper below highlighting real case studies of the California Solar Rights...

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products at Intersolar 2009, day two.

Day two at Intersolar 2009 was action packed. I had a really busy day but managed to get you’ll some shots of some really cool products right from the tradeshow floor. A “green” solar panel Symphony Energy has released the first “green” polycrystalline solar panel. Typically solar panels have either a blue or black color to them, although Symphony decided to change up the color for aesthetic reasons. Walking around the trade show floor, I noticed all the solar panels started to look the same. By changing the color of the polycrystalline to green the company made their product standout. Their putting the words “going green” in their product literally. What do you think about green solar panels? Would you put these on your roof? Solar panel security alarm I wrote about Gridlock Solar Security a few days ago, today I got to meet them in person to talk about their advanced solar panel security device. Similar to a burglar alarm, once the alarm has been triggered the unit not only flashes and sends out an annoying siren but contacts the police and dials telephone numbers that you can program the unit with. This is one of the most unique products I saw at the show because it really focuses on reducing a big problem in the industry, solar panel theft. produce electricity and heat water The limitations of solar panels today is there are two different types of systems. photovoltaics generate electricity while solar thermal heat water. What if you can have one system that can both produce electricity and provide you with your hot water needs? PVTherm is doing just that, they’ve created a solar panel that heats water and produces power with the same solar panel! You can maximize surface area by having one system that take cares of two needs. Monster solar panel, ahhhhh! Typically polycrystalline solar panels that are on rooftops are a couple hundred watts but this monster solar panel from Best Solar is 370 watts with a huge footprint. So massive it would be impossible for a couple people to carry this up to a roof. You would need a crane to get this solar panel installed. We asked the Best Solar representative what type of applications this large of a solar panel would be used for and he said that these solar panels are made for utility scale projects since these monster solar panels produce a lot of power and make it more difficult to steal. Intersolar 2009 has been a great trade show so far, we’ve seen a lot of the same but there has been a handful of unique...

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products at Intersolar 2009, day one.

We’re here in San Fransisco at Intersolar 2009 dedicated to show you some products that we found interesting on the trade show floor. Let’s take a look at these innovative products that improve performance, installation and aesthetics. Schuco Ballasted Flat Roof Solar Panel Mounting: Installing solar panels on top of a flat commercial roof can be a challenge to not compromise the integrity of the roof since most installations require roof penetrations. Schuco displayed their ballasted solution that holds down solar panels on a flat commercial rooftops with nothing but a simple brick as a weight. Ballasted systems are great for building owners who have warranties on their roofs but who do not want to void their warranties when installing solar panels. Ballasted mounting solutions typically cost more per watt and add more weight to the roof compared standard racking systems. Canadian Solar panel with Clear Backsheet Canadian Solar Incorporated is showing off a solar panel with a clear back sheet. The advantage of using a solar panel with a clear back sheet is light can still penetrate through the solar panel which makes this type of solar panel ideal for applications in which solar panels provide shade, for example a parking structure or canopy. The clear back sheet is on this monocrystalline solar panel is purely an aesthetic feature. Kaco Solar Inverters with iPhone App? Kaco Solar has rebranded to Kaco New Energy and has made recent improvements to their residential grid tie product line. I saw a display at their booth about an iPhone application that can interface with your Kaco grid tie inverter and display the inverter statistics right on your iPhone. It seems like more grid tie inverter companies are starting to bring inverter data to your mobile phone, which is a trend I expect to see adopted by other grid tie inverter manufacturers S-5! expands product line for metal roof attachments S-5! is a company that focuses on developing attachments for metal roofs, they started with standing seam metal roofs. They have recently created a new attachment product to work on metal roofs with a wavy design. The convenient aspect of this attachment is it has a special adhesive that protects the installation from roof leaks by plugging the penetrations made to secure the solar panels on the roof. This allows you to install solar panels on a metal roof painlessly without worrying about a leaky roof in the future. Global Solar Flexible Thin Film Global Solar is leading the space in terms of developing flexible thin film solar panels to charge up electronic devices and battery packs. From what I saw at their...

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hands on solar, leading photovoltaics education

We can all agree that the solar photovoltaics industry is booming, it’s taking off like a rocket ship. Although with all this rapid growth surrounding the industry there are growth barriers in the way before solar photovoltaics can reach the mainstream market. There just isn’t enough qualified people to help customers go solar, the industry and governments have been funding research & development of photovoltaic technology although they’ve overlooked a critical component, solar education. I met Brian Hurd, at an ethnic press conference at USC back in 2006 and was intrigued by his passion to provide quality photovoltaic education and through that experience I learned about the great work he was doing training future solar professionals at the East Los Angeles Skills Center (ELASC). I immediately told my friend Linh Tran to check out the ELASC since he was eager to learn more about photovoltaics. Linh went to visit the school and was hooked from the very first day, he enrolled the class and the rest is history. He went through the program and eventually became a NABCEP entry level professional, which is certificate of basic knowledge of photovoltaic systems received at the end of the program, if the student is able to pass a well balanced test. In fact, ELASC has the highest passing ratio in the industry for the NABCEP photovoltaic entry level exam. Today, Linh and other great students from Brian’s class at the ELASC are working with to help customers become more energy efficient and produce power from the sun. At that point I realized that education is the key in the photovoltaics industry, it improves the customer experience of purchasing solar power, keeps the industry reputable by having safe code compliant installations in the field and it makes it easier for solar companies to create jobs since the qualified labor is being manufactured by solar photovoltaics school put together by Brian. Brain recently retired from ELASC and handed off the teaching to some great instructors but he isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. He’s now focusing 100% of his time to push solar education even further into the mainstream through Hands on Solar, a company he founded to improve solar education nationwide. Brian’s goal is to allow schools all over the country to share the same success the photovoltaic program has achieved at the ELASC. Hands on Solar works with individual schools to assist in the set up of appropriate instructional programs in photovoltaics, alternative energy, and energy efficiency, based on industry set standards. In partnership with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Advanced Transportation...

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QuantaSol breaks efficiency record

‘ At the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition QuantaSol announced their world record breaking solar cell that is 28.3% efficient. Founded as a spin off from Imperial College in London, the company started in 2007 to focus in commercializing the solar technology developed at the university. QuantaSol not only claims they have developed the most efficient solar cell on the market but they say the manufacturing process is an ease. The company’s secrete sauce to their highly efficient solar cells is the nanotechnology behind their products. This is good news for mass market customers because the trend of the solar industry is more highly efficient at lower costs, this is the perfect recipe for solar power to go mainstream, wouldn’t you...

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