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educating the leaders of tomorrow

If we want to change the way the world views energy and eventually have a society in which green energy is just a normal part of life, then we need to start with the kids. Today’s kids are the leaders of tomorrow and I think part of school studies should focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency, wouldn’t you agree? The SMARTT (Students making advancements in renewable transportation technologies) challenge. The grade school students get a hands on approach to learn about solar panels by getting involved in building a toy solar car and then racing them against each other, I wish I got to do that in school. What do you think about the SMARTT Challenge? how do you think we can make programs like this more common? Is this a method to get kids curious about solar...

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closing up rew 2009

Today ends Renewable Energy World 2009 Confrence & Expo in Las Vegas….it was a great event, I got to reconnect with many friends and business partners in the industry. I did notice this year the attendance was quite low compared to the last couple years so you can say that the economy has caused companies to scale back in the renewable energy industry too. I want to share some interesting pictures with you. Below is a typical setup of how a grid tie system is connected your electric meter. The picture highlights a Solectria residential solar grid tie inverter, on the left side of the inverter, thats the DC disconnect. On the right side, thats the AC disconnect right above the revenue grade utility meter. Doesn’t seem too complicated, wouldn’t you agree? I got some great close up pictures of the Skystream 3.7 wind power system. A user friendly feature of the Skystream 3.7 is that the grid tie inverter is built into the head of the wind turbine. The picture below shows the housing in which the grid tie inverter sits inside. A closeup shot of inside the head of the Skystream 3.7 that shows the guts of the grid tie inverter. The downside to having the inverter and communications interface built into the head of the inverter is that if you ever need to service the grid tie inverter you would have to access the top of your tower, which could be very inconvenient. What do you think? Regardless, the Southwest Windpower, the company that makes the Skystream 3.7 booth at the trade show will continuously busy, it seems like there is still extremely high demand for their products. The back of the housing seems to features a heat sink cover to help the built in grid tie inverter to stay cool, notice the short antenna? That’s there to monitor the output and overall performance and health of the system through a wireless connection. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this short review of our experience at the leading renewable energy expo of the year. If your interested in checking out more pictures of our experience please check out our...

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heading to renewable energy world

Hi folks, we’re heading to Las Vegas today for the Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo, for the next couple days we’ll take you along with us, highlighting cutting edge products right from the trade show room floor. I attend many trade shows in this industry, but I really get a chance to learn a lot from attending Renewable Energy World since its a diversified experience meaning we’ll see companies from biofuels, ocean power to more common technologies such as solar power. I think a lot of people attending this show are going to be talking about the Obama’s administration unprecedented support for renewable energy in the economic stimulus plan passed last month, there going to be a lot of excitement, since the renewable energy industry is set to skyrocket as the economic stimulus money starts to trickle down to the companies in this industry. Anyways, we’ll be updating you today via the community. The tradeshow floor will have a grand opening reception today from 5 pm – 7 pm (pacific time), we’ll up sharing pictures with you of the event via our community. By the way, if you’re going to be in Vegas this week, please do connect with...

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university installs skystream 3.7

William Penn University recently installed a Skystream 3.7 grid tie wind power system to help produce clean electricity right on campus to help power the Musco Technology Center. The Skystream 3.7 is mounted on a tower that is 99 ft high, which is very high compared to most installations I’ve seen. The Skystream 3.7 in it’s first month of operation produced 352 kilowatt-hours (kWh) which equals to about $35 dollars in savings, seems quite low for a tower that’s 99 feet up, maybe their average wind speeds are quite last month? The Skystream 3.7 was donated to William Penn University primarily for education purposes, what a great tool to help future generations learn about renewable energy, wouldn’t you agree? The wind power system blades are designed to operate quietly so the wind turbine itself is not going to be a distraction when classes are in session. I’m looking forward to following this wind turbine project to see how much electricity is generated over a course of a year. What do you think about the Skystream 3.7 at the Willam Penn University...

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solar panels help fire trucks use less gas?

The Fire & Medical division in Lawrence-Douglas county, Kansas is undertaking an interesting pilot program using 80watt solar panels to help reduce fuel costs for fire trucks and ambulances when they are idling. Often emergency vehicles turn signals and radios are operating when the vehicles are idling which discharges the batteries in the vehicles very quickly, this puts extra load on the alternator, end result the fire truck has to burn more fuel. The goal of the solar panels that have been installed on two fire trucks and ambulances is to keep the batteries charged without the use of the alternator, which can save the Fire & Medical division enough on fuel costs to hopefully break even within 24 months, the cost of the solar panels was $500 each. I wanted to highlight this story since its a good example of how people are using small scale solar power to make a large financial impact. If the results of the tests are positive then the county will add a solar panel to their fleet of fire trucks and ambulances, which would greatly increase the savings. What do you think about this test project? Do you think the project will make financial...

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meet the enphase m190 grid tie inverter

Enphase Energy, the manufacturer of the revolutionary micro inverter system has released a new and improved version of the micro inverter called the m190. Enphase recently put out their preliminary datasheet of their newest addition to the Enphase product mix. The m190 is compatible with 60 and 70 cell solar panels and has the following improvements over the m175 and m200 product lines: a wider temperature range the micro inverter can operate in. The enphase m190 can operate in ambient temperatures between -40c to +65C mean time between failures (MTBF) of 365 years, which triples the MTBF rating of the M175/M200 models. According to the company this was verified by testing the micro inverter for 10 million unit hours of operation in the field. The M190 makes installation even easier by reducing the number of cables to manage to one 6′ cable versus two 3′ cables on the M175/M200 models. You thought the M175/M200 was small enough? The new m190 has a 30% smaller footprint than its predecessors. upgraded racking bracket makes it easier and more flexible to install the m190 face up or down and allows for easier cable routing. The Enphase M190 marks a significant milestone in how the micro-inverter is evolving. In my opinion it’s a good sign that Enphase Energy is making continuous improvements with their product because the results are going to be a more a even smaller, easier to install grid tie inverter solution. Check out the preliminary datasheet below. What do you think about the Enphase...

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