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Micro Solar, a Solution for Both the Industrial and Developing Worlds
May12

Micro Solar, a Solution for Both the Industrial and Developing Worlds

You often hear about home solar and megawatt solar projects, but micro solar devices are also important energy sources for both the developing world and for consumers in our own industrial world. Micro solar, sometimes referred to as “pico solar,” are portable solar chargers that typically consist of a small photovoltaic panel, some type of battery, and a USB connection. Mobile devices, such as phones, tablets, lights, and laptops can juice up from either the micro solar’s battery pack or directly via the solar panel. The benefit of a small solar powered charger is also a challenge, since most micro solar products have low-power solar panels that charge its batteries or external electronics very slowly. The good news is that more powerful micro solar products are coming into the market. The latest example is Harold Tan’s recent—and successful—Kickstarter campaign for the SunJack solar charger with battery pack. These compact 14 Watt and 20 Watt mobile solar chargers are designed to be the most portable solar charger ever produced. In fact, the SunJack can power 8 iPhones or 1.4 iPads with only 5 hours of sunlight, whereas similar portable solar chargers can charge only one iPhone in nearly twice the amount of time, or even longer. In the industrialized world, micro solar has many uses, from the campers and off-grid recreationalists, to the beach family that wants to keep all of their USB-based mp3 players, tablets, and mobile phones powered on throughout the day. On the more serious side, portable micro solar is increasingly the latest addition to home or car emergency kits. Whether it’s Super Storm Sandy or the recent harsh snow and rainstorms that have temporarily knocked out parts of the U.S. grid, a powered cell phone is today’s lifeline to an ambulance, rescue services, or it can be the main point of contact for distant friends and family. Cell phones are also the most common conduit for news and evacuation information. Quite simply, when the grid goes down, micro-solar with some type of battery storage is the best answer for consistent charging of mobile devices during emergencies and utility outages. Beyond our industrial world, people in rural communities often burn candles, wood or kerosene for lighting. Not only is this method expensive, flammable, and toxic, the villagers must travel long distances to either collect or buy these fuel sources, wasting time and money. Micro solar allows these rural residents to power their cell phones and lighting from solar instead of dirty and expensive fossil fuel sources and generators.     Case in point is Papua New Guinea, where rural village people commonly burn kindling indoors for lighting....

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Survival kits without solar?
Dec05

Survival kits without solar?

The last thing you want to worry about after a real-life emergency is a dying cell phone battery. Accurately preparing for an emergency can be tricky but there are a few steps you can take to rule out some potential troubles.  Take what precautions your can by assembling a survival kit that’s complete with backup solar power.   Top 3 Recommendations Understand the potential risks in your particular community. Have a plan of action.  In the event of an emergency, the whole family should have an agreed-upon plan of action.   Discuss potential meeting locations and establish third party emergency contacts. Prepare survival materials accordingly.  Keep one or two disaster kits stocked with basic survival supplies: Water and Food Emergency Radio First Aid Kit Whistle to signal for help Bandana or mask to help filter the air Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for sanitation Pocket knife with a can opener Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place Space blanket for heat Any needed medication, diapers, etc. Backup Battery with solar power to charge phones Oddly enough, emergency power isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when putting together a survival kit.  Here are a few steps to make sure you won’t be left in the dark. Identify Critical Loads:  What do you need? Figure out what you’ll actually need in the event of an emergency.  Unless you plan on spending tens of thousands to to run the AC and watch TV during a disaster situation, you’ll need to prioritize.   Solar itself is inexpensive but storing that energy in batteries can easily drain your wallet. The word need might seem pretty relative, but a realistic goal is keeping your cell phones charged and maybe a couple LED lamps in the evening. Choose a solar charging system JOOS Orange Portable Solar Charger For modest power needs, this little guy might be all you need. Keep your cell phone charged on the go with this durable, lightweight solar charger. The JOOS Orange is reliable and waterproof, delivering power for your iPhone, GPS, Camera, cell phone, and all your other hand-held electronics wherever you go. 1 hour in the direct sun = 2 hours 3G talk time The JOOS Orange will charge in the shade and even light rain!  If you have a tight budget but you want to keep your cell phone powered during a blackout, the JOOS Orange is the right choice for you.     Adventure Power 1800W Solar Power System Keep your cell phone charged for 5W for 95 hours with the Adventure Power, a “plug and play” solar power system for emergency situations. The Adventure...

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Small Scale Solar Electric Power Systems
May03

Small Scale Solar Electric Power Systems

In the natural world, solar energy has two primary effects: heating and photochemical. The primary photochemical effect is photosynthesis, which is the foundation upon which all carbon fuels are built. Coal, oil, natural gas, wood, alcohol and any other fuel built by life are all forms of stored solar energy. The heating effects of solar energy can be used for both heating and cooling by proper design of buildings, a practice that goes back many thousand of years. Wind power and ocean current power systems are basically means of capturing solar power for human use. A sail boat is a solar powered boat, even though most people don’t usually think of it as such. In the modern technological world we have learned to use focused sunlight to generate heat and, perversely, power refrigeration systems utilizing absorption type refrigeration. Focused sunlight can be used to power steam operated electrical generation plants and very high temperature ovens for scientific research. The ancient Greek scientist Archimedes was said to have used focused sunlight to set Roman ships on fire during the siege of Syracuse in 214-212 B.C. Modern technology has a much simpler system for producing electrical power from sunlight. The photovoltaic effect ( a very distant relative of photosynthesis) produces electricity directly from sunlight. Devices called solar cells capture sunlight and produce electricity. Solar cells are usually small, perhaps a few square inches at most. They are not very thick and are usually supported and protected by glass or plastic and can be arranged in panels with up to several hundred cells connected and supported by some sort of framework. GoGreenSolar.com offers a considerable selection of panels providing power up to 250 watts or as small as 7 watts. Portable power systems are usually designed to charge batteries and provide constant regulated power. In many parts of the world, even in remote parts of the United States, electrical power is hard to come by. If you live 50 miles from the nearest power line, the connection fee for electrical service can be quite prohibitive. Many businesses and ngo’s have designed solar power systems to provide electricity for remote sites. GoGreenSolar.com offers portable systems suitable for remote sites. They also offer components to create permanent off-grid power systems. An off-grid system can be as simple as garden lighting or a charger to allow you to sit in the park or on a mountain trail with your portable electronics, whether a cell phone or lap-top computer. Perhaps it can be a back-pack system to provide power for a back-woods camping trip. Off-grid systems can be an emergency power system or a complete power...

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Fresh-Squeezed Solar Energy: JOOS Orange
Mar29

Fresh-Squeezed Solar Energy: JOOS Orange

Introducing the JOOS Orange, the best portable solar charger on the market today.     The JOOS Orange allows you to get out and experience all that the world has to offer without worrying about the low battery warning on your phone.  Utilize the power of the sun to stay connected to the people you love. Explore the world you live in without worrying about where you’ll find an outlet to charge your iPhone. After it’s had a chance to soak up an hour’s worth of rays through it’s solar voltaic cell, the JOOS Orange’s 20-watt hour lithium-ion polymer battery has enough charge for you to talk on your iPhone for two hours.  You can also charge the JOOS Orange by connecting it to the USB port on your laptop.  A fully charged JOOS Orange stores enough power to completely charge an iPhone four times! Not only can the JOOS Orange charge your mobile phone, but it can also charge an iPad, GPS system, video camera, Kindle, iPod and more.  It’s convenient for traveling, camping, and emergency situations like power outages or natural disasters. One of the main benefits of the JOOS Orangeis its virtually indestructible construction.  Given that your new JOOS Orange will spend a significant amount of time under the open sky, it has to be prepared for any weather.   The JOOS Orange’s dense exterior is entirely waterproof and resistant to heavy abuse.  It’s powerful enough to charge even when the sky is cloudy and overcast.  To prevent theft, the JOOS Orange is designed with a hole for a security cable to fit through.  A pair of sturdy retractable legs can be adjusted to position the angle of the JOOS Orange for maximum exposure to the sun. The JOOS Orange is easy to use.  All you have to do is connect the item you want to charge and let it go to work.  Two LED lights blink, showing you when your JOOS Orange is getting enough sun and how much power it’s currently holding.   JOOS users can also download myJOOS, a free application that allows you to monitor the power of your JOOS Orange in real time. The JOOS Orange gives you incredible mobility for less than two hundred bucks.  The JOOS Orange is getting the attention of traveling business people, campers, and technophiles everywhere.   Where would you take the JOOS?  ...

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sanyo’s personal solar panel
Aug04

sanyo’s personal solar panel

Sanyo is known for high efficiency solar panels that go on top of homes and businesses. But recently the company has released a over the shelf product in Japan called the Eneloop Portable Solar Generator. The personal solar panel is geared towards people on the go who need to recharge mobile devices. These type of small products are a great way to introduce people to what solar power can do on a larger scale. Do you think we will see more portable solar power generators come onto the market? The Eneloop looks very sleek, I wonder how many watts the solar panel is, does anyone out there have more information about this...

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Batteries designed for Renewable Energy
Dec04

Batteries designed for Renewable Energy

Trojan Battery Company, a popular battery manufacturer has recently introduced their RE series batteries specially designed for renewable energy systems. Traditionally people who deploy battery based solar power or wind turbine systems use standard deep cycle batteries. Trojan built upon their standard deep cycle battery and designed it for renewable energy, the RE series based batteries offers the following features: Duragrid – 10 year lifespan, high charge efficiency. Maxguard XL – durable, extended life, low maintenance, Alpha Plus – optimal performance, optimal performance. Polyon – rugged case design stands up to harsh environments. The RE series is offered in 2 volt and 6 volt sizes and is backed by a 7 year international warranty. It’s great to see batteries that are specifically designed for renewable energy because many times people hook up standard lead acid batteries that require high maintenance and have short...

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