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SMA Sunny Tower Inverter System

SMA is well known for residential grid tie inverters, but how about commercial solar electric systems that need larger inverter capacity? Meet the SMA Sunny Tower, offered in a 36kW or 42kW models the Sunny Tower groups 6 inverters into a single tower enabling the grid tie inverters to handle commercial scale applications. The advantage of using a Sunny Tower in a commercial application versus one central inverter is the increased reliability since multiple SMA inverters are linked together to increase capacity. Therefore if one inverter goes down in the Sunny Tower the entire solar electric system does not fail. The unique design of the Sunny Tower requires less installation space which is a big plus when you encounter a project site with limited space to install the inverter. SMA claims the Sunny Tower offers the lowest cost per watt for a commercial solar grid tie inverter solution. What do you think about the Sunny...

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printable batteries, wave of the future?

The Fraunhofer Research Institution in Germany is developing the next generation battery, currently batteries are heavy and depending on their capacity can be very large and not portable. Similar to silk printing, the new battery technology being developed can be printed which is revolutionary in terms of battery manufacturing. The battery shown in the picture above is not only small, thin but weighs only 11.5 grams and can produce up to 1.5 volts, which is unlike any battery on the market. Since the battery can be printed, the manufacturing costs are intended to be very low thus reducing the cost for batteries to customers. I’m glad to hear about advancements in battery technology because I think battery technology is not good enough yet, there is a lot of room for improvements with batteries. What do you think about printable...

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meet the air breeze land

Are you looking to “just get started” with wind power without having to invest tens of thousands of dollars? Well the air breeze land maybe the perfect product for you, with it’s low price point $699, the 200 watt small scale wind turbine has a built in charge regulator to protect your battery bank from being overcharged. You would also need to buy a tower to mount the Air Breeze and an inverter to turn the DC power generated from the Air Breeze Land into AC power used by most our electrical devices. For a couple thousand dollars you can get a nice small battery based system to provide backup power for emergencies. Many people use the Air Breeze as an educational project since its a inexpensive way to learn more about wind power technology. I think this would make a great learning unit at grade schools across to U.S. to expose more children to the science behind renewable energy, what do you think about the Air Breeze by Southwest...

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sunway’s sleek frameless solar panel

Sunways is a solar panel manufacturer we don’t hear much of over here in the U.S. although the company is a well known supplier of solar panels across the pond in Europe. What caught my eye is their SM215L model, which is a sleek black frameless monocrystalline solar panel that closely resembles the sought after frameless FirstSolar thin film solar panel. The increased aesthetic appeal of Sunway’s SM215L allows the solar panel to be used in the most challenging architectural applications. The company gives the solar panel a “OutputPlus+” rating which claims that the actual electrical output in real world conditions is higher then what is rated by the manufacturer. I think sleek black solar panels are great for residential applications, many times aesthetics is a huge decision making factor when people are buying solar panels for their homes. Typically on commercial buildings with flat roofs, aesthetics is less of a concern. What do you think about frameless solar...

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LEDs vs. Incandescents, round one.

We were at the ecotuesday event in Santa Monica this week and people mentioned their curiosity about LED lighting. One member at the event even said he replaced a bulb in his home with an LED light bulb and said he loves it but also mentioned it “costs too much.” Is that really true? Do LED bulbs really cost more than Incandescents, well let’s find out. Below is a table we put together that shows a head to head comparison between a LED and Incandescent bulbs. LED Incandescent Lifespan 50,000 hours 1,200 Hours watts used 7 60 kWh consumed per year 20 175 costs per kWh $0.10 $0.10 total annual operating costs $2.00 $17.50 cost for bulb $49.99 $1.50 replacement costs over 10 years $0.00 $36.50 total investment over 10 years $69.99 $213.00 Comparing the LED with an Incandescent bulb over a 10 year period, it’s quite easy to see that LED bulbs are the more cost effecitve method to go with. Would you agree with our calculations? Do you think LED bulbs a good investment for the...

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Mitsubishi Solar develops organic solar panels

Mitsubishi Solar partnered up with a couple agencies to develop a highly integrated organic photovoltaic solar panels that can be implemented into windows, walls, cloths, textiles, outdoor equipment and even toys. Typically traditional silicon based solar panels are difficult to implement in areas that need flexibility since silicon solar panels and are rigid and somewhat fragile. Traditionally organic solar cells are associated with low efficiencies although Mitsubishi Solar and their development partners claim they have solved the efficiency issues with organic solar panels by developing a unique manufacturing process that uses lasers to make the solar panel. The process creates a highly integrated organic solar panel that increases efficiency significantly. What do you think about organic solar...

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