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what if solar cells took the shape of a leaf?

Have you ever heard of the term biomimicry? The greek word “Bios” means life and “‘mimesis” means to imitate. biomimicry is the study of natures designs and mimicking nature to solve human challenges. The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Mitsubishi and Tokki of Japan has taken a hold of the concept of biomimicry to develop a very interesting solar cell that looks like a leaf! Unlike traditional solar cells which are crystalline based, the organic thin-film solar cell is composed of a flexible plastic substrate. The three companies that allied towards the development of the solar leaf prototype managed to improve the durability of the solar cell by sealing it between a very thin layer of plastic. I like how people in this industry are starting to think outside the box when it comes to deploying solar power. With thin-film technology the possibilities of adding solar cells into the mix become endless. Although we are far from seeing a solar tree that can produce all the power you need, since the efficiencies have not reached optimal levels in which leaf shaped solar panels can produce serious power. What do you think about biomimicry? As we move forward will we see a fusion of solar cells harnessing nature’s...

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free standing solar arrays

I ran into an interesting product called the Sun-A-Ray “free standing array” which is an simple way to ground mount solar panels without having to dig deep holes. The free standing array can be bolted down to a concrete pad or 4 piers. The unique solar panel mount has a clamping system that fits most solar panels right out of the box. The picture above shows a 1kW free standing solar array which can be tilted since the solar array is capable of dual axis movement, this means you can pitch the solar panels in an optimal pitch to get the most out of your solar power system. The company, Sun-A-Ray Technologies has free standing array models that range from 1kW to 5kW sizes. The 2 kW model can be assembled by two people within 2 hours, since the the product has been designed to be a faster, simpler, and less expensive method to deploy solar panels. What do you think about free standing solar arrays? Would you mount your solar panels on one of these...

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the first windspire vertical wind axis turbine

Mariah Power, the manufacturer of a unique vertical axis wind turbines called the Windspire is celebrating their first verticle axis wind turbine product to be rolled off the production line at their newly retrofitted manufacturing plant in Manistee, Michigan. The Windspire is completely manufactured in the USA and can be applied to homes, businesses and governments who want to harness the power of the wind. This is a historic event for Michigan, since the state once a leader in manufacturing sector due to the robust US automobile industry which now struggling due to the Big Three automakers in financial trouble. Mariah Power is changing the game in Michigan by creating jobs and a product that will help America stay competitive. The milestone marks a period in which Mariah Power will be able to scale up their manufacturing operations and offer the lowest cost, ultra quiet, simple to install 1kW (kilowatt) wind turbine in the US market. What do you think about the Windspire? Do you think vertical axis wind turbines are a good...

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what’s the solar path finder all about?

If you want the best performing solar electric system, you need to identify your optimal solar window. The solar pathfinder is a non-electric device that you can use to find out the entire year’s solar potential for your project site. This simple tool will help you find the optimal location to install your solar array. Site analysis is important because the path of the sun changes through out the year and what may not be a shading issue today may become one as the seasons change. Using the pathfinder assistant gives you the ability to combine the power of your computer to generate great solar access reports. Check out the video, what do you think about the solar path...

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Sharp Solar Outdoor LED Lighting

Sharp has recently announced they will offer ten solar led outdoor lighting, a new product line which work by storing the solar power generated during the day into a battery which runs a high efficiency LED bulb when the sun goes down. These security lights by Sharp Solar, keeps needed outdoor lights off the grid which will result on tons of carbon emissions being consumed in the future if more people invest into solar LED lighting. The company claims the LED bulbs inside their product line has a 30% higher luminous efficiency and a special bulb design which spreads the light into a broader footprint. Sharp will offer the solar powered security lights in both top of pole mount and side of pole mounted solutions. I have noticed more products are coming out on the market that are pairing up LEDs with solar panels, the Sharp security lights are a great example of how using solar panels on a small scale can help save money and reduce carbon emissions consecutively. Commercial lighting , especially security lighting is often a large cost on an electric bill since most of them have inefficient old lighting technology. What do you think about outdoor lighting that combines solar panels with high efficiency lighting? Would you be interested in using solar panels to power your outdoor...

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smarter solar pv combiner boxes

Monitoring a solar array’s performance on a string by string basis was typically only common on utility scale solar panel farms. Although thanks to PV Powered’s IntelliString combiner boxes now most solar arrays on commercial buildings have an affordable and simple method to deploy string monitoring that can become a standard option for commercial solar photovoltaic systems. The IntelliString combiner boxes are offered in 8-string and 16-string versions and has an integrated Obvius DC Solar Current Monitor, which is robust and easy to use. Since central inverters are dependent on a string of solar panels as an input, most installations the combiner box lacks the ability to monitor each string. Typically most solar electric systems that have performance monitoring shows the output of the entire solar array. Without the ability to monitor each string you can only get a broad overview of the performance of your overall solar electric system. People who want to be able to monitor their residential solar electric systems on a string by string basis they’re out of luck until there is an affordable method to deliver more detailed performance data even on the solar electric systems with central inverters. Do you think its important to monitor a solar electric systems performance down to the string...

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