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Sunrgi – Concentrated Solar Power that makes sense!

At one point in our lives, we may have experimented with a magnifying glass and concentrated the sun’s light to start a fire or even more evil, light a ant on fire. With lenses or mirrors the suns light can be concentrated into a very powerful force. Humans have concentrated the sun for a very long time, the first documented case in the 12th century, Archimedes burned up the whole Roman fleet by tilting a mirror toward the sun, concentrating the sun’s light. It seems like the guys at Sunrgi have studied Archimedes. Sunrgi is a US based solar power company that has designed a solar panel which uses the power of concentrating the sun to produce electricity. This product looks very futuristic and is practical too. We have talked about concentrated photovoltaics in the past and understand there could be a heat issue when concentrating light onto a solar cell, although if you notice on Sunrgi’s unit they have a massive heat sink built right into the concentrator, the neat aspect of this concentrated solar panel is that it has a cooling system built in! The company calls their new solar panel line, Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics (XCPV), which magnifies sunlight high efficency solar cells. The company claims that its technology will allow people to produce large ammounts of power at $0.05 (USD) per kWh. Traditional solar photovoltaic panels produce electricity anywhere from $0.13-$0.15 per kWh. This is a very amazing claim the company makes because at $0.05 per kWh this competes with most electric bills, even where people are getting bargain rates from their utility companies. Not only will concentrated compete with traditional electric rate head on, but it will greatly reduce the surface area a customer needs to eliminate their entire electric bill! The Sunrgi Concentrated Solar Panels will be out on the market 12-15 months for now, we can’t wait to get our hands on a couple to test drive...

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Wind Power Anywhere, Anytime!

Our post yesterday discussed the importance of the tower height….obviously the higher you go the more wind speeds you can pick up. Magenn Power, an innovate company has a very interesting product which will be released in 2009 that will change the way we see traditional wind turbines. Mageen Power understood that the wind is higher up in the sky and traditional vertical axis turbine designs are just plain inefficient in most areas. The company decided put the wind turbine where the air is, in the sky. In fact the MAGENN AIR ROTOR SYSTEM (M.A.R.S.) can soar 1,000 feet in the air and will catch the jet streams that exist everywhere. Currently, in general wind turbines can only be placed in areas with at least 10 miles per hour wind speeds to produce a significant return on investment. With the Magenn Power wind power can be technically be put anywhere. The wind turbine rotates on a horizontal axis and can be combined with diesel generators for off-grid use in developing countries and deliver power at the 20 cents a kWh range. The video below shows an excellent model of how the unique wind turbine can be used off-grid or grid-connected wind power system The soaring wind turbine stays a float with the use of non-flammable helium and the company has been conducting some interesting Field test of their products. The wind turbines will come in 10 to 25 kW (kilowatt) models with a target price of $3 to $5 dollars a watt. According to the company the Wind turbine has a lifespan for over 20 years. If you are thinking to install one of these puppies in the USA, you will need a special permit from the FAA. Magenn power has combined the same technology used in blimps into an innovative wind turbine design. I can’t wait to see this product hit the mainstream market, according to the company their target markets are developing nations. It’s probably going to be a very hard time deploying these here in the USA because of the building permit and FAA regulations. Overseas the rules are less strict so I can see It not being an issue. Although in rural areas of the USA we may see some of these units in action pretty soon. So as wind power evolves, will these be the turbines of the future? What do you think, will these types of designs catch on with the public? What do you think are the potential...

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It’s not all about the wind generator, think about the pole!

You don’t want to put a solar panels in the shade, just like you don’t want to put a wind generator on a short pole. Wind Generators perform better the higher they are up in the air, therefore a taller pole the more you electricity you will produce. A taller pole may lead to a faster return because you can catch more wind but it also leads to a higher upfront cost for the pole. According to wind power experts in a Homepower magazine article, “How Tall is Too Tall” a wind turbine’s blades should at least be 30 feet above the tallest object within a 500 feet radius of the wind power system. The pole and the wind generator itself must be sat securely because this can make a huge difference in making or breaking your return on investment. A wind power system with a weak foundation in a high wind area will not outperform a wind power system in an area with medium wind speeds with a solid foundation. A taller pole can raise maintenance costs and may cause issues acquiring building permits if your home or business is close to other structures. Also if you have neighbors near by, they maybe worried about the aesthetics if the pole / tower is too...

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Evergreen Solar ES-A Panels

Last month Evergreen Solar released its ES-A, a new solar panel line. The new panels offered by Evergreen Solar comes in 200, 205 or 210 watt models. There is a trend in the industry right now, we’re seeing more companies release solar panels that are rated over 200 watts. This means you can use less solar panels in a complete solar power system as the output of solar panels continues to increase. The Evergreen Solar team has not only thought about the output of the solar panels but has equipped the ES-A line with quick clickable connectors, which cuts down the time it takes to connect multiple solar panels together to create a solar array. Clickable connectors can make a big difference in cost savings in large commercial installations. Evergreen Solar Panels are manufactured using a string ribbon technology which reduces the carbon footprint in manufacturing Evergreen Solar panels by 50% compared to any other solar panel on the market. Evergreen Solar holds the title of “most environmentally friendly solar panel” in the market, especially compared to Chinese solar panel manufacturers which have been caught dumping manufacturing waste. Evergreen Solar is a US based company with superior quality which makes their products a hot...

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Charge Controllers 101

What’s a charge controller? And why do I need one? Many consumers who are charging batteries with solar panels or have a grid tied system with battery backup will need a charge controller. A charge controller is a unit that sits between a solar panel and battery bank and regulates the charge so the battery is not over-charged. Over-charging a battery can lead to battery and solar panel damage, because once the battery is full, without a charge controller the electrical current can go back into the solar panel causing major damage to components. The picture above shows a morningstar sunkeeper charge controller which is a basic controller that does a great job regulating the electric current that comes from a solar panel into a battery. Charge controllers come in different voltages, for example the sunkeeper comes in a 12v or 24v….your charge controller has to match the voltage your solar panel puts out and how you have your batteries wired up. If you have a 12v solar panel, you would need a 12v charge controller and wire your batteries up in a 12v series. Even though most residential systems do not have a batteries and will never need a charge controller, those people who are working on off-grid systems or are building the next solar powered car, lawn mower or are trying to retro fit solar panels onto your devices, you need to understand why charge controllers are...

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Issues to consider when shopping for wind power

Many consumers come to us asking about prices and figure that is the only barrier to purchasing a wind power system, although it goes much further than just prices. When putting up a wind power system you have to consider the following points: 1. Does your project site at least have 10mph wind speeds? check your wind speed here.2. Does your property have at least a half acre with unobstructed views? 3. Does the city zoning allow a structure 42′ feet tall? 4. Does your utility company have an interconnection agreement? 5. Have you considering speaking to your neighbors to let them know you maybe purchasing a wind power system that maybe visible from their home? Typically the city will require building permits to put up a solar or wind power system and there will be a fee for building permits you have to pay to the city. The city may also require tower engineering drawings that you may have to get from a certified engineer if you are building a custom tower to put up your wind...

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