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All the buzz about thin film solar panels

It’s the word on the street, Thin Film Solar Panels, what are they? And why are so many people talking about thin film technology? Similar to how computers and cell phones became slimmer and more efficient as the technology evolved, the same thing is happening in the solar power industry. Solar Panels are becoming thinner but no necessarily more efficient, thin film solar cells are bringing the cost down for industrial electricity producers and large commercial entities although not for the residential or small business owner. Thin Film Solar Panels are typically less efficient or just as efficient as traditional silicon based solar panels, although they thin film panels are made up of other elements that can turn the sun’s rays into electricity besides silicon. As you may know one of the primary reasons solar panels have a high price tag is because there is a shortage of silicon since there is such a high demand for the substance. Although more silicon refineries are coming online, next year, this has not stopped the thin film solar manufacturers to continue to innovate in their space to use other elements which have the potential to be very efficient in the near future. Thin Film solar cells are more flexible and are not made out of glass therefore are virtually unbreakable…which make the technology very resilient. Thin film solar panels have a lot of potential in terms of bringing down the cost per watt for solar power systems, therefore much investment and talent is focusing on this sector of solar power because they see it as the future. Right now the market has limited thin film products that people are using to power small appliances or use thin film solar panels for small solar power system installations. People who have a lot of surface areas such as utility companies and big corporations can also take advantage of thin film technology. I agree with many industry people that thin film is the future of solar panels although I feel it is at least 5 years away until we see thin film solar panels that make financial sense out on the market for the general public to...

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concentrated solar power at the consumer level

Typically concentrated solar power has been a viable option for utility scale projects, there there are more companies moving into the space on a daily basis, even Big Blue (I.B.M.) has decided to play in the concentrated photovoltacis (solar power) sandbox to offer concentrated solar power products at the consumer level. So why is there so much buzz around this sector of solar power? First we have to understand what concentrated solar power is…. What is concentrated photovoltacis (CPV)? With the use of mirrors or reflective material, concentrating the sun’s light onto the surface area of solar cells to significantly raise the output of the solar cells, thus producing more electricity per square foot of solar panels. Concentrated Solar Power is forcing light into a solar cell, similar to forced induction (turbo) for a car. How does this help you? Concentrated Solar Power can lower the upfront cost of going solar. Solar Panels are expensive because solar panels are made up of an element called silicon which is in high demand at this point of time. Concentrated solar power uses less silicon in each panel, therefore lowering the overall cost of a system significantly while increasing the output per square foot. Although this sounds great, there are some issues before this technology hits the mainstream market. Heat decreases the performance of solar panels, therefore concentrating solar power could have some efficiency issues in the long run, also the lifetime of concentrated solar panels maybe limited compared to traditional solar panels. On the bright side there is a lot of innovation going on in this sector, IBM are the masters of cooling silicon (they have experience cooling computer processors which are also made of silicon)…so as the technology develops I can see CPV catching on in the mainstream...

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A quicker, easier and more secure roof mounted solar power installation

QuickMountPV a company that specializes in creating easy to install roof mounts for your solar panels. A common concern to retrofit solar panels on top of a roof is the chance of roof leaks in the future. The QuickMountPV team, a group of experienced installers understand that problem and created a product that is waterproof, low profile and requires no cutting into the roof! A very innovative project to solve the largest pains of retrofitting solar panels to the top of your roof. The QuickMountPV is compatible with every racking system and has a lifetime of 50 years, this product can last for the life of your roof and solar panel system. The company has even released a step-by-step instructional video We understand this product can help improve your experience of installing a roof mounted solar panel system, we packaged QuickMountPV into a 1kW kilowatt and 2kW kilowatt kit to help you the leverage the power of this revolutionary mounting system. 1kW QuickMountPV Kit 2kW QuickMount PV...

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SkyStream 3.7 the most popular residential wind turbine.

The Skystream 3.7 has revolutionized the residential wind power market, its so popular that even the Bush family has one at their home in Maine. What makes the Skystream 3.7 by Southwest Wind Power so different from endless selection of wind turbines in the market? Southwest Wind Power has really figured out their target market for the Skystream 3.7, the wind turbine has a built in grid connected inverter, so you can plug it right into the grid without having to buy an inverter along with the wind turbine. The Skystream 3.7 not only has great reviews about its design but the way it operates, its very quiet compared to older wind turbine technology. Installation is a snap, you can order with or without the pole. Typically its better to source the pole locally to save on shipping costs. The 5 inch adaptor kit is an optional part to help you can order to attach the skystream 3.7 to a 5 inch pole you can locally source. The amount of electricity you will produce from the 1.8 kW (kilowatt) skystream depends on your the average wind speeds in your area. The chart below shows an excellent diagram on the expected monthly kWh (kilowatt hour) a skystream 3.7 will produce for you. To get started with the skystream 3.7, first let your neighbors know your installing one. You may need to file for a building permit with your city and register with your electric company to connect the turbine to the...

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Building Integrated photovoltaics is so cool!

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is when solar panels are actually designed into the facade of a building. Typically building integrated solar panel systems start off with an architect who draws the solar panels with the perfect orientation right into a building’s initial design. BIPV is completely different than retrofitting a building with solar panel, you can often tell by the aesthetics of a solar panel system in a BIPV building. The solar panels are flushed right into the building. Another example of BIPV is solar roofing shingles, which replace the shingles on your roof with ones that have solar cells embedded into them. MSK, a company which produces BIPV products have windows that produce electricity, how cool is that! A better way to understand BIPV is implementing solar cells into building materials we use in everyday construction. The building in the picture above is the CIS Tower in England and is a very delightful example of how the side of the building is designed to host solar panels which send the electricity produced right into the grid. The CIS building is turning a non-revenue producing asset (the side of a building) into an asset that can produce a return by integrating solar panels into their building design from the ground...

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solar panel tracker systems, do they make sense?

As the sun travels across its sun path each day a stationary solar panel system has significant efficiency disadvantages compared to a tracker solar panel system. A tracker solar power system can increase solar panel efficiency by 40% by following the path of the sun through out the day. Although tracking systems doubles the total price of a system and requires more yearly maintenance compared to a stationary system. The suns path in the sky varies through the seasons (summer and winter), elevation, and time of day a solar tracker system can keep your solar panels pointed towards to sun through out the whole day. For the typical home or small business solar panel system installation, a stationery system makes most financial sense, unless you have the funds to cover the upfront cost of the tracker system. Residential tracker systems are becoming more efficient a cheaper, although at this point of time, tracker systems only make sense in large commercial or industrial installations. EI Solutions, the company that installed the solar power system on the Google campus, has recently started to design solar panel tracking systems that require less maintenance, called the ray tracker. We met the engineers of the ray ticker at the ASES 2008 conference and feel they have a great product to help the commercial and industrial scale photovoltaic...

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