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Say hello to Mirco-Inverters

Buzz going around solar town is there is a new “micro-inverter” on the street made by Enphase. Cool! Before I even go into what an micro-inverter” is lets start off with the basics. An inverter in general coverts the DC (direct current) power produced by solar panels into AC power (alternating current). Basically, AC power is what most of our appliances run on. So, the inverter plays a critical in your solar power system. Traditionally, solar power systems have a series of solar panels connected to an inverter. So if an inverter goes down, that whole series goes down with it. So how is a micro-inverter different? The major difference is instead of having a series of panels connected to one inverter, a mirco-inverter connects to each panel. It means, your system performance will greatly increase because: maximizes the harvesting capabilites of each solar panel in the array. increases the reliability of the solar power system. simplifies the installation process. solar panels performs better in shady conditions, and is resiliant to dirt and bird poop. Awesome innvotation continues in renewable energy industry, people are really thinking of some out of the box soltuions to problems down to the installtion level. The solar power industry is heading to mass adoption like a bullet...

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How are solar panels made?

The process of manufacturing solar panels is very interesting. The solar panel manufacutures have been improving their processes and have been getting progressively more efficent in their process and passing down the saving to their customers. I found an interesting video of how solar panels are made, it seems like an older, very labor intensive process…what do you think?

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Fast Solar Powered Speedboat!

The dutch have created a solar powered speedboat that can glide across water at 30 knots. Sure, there are other boats that are much faster….but they also require huge amounts of gas. This speed boat is exclusively powered by the sun and is quieter than traditional gas consuming boats. The body of the boat is made up of lightweight carbon fiber. The boat has great balance of power and weight to make it glide through the water at blazing speeds. The 10 meter vessel, Czeers MK1 is made up of photovoltaic cells, which is basically one large solar panel with seats and a lightweight engine flying across the water. Now only if we could run cars like this, that would be sweet, never have to pay for...

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The truth about solar shingles.

Consumers often ask about solar shingles, typically solar shingles have a higher cost per watt than solar panels. The shingles are typically black in color so they still do stand out on a roof although some people like solar shingles better than solar panels. The downside to shingles are that they don’t produce as much power as solar panels do. Solar Panel are more efficient than shingles thus making solar panels a better value. Solar Shingles don’t have the long track records in durability like a solar panel does. There are Solar Panels still in operation today from the 1970s, Solar Panels are a proven application of solar power with solar shingles the lifetime of the product may not be as reliable as a solar...

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Using Beer Bottles to harness the Sun

I wanted to highlight the works of Ma Yanjun, of Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province, China because of his innovative work in solar energy. Ma, a Chinese Farmer made his own solar water heating panels with empty beer bottles and hosepipes. Ma’s invention is simple, he attached 66 beer bottles to board which are connected with each other so the water flows through, sunlight hits the bottles and heats up the water, its that simple! Ma claims the home made solar hot water panel provides enough hot water for three family members to shower each day. 10 families in the village have been inspired by Ma’s DIY Solar Hot Water project and are taking a project up on their own. This is a perfect example of someone with limited resources taking solar energy into their own hands and how successful a do-it-yourself solar energy project can work for the average...

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Solar Lily Pads – Innovate Solar Applications

It’s interesting as solar power industry is evolving, innovative uses of the technology due to shift of the general population’s thinking of sustainability is making solar power much “cooler”. Very talented architects are showing that great design and solar power can merge beautifully. Peter Richardson came up with the Solar Lily Pad design, that transforms canals or other bodies of water into surface space for solar panels which pump the electricity back into the grid. Sweet! Solar Panels adapting to the views of biomimicry. According to wikipedia, “Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a relatively new science that studies nature, its models, systems, processes and elements and then imitates or takes creative inspiration from them to solve human problems sustainably.” Just when you thought solar panels look ugly or can’t be aesthetically appeasing, think again. In my opinion as this industry evolves and more top talent pours into this industry we’ll be at a point in which solar panels will be integrated all around us just being part of the natural landscape. There will be a time, when renewable energy will just be part of life, its really...

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