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Day two at Intersolar.

Continuing the coverage of new products at Intersolar in San Francisco this week, our team has made some interesting observations. Lumeta a company that focuses on BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics) showed off two interesting products, one which we covered yesterday was solar panels that mount flat onto roofs with adhesives; we got some close-up shots of these easy to install solar panels. The flat thin solar panels are made for large flat commercial building rooftops. Lumeta has not forgotten the residential folks; aesthetics is often a concern for residential solar panel shoppers which can be mitigated with solar panels that are integrated into roofing shingles. Lumeta showcased a unique solar shingle product line at the expo which caught our eye. Power Outages / Blackouts are something every solar power shopper wants to avoid when buying a grid-tied solar power system, although in reality grid tied systems go down when there is a power outage. Inverters automatically shut down when there is a blackout because there is no where to send the power generated. Adding battery backup to your grid-tied system is an expensive option because of the upfront cost and ongoing maintenance of the batteries. This typically discourages grid tied solar power shoppers to add a backup battery system. TerraWatt Power is working on a new inverter, that does not need batteries to keep your home up and running during a blackout during the day. Instead of the inverter, “going to sleep” or shutting down during a blackout, TerraWatt Power’s grid-tie inverter stops feeding the grid and directly powers your home! So you would survive a blackout during the day and no need for batteries! TerraWatt Power’s grid-tie inverter is a great example of how solar / clean energy equipment is...

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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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The Future of Solar Energy at the Tiger Woods Learning Center

The Tiger Woods Learning Center is a 35,000 square foot, 14 acre education facility located in Anaheim, California. The center’s goal is to help young students excel in education and sports after school. Last week I joined the LA/OC Alternative Energy Meetup Group for a tour of the facility not because of the educational value the learning center promoted, but because of the awesome solar photovoltaic system they have integrated into the high tech facility. The roof of the learning center features a standard rooftop array, although the most interesting element of the solar system is the Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), basically what that means the some of the building’s windows actually has a tint, that turns the sunlight into electricity! The windows have thin-film solar cells sandwhiched between two plates of glass. The solar photovoltaic system was designed by Solar Design Associates (SDA) of Harvard, Massachusetts. The BIPV solar window curtain wall is made up of custom, thin-film modules with special glass from Schott Solar, the standard rooftop array was provided by PowerLight. The tricky part of this installation was the design of the solar powered windows was both curved and sloped which required SDA to specify BIPV window of different size, shape and light transmissions. The Tiger Woods Learning Center of the only places in the USA that has successfully implemented and using BIPV to generate free clean electricity from the sun! Learn more about the tiger woods learning center:...

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