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california’s title 24 is now solar panel friendly

Title 24 is a California building code that sets standards for energy efficiency for new building construction. The standards were founded in 1978 in effort to reduce California’s heavy energy consumption. The Title 24 code is updated often to ensure it’s up to date with the newest energy efficiency technologies. Today a Title 24 provision was made in favor of solar panels. If your building is not passing title 24 code in some areas, solar panels can now be used to offset areas that do not meet title 24 code requirements. This new provision is a big plus for solar power, because there are many new construction projects that are stuck in the process because they don’t meet energy efficiency code requirements. Solar panels can add weight to ensure buildings pass, this will increase the demand for solar panels in California. Wouldn’t you...

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is Michigan reinventing itself?

Wayne State University’s engineering technology department recently installed a vertical axis wind turbine called “The Franklin” manufactured by Franklin Wind Energy Group based in Michigan. A vertical axis wind turbine can generate power from low wind speeds from any direction, does not vibrate, and operates very quietly. The special vertical design of The Franklin allows wind turbines like this to be installed in urban settings. The Franklin at Wayne State is connected to a battery bank and can generate enough power to supply the computer lab in the engineering technology department. The Franklin is installed on the rooftop and mounted on a tower that elevates the wind turbine 30 feet above the building. University researchers will evaluate the performance and work closely with Franklin Wind Energy Group to provide feedback to improve the wind turbine design, this installation on the campus officially kicks off renewable energy research & development at Wayne State. The Franklin will be used as a learning tool and students will be encouraged to create innovative designs for wind energy systems by evaluating the performance of The Franklin. This story highlights a great trend taking place in Michigan, its great to hear when a University and a local manufacturer team up to reinvent Michigan into a “green energy technology” hub. What do you think about The Franklin vertical axis wind...

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texas school gets a 1kW solar power system

Minshew Elementary School in Texas recently got a free 1 kW (kilowatt) solar electric system to offset a small percentage of the school’s electric bill. TXU, a local utility donated the system to the school mainly for educational purposes. The grid tie inverter on the system includes web-monitoring capabilities through fat spaniel so teachers, students, parents can all monitor through the school’s website how much electricity the 6 solar panel system is contributing to the grid in real time. Teachers at the school are being trained on how to use the solar power system as a tool to educate students on the science behind photovoltaics. TXU plans to give away more solar electric systems to schools, under a program they call “Solar Academy”, the utilities’ push to help younger generations realize the importance of conservation and energy of the future. It’s quite shocking that a utility would support this kind of initiative, wouldn’t you think...

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Seattle buys into LED street lighting

Seattle announced that they would be switching to LED streetlights by investing 6 million dollar of federal stimulus money into replacing 40,000 HPS (high pressure sodium) streetlights to high effiencey LEDs. It’s estimated that the transition to LED streetlights will take between 4 to 6 years. The mayor of Seattle, understands that LED streetlights don’t get as hot as HPS light bulbs. Heat is a key indicator of energy loss. LED streetlights not only save the city on energy costs but also last up to 10 years longer than standard HPS streetlights which reduces annual maintenance costs. If more cities across the US invest in LED streetlights not only would it generate millions of negawatts (negative watts) but it would make LED lights more affordable since the manufacturing volume would increase. What do you think about LED Streetlights? Is your city considering replacing old HPS lamps to LED...

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on demand solar power

Sunpods is a company based in Northern California that is simplifying the solar panel installation process through “pre-fabrication”. What different from solar power kits that typically come in multiple parts and as assembled at the project site, Sunpods are ready to power on delivery since they come assembled from the manufacturing plant. Once the Sunpod arrives at your location, all you need is a electrician to plug hook up the grid tie inverter to the grid. The “plug n play” design of the Sunpods reduces the needs of site-preparation, engineering and installation. The simple installation process of the Sunpods reduces labor costs and time to commission projects from days to just hours. Sunpods are available in many configurations including ground mounted, roof mounted, battery based, grid tied or even systems made specifically to charge electric vehicles. What do you think about the Sunpod? Will we see more pre-built solar power solutions in the...

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