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small wind turbines catching on

According to American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) the U.S. market for small scale wind turbines grew 78% in 2008. More than half of all small wind turbines installed worldwide are made by U.S. manufacturers, which is quite different than solar panels since they’re typically made by foreign manufacturers. The most interesting part of the report highlighted that the largest segment of the market was residential wind turbines from 1kW to 10kW in capacity. I suppose this is a sign that consumers these days are looking for products that help them become energy independent and reduce their environmental impact. Obviously the tax credit for installing small wind turbines and economies of scale have made wind turbines a more attractive investment for homeowners. What do you think about small scale wind turbines, would you install one on your...

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who is centrosolar?

Germany is a world leader in photovoltaic installations but we here in the US primarily purchase solar panels from Chinese and Japanese solar panel manufacturers. CentroSolar, a German company is in the process of releasing their “D-Series’ solar panel into the US market, which is ironically made in China that is supposed to be a low price / best value solar panel in the market. The company also manufacturers solar panels in Germany with a high grade of silicon but the cost per watt is more expensive than the “D-Series” which are made in China to compete on price. I’ve noticed many German and U.S. based solar panel manufacturing companies are manufacturing solar panels in China and then importing them into the U.S. What do you think about companies using China as a manufacturing base to sell low cost solar panels to the international marketplace? I think we will see more CentroSolar solar panels in the U.S. since they have a very good reputation in Germany if the company can build up their brand name here in the U.S. Check out the spec sheet for the CentroSolar D-Series solar...

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the most efficient solar power system ever

There are two types of solar energy systems, solar photovoltaic which turns sunlight into electricity and solar thermal which harnesses the warmth of the sun to provide heating. If you want both typically you’d have to install two separate systems. Although PVTSolar, an innovative company offers a solar energy system that not only produces electricity but can provide heating all in one system! They took a smart approach in turning a problem into an efficiency by controlling the heat that typically reduces performance on solar photovoltaic panels into an asset for water and space heating. By taking the heat that typically harms photovoltaic production and putting it to good use, PVTSolar claims they have the most efficient solar energy system in the world. According to the company, the PVTSolar power system will not only look good but it will cost 25% more than a regular photovoltaic system but since it can provide both your electric and heating needs the system will save you more money in the long run. What do you think of PVTSolar revolutionary echo solar energy system that can knock out more of your energy...

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solaredge boosts solar panel efficiency

Can adding a simple electronic device on back of each solar panel really squeeze 25% more power output from your solar panel array? SolarEdge, an Israeli upstart claims that they have developed technology that maximizes power loss associated with wiring and placement of panels can cut a solar array’s output by 20 percent to 30 percent. The SolarEdge is a junction box that can be retro fitted on the back of solar panels, the integrated circuit optimizes the voltage coming from the solar panels. A stable voltage eliminates performance issues associated with power losses when different solar panels with a solar array perform differently. The special junction box works with your grid tie inverter to increase power output when the DC power from your solar panels is being converted to AC power. The “smart junction box” by SolarEdge also includes web monitoring software which allows you to visualize and share your solar electric system’s performance data over the Internet. The company’s first version of the SolarEdge product is made for 3kW residential solar electric systems. The SolarEdge is not available to purchase today, although is being beta tested in the field and should hit the market after conformations of a successful field test. The SolarEdge seems quite similar to a product called SolarMagic by National Semiconductor that I wrote about a few weeks ago. What do you think about the SolarEdge and the flood of “power optimizers” products for solar electric systems being offered...

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Toyota using Kyocera solar panels

A solar panel from Kyocera is now an option on the newest Toyota Prius hybrid car. The “solar panel moonroof” is composed of 36 cells that generates 50 watts of power to help ventilate the car. Toyota scrapped the idea of using the solar panel to charge the car’s battery due to the stress constant charging and discharging has on batteries. The solar panel moonroof option costs $2,076 and has an efficiency of 16.5% but since it does not charge the battery directly and sole purpose of the solar electric system on the Prius is to power the air ventilation system the return on investment on the solar panel moonroof is quite non-existent. I suppose this option is more for show than practicality, wouldn’t you agree? How could have Toyota leveraged the power generated by solar panel moonroof more...

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