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The Gatsby Hollywood – L.A.’s first solar powered community

The Gatsby Hollywood an eco-friendly community development right in the heart of Hollywood is being developed by MasterCraft Homes is going to be L.A.’s first solar powered community. The developer decided to install grid tie solar power systems on all the single family homes in the community. L.A. is a great place to install solar power not only because of its high solar intensity through out the year, but California has great rebates for people and organizations that install grid tie solar power systems. Grid tied systems, unlike off grid systems, store extra energy generated back to the utility service and spins your electric meter backwards giving you the ability to completely offset your usage. The owners of the solar powered homes at The Gatsby will be able to monitor the performance of their solar panels via the Internet and will come with a service for 10 years that monitors the performance of the system remotely. The homes at The Gatsby will also include energy efficient appliances which are Energy Star certified meaning each home will be using technologies that do not waste electricity. These solar powered homes are Certified California Green Builder approved not only because they have a slick grid tie solar electric system but the homes feature dual pane windows, top of the line insulation, high efficiency light bulbs and the homes themselves are made out of recycled materials. As we see more home builders integrating solar panels and energy efficient technologies this will start a trend that will become a standard for all buildings in the near future. What do you...

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Solar panel nanocoating increases efficiency by 30 percent.

Typical silicon solar panels you see on the market today soak up two thirds of the sunlight that hits the solar panel. Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute developed a coating that can help solar panels soak up more then 96% of the sunlight that hits the panel. Traditionally solar panels perform the best when the sunlight is directly shining on them, although with the development of the coating, it allows a solar panel to collect energy from all angels, thus improving the efficiency significantly. The nanocoating pictured above overcomes two major obstacles blocking the progress and wider use of solar power. One, the coating increases the amount of sunlight captured by solar panels and two, allows those panel with the special coating to absorb the entire spectrum of sunlight from any angle, regardless of the sun’s position. The key aspect of the nanocoating is that it creates an anti reflective effective that helps solar panels soak up more sun. The amazing aspect of this research is that since the nanocoating can help solar panels collect energy from any angles, this breakthrough has the potential to eliminate solar trackers which main purpose is to keep the solar panel pitch in line with the path of the sun. The nanocoating is still in the research & development stage, at this time there is no road maps for commercial development of this technology, so don’t expect this new coating on the solar panels on the market soon. Although we are glad to see these types of game changing technologies being funded and tested to hit the market in the near...

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Outback Power Introduces SMARTRE

Outback Power, a company that typically focused on off-grid inverters showcased a new product line at the Solar Power International 2008 trade show in San Diego, CA called the “SMARTRE” product line. SMARTRE is short for Smart Renewable Energy which is a grid tie with battery backup inverter line that focuses on easy installation. The SMARTRE inverter operates similar standard grid tie inverter, although during a utility outage, the Outback SMARTRE will switch to the battery bank and still keep your critical loads powered through an outage. For customers who want security when the grid is down but also want to take advantage of being connected to the gird, the SMARTRE solution is the product that meets those needs. The SMARTRE product line will be available in power levels up to 6.3kw and is suitable for residential and small commercial projects. The SMARTRE inverter’s integrated AC switch, transfers to the battery bank flawlessly when the grid goes down without effecting data sensitive loads like computers. SMARTRE is capable of providing as much as 69 kWh of storage during outages. The inverter charges the AGM batteries using a multi-stage charging process which prolongs battery life up to 10 years. The SMARTRE is a versatile product and can be installed both indoor and outdoors and can be either wall or pad mounted. Outback Power backs the SMARTRE grid tie inverter with battery back up with a 5 year warranty, which is odd because in California for your grid tie solar power system to qualify for the rebate your inverter needs to have a 10 year manufacturers...

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Phoenix Suns teams up with solar panels

The Phoenix Suns announced yesterday at a press conference with Kevin Nash that the organization will be supporting solar power by installing 1,125 Suntech Solar Panels at the US Airways Center. The 194 kW (kilowatt) system will be installed next spring on the fifth level of the parking garage. The Arizona utility, APS will provide financial incentives through the renewable energy incentive program. The solar power system will be grid tied, meaning it will provide excess electricity back into the grid to help the community during peak hours and also help the Sun’s hedge against the raising cost of electricity. The Architect’s model of the proposed solar power system which will produce enough electricity for 26 games. The system is projected to cost 1.5 million dollars. This is going to be a great example how solar power can be used to power a large user who needs reliable power. We hope that the Sun’s promote the project to the thousands of fans that attend the US Airways every year. People idolize sports teams and we feel this project is a great way to get more people introduced to solar power. Maybe people will notice the solar power system when they’re watching the Suns and consider solar panels as an option for their home or...

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SF offers over-the-counter wind turbine permits

This month it has become easier to deploy your own residential / light commercial wind turbine in the city of San Fransisco because of the open market permitting became final by the city’s building and planning department, the Mayor of SF fully supported the proposition and put together a task force to update the city’s building code to allow wind turbines such as the skystream 3.7 onto private properties. SF is really leading the space in the solar power market and is now supporting wind power big time. SF has taken one of the most difficult steps in installing a small scale wind turbine, the permitting process into a simple one through over the counter permits. This should encourage small scale wind power development across the city! More cities need to follow the lead of SF, they are the leading city in the USA when it comes to renewable energy power generation. The goal of every city should be to make the permitting process easier for solar power and wind turbines if distributed power generation can get some solid traction in the mainstream market. A lot of cities out there claim to be “green” also known as green wash, because when a resident or business tries to install a solar or wind power generator they have to jump through hoops to get a final permit. Does anyone have story dealing with your permitting process with your city when installing solar power or a wind turbine? Please...

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