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San Antonio Family First In Texas With Dow Powerhouse Solar Roof

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PV tilesYale Environment 360: U.S. scientists say that emerging photovoltaic technologies will enable the production of solar shingles made from abundantly available elementsrather than rare-earth metals, an innovation that would make solar energy cheaper and more sustainable.<br />
http://bit.ly/Px7bv7</p>
<p>San Antonio Family First In Texas With Dow Powerhouse Solar Roof</p>
<p>The Ross’ family-owned business, Ross Electric Co., was chosen to connect Powerhouse below the rooftop. The family was able to see the installation hands-on, and decided to be one of the first in the country to install this total residential roofing solution that not only protects like a standard asphalt roof but also generates solar electricity, turning the roof into a source of value and savings. Said Ross: “I am proud to invest in my home with such an innovative and good-looking product. I expect that my Powerhouse roof will reduce my utility bills by about 40 percent and will increase my home value overall.”<br />
http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/06/19/local-san-antonio-family-first-in-texas-with-dow-powerhouse-solar-roof/</p>
<p>Newswise — PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 21, 2012 — With enough sunlight falling on home roofs to supply at least half of America’s electricity, scientists today described advances toward the less-expensive solar energy technology needed to roof many of those homes with shingles that generate electricity.</p>
<p>James C. Stevens, Ph.D., helped develop Dow’s PowerHouse Solar Shingle, introduced in October 2011, which generates electricity and nevertheless can be installed like traditional roofing. The shingles use copper indium gallium diselenide photovoltaic technology. His team now is eyeing incorporation of sustainable earth-abundant materials into PowerHouse shingles, making them more widely available.</p>
<p>“The United States alone has about 69 billion square feet of appropriate residential rooftops that could be generating electricity from the sun,” Stevens said. “The sunlight falling on those roofs could generate at least 50 percent of the nation’s electricity, and some estimates put that number closer to 100 percent. With earth-abundant technology, that energy could be harvested, at an enormous benefit to consumers and the environment.”<br />
http://bit.ly/NlGWJF</p>
<p>Image text: "The solar tiles can generate a potential 500 watts per 100 square feet, and they’re basically ready to go from the day they’re installed."
Yale Environment 360: U.S. scientists say that emerging photovoltaic technologies will enable the production of solar shingles made from abundantly available elements rather than rare-earth metals, an innovation that would make solar energy cheaper and more sustainable.
http://bit.ly/Px7bv7San Antonio Family First In Texas With Dow Powerhouse Solar Roof

The Ross’ family-owned business, Ross Electric Co., was chosen to connect Powerhouse below the rooftop. The family was able to see the installation hands-on, and decided to be one of the first in the country to install this total residential roofing solution that not only protects like a standard asphalt roof but also generates solar electricity, turning the roof into a source of value and savings. Said Ross: “I am proud to invest in my home with such an innovative and good-looking product. I expect that my Powerhouse roof will reduce my utility bills by about 40 percent and will increase my home value overall.”
http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/06/19/local-san-antonio-family-first-in-texas-with-dow-powerhouse-solar-roof/

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 21, 2012 — With enough sunlight falling on home roofs to supply at least half of America’s electricity, scientists today described advances toward the less-expensive solar energy technology needed to roof many of those homes with shingles that generate electricity.

James C. Stevens, Ph.D., helped develop Dow’s PowerHouse Solar Shingle, introduced in October 2011, which generates electricity and nevertheless can be installed like traditional roofing. The shingles use copper indium gallium diselenide photovoltaic technology. His team now is eyeing incorporation of sustainable earth-abundant materials into PowerHouse shingles, making them more widely available.

“The United States alone has about 69 billion square feet of appropriate residential rooftops that could be generating electricity from the sun,” Stevens said. “The sunlight falling on those roofs could generate at least 50 percent of the nation’s electricity, and some estimates put that number closer to 100 percent. With earth-abundant technology, that energy could be harvested, at an enormous benefit to consumers and the environment.”
http://bit.ly/NlGWJF

Image text: “The solar tiles can generate a potential 500 watts per 100 square feet, and they’re basically ready to go from the day they’re installed.”

St Valentine’s Day Eco News

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German Environment minister Altmaier, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, foresees a reduction of 1 percent to 1.5 percent in the so-called feed-in tariff that owners of renewable-power generators receive as he seeks to shift some of the cost to producers from consumers to stem a surge in electricity prices. His plan is due to be discussed with state environment ministers on Feb. 14.

This flies in the face of what we heard yesterday – though in fairness it’s a Bloomberg report. An automatic bias I fear.
 
German-ministries-clashing-over-renewable-subsidies?-Wednesday-February13-2013
 
Interestingly Obama is now telling Americans that they should be following China’s lead !!!
Obama’s support for renewables; Renewableenergyworld.obama-reinforces-support-for-renewable-energy  
 
Solar News;
Some countries are worth highlighting for their solar adoption even in the face of less than friendly regulatory environments. France and the UK, for example, each installed over 1 GW of solar capacity in 2012; Greece installed just shy of 1 GW during its crippling economic recession.
Good table here of countries (Ireland isn’t even mentioned) installing solar.
Renewableenergyworld.com/100-gw-of-solar-pv-now-installed-in-the-world-today 
 
Irish Onshore wind-map county by county (I wanted some of the slides from yesterday’ seminar in WIT Waterford – here’s a good place to start); iwea.com/windenergy_onshore 
Wind Energy Myths; http://www.iwea.com/index.cfm/page/windenergymyths1

Huge Improvements in Solar (PV).

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Reading Faye Sunderland’s report on PV means I’ll hold-off on buying PV for another year – they can’t get any better – can thy??

Original article; http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2013/01/21/solar-panels-better-than-biofuel-says-new-study/

 

Solar panels better than biofuel, says new study

While biofuels may right now make up much of our answer to the demand for renewable transport fuel, both here in Europe and in the US, that could soon change.

According to new research from the University of California-Santa Barbara, photovoltaic panels are a much more efficient method of producing clean, renewable fuel compared to biofuel.

solar panelsThe new research, published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal confirms just how much more efficient harnessing the sun’s power directly is than letting plants do the work.

The university’s Environmental Science & Management Professor, Roland Geyer who lead the research says: “PV is orders of magnitude more efficient than biofuels pathways in terms of land use – 30, 50, even 200 times more efficient – depending on the specific crop and local conditions,” says Geyer. “You get the same amount of energy using much less land, and PV doesn’t require farm land.”

Biofuel targets

Previous research has shown that biofuels from food crops made do little to reduce transport emissions and may actually increase them. Despite that, the EU has a target for  10 per cent of transport fuel to be produced by renewable sources by 2020, much of which will be met through the use of biodiesel and ethanol. In the US, the story is similar, with a target 15 billion US gallons of corn ethanol by 2015.

In this latest study, the researchers studied three different ways of converting solar energy to transport fuel; converting corn or switchgrass to ethanol, convert energy crops (corn and switchgrass again) into electricity and use solar panels to produce electricity to power electric cars.

Studying the full lifecycle of each method, the scientists found that using photovoltaic required less land, produced the lowest lifecycle emissions and required the lowest indirect fossil fuel use-making it the best option by far.

Even the most efficient biomass solution required 29 times more than solar panel installations.

In the US only some locations that have very high hypothetical switchgrass yields of 16 or more tons per hectare, were expected to compete with solar panels for GHG emissions.

“The bottleneck for biofuels is photosynthesis,” says Geyer. “It’s at best one per cent efficient at converting sunlight to crop, while today’s thin-film PV is at least 10 per cent efficient at converting sunlight to electricity.”

Source: TG Daily

About Faye Sunderland

Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.

Green economy: debate or destiny?

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Green economy: debate or destiny?

There has been very little discussion on the potential negative social and environmental consequences of promoting a green economy. Furthermore, nothing is being said about the need to reduce demand and over-consumption by wealthy nations. The sceptics are therefore defining ‘green economy’ as repacking of consumption-oriented neo-liberal economics, Mohammed Abdul Baten and Humayun Kabir write

OVER the past couple of years, the word ‘green’ has been prolifically used — from biology, where it is used to describe chlorophyllous colour pigments, to economics, where it defines an economy-wide implication. Symbolically, green is used to represent the nature. With an increased attention to environment over the past few years, in response to mounting threat of climate change, it is not surprising to call for a holistic, nature-oriented approach that could protect both environment and livelihood. However, there is also a large number of critics who have showed their reservations against the widespread use of the word based on an antiquated ethical question: Is it a new shrewd approach for industrialised countries to accumulate wealth or is it really useful for protecting the deteriorating state of nature. 
The concept of ‘green economy’ is still unclear, and there has been mounting debate on how it would be implemented in developing and underdeveloped countries. Since Bangladesh is still underdeveloped, it is too early for her to have a concrete decision on either fully accepting or rejecting the green economy framework. However, it is now evident that conventional fossil fuel based ‘brown economy’ has resulted in many externalities ranging from climate change to financial crisis. Under these circumstances, an economic system focused on nature has become important. The United Nations Environment Programme has also justified its position for favouring green economy by setting this year’s World Environment Day theme as ‘Green Economy: Does it include you?’ 
Until today, the green economy framework stood on technological platforms that influenced politicians to capture the political and economic opportunities presented by potential new technologies and their implications for promoting a convenient and supposedly ‘green’ economic agenda. But there has been very little discussion on the potential negative social and environmental consequences of promoting a green economy. Furthermore, nothing is being said about the need to reduce demand and over-consumption by wealthy nations. The sceptics are therefore defining ‘green economy’ as repacking of consumption-oriented neo-liberal economics. 
Like orthodox economic system, green economy is also based on three nodes: production, distribution, and consumption; it slightly differs in the final output. Generally, orthodox economic system is primarily intended towards growth with or without having consideration to the environment, but a green economy results in improved human wellbeing and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Sectors in green economy include renewable energy, low-carbon transport, energy-efficient buildings, clean technologies, improved waste management, improved freshwater provision, sustainable agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (UNEP, 2011).
No doubt, green economy aims at improving environmental conditions, but the question is whether developing countries can comply with the approach. Countries like Bangladesh has poor economic strength, which leaves little room for prioritizing environmental issues over poverty eradication, energy access, transportation needs, food and water security and rural development, which are immediate development priorities. How can such countries sustain their growth while maintaining environmental integrity? The answer is quite simple, if we consider Karl Burkart’s definition of green economy. He identifies six priorities for operationalising green economy: renewable energy, green buildings, clean transportation, water management, waste management and land management. In fact, green economy provides a huge opportunity of green jobs and hence helps to eradicate poverty. It allows investing in green technology, using eco-friendly energy sources as much as possible and using more efficient methods. It promotes the reduction of carbon footprints through reduced energy use, consumption and recycling. Consequently, it accelerates the transition to a low carbon society.
It is true that green economy is still being promoted under auspices of heavily subsidized fiscal policy with the aid of improved technology. Seven G20 countries (China, France, Germany, US, Mexico, Republic of Korea, and South Africa) have announced green components in their stimulus packages, with as many as 10 to 20 per cent range. China and South Korea stand out, however, with green investments that represent 34 and 78 per cent of their stimulus packages, respectively (UNEP, 2009). An agro-based nature dependent country like Bangladesh also has huge potential in capturing the benefit arising from different green economy sectors.

Green economy and Bangladesh
Renewable energy

On one hand, geographical location makes Bangladesh one of the most vulnerable countries; on the other hand, it creates huge opportunity for renewable energy. ILO identifies four renewable options in Bangladesh: solar photovoltaic electrification, bio mass energy, wind energy and improved solar cooking stoves. Over the last few years, solar energy has received huge acceptance in rural areas as a means of electrification. Urban residents have also started using solar energy due to regular power crisis and its low-cost hassle free source. The Bangladesh Renewable Energy Policy (2008) has recognised renewable energy as the most cost-effective and sustainable energy source to meet the country’s growing energy demand. Moreover, solar PV and biogas/biomass are creating new jobs opportunities both in rural and urban areas along with improving environmental condition. 

Waste management
The Bangladesh Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper has acknowledged the concept of 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) and has been promoting it to improve current hazardous and unsustainable waste management practices. The opportunities for greening the waste sector come from three inter-related sources: 1) growth of the waste market, driven by demand for waste services and recycled products such as recycled paper, plastics; 2) increased scarcity of natural resources and the consequent rise in commodity prices, which influence the demand for recycled products and waste to energy; and 3) emergence of new waste-management technologies (UNEP, 2011). Creation of new jobs in the waste management sector is also important. Waste Concern (2010) estimates that composting urban waste and plastic waste recycling account for 90,000 and 68,000 jobs respectively in Bangladesh. 

Agriculture
Bangladesh being an agrarian country holds many opportunities for promoting green agriculture. Green agricultural practices reduce application of synthetic chemical fertilisers and pesticides while providing low-input alternatives to high-intensity agricultural activities. In Bangladesh, green agriculture practice has many forms including organic farming, mushroom cultivation, bee keeping, sericulture, bio-slurry, pesticide free vegetables and water conservation. Even though many farmers fear that primarily the production may reduce in green agriculture, low input agriculture will eventually create much more profit than conventional mechanised agriculture as well as improve ecosystem health. In addition to the existing bulk of labour engagement in the agriculture sector, green agriculture will create an additional 41,548 jobs annually in Bangladesh (ILO, 2010). However, green agriculture is facing a multitude of challenges. Some of these include rapid contraction of arable agricultural land, lack of adequate organic fertiliser, insufficient environment friendly technologies, skilled manpower, lack of awareness about green agricultural practices, population growth, changing pattern of demand driven by increased income, and increasing vulnerability of agriculture to climate change.

Forestry 
With an increased attention to climate change, forestry is now under critical scrutiny by both policymakers and practitioners. Its mitigation potentiality and economisation of nature has broadened the scope of utilisation. However, risks persist on benefit distribution: will real forest users have access or will market determine the future of forests? With an increased focus on nature, nursery business, social forestry, agro-forestry could generate huge employment opportunity within the country. In addition, Bangladesh can collect money from international climate market by selling carbon stored in different natural forests under the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions Avoided Deforestation and Degradation) framework. It is intriguing that Bangladesh has developed its ‘Green Development Programme’, which calls for an inclusion of donors, private sector to work in collaboration with government. Even though forestry is a less prioritized sector in terms of employment generation in Bangladesh, ILO estimates that the forestry sector may create as many as 2,8813 jobs annually under the green economy framework. 

Industry and manufacturing
There is a common concept that the manufacturing sector and nature are disproportionately related. In fact, this is true in the conventional economic system where nature is considered as the capital supplier and very little attention has been paid to environmental health than growth. Manufacturing sector consumes a lion share of energy produced, hence emitting carbon more than any other sectors. Bangladesh is not an industrialized country; however the emission from manufacturing sector is not negligible compared to other sectors. Yet, isolated efforts have been made to increase energy efficiency and implement conservation measures in some industrial facilities such as sugar mills, spinning mills, fertiliser factories, processing mills and cement mills. ‘Cogeneration’-very low installation costs, small size installations, suitable for rural areas- is another energy efficiency opportunity that has been piloted in several sugar factories and textile mills. 

Real estate and housing 
The real estate and construction sectors have probably been the fastest growing over the last couple of years in Bangladesh. However, most often, constructions occur at the expense of forests, arable land and important wetlands. Moreover, construction materials are produced in an energy intensive, environmentally destructive way. Nonetheless, we have ample opportunities to apply principles of green economy to the construction sector, which could generate new job opportunities along with saving energy and money. Fortunately, our developers have started apprehending the importance of green technology and 66 per cent companies have already started using green building technology (Waste Concern, 2011). 

Transportation 
The transportation sector is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. Even though the ratio of men to cars in Bangladesh is very low compared to many other countries, it is increasing at an alarming rate in the urban areas. More importantly, the urban environment has been experiencing unbearable traffic jam due to inadequate roads and increased number of private cars, resulting in a decrease in valuable working hours and increasing environmental degradation. Despite the challenges, there is a huge potential to make the transportation sector greener and environment friendly. Bangladesh is well ahead in the road of green transportation. The government has increased taxes on private cars to encourage use of public transport. It has also introduced compressed natural gas as a fuel alternative to petrol and diesel, another important initiative towards a green transportation system. 

Conclusion
GREEN economy has ambivalent implications for Bangladesh. Some sectors such as forestry, tourism, transportation, and water resources management, could run well under the green economy framework. Conversely, we need to be cautious about implementing green economy principles in the agriculture sector since production may reduce initially and may create a temporary food crisis for a land deficit country like Bangladesh. It does not mean that we should continue with environmentally destructive agriculture, but that we should start green agriculture today, possibly in a limited scale which can be replicated on a wider scale in future. At the same time, we have to be careful about equity issues. The benefits generated from green economy should be distributed following the principle of equity and justice. 

Mohammed Abdul Baten is lecturer at Independent University Bangladesh and senior research associate at Unnayan Onneshan and Humayun Kabir is researcher at Unnayan Onneshan.

 

 

Reader’s Comment

 

Mohammed Abdul Baten
Date:Monday, 23rd July, 2012
 
Please read it

 

 
Mohammed Abdul Baten
Date:Monday, 23rd July, 2012
 
Read and circulate it

3 different generations of Solar Vacuum Hot Water Systems

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It will probably surprise many people to find out that there are different generations of Solar Vacuum Hot Water Systems and ALL are still being sold today. You may have just bought one but which generation is it ?

This is why you see HUGE differences between performance of solar vacuum systems and why there is so much confusion. We have many requests from people who have just bought Solar Vacuum systems and they can’t understand how our customers systems are producing so much more energy than them.

THIS POST WILL EXPLAIN THE MAIN DIFFERENCES…

NOTE: This is the first time you have probably heard anything about the different generations of Solar Vacuum Technology anywhere.

FIRST Generation Solar Vacuum Systems, (about 35 years old), still being sold on the market, always compared to flat plates due to their low performance.

How to recognise one ?, simple, it has a single wall (not double skinned vacuum) clear glass tube and a strip of absorber inside.

solar heat pipe generation 1

Fig: First Generation Solar Vacuum System – (approx 35 years old)

Whilst they are still available to buy in very well known BRAND NAMES, they are quite old at this stage. How did they come about. Simple, a bright Engineer about 35 years ago looked at flat plates in sunny climates and made an assumption that if he put the strips of a flat plate absorber into glass tubes, he would improve on the output of flat plate collectors in cloudy climates. Here is a picture of a flat plate solar collector with its covers off.

solar absorber

He simply decided to split the absorber and put it in glass tubes. A new version of this has a direct flow pipe instead of a heat-pipe. THIS IS FIRST GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY.

NEXT….

SECOND Generation Solar Vacuum System’s, (about 25 years old), still being sold on the market, noted for their lack of performance in poor weather and over-heating problems in sunshine. THIS IS THE MAJORITY OF SOLAR VACUUM SYSTEMS BEING SOLD ON THE MARKET TODAY AS THE COLLECTORS CAN BE SHIPPED BROKEN UP IN LONG BOXES.

You will always hear about sizing to only do 90% of your hot water in case of overheating (of course this makes it poor performing in winter), the adding of dump radiators, etc. with this technology. Here is a picture of this type of solar heat-pipe. There is a condensing heat-pipe running into a twin walled vacuum tube with a sealing cap to hold in the heat. The tube always carries a selective coating so it looks black on the outside. The heat pipe then plugs into the manifold and heats up the manifold. When the manifold gets heated, it transfers the heat to the water passing through. This process is fairly inefficient.

solar heat pipe

Fig: Second Generation Solar Vacuum System – (approx 25 years old)

THIS IS SECOND GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY.

NEXT…..

THIRD Generation Solar Vacuum Systems, (about 8 years old), still being sold on the market BUT only a few suppliers make this generation of system, it is noted for more stable performance than Heat Pipes and has reduced the overheating issues on really hot days. It is more expensive to produce and unless it is shipped in one piece, it has to have rubber seals and run at low pressure. THIS IS TYPICALLY CALLED  A U-TUBE OR DIRECT FLOW COLLECTOR.

Here is what it looks like:

solar u tube

You can see that the circulating water runs into the glass tube via copper pipes unlike any of the 1st and 2nd generations where the water only runs in the manifold. The tubes are twin walled and have a selective coating and appear black on the outside.

ONE MAJOR DRAWBACK (and it is a biggie): If this type of collector comes as a kit (and not in one piece out of the box) and has to be assembled at the installation site, then it will cost a significant amount of money to change a tube. The system will need to be drained down, tube changed and then refilled, this is in effect a FULL SERVICE every time you want to change a tube. Typically the new tube will come with all the pipework so can be over £120 a tube ON TOP of the full service cost.

If the collector is one piece and can’t be broken down, then this does not apply, the changing of a glass tube takes seconds, like changing a light bulb and is a few quid at most. THIS IS THIRD GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY.

NEXT….

FOURTH Generation Solar Vacuum Sytems, (about 4 years old), this is proprietary technology to Surface Power. It involves a system wide science called TDLF (thermodynamic laminar flow technology) coupled with MPPTt, (Maximum Power Point Tracking – thermal). Several patents cover this technology which has been developed to create high powered solar air conditioning and solar central heating systems.

You can see its performance in the samples of our live systems 24/7.http://www.surfacepower.com/live.html

The key thing to notice is the different power band, (kWhrs produced) that is the difference in temperature between the collectors and the cylinder/pool/heating system, etc. Normal solar systems go from +3C to +7C and switch on and off all day. Surface Power systems do not work like this, they operate a DELTA T of between +10C and +25C bringing much larger amounts of power in any given day; and can stay running ALL DAY. Even at a DELTA T of +15C, it is still cloudy and many times higher than the average of any of the 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation solar vacuum technology’s.

Here is a Surface Power SP501 solar collector, (we only have the one type, size, shape, tube quantity), why have more than 1 type of solar collector ?, you can’t improve on perfection…

THIS IS FOURTH GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY AND ONLY AVAILABLE FROM SURFACE POWER.

Our best advice:

It is our job as manufacturer to provide you with open and accessible information to help you with your research into solar hot water. All systems shown are customer systems. In the year 2011, You should not have to buy a solar system based on theories, probabilities and hocus pocus, it should be based on fact and examples of real outcomes. We don’t TELL you what you “SHOULD” get, we SHOW YOU what you “WILL” get. Any educational questions can be put to our support desk 24/7 onsupport@surfacepower.com

And  then;