Solar Panels Reflecting the Sky, by Debbie Mous, brought to you by WindermereSun.com
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Change is in the air.Valencia College (1800 S. Kirkman Rd., Orlando, FL) of Central Florida is moving with time, leading and educating Central Floridians during the National Drive Electric Week 2016. National Drive Electric Week, from September 10-18, 2016, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-ins, hybrids, and all electric vehicles, be it cars, trucks, motorcycles, or buses.The event itself started back in 2011 as National Plug In Day with the simple idea to hold simultaneous events across the country on the same day. It has since evolved and expanded into an entire week of events and changed the name to emphasize the component that would bring tremendous impact to our planet earth: Driving Electric Vehicle! This Orlando event is one of more than 100 across the country where EV owners (aka “EV-angelists”) are holding electric car parades and series of events including the launching of new public EV charging stations. On Saturday, September 10, 2016, at parking lot F of Valencia College West Campus, owners of a wide array of EV’s (electric vehicles), (including Nissan Leaf’s, Chevy Volt’s, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Ford C-MAX Energi, and a solar vehicle), enthusiastically shared their views of the energy and environmental impact of the EV movement. If you are interested in finding out more about National Drive Electric Week, please click HERE.
It is also intriguing to find some one in Central Florida, Larry Wexler (above), with the idea and dream of one day seeing a Solar Car Race right here in our backyard of Central Florida! From my years in covering the Australian World Solar Challenge (if you’d like to see each of these solar cars from 2015, click HERE) I realize this is an ambitious project that will require many volunteers from many areas (electronics, computer programming, design, marketing, communications, etc.). But it is a terrific goal worth dreaming. So, let’s hope Mr. Wexler much success in this endeavor and let’s give him a hand!
The organizer of the event at Valencia College-West Campus, Lisa Macon (Dean of Division of Engineering, Computer Programming, and Technology at Valencia College), gathered many of our sustainability leaders in the Central Florida community for a very informative afternoon of:
“Introduction to Electric Cars“: The highlights of electric car ownership is presented by Lisa Macon, from different types of propulsion systems to the basic of charging electric vehicles.
“Life with An Electric Vehicle“: Thron Crowe is a local EV expert who uses his early model Nissan Leaf to drive for both Uber and Lyft. He’s quite familiar with Orlando’s charging station infrastructure while making money using his electric vehicle.
“Your EV- Planning and Practice“: Insights from Goering Castro of Cory Fairbanks Mazda are shared, from shopping for the right EV to fit one’s wallet and lifestyle, to integrating one’s EV into one’s daily life.
“Going Solar-Central Florida Solar Co-Op“: Derek Grozio brings us to Central Florida’s Solar Co-Op, which opens now until November 30, 2016. Learn about going solar from an EV owner’s perspective, review the process and benefits, seeing real numbers from a recent installation.
5. “Green Works Orlando-A Path To Urban Sustainability“: Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability for the City of Orlando (as part of the Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Sustainability Initiative, Green Works Orlando), presented topics in energy efficiency, green buildings, renewable energy projects, solid waste innovations, municipal fleet vehicles, and various other efforts Orlando is working toward to become one of the most sustainable cities in USA.
Hope this is helpful. Hope you are considering going Solar and going EV and taking measures in taking parts in Sustainable Living!
Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva ranked 4th place on Sep. 3, 2016
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Hurray! Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva ranked 4th place today, after: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, The Mindful Bunch, and Carnegie Mellon University teams! Thank you, team members, for a job well done! With Amendment 4 being passed in Florida and Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva placing in top ten teams at Kiva, it is a Fantastic Week for Solar future!
We want to spread more sunshine throughout the planet earth by increasing opportunities that would make this planet earth a better place to live. This is accomplished via micro-finance. With as little as $25, any one is able to participate in helping another entrepreneur on planet Earth via the platform of Kiva.
We are hopeful and optimistic that sun, water, wind, and geothermal energy will lead us into a world free from pollution and war. Let us earthlings look for ways to make this a reality! Sunisthefuture Team supports entrepreneurs from USA and various developing nations in starting/maintaining businesses in solar energy/renewable energy/recycling/energy efficiency.
Click on “Loans” and “Members” at Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva web site to see which small businesses we’ve supported and who are members on Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva.
To see what Green Loans are currently needing help to be funded, click on “Lend” on top of the page, then select (placing a check mark inside the box next to…) for “Green” under ATTRIBUTES in the left hand margin. At the end of the transaction, be sure to click on “complete order” in order to complete the transaction. Then check to see if the number of loans has been correctly added for your individual profile and for the team you’ve attributed the loan to.
Firework, by Saifon Narongrat (brought to you by WindermereSun.com)
(Please click on red links & note magenta)
The votes are in. Amendment 4 passed with the vast majority of Floridians across the state voting YES to support solar power in the Sunshine State (at 73% vs. 27% margin, the measure needs 60% to win)! The victory would not have been possible without the effort of thousands of volunteers and organizations throughout Florida that worked tirelessly to get the necessary votes. Thank you for all of your dedication and support.
This is a huge step to usher the Sunshine State from being blocked
Sun blocked by clouds, by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
into the Solar Energy Age and on the way in becoming a leader in the solar industry!
Sun is shining, no longer blocked by clouds, by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Amendment 4 will help Floridians to lower energy costs by reducing the tax burden for solar equipment. With lower taxes for homeowners and businesses, more solar energy development is anticipated for Floridians to lock in energy savings, create jobs, spur economic development, and bring much needed diversity to Florida’s energy mix!
Solar Panels Reflecting the Sky, by Debbie Mous, brought to you by WindermereSun.com
Solar Growth by huntr004, brought to you by WindermereSun.com
Solar Panels by Neville Mecallef, brought to you by WindermereSun.com
Now, Floridians, please remember to Vote “No” for Amendment 1 on November 8 because it’s a Trojan Horse that the utility companies are using to block further solar development. More on Amendment 1 in a future post.
Dear Fellow Floridians, for more information about Early Voting, please refer to our Previous Post . If you have any questions about voting, please call the Election Protection hotline at: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682-Espanol.) Assistance is available in English or Spanish.
We, the Floridians, have been blessed with generous sunshine, residing in the SunShine State. In the August Primary, Floridian voters will have the opportunity to lower energy cost and boost future solar energy production in the Sunshine State by voting YES for Amendment 4 on the Primary Ballot. Amendment 4 will amend Florida’s Constitution to exempt the value of solar panels and other renewable energy equipment from both the tangible personal property tax and the real property tax. In order for Amendment 4 to become law, it must be approved by YES vote from at least 60% of the Floridian voters for the August 30 Primary Ballot.
The exact wording of Amendment 4, below (in italics):
Solar Devices or Renewable Energy Source Devices;Exemption from Certain Taxation and Assessment.
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to exempt from ad valorem taxation the assessed value of solar or renewable energy source devices subject to tangible personal property tax, and to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of such devices in assessing the value of real property for ad valorem taxation purposes. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2018, and expires on December 31, 2037.
Firstly, ad valorem simply means in proportion to the value. So, Amendment 4 is proposing to remove the tax based on the value of the solar panels/renewable energy source devices and also to prevent the inclusion of these devices when assessing the value of the real property. This amendment, if passed, will enable solar energy in Florida to be much more affordable for every one (commercial, as well as residential), help to increase the number of solar jobs and further solar development in Florida tremendously , and at no cost to Florida’s taxpayers because these taxes are not being collected now.
As we come to the final stage of fossil fuel period in history…
as more natural disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy and Louisiana flood) occur…
and increasing suicide rate of farmers from different parts of the world (India, Australia, etc.) resulting from extreme weather conditions due to increased rate of climate change….
and the cost of solar and renewable energy and battery storage technology continues to decrease
It is our moral imperative to do everything possible in slowing down the current rate of climate change. It is also our sense of practicality that should direct us quickly toward transition into solar and renewable energy. The great irony in life is that: those of us in the developed nations have been contributing far more than those in developing nations to this dramatic increased rate of climate change. But when the chips are down, it is those in the developing nations and the poorest who will be suffering more. There is something terribly wrong with this picture. It would have been far more impactful if Amendment 4 were passed more than a decade ago. Voting YES for Amendment 4 now is the least that we can and should do. In addition to installing solar, I believe we should also be thinking of switching to electrical vehicles, recycle more, bike and walk more, eat less meat, etc. It is economical/practical and ethical to encourage the growth of solar and renewable energy in the Sunshine State!
Keep in mind that there are three ways to vote:
At the polls on August 30, 2016
Early Voting between August 15-August 28 or August 20-August 27 or……., depending on which county you are in.
By mail starting from July 26, 2016 and be sure your mail-in ballot is received by 7:00 pm on election day, August 30, 2016. So, those of you who are planning on mailing in your ballot, be sure you do so ASAP.
For those of you interested in clean energy future, you may like to know that Florida Solar Voter is a project of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy dedicated to providing all Florida voters an easy way to sign up to vote by mail. Please feel free to contact Southern Alliance For Clean Energy via 813-252-1751 or www.CleanEnergy.org .You may also be interested in visiting Floridians For Solar Choice.
Did you know that last year Costa Rica was able to run on only clean renewable energy (from hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, and biofuel) for 299 out of the 365 days in 2015? In order to get to the finish line during our marathon of transitioning toward a clean and renewable future, we need to address the issue brought up by Monica Araya of Costa Rica. It is important for us to also move onto electric transportation vehicles in order to achieve healthy and clean future for our future cities. It is important to break free from vehicles running on fossil fuel.
As the temperature arrives at its highest level since the recorded history of homo sapiens, as the suicide rate of Indian farmers and farmers from elsewhere continues to rise, and various other signs and symptoms associated with climate change picking up its respective pace, there is greater need to slow down the climate change, CO2 emission, and to speed up our transition not only to solar and renewable energy sources, but also to EV (electric vehicles). We all need to act fast! Have you started researching for your EV’s?
Wow, truly, we are at the final frontier! Facebook has just announced the first successful test flight of a high-altitude solar plane to bring internet access to remote parts of the world (where 1.6 billion people reside) currently without mobile broadband network. Back in March of 2015, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook had been testing drones in the skies over UK. The Aquila drone has the wingspan of an airliner, weighs about a third as much as a car, and consumes only 5,000 watts (equivalent to 3 hairdryers or a powerful microwave ) when cruising. It was developed in Bridgwater, Somerset, by Ascenta, a designer of solar powered drones that Facebook bought in March of 2014. Facebook plans on having Aquila as a fleet of solar powered aircraft that will provide internet to people in sub-Saharan Africa and other remote regions currently without online access. Once they are fully operational, these high altitude planes will stay airborne for up to 90 days at a time and beam broadband coverage to a 60-mile wide area on the ground, availing internet to people in under-connected regions.
After months of flying scale models, the Facebook Connectivity Lab finally completed first full-scale test flight and provided much data on Aquila’s performance on autopilot, batteries, motors, radio, displays, ground station, aerodynamic handling, structural viability, and crew training. The low altitude test flight lasted for 96 minutes (more than three times the originally planned mission length).
Some of the future challenges will need to be faced are:
During the winter, solar panels need to collect sufficient energy during short days to keep the batteries charged over long nights (up to 14 hours at a time).
Higher energy efficiency and lower mass battery systems continue to be needed
Aquila continues to be optimized
Overall need to reduce the cost in order to insure that the project would be viable.
Jay Parikh, Facebook’s head of engineering and infrastructure, said in a blog: “We’re encouraged by this first successful flight, but we have a lot of work ahead of us … In our next tests, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer, eventually taking it above 60,000 feet.”
I’ve been busy with some projects recently. Now that I have returned to Sun Is The Future, let’s resume by easing into several lay-back topics. Namely, did you know that there’s been a Tiny House Movement in recent years? It’s a perfect outcome for our new age of 4R’s (Recycle-Reuse-Repair-Reduce). Above is a video of an Aussie couple (Mr. & Mrs. Paul Chambers….sorry, don’t know wife’s name) who had begun building a home out of two shipping containers as a project. But when Mrs. Chambers got tired of suburbia and utility bills, they put their four-bedroom home on the market and his project became the couple’s full-time home. Check out Paul’s ebook: www.buildshippingcontainerhouse.com)
Chambers’ choice of shipping container was motivated by the fact that they did not own any land and need for easy mobility. His background as an engineer-teacher-adventurer enabled him to take on this project without having had any background in formal building training. His forte is in the fact that he believes that any one can do anything that he/she puts his/her mind into it. He’s picked up the skill of welding, building, etc. along the way. Without an initial fixed design, Paul simply started with a concept and learned and adapt along the way. The Chambers have built an off-grid mobile home with 2 shipping containers using 12-250 watt solar panels and 2 storage battery packs normally used in golf carts. They are able to run normal household appliances (such as refrigerator, chest freezer, washer (with both hot and cold water), bread machine, 3 computers. The main difference is that they use electricity during the day time when electricity is being created. Careful monitoring and back-up generator brings greater assurance even on rainy or cloudy days. Australian sunshine produces some very high temperature days. There is more than enough sunshine to help power the air conditioning needed for a pleasant environment. However the couple’s preferred cooling method is better ventilation through opened windows and cargo door. Couple of 12 v car outlets are placed in their container home to charge cell phones and to power their modem for internet. To increase the strength of the signal for their modem, they’ve installed an external area on the roof for directional antenna to increase the signal strength. Their sunroof has multiple functions: protecting the couple from radiant heat, harvesting for electricity from solar panels, and harvesting water from the rain via pipe into a collection tank at the side of the house, side of the firewood shed, and added catchment by the kitchen. Their water is then filtered through a 20 micron sediment filter for washing and showering, and additional filtrations for drinking water (down to 0.5 microns, removing germs, pathogens, and heavy metals). Living with natural water from the rain is much more pleasant than the town water with much chlorine in it. There are also detailed description on composting for growing plants.
Fundamentally, the Chambers use the electrical energy generated from the Australian sunshine, using it when the sun is shining and not at night. “It is ridiculously easy,” Paul commented. Batteries are fully charged between 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. By 4:00 pm, they’d stop using the non-essential items to avoid draining the batteries. By 6:00 pm, they’d only be using their computers (which takes up very little power). They’ve gotten to the point that they no longer need to worry about power while others in the area have been experiencing power cut and are having a difficult time.
I invite you to view what this couple have done to live naturally in the Australian Bush country, with wild life of abundance around them. I hope you will enjoy this video as much as I had.
Is it true that the wealthy elites do not want you to go solar?
In the interview with Brendan Fischer, General Counsel of Center For Media and Democracy, Screwed News reporter commented, there is a new solar power installation every 3 minutes in United States (according to SEIA, Solar Energy Industry Association) and much of the growth of solar power is on the local level. The above is a candid discussion in why and how individual rooftop solar is seen as a threat to the centralized production business model and therefore has been running into much resistance. More in-depth discussion on various topics pertaining to distributed individual rooftop solar may be obtained from Institute For Local Self-Reliance.(such as Walton Family Undermining Rooftop Solar, ILSR Finds, Energy Self Reliant States.) As we progress from an outdated centralized utility model into a new age of more distributed and greater local self-reliant model, be it applied to power generation or broadband, I encourage any one and every one to increase understanding how important local self-reliance in these matters is. I would further implore those truly interested in the future of solar/renewable energy to have better understanding of Value of Solar, for this is a much more fair and efficient way to distribute power than Net Metering. For better understanding of Value of Solar, please refer to these posts below:
The floating array on Yamakura Dam in Chiba Prefecture (Southeast of Tokyo), will measure 180,000 sq meters and 13.7 MW, upon completion. Since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan has created a number of solar farms on water as it has turned away from nuclear power, and land is in short supply. Considering the desirability of reducing evaporation from the reservoir through having solar panels above and cooling of the solar panels from water below, the concept of floating solar farm is simply a Win-Win phenomenon! In the case with a dam, there is also the added appeal in taking care of the solar intermittent energy source by using power generated from the dam.
Rendering of the 13.7MW plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir (photo credit: Kyocera)
The Public Enterprises Agency of Chiba Prefecture publicly sought companies to construct and operate a floating solar power plant to help reduce environmental impact in October, 2014. Scheduled for launch in FY2018 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2018), the plant will be comprised of approximately 51,000 Kyocera modules installed over a fresh water surface area of 180,000 sq meters. The project will generate an estimated 16,170 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, enough electricity to power approximately 4,970 typical households. This would offset about 8,170 tons of CO2 emissions annually. This is equal to 19,000 barrels of oil consumed.