Posts Tagged ‘solar panel’

8 May

Which Solar Vehicle Will Make It Into the U.S. Showroom First: Tesla or Toyota?

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Panasonic Toyota Prius Prime

Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

 

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Windermere Blue Sunset (credit: Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker)
Below is a re-post from one of our sister publications, Windermere Sun:

Over some of the social networks, our previous post of  Climate March Orlando on April 29, 2017 received much attention and debate/discussion regarding climate change. At one point, I did comment, “I am optimistic, for solar and wind costs have already dropped tremendously in recent years. Solar is more cost effective than conventional fossil fuel in many places. Electric vehicle and solar e-vehicles are coming in. These progress will all help in keeping carbon emission in check or be reduced in our earth’s atmosphere.”

Case in point, I’d like to share a video that demonstrates how Panasonic is building the full-length solar roof for Japan’s Prius Prime plug in hybrid, below:

Panasonic announced an advanced solar car that will debut as the 2017 model Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid in Japan (the Prius Prime) last week. This is going to be the first commercially available, mass produced passenger car to feature an optional solar charging system! Improvements in solar technology efficiency combined with advanced design and technologies to laminate three-dimensional curved glass have allowed a high output (tripling the output of previous solar roof that was only able to ventilate parked cars and auxiliary charging of the standard 12-volt lead acid battery). As the solar panels and electric vehicle become cheaper and more efficient, the potential range boost will likely to  occur. The 2017 Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with about 25 miles of range available on a fully charged battery before it needs gasoline.It gets 54  miles per gallon (combined city-highway EPA estimate) when running on gas. Its EPA estimated electric mileage is 133 mpg-e.

Its solar roof option will initially be offered only in Japan (on Japanese models) until Toyota and Panasonic develop an improvement to the reinforced curved glass panels, which would not pass U.S. rollover standards.

The panel is capable of producing 180 watts of electricity, which is apparently enough to power car accessories (which weren’t specified) and also charge the lithium-ion batteries. According to Toyota, this panel can add up to 3.7 miles of range a day to the car’s battery while parked, and it also helps charge the battery while the car is in motion. It also fits the contours of the Prius roof and doesn’t change the design.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted in November 2016 that he wanted a solar roof option for the Tesla Model 3, Tesla’s affordable long-range electric car that had record pre-sales. Whether it will be Tesla solar car or Toyota solar car make it into the U.S. showroom first, one thing to be certain: our streets will soon be covered with Solar Powered Electric Vehicles….to reduce carbon emissions and to slow down the warming of our planet earth! I gladly await for the electric vehicle that will allow me to have both self-driving and solar powered features long before I reach my 80’s. It is an amazing world we’re living in!

 

Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at info.WindermereSun@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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14 April

A Newborn Baby, First Bacteria-Powered Solar Panels of Binghamton University, Unfolding In Solar/Renewable Energy Age

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Nine Biological solar cells connected into a bio-solar panel. The panel has generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells, 5.59 microwatts ( credit Seokheun Sean Choi)

Nine Biological solar cells connected into a bio-solar panel. The panel has generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells, 5.59 microwatts ( credit: Seokheun Sean Choi)

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Wow! The ingenuity and innovative potential of human mind continues to amaze me!

I’ve always been certain that there will be more wondrous works waiting to improve the efficiency level and reliability, decrease the cost of solar in decades to come. Here is one more in line to be investigated:

Few days ago, on April 11, 2016, Binghamton University researchers took the concept of using cyanobacteria, a phylum bacteria obtaining energy through photosynthesis, to produce clean energy. These researchers used nine biological solar cells, also known as bio-solar cells, and connected them to a biological solar panel, resulting in the continuous production of electricity from the panel. The amount of electricity it produced reached 5.59 microwatts, which is higher than what any small-scale bio-solar cells can produce.

The paper was entitled “Biopower generation in a microfluidic bio-solar panel” written by Seokheun “Sean” Choi, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science together with graduating students Xuejian Wei and Hankeun Lee ’15, graduating in May, according to Science Daily.

The Binghamton University Nanofabrication Lab provided the fabrication facilities for the work, while the University Research Foundation (Interdisciplinary Collaborations Grants (ICG) Program/Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence) provided the funding. The findings are currently available online and will be published in hard copy in the June edition of the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

 


The breakthrough occurred last year, after this group of scientists attempted to innovate the dual-chambered bio-solar cell. They created a microfluidic-based single chambered device to house the bacteria, and they also changed the materials on the positive and negative terminals of the bio-solar cell. With further investigation, using a 3×3 pattern, the group installed nine identical bio-solar cells to form a bio-solar panel, which they observed for 60 hours. Their observation showed the continuous production of electricity due to the bacteria’s respiration and photosynthesis. It may be a very low amount of energy production as it can only produce 0.00003726 watts while a regular 60-cell rooftop solar panel generates 285 watts, but the great potential in this discovery may lead to a more reliable energy source, as reported by Energy Matters.

Once a functional bio-solar panel becomes available, it could become a permanent power source for supplying long-term power for small, wireless telemetry systems as well as wireless sensors used at remote sites where frequent battery replacement is impractical,” said Seokheun “Sean” Choi.

When conservative naysayer commented to me,”What good is it?! It’s only able to generate such a small amount of power!” I’d retort, borrowing from one of Dr. Ben Franklin’s famous lines, “What good is a newborn baby?”, often used by Faraday as well….as we wait for the unfolding potential of one of many newborns in our Solar/Renewable Energy Age. This newborn baby offers great potential for a long-term, reliable power source in remote areas.

~have a bright and sunny day~
Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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31 May

The Dutch Has Shown Us How To Produce Solar Energy & Art Via Bike Paths

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit:  notrickszone.com.)

Solar Bike Path of Netherlands, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: notrickszone.com.)

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My associations with people from Netherlands have always been extremely positive, enthusiastic, optimistically ambitious. So, it was not surprising that during Nov. of 2014 the Dutch (people from Netherlands) developed the first Solar Bike Path (with embedded solar cells) in the world, outside Amsterdam connecting the suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer! This Dutch project integrated solar panels into a bike commuter path to generate power to be funneled into the national energy grid.  The crystalline silicone solar cells are encased in two layers of tempered safety glass, mounted in a concrete housing.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: npr.org)

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: npr.org)

According to SolaRoad, it’s been a challenge to produce energy-producing slabs that are both durable and rideable by thousands of cyclists per day. “It has to be translucent for sunlight and repel dirt as much as possible,” the company says. “At the same time, the top layer must be skid resistant and strong enough in order to realize a safe road surface.” This $3.7 million project is a collaboration between the research group TNO and the government of North Holland. Its technical aspects may be found in Phys Org site.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: pri.org)

Active Solar Bike Path of Netherland, first in the world, installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: pri.org)

This 70-meter or 230 feet (over two-third of the length of an NFL football field) section solar bike path is flat instead of angled to optimally take advantage of the sun, therefore the path’s panel will produce about 70% of what similar panel might produce on a rooftop.  With approximately 87,000 miles of roadways, Netherlands’s total road surface area is much larger than that of rooftops.

This project is the first step that the local government hopes will extend to 100 meter (or 328 feet) by 2016. Now that it’s been half year into the installation of the solar bike path, it’s become clear that the solar panels are outperforming expectations, having already generated 3,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. This is fantastic! In a space that previously generated no clean electricity, now it is functioning well and ready for further development and expansion. I have no doubt that the cost and overall efficiency of any solar roadway will continue to improve as more and more visionaries collaborate to enable such Clean Solar Renewable Dream of Solar Roadway to become a reality. Our hats off to the visionaries in Netherlands!

Another solar bike path later unveiled in the same month, but in the city of Eindhoven, Netherland, of the passive solar form, is inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, below:

 

Passive Solar Bike Path (at night) of Eindhoven, Netherland, also being installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (credit: thisistange.com.)

Passive Solar Bike Path (at night) of Eindhoven, Netherland, also being installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (credit: thisistange.com.)

(Be sure to view the whole  video below, “Visions of Public Art: by Daan Roosegaarde”….you won’t regret it….)


Of course, it is the Dutch who would embrace a challenge by innovating first, by being efficient, in being artistic while pragmatic and remaining connected to both the past and the future……look at the Solar Bike Path at night, an inspiration by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit:  dogonews.com)

Passive Solar Bike Path in Eindhoven, Netherland, installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (credit: dogonews.com)

Our future would be simply breath-takingly beautiful, if we don’t destroy our planet first…there lies the beauty of Solar Energy…for it is the answer to Energy-Pollution-Economic Prosperity-Climate Change-International Conflicts. SO, LET’S USE IT !

As long as we’re on the subject of solar roadway, let me remind you of the Indiegogo campaign here at sunisthefuture.net for Scott & Julie Brusaw of Idaho, asking for $1 million but ended up raising more than $2.2 million for their Solar Roadway R & D project. Yes, it is exciting to live in a world where dreamers and visionaries are in many places!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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18 March

Bill Gallagher, President of SOLAR-FIT, Almost 4 Decades in Solar Business

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I’d like to introduce you to a solar entrepreneur, Mr. Bill Gallagher (President of SOLAR-FIT), who has been in solar business for 38 years (almost 4 decades) !  Having such a longevity in this youthful business, we can certainly learn a great deal from his experience.  Below is a video clip of the exchange I had with Bill on a sunny day in March at Holly Hill, Florida (where SOLAR-FIT is).  I apologize for my heavy nasal sound/voice as a result of my Spring allergy.

Solar-Fit provides a great variety of solar products and services for solar PV, solar thermal (with several days of backup system), solar ventilation system, heliocol solar pool system, and sun tunnel (which funnels natural light into any dark room).

Attic Ventilation System would help to reduce the cost of AC for Florida homes

Having Sun Tunnel would bring in more natural sunlight into a house/building

 

Bill also mentioned the one price online permitting process at Broward County (previously mentioned in our Feb. 22, 2013 post with Mr. Jeffery Halsey of Broward County of Florida)being able to help reduce a good percentage of the soft cost of solar projects. With the dropping cost of solar modules and the security of return that solar investments promise, investing in solar installations is the smart thing to do now. Not only are solar installations able to help reduce CO2 emission, they will also enable consumers to be better prepared for emergency situations (such as hurricanes). We are all hoping that there will be Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS)and/or goals in the state of Florida and better structured solar incentives that would help to guide consumers toward the path for better use of our wonderful sunshine here in state of Florida.

Bill Gallagher, President of SOLAR-FIT of Holly Hill, FL, chatting with us about various solar systems that would help to reduce consumers’ expenditures and improve their living environment

Bill Gallagher in front of SOLAR-FIT of Holly Hill, FL, a solar business that’s been around for almost 4 decades !

After our visit to Bill’s SOLAR-FIT, we stopped by WNZF NewsRadio station to chat with Bill about Solar Energy and what has been developing at Sun Is The Future.  Because Holly Hill is not far from Daytona and there were two qualifying sessions set for Friday (March 15, 2013) at the Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 200 on Saturday (March 16, 2013) for The 2013 Geico Motorcycle AMA pro Road Racing series event, I have never seen so many motorcyclists on the road in my life!

 

Motorcyclists seen in Holly Hill, FL, not far from Daytona, a day before the two qualifying sessions of Daytona 200 on Saturday, March 16, 2013, for the 2013 Geico Motorcycle AMA pro Road Racing Series event

Visiting WNZF NewsRadio station with host of the Renewable Energy Show (every Saturday, 10:30AM-11:00AM, at 1550AM and 106.3FM) host Bill Gallagher at right, Mark Gilliand the sound engineer of WNZF at left, and Susan and Michael of SunIsTheFuture in the middle

At the WNZF News Radio station,we found out that Bill had been busy not only as a solar entrepreneur, but also a terrific radio show host spreading the good news about renewable energy.You are all encouraged and welcomed to listen in to Bill’s Solar Fit Renewable Energy Show that airs every Saturday morning from 10:30 A.M.-11:00 A.M. at 1550 AM and 106.3 FM in state of Florida. Please feel free to contact Bill if you know of any solar enthusiasts, advocate, or entrepreneurs who would like to share his/her experience in solar business world. We chatted about the evolution of Sun Is The Future: how I started sunisthefuture.net from a solar education blog in early 2011, to expanding to sunisthefuture Youtube Channel, recruiting hubby Michael to be the cameraman and technical support in 2012 ,  Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva, Online Sunisthefuture Stores, and  attention toward FIT (Feed-In-Tariff), also known as the CLEAN in CA, as a tool/method/incentive policy to help quickly spread the renewable or solar energy installations in USA.

For any information about solar systems at SOLAR-FIT or possibility of discussion about solar industry here in Florida and USA, please contact President Gallagher at:

  1. www.solar-fit.com
  2. Bill@solar-fit.com
  3. 386-441-2299

~have a bright and sunny day~

your comments and suggestions are always welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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18 October

Veolia World Solar Challenge-Day 3, October 18, 2011

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This seems to be a good time to share some fundamentals of “How Does a Solar Car Work?”, for those of you who may be interested.  So, please allow me to use one of RiAus’ (riaus.org.au , RiAus stands for Royal Institute of Australia, with a focus on “Bring Science To People and People To Science”) pamphlets for demonstration purpose.  Please refer to the image “How Does A Solar Car Work?”   For clarification, the solar car design usually emphasizes the aerodynamics and lightness of weight, while maintaining a large surface area to allow the optimum number of solar cells (sometimes solar panels), with low friction tires and minimum wind resistance.  If you’d follow (1) through (5) in the graphics, they are:

(1). It starts with the sun: Solar energy, in the form of photons, radiates from the sun 150 million km from earth

(2). Solar energy becomes electricity: The photons hit solar panels/solar cells mounted on the car.  This energises the electrons in the panels/cells causing them to move.  This movement generates an electric current.

(3). Power storage: Batteries can store extra solar power in the form of chemical energy, which can then be fed to the motor when there is insufficient sunlight.

(Solar car panels/cells have a textured surface to maximize surface area.  This increases the amount of light energy can be harnessed.)

(4). Motor controller: the motor controller regulates how much power is fed to the motor. When the accelerator is pressed, the motor controller changes the frequency of the electricity output.  When the car is moving, electricity can be fed directly from the solar panels to the motor controller.

Fact: the motors unique hub design results in 98% efficiency. At 100km/hr the cars use the same energy as a toaster!

(5). The motor: power reaches the motor, which is contained within the wheel. A typical motor includes strong magnets and a wire coil to carry the current. The interaction between the magnetic force and electric current generates motion.

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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