Posts Tagged ‘solar thermal’

20 July

Update on FIT (Feed-In-Tariffs)


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Please click on red links below.

Thanks to our Wind-friend Paul Gipe for the links below. Yes, we’re still keeping track of the progress with FIT (Feed-In-Tariffs)!

Sun Above Cloud (photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

News on Feed-in Tariffs

July 13, 2013,   by Jorge AlcauzaSpain’s government has announced the end of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) system for renewable energy. – See more at:

July 12, 2013,The tariff levels have been set at 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps; 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers; 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps and at least 19.2 p/kWh for solar thermal.

July 12, 2013,CSI-II will precede two additional clean energy projects to be released before year end 2013. In one, LIPA staff is developing another feed-in tariff to allow for wind, fuel cells and other renewable resources to fill an additional 20MW block of renewable energy. In the other, LIPA is preparing a Request for Proposals for up-to-280 MW of renewable energy.

July 3, 2013,   by Department of Energy & Climate Change

Aspiring communities across the nation will be able to receive Feed-in Tariff (FITs) payments for the clean green energy generated by larger community energy projects, under new plans set out by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today. Projects such as solar PV on school roofs or panels on libraries, community owned wind turbines and hydro power from local streams could all benefit under the proposed new rules.


Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)

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6 April

A Chat With KIUC On The Solar Paradise of Kauai/Residents of Kauai Are Blessed With Sunshine And KIUC


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

Remember the Island of Kauai (Kaua’i) of Hawaii featured in two of our posts in 2012 (March 29, March 30) where more than seventy Hollywood movies and  TV shows had been filmed ? I want to take you to this Garden Isle again not just for its idyllic scenery and laid back pace of life, but to learn from the experience of this island’s utility cooperative, KIUC (Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative), in integrating solar into their grid.

The day we arrived, during our drive to the hotel, I’ve noticed that there had been significant increase in residential and commercial solar PV and solar thermal on the island compared to previous year.

Residential solar installations across the street from Kaua’i Community College, 2013

More residential solar at Kauai (Kaua’i)

More Residential/Commercial solar at Kauai (Kaua’i) 2013

Commercial solar at a dentist’s office at Kauai (Kaua’i), 2013




















Thanks to Jim Kelly, the Communications Manager of KIUC, for introducing us to Mr. Brad Rockwell. Below is an interview with power supply manager, Mr. Brad Rockwell, of KIUC (Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative).

As of March, 2013, the Island of Kaua’i (of Hawaii) is one of the world’s leaders in per capita Solar PV (soon to be the #1 after the completion of its next solar installation project). In the past few years, several important renewable energy projects moved from the planning and permitting stage to  construction and installation. Alexander & Baldwin began construction on its 6-megawatt photovoltaic system at Port Allen, coupled with a new 3-megawatt battery storage system installed by KIUC. A 1.5-megawatt battery storage system was installed in Koloa to capture power generated by PV systems.


6-MW solar PV system at Port Allen

In Anahola, KIUC and the Homestead Community Development Corporation were awarded the contract to build Kauai’s largest photovoltaic system, a 12-megawatt photovoltaic project currently under reviewing process and is scheduled to begin this year.

Even though during recent decades, Kauai (Kaua’i) had been heavily dependent on fossil fuel for its energy use; record shows that in 2007, 95% of its energy use came from oil and 5% from renewables (no utility scale solar). The beautiful island of Kauai had a history of using biomass and hydropower for its energy consumption. As early as of 1980’s, about 50% of Kauai island’s energy/electricity use was through renewables by burning bagasse (residues of sugar cane). As sugar cane ran out and oil became cheaper, burning fossil fuel/oil became the main source of energy on the island. As the cost of oil becomes more and more expensive, with the plentiful sunshine on this tropical island, and the desire to preserve the island environment as clean and pristine as possible for future generations, incorporating solar energy seems to be the natural choice. There has been significant progress/incorporation made toward renewable/solar energy;currently 85% of energy use on the island is from oil and 15% from renewables. KIUC has a large solar plant under construction by the end of year 2013 and another biomass plant currently under construction. Within two years, KIUC is projecting to be at 60% from oil/40% from renewables level. Specifically for solar, about 2% of KIUC’s current energy supply comes from solar (whereas CA has about 0.3% of its supply from solar). On any given day, about 20-25% of the energy demand at Kauai is met by solar. KIUC has about 14.5-15 MW of solar on the grid right now during normal daytime demand of 60 MW (peak demand is about 72 MW after the sun goes down).  In 2015, after completion of the two 12 MW solar plants, KIUC will be expecting to meet more than 50% of its energy daytime load (any day) by solar.

There had been dramatically more solar installations (residential and commercial) on Kauai island in recent years because of the incentives from Federal Tax Credit (residential/commercial) of 30% of the total expenses, State Tax Credit for solar thermal system (lesser of 35% of overall costs or $2250, $350/unit, $250,000 depending on if it is single family residency/multi-family residency/commercial), and solar water heating loan and rebate program with KIUC (teamed up with Kauai Community Federal Credit Union and Kauai County Housing Agency offering a 0% interest loan, repayment on a 60 monthly payback schedule). More detailed information on various incentives available to Kauai island or Hawaii may be found at: The capping on state tax credit is around $5000 per system, with 5 KW as the defining cap (2 systems with one being 2 KW and another being 3 KW is defined as one system) per system to avoid confusion. Lastly, I also found out about the Schedule Q (equivalent of the FIT (Feed-In-Tariff)) available to any energy producer at Kauai in selling excess energy to KIUC.

Customer generated power (Schedule Q or FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) is in effect!)

On the large-scale, utility side, the initial motive force driving KIUC into action in developing the first utility scale solar project was due to  Section 1603, Tax Grant at the federal level (, qualifying for the Safe Harbor provision where 5% of the project value had to be spent by end of 2011.

Some of the concerns regarding integrating solar into the grid were discussed:

  1. Firstly, the concern for solar penetration per circuit: where some mainland utility may set a 15% threshold penetration for/in solar, KIUC at Kauai has a circuit with 100% penetration on clear days. There does not appear to be any need to set a limit on solar penetration. This fact appears to be supported by another research result on High Penetration Projects in the US, by Ben Kroposki, PhD., PE of NREL at Another good source via US Department of Energy for high solar penetration through Sunshot Initiative
  2. Second concern is regarding the ramp rates: for example, a Puerto Rico utility with 0.5 MW per  minute movement limit would translate into requiring solar developer to have the appropriately sized battery storage capacity to meet that ramp rate. KIUC, with 60 MW demand during the day, has been able to handle 8-9 MW per minute without significant impact on frequency.

For a closer look at KIUC’s “On the Road to Renewables” 2011 Annual Report (<-click).

With the quadrupled cost of oil and the fact that KIUC is a cooperative welcoming renewables, in addition to federal and state incentives and Schedule Q (equivalent of Feed-In-Tariff), these are all reasons driving residents and KIUC toward the renewable/solar energy. We will look forward to 2015, the day when KIUC will be meeting 50% of its day time energy demand via solar, and to 2023 when KIUC will be meeting 50% of all of its energy demand via solar. Residents at Kauai are fortunate to have such a wonderful utility cooperative looking out for their interest. Let the sun shine upon this beautiful garden isle, forever be benefiting from trade wind and remaining pristine, free from pollution….

~have a bright and sunny day~

interviewed, written, photographed and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, video filmed by Michael Nunamaker

any of your questions/comments/suggestions will be welcomed at


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24 March

Let’s Support Solar! Let’s Support FIT!


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

I.  If you are interested in supporting the petition for national FIT (Feed-In-Tariff), an incentive policy that is designed to accelerate the development of renewable generation projects up to 20 MW in size including solar, wind, biomass, and wave, please click on

II.  If you are interested in supporting solar/renewable energy bill in state of Florida, please contact Senator Geraldine F “Geri” Thompson at:, District Office: 511 West South Street Suite 204, Orlando, FL 32805, (407)245-1511, and show her your appreciation and support for having made the effort in introducing a renewable energy bill, despite all obstacles.

III. If you are interested in supporting Solar Initiative in any of the states other than  Florida, please click on and check out “Policy Guidelines”,”Federal Initiatives”, “State Initiatives”, “Local Initiatives”, “Shared Solar” in the left hand margin.


Something special for residents of Florida: please approach/write our state legislators to ask for implementation of these measures, below:

1.  Setting Solar/Renewable Energy Goal for the state of Florida. For a better understanding of some historical background of Florida Solar Market and Policy Issues, please take a look at our video clip of SPI2012 below:

2.  Implementing an effective Feed-In-Tariff policy (otherwise also known as the Renewable Energy Dividend Policy) that will be inclusive of small users as well as large-scale users.  Feed-In-Tariff had proven to be the most effective incentive program/policy that would speed up the implementations of solar PV .  The goal of  Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) is to offer cost-based compensation to renewable energy producers, providing the price certainty and long-term contracts that help finance renewable energy investments.

3.  Streamline the permitting process of solar PV and solar thermal so to reduce the cost and amount of time in completing the process. Residents at  Broward County are now able to get a solar energy system permit online in just half an hour;please refer to Jefferery Halsey, Broward County of Florida’s Director of Pollution Prevention, Remediation, and Air Quality Division during the video clip at our Feb. 22, 2013 post of Sun Is The Future.

4.  It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.

Let’s work together for a bright and renewable future!

I would suggest that all of you out there who are Florida residents and are concerned about our energy future to also visit this site, and write a similar letter to remind Senator Nelson of our concern.  For those of you from other states please refer to this site –> and please approach/write your respective district legislators regarding 4 items above.  Together, we will be able to gather enough strength and voice !  For Florida residents, you may find your respective District Representatives and District Senators at these two sites, and

Please visit: and

~have a bright and sunny day~

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


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18 March

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


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

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 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:

  3. 386-441-2299

~have a bright and sunny day~

your comments and suggestions are always welcomed at


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8 November

Let’s Take The Initiative !


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

During our post-election momentum, I’ve reached out to our Senator Bill Nelson of state of Florida, letter below, and to any of you out there who may have suggestions/input to help the state of Florida or any other states.

Greetings, Senator Nelson,

Firstly, congratulations in winning the election !

Especially in light of recent Hurricane Sandy, I implore you to seriously consider supporting any effective Solar/Renewable Initiative or Bills on the federal level.  In solving much of our energy/ environment/national security/job issues, please support our Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu;Secretary Chu had proven to be quite worthy of his office and is working on solving some of the most critical issues facing our nation today.

We are residents of the Sunshine State.  Let us not squander our beautiful sunshine away.  I would like to seek your advice in how to effectively approach our state legislators to ask for implementation of these measures, below:

1.  Setting Solar/Renewable Energy Goal for the state of Florida.

2.  Implementing an effective Feed-In-Tariff policy (otherwise also known as the Renewable Energy Dividend Policy) that will be inclusive of small users as well as large-scale users.  Feed-In-Tariff had proven to be the most effective incentive program/policy that would speed up the implementations of solar PV .  The goal of  Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) is to offer cost-based compensation to renewable energy producers, providing the price certainty and long-term contracts that help finance renewable energy investments.

3.  Streamline the permitting process of solar PV and solar thermal so to reduce the cost and amount of time in completing the process.

4.  It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.

Any of your input will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.


Susan Sun Nunamaker

I would suggest that all of you out there who are Florida residents and are concerned about our energy future to also visit this site, and write a similar letter to remind Senator Nelson of our concern.  For those of you from other states please refer to this site –> and please approach/write your respective district legislators regarding 4 items above (with variation for item 1 ).  Together, we will be able to gather enough strength and voice !  For Florida residents, you may find your respective District Representatives and District Senators at these two sites, , and

~have a bright and sunny day~

written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


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7 October

What Impact Do Decreased Solar PV Cost and Carbon Tax Have On Solar Dawn Project of Australia?


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

When I first heard about the Australian Solar Dawn Project coming to a halt, in the limbo stage, I was both shocked and disappointed.  Upon further investigation, I have a better grasp of the situation and please allow me to share some of these details with you.

For some background information on the Australian Solar Dawn Project:   the originally proposed 250 megawatt Solar Dawn power plant project was the preferred solar thermal power project of the Australian Government’s Solar Flagships Program.  It  was to be built near Chinchilla in South West Queensland to provide clean and safe energy, using Australia’s abundant solar resource to contribute to a sustainable solar industry in Australia, by offering an international showcase for utility scale, standalone CLFR (Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector) technology power project.  In the process of positioning Australia as a global leader in utility-scale solar thermal power generation, Solar Dawn Project would provide significant local employment and training opportunities and also involve long-term research collaboration with the University of Queensland.  This project would have consisted of approximately 450 hectares of infrastructure including a ‘solar field’ containing the mirrors and steam boiler tubes and a ‘power block’ with the steam turbine generators and ancillary equipment.  Originally, it was expected that the proposed project would have commenced operation in early 2015 following a three-year construction time frame. Below, is a video on AREVA’s Solar Thermal Technology, Solar CLFR (Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector) solar steam generators producing super-heated, high-pressured steam directly from the sun. The steam can then be used to spin an electricity-producing turbine:

But my friends, when one lives in an extremely dynamic time and dynamic industry (solar), there may be fluctuations and changing factors entering on scene: Firstly, the Australian Carbon Tax/Price ( $23 AUD per tonne of emitted CO2 on selected fossil fuels consumed by industrial emitters only) entered the scene on July 1st of 2012. This new development renders it unnecessary for solar energy to have government subsidies by the shear fact that the carbon tax/price has leveled the playing field for all energy forms (the original argument to have solar subsidies was due to uneven playing fields resulting from external factor, such as the cost of environmental cleanup, not being considered) . Secondly, the fact that solar PV panel price has been declining relentlessly in recent years;a critical decision in any business or policy decision is to minimize the cost of production.  Energy/electricity production via solar PV is now much lower than the cost of energy/electricity production via solar thermal using CLFR. (At this point, please allow me to clarify: solar thermal directly producing hot water is at a cost lower than that of solar PV producing hot water, but solar thermal converting into electricity is at a cost higher than the cost of solar PV producing electricity).   Thirdly, the Solar Dawn was unable to negotiate a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Queensland government-owned electricity utility Ergon Power to meet the June 30 deadline, and so could not attract bank finance.  The question I pose here is how was the decision arrived by Ergon Power? If it were purely due to minimizing cost, the current lower cost of solar PV does weaken solar thermal’s position;but in our changing world, the cost of energy production in any form may still be subject to change, depending on how much R & D  support there will be ( electricity produced from  solar thermal via CLFR may cost more than solar PV now, but this may not hold true in the future) . If Ergon Power’s unwillingness to negotiate a PPA were due to concern/unfamiliarity with large scale solar thermal, then will it be possible for Solar Dawn to modify its plan into series of smaller scale solar thermal projects?  In the final analysis, in order to assure the success of any energy/power business,  it is necessary to have a purchaser/client once the power is produced.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin.  I believe that I am a rational solar advocate.  It is important to keep the cost in mind, but also make the argument for the need of more favorable playing field for solar.  Personally, of many many reasons in favor of solar, the two most critical reasons for me are: 1.  the speed at which our Arctic Ice is melting 2. potential  wars among nations fighting over the oil reserves.  Both of these will dramatically impact the lives of countless human beings.  One of my detractors commented, “my parents and I have all lived through wars, so what….”  I contend that we are living in a very different time from previous generations (WWI or WWII).  It is quite possible that any future large-scale war will cost the lives of billions of earthlings and make over half of our planet uninhabitable for decades.  So, my questions here are: How quickly is our Arctic Ice melting? How likely are we going to be at large scale war? By providing more favorable playing field for solar/renewables through policies/incentives, will these efforts avert my two main concerns ? Again, from the bottom of my heart, I have to thank Hermann Scheer of Germany for having made the most moral and ethical decision decades ago in having convinced the German Parliament to establish the equivalent of Feed-In-Tariff and German Renewable Energy Act.  He made an ethical decision, although not necessarily an economic one at the time…decades later, now people of Germany have benefited from that decision economically and renewably. Germany is a leader in Renewable Energy world/industry and has an extremely low unemployment rate compared to other developed nations (Please refer to European Commission Eurostat’s Unemployment Statistics)

Solar Dawn project director Anthony Wiseman said discussions would continue with the Queensland government, and with ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency). “It’s important to understand that we have not ceased work on project,” he said.  He also commented that while the project delay represented a set-back, the consortium made up of AREVA Solar and Wind Prospect, University of Queensland, after CS Energy pulled out, will pursue discussions with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Queensland Government to move Solar Dawn forward based on the project’s advanced status and the strong economic and environmental benefits it offers to the state and the country.  The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) said that it is deeply disappointed with the Queensland Government’s decision to axe funding to the project, as it will put Australia at the forefront of the global solar thermal industry. Here, at Sun Is The Future, we wish Director Wiseman the best in coming up with a modified plan that will be able to attract an agreeable purchaser.  Then pursue the negotiation with Queensland government and ARENA. We have learned that time and time again, people in solar industry tend to have that extra ounce of optimistic energy, supplied by the magical dust from the Sun….

~have a variation of bright and sunny day~

Any of your comments or suggestions for any of the above questions are welcomed at

gathered, researched, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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29 September

Canopea House of France Came On Top, Para Eco-House of China, Counter Entropy House of Germany, Omotenashi House of Japan In Solar Decathlon Europe 2012


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links, below)

While visiting the eighteen houses in Villa Solar in Madrid, Spain, designed by university students from eleven countries, I was thoroughly impressed by their creative use of solar passive and active energy systems and  much consideration for reuse-recycling-conservation of all natural resources.

Of all eighteen designs that participated in Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) 2012, one stood above all others in many respect, not only in the physical sense (the fact that this design represented a nanotower concept), but also due to its  special consideration for individuals’ relationship to nature and to community.  The Canopea House of Team Rhone-Alpes (of Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture de Grenoble of France)

Canopea of Rhone-Alpes of Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture de Grenoble of France, Winner of Solar Decathlon Europe of 2012: Nanotower (top) & Top Floor (bottom).Canopea is the winner of Overall, Comfort Conditions Contest, Functioning on the House Contest, and Innovation Contest

answered the modern concern for population density in the French alpine corridor cities where land is scarce and expensive (resulting from limited urban space due to presence of mountains and rivers): in terms of  space, comfort, investment and maintenance cost, reducing sense of isolation while increasing sense of community through shared living space on top floor (with common laundry, summer kitchen, relaxing place for the community, gardens, and storage boxes) and  communal gardening area, and connected transit network, services, and shops.  But the most inviting feature, for me, was the top communal floor where natural sunlight splashing down from the solar cell-patterned ceiling (truly reflecting the idea of human being living below the canopy), residents  swinging in various hammocks, BBQ, or converse with neighbors.  That sense of shared community chased away any feeling of  isolation often seen in urban sprawl.  This design truly is the most wholistic answer not just for our energy consumption but also our humanity.

The second house featured in this clip, Para Eco-House of  Tongji Team (of Tongj University of China),

Para Eco House of Tongji Team of Tongji University of China

combined both parametric and ecological strategies into the design of this house while utilizing passive and active energy systems in this project.  The concept of multi-layer skin emerged from a combination of Dao theory in Eastern philosophy and the theories of Michel Foucault in Western thought, especially the ideas of autonomy in architecture. The two philosophies merged, as did the active and passive energy systems, into a symbiotic relationship, with mutual benefit.  I was very intrigued by its external  lattice skin/rhomboid wall designed by a computer program written by Tongji University students, based on climate data collected from Madrid, Spain.  To name some of its ecological strategies:  PV panels, solar collector system, motorized sun tracking solar panels, PVT system, gray water treatment and ventilation aid, wetland filter system, water south heat pump with heat recovery unit, rain water harvesting, evaporating water cooling, architectural shading, inner courtyard ventilation, vertical green, composite skin system, VIP thermal proof wall, bamboo furniture, temperature-humidity independent control system, mist propagation system, LED lighting, etc.

Below, you will see this video clip composed of highlights of 4 designs of Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 (details of these individual designs can also be found at our sunisthefuture Youtube Channel):

The third design in this clip, the Counter Entropy House

Counter Entropy House of RWTH Aachen University of Germany during Solar Decathlon Europe 2012


RWTH University from Germany, was based on the idea of optimizing resources and energy life cycle of a building in which the production,transport, and eventual disposal components were all considered. This house included products made from recycled material and direct or indirect object recycling (such as facade made from melted CD panels, the floor made from old beams of Aachener stadium, and the furnishing made from reused wooden boards collected from bulk rubbish). Counter Entropy design combined multifunctional and space-saving configurations to create maximum space by optimal use and adaptation to current situation.  Its coolest feature was the transparent moving wall, remotely controlled by IPad/notepad, as though magic was in place during a scene in Star Trek;this feature also provided most fantastic ventilation/fresh air. It was also based on the idea of a thermal cooling system being much more sustainable than climatizing the house with electricity.  So, the abandonment of a mechanical heat pump as the central element of the building services engineering was the main aim while a far-reaching use of solar thermal energy was used to provide the energy needed air-conditioning. The solar thermal energy provided significant advantages over the exclusive use of photovoltaic cells. The second system was the cooling ceiling fed by a  special fluid circle: rain water from the tank cools down the dispersion, water blended with PCM within the cold-storage tank via a heat exchanger.  The dispersion in the cold storage tank is pumped through the ceiling, cooling down the room temperature by means of radiation cooling.

The fourth and final segment of this clip was the Omotenashi House

Omotenashi House of Chiba University of Japan during Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

of the Chiba University of Japan, a new type of housing and lifestyle centered on promoting energy and food self sufficiency by reintroducing the agricultural environment into the residence.  Besides rice paddies in front and vegetations on side of the house, the plant factory (with controlled temperature and humidity) is seen being used for rapid, safe, and efficient cultivation of crops.  Engawa (an encounter space connecting the interior to exterior of the house) is  where one may encounter people, nature, the movement of time, or to enjoy activities such as growing plants or enjoying tea with visiting neighbors. The movable tatami mat units in the engawa allowed the semi outdoor space to be reconfigured, enabling a variety of living environments.  Omotenashi House was built from precise, robot-made units, reducing energy use and CO2 emissions during construction.  With the roof tile-shaped solar panels (as BIPV, building-integrated solar PV) , it can produce 1.7 times the electrical capacity produced by previous panels, while presenting the appearance of traditional Japanese roof.  Omotenashi House also used material such as Japanese tatami and recycled decking (regulating the indoor environment and produce low VOC’s).  Furthermore, these are all biodegradable sustainable materials.  This design from Japan definitely had thoughtfully considered our life with plants, link between indoor and outdoor, and health and sustainability of all.

Related sites:

~have a bright and sunny day~

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


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12 April

French Areva & Indian Reliance Will Work On 250 MW CSP in India, the Largest in Asia !


Dear Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.

Dear Readers & Friends,

This just came down the wire: The Indian energy group Reliance has awarded the French multinational Areva a contract to build the two  125 MW (so total of 250 MW) Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants in Rajasthan (in northwestern India), using the French company’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology.  This 250 MW CSP project in India is scheduled to come online in May of 2013 and will be the largest of its kind in Asia.  The first phase of the project has already begun and it will represent a reduction of around 557,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually compared with a coal-fired plant, according to Areva. India aims to build an additional 20 GW of solar capacity by 2022.  The chief executive of Reliance Power JP Chalasani hinted that this may/will be the first of many solar projects to be built by the two companies, “Today’s announcement is just the beginning. We look forward to working with Areva in helping to meet India’s clean energy goals through this project.”  CLFR (Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector) technology uses reflected sunlight to heat liquid-filled tubes which generate high-pressure steam that produces electricity via turbines. The CLFR solar steam generators are simple, durable, and scalable, and relatively quick to install;they are also able to generate 1.5- to 3-times more power per acre of land than other competing solar technologies, making CLFR solar steam generators the most land-efficient renewable energy technology in operation now. Here is a short video clip on how Areva Solar’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar steam generators can augment fossil-fired power plants without added emissions, below:

This Reliance contract with Areva solidifies Areva Solar’s position as a leading global supplier of CSP (Concentrated Solar Plant) for large-scale standalone power plants, power augmentation of fossil-fired power plants and solar hybrid applications. Areva has about 500MW of CSP capacity in operation under construction in advance development at the moment. The deal with Reliance is part of a major push by the French engineering company Areva to set up its activities in the solar sector around the world: in Australia, it has been contracted to build a 44 MW solar thermal in addition to the coal-fired Kogan Creek power station;in USA,it has secured a partnership with Tucson Electric Power to develop a solar augmentation project in Arizona.  Apparently solar is not the only area of Areva’s interest; just days before, Areva had won a key deal to supply turbines to a 500 MW offshore wind project in northern France;Areva will also produce 100 of its 5 MW turbines at a new factory in the French port of Le Havre through a working partnership with Spanish utility Iberdrola and UK’s wind developer RES.  Yes, one can see that solar and renewable energy world are full of efforts through cooperation and that Areva will be leaving much of its renewable energy footprints throughout our planet earth.

~have a bright and sunny day~

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

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