Saturday, September 20, 2014

Solar Saved This Company Money

Group celebrates solar panel installation
September 19, 2014 - At BrightFields Inc., seven gardens outside the office have produced 300 pounds of vegetables, and on the roof, 175 solar energy panels have saved the company money on its electric bill.

The solar panels, which have generated about 7,000 kilowatt hours since they were turned on in August, are part of an intentional effort by the company to find ways to be more energy efficient. The environmental services businesses is located in the city on Industrial Drive at a brownfield site that was rehabilitated after a previous life as a landfill.

“We practice what we preach by building on this former landfill,” said Don Short, chief financial officer of Brightfields. read more>>>

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Solar, Energy Efficiency Steps

White House unveils new solar, energy efficiency steps
September 18, 2014 - Ahead of next week's international summit on climate change, the White House unveiled 50-plus new public and private efforts Thursday to boost the use of two non-polluting power sources: solar and energy efficiency.

It announced $68 million in federal funds for 540 renewable power and energy efficiency projects in rural areas, including 240 solar ones. It said it's proposing stricter rules for commercial air conditioners that could save more energy than any prior standard and it's partnering with military bases to launch a veterans' solar job training program.

These steps alone, it said, will lower energy bills and cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year.

As leaders of more than 100 nations convene Tuesday in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, the White House has made several announcements this week to show U.S. leadership in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. read more>>>

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Solar Power and South African Schools

Using solar power to connect South African schools to the internet
Solar-powered internet schools can improve facilities and help attract skilled educators, making a huge difference to the lives of young people

15 September 2014 - Earlier this month, a pioneering new school project was opened in South Africa’s Gauteng Province. Harnessing the latest renewable energy technologies, the school connects teachers and pupils to the internet, bringing them into the digital age.

The solar-powered internet school at Jiyana Secondary School in Tembisa, is supported by Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore business. This is the latest educational project supported by Kumba. In 2013 alone, Kumba set an overall education and training budget of R34.8m (£1.96m), almost half of which was directed towards pre-primary and primary schools to improve facilities and help attract skilled and committed educators.

The Jiyana Secondary School project also includes a bio-digester which produces gas to be used for cooking by the school, a waste recycling station, a revamp of existing buildings and tennis court sized vegetable garden to help provide food for the pupils and staff. The vegetable garden will ensure continued supply of organic waste into the bio-digester, giving the school a sustainable energy source. read more>>>

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Fighting Poverty with Solar Power

There's a Place in the World That Is Fighting Poverty with Solar Power
Solar power is taking off in villages where connecting to the grid is seen as a bad joke.

15 September 2014 - Lusela Murandika just wants to be able to watch the evening news.

The 76-year-old farmer lives in Kanyala village in northern Tanzania, 60 miles from the nearest town that's connected to the electric grid. For years, he's powered a tiny TV set in the dim sitting room of his concrete house here with a diesel generator, spending roughly $10 each month on fuel—money that could otherwise buy more than 20 pounds of rice in a country where the per capita GDP is $695.

Earlier this year, on the advice of friends, he invested $400 in a small, 80-watt solar system. After charging all day under the East African sun, it can run his TV for two hours. The system was a pain in the neck to install, he says, and the battery is unreliable, but it's still an improvement over the generator. And here, as in most of rural Africa, there aren't many options.

"It's a joke to think we'll all be connected to the grid," he says with a rueful grin. read more>>>

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Soccer Field Harnesses the Kinetic Energy of Players

Brazil soccer field harnesses player-power
September 11, 2014 - Kids streaking back and forth on a soccer field in scorching tropical heat promises to produce something more than buckets of sweat.

Billed as Brazil's first player-powered soccer pitch, a field inaugurated Wednesday in a Rio de Janeiro slum harnesses the kinetic energy of players' movements to provide nighttime illumination.

Soccer legend Pele was on hand for the pomp-filled event in the Morro da Mineira slum, which saw a local youth team put the system to the test.

Under the project, sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell, around 200 energy-capturing tiles developed by British startup Pavegen were installed the width and breadth of the field and covered by a layer of AstroTurf. Working in conjunction with solar panels also installed around the field, the player-powered tiles feed electricity to a system of floodlights overhead. read more>>>

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Friendship TrailBridge could be solar power source

Proponent says Friendship TrailBridge could be solar power source
September 7, 2014 - Neil Cosentino is trying to save the Friendship TrailBridge again.

Cosentino, a retired jet fighter pilot, was given much of the credit for saving the former Gandy Bridge when the state and the local county commissions wanted to demolish it in 1997.

Cosentino and other grass-roots supporters persuaded authorities to refurbish the then-41-year-old bridge and reopen it as the Friendship TrailBridge, a popular destination for pedestrians, bicyclists and fishermen.

Now, with the bridge again facing destruction, Cosentino is floating a plan to put power-producing solar panels on the TrailBridge, as well as on the newer Gandy Bridge spans and the Howard Frankland Bridge.

Companies at either end of the bridges would invest in an electric co-op that would own the solar panels and they would benefit from inexpensive electricity, he said. And the clean energy produced by the panels could be used to spur high-technology companies at the sites. read more>>>

Buddhist singing bowls and solar cell design

The Shape Of A Buddhist Singing Bowl Has Inspired A More Efficient Solar Panel
Aug 26 2014 - The shape of a Buddhist singing bowl used for meditation has inspired an Australian scientist to re-think the way solar cells are designed to maximize their efficiency.

Niraj Lal, of the Australian National University, found during his PhD at the University of Cambridge, that small nano-sized versions of Buddhist singing bowls resonate with light in the same way as they do with sound.

He’s applied this shape to solar cells to increase their ability to capture more light and convert it into electricity.

“Current standard solar panels lose a large amount of light-energy as it hits the surface, making the panels’ generation of electricity inefficient,” says Niraj.

“But if the cells are singing bowl-shaped, then the light bounces around inside the cell for longer.”

Normally used in meditation, music, and relaxation, Buddhist singing bowls make a continuous harmonic ringing when the rim of the metal bowl is vibrated with a wooden or other utensil. read more>>>