Forward Labs’ new solar roof is 33% cheaper than Tesla’s – and it can be installed in half the time

May 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla gets all the attention lately when it comes to solar roofs , but start-up Forward Labs has been hammering away at their own solar roof technology – and not only is it 33% cheaper that Tesla’s offering, but it can be installed in half of the time. Forward Labs’ design blends right in with traditional roofs, and it’s made of monocrystalline solar cells with a higher density that other solar roofing options Whereas Tesla’s solar roof is made from individual shingles, Forward Labs’ standing-seam metal roof is made up of one large, layered piece. It has a tempered glass surface, with an “optimal chromatic cloaking” layer right below. The roof comes in 8 colors right now, but thanks to the chromatic layer, any color is technically possible. Related: Tesla’s groundbreaking solar roof just hit the market Because Forward Labs uses more cost-effective materials, it costs on average 33% less than the Tesla solar roof. According to the CEO, the solar roof will cost $8.50 per square foot, which works out to about $3.25 per watt. Installation can be done in just a few days – about half of the time as other solar roofs. The system is passively cooled via air gaps below the panels, and if a panel breaks, it can be popped out and replaced by a new one. The roof looks identical to other metal roofs, so it could easily pass a Home Owner’s Association’s muster, and each installation can provide decades of solar power. Taylor, Forward Labs CEO, told Green Tech Media that the company is aiming to do the right thing for the right reason. In contrast, he believes that Tesla’s design is the “wrong thing for the right reason.” “It’s wrong to devalue people’s houses with something that doesn’t look good. It’s wrong to put holes in roofs; it’s wrong to go to war with homeowner associations; and it’s wrong to try to ram something down people’s throats that they don’t want,” he said. The company is also working with conventional asphalt shingle companies to recycle removed roofing materials. Forward Labs are currently taking reservations with installation starting next year. + Forward Labs Via Treehugger and Green Tech Media

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Forward Labs’ new solar roof is 33% cheaper than Tesla’s – and it can be installed in half the time

Watch this groundbreaking new solar device open and move like a flower

May 9, 2017 by  
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The Smartflower is a groundbreaking solar panel that can’t—and won’t—sit still. Arriving Stateside this month, the portable all-in-one unit mimics the behavior of certain sun-tracking blooms by rotating its solar-module “petals” throughout the day. This format, according to Austria’s Smartflower Energy Technology, allows the system to be 40 to 50 percent more efficient than traditional photovoltaic arrays , which tend to be limited by their fixed tilt. The company claims that a single Smartflower can produce the equivalent of a 4 kilowatt rooftop system, which it hails as a breakthrough for a standalone solar product. You can tell that the Smartflower is designed for residential and small-business use. To add to its visual appeal, it’s available in a slew of colors with names like “berry,” “jungle,” and “porcelain.” The Smartflower’s day starts at sunrise when it deploys its panels, which are backed by brushes that slough off any dust and debris. Related: Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels Turning to face the sun at a 90-degree angle, it uses GPS-based dual axis tracking to calculate—and shift—its optimal angle as the day progresses. The modules fold up at night, or when sensors detect high winds that may cause them damage. The basic Smartflower model, which starts at around $16,000, can be used in a variety of “plug and play” settings, including juicing up an electric car. A pricier “Plus” version includes battery storage that lets you squirrel away harvested energy to tide you over cloudy days. About 1,000 Smartflowers have already been installed at sites across Europe, including the Botanical Gardens in Madrid and the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein in Austria. Related: Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany Arnold Schwarzenegger , the actor and former governor of California, is apparently fan. “Even though I like size, sometimes something small is very effective, “ a brochure quotes him as saying. “And when it comes to photovoltaic solar there is nothing better than, for instance, the Smartflower. I mean what a brilliant idea, you put this in front of the house, you plug it in—no installation, nothing.” + Smartflower

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San Franciscos rapid transit to run on 100% renewable energy

May 9, 2017 by  
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Commuters in the San Francisco area can feel even better about taking public transport to lower their carbon footprints , as the Bay Area’s Rapid Transit (BART) system will soon be powered by 100 percent renewable energy . Days ago, the BART board of directors passed an electrical portfolio policy that requires 50 percent of the organization’s power to be sourced from renewables by 2025. By 2045, the electric train system is expected to run on 100 percent renewable energy . As Digital Trends reports , this move has far-reaching implications for the entire region since BART consumes roughly 400,000 megawatt-hours annually – the equivalent of a small city like Alameda. “Every day, BART takes cars off the road and helps drive down our greenhouse gas emissions,” said BART Director Nick Josefowitz. “But especially now, BART and the Bay Area must shoulder even more responsibility to combat climate change. Even though BART is not required to comply with the state’s renewable energy standards, we have committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity and taking a leadership role in decarbonizing our transportation sector.” Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike The train system already runs on a variety of renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and small hydroelectric facilities. Additionally, carbon emissions have been cut by lowering the number of single occupant automobiles sitting in traffic on the Bay Bridge each morning. Sustainability Director Holly Gordon said of the progressive initiative, “We’re doing this to advance clean energy, but we’re also doing this because we think it is cost effective. We feel as though we can purchase clean energy while maintaining low and stable costs for the district as well.” BART may very well be the first electrified public transit system to commit to running on 100 percent renewable energy – at least in the US.  Via Digital Trends

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Germany just generated a record 85% of its energy from renewable sources

May 8, 2017 by  
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Germany has outdone itself yet again when it comes to clean energy . From April 30 through May 1, the country set a national record by generating 85% of all its energy needs using renewable wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power. And this isn’t just an anomaly – experts believe that this will be the new normal for Germany by 2030. “Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country. Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced,” said Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative . Related: Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany Germany has worked hard to invest in clean energy sources under Angela Merkel , a vocal supporter of renewable energy. It has paid off. In addition to record-breaking weekends like the one on April 30, more and more energy is coming from renewables. In March, the country average 40% energy from green sources. via Clean Technica images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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The world’s cheapest offshore wind farm is coming to Scandinavia

November 14, 2016 by  
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Swedish energy firm Vattenfall will soon begin building the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia – the 600 MW Danish Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea. When it’s complete, the project will produce the cheapest offshore wind power in the world at 49.9 euros per megawatt hour (about $54 US). On Thursday Vattenfall announced that it made the winning bid to build the Kriegers Flak wind farm, one of three offshore wind farms promised by the Danish Parliament as part of plans to divest from fossil fuels by 2050. Vattenvall will also be building the other two projects, which include the 406 MW Horns Rev 3 and the Danish Near Shore project, with a 305 MW combined generating capacity. Not only is the Danish Kriegers Flak the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia – according to Clean Technica it will also produce the world’s cheapest offshore wind power – even cheaper than the 60 euros per megawatt hour of the Danish Near Shore project, which was the lowest in the world when it was announced in September 2016. Both of these projects are significantly cheaper than the average offshore wind cost of $126 per megawatt hour announced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance earlier in November. Related: Shares in the world’s largest wind turbine producer slump after Trump wins election “The announcement is an essential milestone for our ambition to increase our production of renewable power,” Vattenfall CEO, Magnus Hall said. “We are already the second largest offshore player globally. The winning bid of EUR 49,9 per megawatt hour proves that Vattenfall is highly competitive and brings down the costs for renewable energy.” When power starts flowing out of the 1.3 billion euro project, it will produce enough electricity to light up about 600,000 homes in Denmark, which represents about 23 percent of all households in the country. Via Clean Technica Images via United Nations Photo and A_Cro , Flickr Creative Commons

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SolarCity announces plan to give "green" Airbnb hosts $1000

October 19, 2016 by  
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Airbnb hosts will be eligible for a rad new incentive when they install SolarCity panels on their homes, thanks to a new partnership between the two companies. Hosts can receive $1000 when they go solar and existing SolarCity customers will receive a $100 travel credit if they become Airbnb hosts. The collaboration hopes to boost the home-sharing company’s image as environmentally-friendly, especially among millennial customers. On Tuesday, the partnership was proudly announced as a continuation of Airbnb ’s mission to reduce traveler consumption, when compared to hotels. A collaborate survey between the company and Cleantech Group revealed that, in just the last year, Airbnb’s guests reduced water consumption by 4.2 billion gallons, produced 37,000 metric tons less of waste, and saved enough greenhouse gases to equal keeping 560,000 cars off of the road. Related: SolarCity’s new Buffalo plant will create 5,000 jobs in New York “We know specifically that our guests are looking for this when traveling,” said Airbnb’s head of global policy Chris Lehane to Fortune . They especially know that being clean and green is important to millennial visitors, who make up a significant portion of their customer base. Airbnb hosts had better jump on the deal quickly, as the incentive will drop to $750 after March of 2017. + Airbnb , SolarCity Via Fortune Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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New strain of algae produces five times more hydrogen fuel

September 8, 2016 by  
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Scientists have long known that Algae releases hydrogen during photosynthesis – but only minute quantities for small amounts of time. Now a team of scientists at Tel Aviv University has developed a new strain of super algae that emits five times more hydrogen than normal. The development could have huge implications for the shift to clean energy , as automotive giants like Hyundai and Toyota release hydrogen-powered vehicles . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIftwhtMd-Y&feature=youtu.be Iftach Yacoby ‘s team showed that micro-algae actually releases hydrogen during the day. Algae creates hydrogen with the assistance of the enzyme hydrogenase, which is broken down when oxygen is present. The scientists found three effective mechanisms that remove oxygen so hydrogenase can keep producing hydrogen. According to Yacoby, the discovery of the mechanisms “makes it clear that algae have a huge underutilized potential for the production of hydrogen fuel.” Related: Scientists Convert Algae into Crude Oil in Less than One Hour The team didn’t stop there. To make the algae even more efficient, Yacoby and his team genetically altered algae with the goal of making the organism produce more hydrogenase. They were able to engineer a micro-algae that generates 400 percent more of the enzyme than regular algae. What’s next? Yacoby said their goal is to domesticate wild species of micro-algae that could be cultivated to create hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells in cars. He said someday the energy produced via the algae could even be used to “drive the wheels of industry.” Yacoby told The Jerusalem Post , “Twenty thousand years ago, the agricultural revolution took place. Man ceased being a hunter-gatherer. He domesticated plant species from nature and began to grow his own food. But when it comes to energy, we are still collecting from what nature gives us – so far mainly polluting fossil fuels, whose supplies are dwindling rapidly.” + Iftach Yacoby Lab Via The Jerusalem Post Images via Tel Aviv University and PublicDomainPictures.net

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INFOGRAPHIC: The exciting future of sustainability

July 18, 2016 by  
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Modern civilization has been relying on non-sustainable energy sources that pollute the earth. Once we learned the depth of the problem, people from around the globe started coming together to come create solutions for greener energy.  Thanks to these thinkers, we now have some incredible new technologies like smarter batteries  and salt power, and things are only getting more exciting as time goes on. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management program. + Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management program.

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7 clues climate change is here to stay

July 15, 2016 by  
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1. The curious cold spot that has scientists thinking their worst fears have come true: It reads like something out of a bad action movie: while temperatures climb around the globe, a single, ominous cold spot in the middle of the ocean has scientists more than a little freaked out. Problem is, it’s really happening. Last year, scientists at the NOAA discovered that a spot in the ocean just below Iceland and Greenland has registered temperatures colder than any time in recorded history. This cold spot suggests that water current circulation is slowing, which could mean rising sea levels and an altered climate for Europe and North America. 2. CO2 levels are likely to stay above dangerous 400ppm for the rest of our lives Scientists believe that CO2 concentrations of 450ppm are the turning point for climate change. If we stay below that number, we can probably keep global warming below the alarming 2-degree increase we are trying to avoid. But even if we manage to dodge the 450ppm bullet, researchers believe we are unlikely to get below 400ppm in our lifetimes. Even worse, if the trends continue as they are right now, we could hit 450ppm in just two decades. 3. We’ve already lost five Pacific Islands to climate change We talk about climate change impacts as something that will occur in the future, but we are already seeing the devastating results today. Case in point: five islands in the Pacific ocean have disappeared beneath the waves. Over 560,000 people live on the Solomon Islands and these inhabitants are facing increased threat from the rising oceans, while five vegetated islands have vanished since the mid-1900s. 4. Melting glaciers may be slowing down the Earth’s rotation Speaking of rising sea levels , earlier this year, scientists discovered some startling news: changing sea levels may actually be slowing down the Earth’s rotation. As the cold waters from the melting glaciers move towards the equator, it slows down the speed at which the mantle rotates. Meanwhile, the core has been speeding up. Think of an ice skater who opens her arms to slow her spin and you get the idea. 5. Alaska is so warm in the spring that the Iditarod race has been forced to truck in snow Global warming isn’t just impacting coastal cities or tropical islands. In Alaska, the 1,000-mile long Iditarod has had a rocky few years thanks to unusually warm winters and springs. This year, the Iditarod didn’t have enough snow cover to run sleds over the first 11 miles of the race. While it might not seem like a big deal if we can’t continue to participate in luxuries like winter sporting events, imagine the same impact on native populations and animals who rely on the existing environment for their livelihoods. 6. Grizzly polar bear hybrids are appearing in the warming Arctic Recently, scientists have noticed that grizzly bears and polar bears have been interbreeding as the Arctic continues to warm. Climate change has been altering the environment of the two species, bears have been forced to adapt. Sadly, the ones who aren’t so lucky have succumbed to starvation. 7. The current rate of climate change is completely unprecendented Despite what the naysayers may have you believe, the current rate of climate change is no cyclical event. Researchers have determined that what we are experiencing is without historic precedent. Even if you look at a climate event 120 million years ago when a massive period of volcanic activity altered global CO2 levels , the current rate of change is still far quicker. But it seems like folly to go down without a fight.

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How To Solar Power Your Business

June 6, 2016 by  
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Every day, more and more businesses — both large and small — are turning to green energy to power their needs. As the leading, most affordable source of renewable energy, solar power is one of the best cost-conscious solutions for businesses…

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