Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

April 13, 2017 by  
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Solar farming greatly can improve farmers’ livelihoods and impacts, but policymakers are raising concerns about solar panels replacing farmland.

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Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

April 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Solar farming greatly can improve farmers’ livelihoods and impacts, but policymakers are raising concerns about solar panels replacing farmland.

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Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

Green Gaud-esque office pops up on a former brownfield in Portland

April 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Portland is a mecca of environmentally friendly design and the city’s new sculptural One North complex is keeping that green reputation alive. Holst Architecture recently completed the eye-catching office project that draws inspiration from Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí’s modernist curves and emphasizes sustainability. Conceived as “an opportunity to break the mold for standard office spaces,” One North uses low-carbon footprint systems to achieve approximately 50 percent more energy efficiency beyond industry requirements. Built on a former brownfield in the up-and-coming Williams District, One North comprises an East Building and West Building that frame a central 14,000-square-foot public courtyard. To the make development more attractive to the community, the architects created Gaudí -inspired jutting apertures that give the buildings a sense of movement and energy. Their projected forms also help provide solar shading and reduce energy use. The facade is clad in locally sourced and sustainably harvested timber siding that lend a sense of warmth. Related: LEED Platinum Skyline Residence is designed to generate as much energy as it consumes “Material selection was critical, and we emphasized low-carbon footprint techniques, such as wood cladding, cellulose insulation and mineral wool insulation,” wrote the architects. The timber-framed buildings are estimated to sequester 587,400 pounds of carbon within its 39,000 cubic feet of wood. Rooftop solar panels produce approximately 71-kilowatt hours of on-site electricity. + Holst Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Holst Architecture

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Green Gaud-esque office pops up on a former brownfield in Portland

Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels

April 10, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk’s solar roof tiles won’t fit the bill for every home. Some homeowners won’t want to replace their entire roofs , but Tesla , of course, already has a solution. They’re now marketing sleek, low-profile solar panels that are easy to install and better blend in with roofs than traditional panels. Leave it to Tesla to offer an elegant alternative to traditional solar panels. They updated the Energy section of their website over the weekend to include new images of their solar panels. The seamless look of the new technology is thanks to “integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware” according to Tesla’s website. Electrek said these features come from Zep Solar , a mounting equipment company SolarCity acquired before Tesla’s acquisition . Zep Solar engineers designed the rail-less system Solar City employed to slash solar installation times in half. Related: Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar roof will be cheaper than ordinary roofs Tesla says their panels “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan” on their website. Panasonic will be manufacturing the exclusive panels at the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York. There aren’t many specifics available for the new solar panels yet, but Electrek said they will be 325-watt panels. They noted Panasonic sells other 325 watt panels, and those have a 25-year power output warranty and a 21.76 percent module efficiency. Tesla and before that SolarCity used to install solar panels from multiple suppliers as many solar companies do, but told Electrek once these new panels go into production, Tesla will use them for all residential projects in the future. It seems Elon Musk aims at offering solar solutions with better aesthetics for those who have been hesitant to go solar in the past with the bulky rooftop options. Anyone interested right now can request a custom quote on Tesla’s website . The company told Electrek production should begin this summer. Via Electrek and Engadget Images via Tesla

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Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels

Are Solar Panels Recyclable?

April 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

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Solar power is now the fastest-growing energy source. In fact, an estimated 500,000 solar panels were installed globally every day in 2015. A typical American home requires 28 to 34 solar panels to produce 100 percent of its energy consumption. As…

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Are Solar Panels Recyclable?

Integrated $1B solar farm in South Australia includes world’s largest battery

March 30, 2017 by  
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South Australia is about to get a huge clean energy boost with a $1 billion solar farm . The farm will pump and store 300MW and 100MW of clean energy respectively with 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries . It is expected to start running later this year. The Lyon Group , a partnership of three companies, is building the massive solar farm in the Riverland region of South Australia. Construction should commence within months. The Riverland initiative will allow for 330 megawatts (MW) of power generation and at minimum 100 MW of battery storage . In a video Lyon Group partner David Green said it will be the largest integrated project and the largest single battery on Earth. The solar system will be built on privately owned land and paid for by investors. Green said the solar farm will be a significant stimulus for the region. Related: South Australia Projected to Reach 50 Percent Renewable Energy Within the Next Decade Green told The Guardian, “We see the inevitability of the need to have large-scale solar and integrated batteries as part of any move to decarbonize. Any short-term decisions are only what I would call noise in the process.” Lyon Group plans to build a similar system near Roxby Downs as well. Greens said the battery and solar combination will greatly enhance South Australia’s capacity. Jay Weatherill, premier of South Australia, praised the effort, saying, “Projects of this sort, renewable energy projects, represent the future.” The South Australia government recently announced a power plan that will be bankrolled by a $150 million renewable technology fund. They will consider bidders for a 100 MW battery in upcoming weeks; Weatherill said Lyon Group is among the companies interested in constructing the battery. But the Riverland farm will be constructed no matter the results of the government’s tender for the large battery, according to Lyon Group. Via The Guardian Images via Australian Renewable Energy Agency Facebook and screenshot

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Integrated $1B solar farm in South Australia includes world’s largest battery

Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

March 22, 2017 by  
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Solar panels just got a lot slimmer. Zhengrong Shi, a.k.a. the Sun King, is now marketing eArche, a super flexible, ultrathin solar panel that could stretch along building facades, atop buses, or on top of carports to charge electric cars. According to Shi, the groundbreaking panel has unlimited potential, and 40 kilowatts (kW) of the new technology has already been installed in three locations throughout Australia . eArche draws on a composite material like that utilized in airplane windows that is almost 80 percent lighter than conventional photovoltaic panels, according to RenewEconomy. Shi is distributing his new products through Australian company Energus and Hong Kong company SunMan , and believes eArche is the biggest innovation in over 10 years in the solar industry . He told RenewEconomy, “Most of the cost reductions we have seen come from manufacturing, growing efficiency, and supply chain. There has been very little innovation on products and applications, so we have decided to focus on the panel itself, which has been very rigid and heavy.” Related: SolarWindow unveils new energy-generating glass that bends Some companies haven’t been able to install solar because panels are too heavy for their buildings’ roofs, but Shi’s technology could remove that issue. Rooftop solar systems typically weigh around eight metric tons for a 100 kW array, according to The Daily Advertiser, but eArche weighs just around two metric tons for 100 kW. Shi said eArche can be custom-shaped for building roofs or walls. He told RenewEconomy, “We think governments should require all new buildings to have solar panels integrated into their structure. With this panel, it is easy to do.” SunMan also envisions the technology on RVs, yachts, vending machines, and more. Time will tell if eArche is as revolutionary as Shi thinks. The technology stands in contrast to Tesla’s proposed solar tiles , which Shi said is “the wrong way of doing it” largely due to expense and weight. Via RenewEconomy and The Daily Advertiser Images via Sunman Energy Facebook

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Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

March 22, 2017 by  
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This ultra-green house for a Seattle family of four has achieved an exceptional level of sustainability without compromising on aesthetics. Shed Architecture & Design designed the Madrona Passive House as a net-zero residence for former Microsoft program manager and renowned environmental advocate Jabe Blumenthal. With a super-insulated envelope and passive design features such as heat recovery systems, photovoltaics, green roofs and stormwater and rainwater harvesting, the house minimizes its energy consumption and act as a stellar example of climate-friendly living. The 3,700-square-foot home relies on solar panels , high-performance construction and a contemporary design for its energy efficiency. A well insulated envelope which includes a Zehnder ComfoAir heat recovery ventilator that pumps fresh air into the interior contributes to its low energy consumption . This technology also recovers 90 percent of thermal energy from exhaust air for reuse inside. Rainwater from the home’s roof and the green roof on the garage goes into two cisterns via permeable pavers, while mechanical shading system and triple-pane windows regulate solar gain . The owners can also tap into the building’s real-time consumption by using the circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring system with dashboard. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home Achieving the world’s most demanding building energy standards – Passive House – the building is expected to also receive the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready and Living Building Challenge’s Net Zero Energy Building certifications. The project was recognized by Green Builder Media as winner of the 2016 Green Home of the Year Award in the Best Energy Efficiency category. + SHED Architecture & Design Via Green Builder Media Photos by Mark Woods

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Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

Wright Electric unveils revolutionary plan for 150-seat electric passenger plane

March 22, 2017 by  
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The electric car market just keeps growing, but electric planes aren’t yet a common sight. Wright Electric plans to change that with a 150-seat commercial passenger airplane powered by batteries . They presented their idea in Silicon Valley at renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator’s Demo Day yesterday – can they usher in a new era of cleaner flight? After quietly running in stealth mode, Wright Electric unveiled their business idea to a group of investors in Mountain View, California. Their plan? To disrupt the 737 market with an environmentally friendly alternative. Even though the company is just a year old, they’re well on their way to success: they hired a team NASA funded in the past to explore electric planes, and have partnered with EasyJet , a low-cost British airline, to help propel their vision. It appears Wright Electric captured the attention of the Y Combinator team; CEO Michael Seibel said, “This is one of the best hard tech teams I’ve seen.” Related: Meet Maxwell, NASA’s zero-emission 14-motor electric airplane Wright Electric’s battery-powered planes are targeted for short-haul trips, or flights with a duration of less than 300 miles: New York to Boston or London to Paris. 30 percent of existing flights are currently short-haul. How the planes are precisely powered will depend on how far battery technology advances; Wright Electric’s planes could either be all-electric or run on a hybrid system much like a Chevy Volt . There’s already interest for such airplanes: earlier in March in a blog post the company said a “high-net-worth individual wants our electric 150-seater as his fifth private jet.” Last year Airbus and Boeing sold 737-style 967 planes for around $90 million apiece, so Wright Electric has the potential to be profitable once their planes are ready. That date could still be several years away, but the company has still set an ambitious goal: make every short-haul flight electric in just two decades. Via TechCrunch Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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Wright Electric unveils revolutionary plan for 150-seat electric passenger plane

California city on its way to becoming the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S.

February 19, 2017 by  
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The city of Lancaster, California is one step closer to becoming a Zero Net Energy city – the very first in the U.S. The proposed ordinance, recently moved forward by the city council, will require all new homes to be equipped with solar panels or to take other steps toward energy mitigation. The end goal is to create a city with a truly sustainable future. “This is a great stride in Lancaster’s journey to become a Zero Net City,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris in a statement. “The Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance expands upon Lancaster’s residential solar ordinance so that new homes built in Lancaster now will not only be environmentally friendly, but have a zero net impact on our environment, while reducing energy costs for the homeowners.” Related: Lancaster, California to require all new homes to have solar panels The ZNE ordinance requires all new homes built in the year 2017 and beyond to choose one of three options for energy use: install photovoltaic panels to support two watts of energy for each square foot, pay mitigation fees that will result in a discount on the energy generation rate section of their bill, or select a combination of both options. The required feasibility study for the ordinance is already taking place, which is needed before receiving approval from the California Energy Commission . These processes are expected to be complete by the end of the year. Images via  Wikimedia

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California city on its way to becoming the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S.

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