Solar power

Two interesting sites that I came across today – one of them not much more than a catalogue, but useful nonetheless – both pertaining to solar power.

The first one, the ‘catalogue’, is a simple illustration of teh kinds of materials you can easily obtain to produce clean energy for household consumption. Both wind and solar generators are represented, together with the simple appliances that can store the generated energy and tie the larger power grid to your generator (for still, cloudy days). I read somewhere of a scheme here in Melbourne, Australia, where communities got together to bulk-purchase just this kind of hardware. Sharing the costs, and taking advantage of some rebates available from the government, makes this an increasingly appealing option as prices continue to drop.

The second site reports on a design concept that won 1st Prize in the International Design Awards ‘Land and Sea’ category. I love this one: solar cells that look like giant water-lilies spread out along the River Clyde in Glasgow. I’m sure, if this ever got off the ground and past prototype stage, that it could be a great way to supplement the generation of power for populated areas close to large bodies of water. The pads rotate to remain facing the sun and the cooling effect of the water maintains the efficiency of the solar cells even when they get very hot. Brilliant work!


4 Comments on “Solar power”

  1. Thanks for your post about my recent article on solar and wind power available to residential customers today! Here is the response I posted on my own blog:

    Thanks for the feedback. It is nice to hear that Melbourne is doing such a good job of organizing the use of sustainable energy.

    I’m not claiming that there is anything fancy here- quite the opposite. I have had so many requests for information about “what to do” if one wants to implement solar power (or wind power) that I wanted to provide real, off the shelf examples. Often when I write about the latest technologies, somebody complains that they aren’t ready for the market yet (which is, of course, true- that is the nature of the cutting edge). This particular post counters those complaints with real hardware.

    Also, in the US, the tax situation varies dramatically from State to State, and the site – #1 online destination for solar panels & wind power- allows people to find out what tax breaks are available to specific zip codes (post codes), and to locate installers who will compete for business in any post code. Believe it or not, some places in the US don’t have tax breaks, while others have substantial tax relief, for sustainable energy.

    So, you are spot on: this is meat and potatoes sustainable energy equipment that is ready for use in people’s homes, now.

    It looks like many places could learn from Melbourne.

    My mother (who is Australian) and my sister are in Brisbane at the moment. Would that I were (down) there!

    I look forward to following your blog. Best wishes, Jim

  2. wever says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Jim. Clearly the major limitation is one of cost when people want to make an effort on their own. I’m a strong advocate of making the move yourself; I’ll have to hunt around and find the story on bulk community purchases. From memory, it was a small import company coordinating the purchases through community organisations like primary (‘elementary’ in the US) schools.

  3. […] of the low-profile design is a trade-off in efficiency. As yesterday’s post on the solar lilies showed, a panel needs to be able to follow the path of the sun through the sky during a day if it […]

  4. camberwellguy says:

    Hi sir, this is Chris!

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