We know that we can harness energy from the sun to power our homes. But what about using solar power in other environments? As solar energy becomes a more widely used resource, its uses have expanded. I’ve seen solar-powered water heaters and even solar powered street lights! Today we are going to look at the ease and convenience of solar powered lights, specifically solar lanterns.
Solar lanterns are an economical, convenient way to brighten an area, whether you are camping in the wilderness or just going out in the backyard. We’ll go over some pros and cons, and recommend a few quality solar lanterns for your outdoor needs.
On first glance, solar panels are pretty simple pieces of technology. Sunlight hits them and they produce electricity, then flows out of a wire to whatever you want to power. Done. There’s no motors and no moving parts (electrons are the only moving object in a solar panel). However, when you take a closer look at a solar panel diagram, you’ll see they are actually incredibly complex.
Today, let’s break down what exactly composes a solar panel so that we can learn a little more about this wonder of the modern world.Continue reading
The solar industry is young and enthusiastic. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of companies and universities actively researching, developing, and testing new solar technology and new products every day. Some are tweaking our existing silicon solar panels to make them more attractive or more efficient. Others are devising entirely new ways to produce electricity with sunlight.
When you think about it, all this innovation makes sense. We often naturally group the solar industry with companies that provide electricity (i.e. utilities) but really solar is a technology, not a service. Instead, we should be boxing solar companies together with other technology companies, like Apple, Samsung, LG, and Panasonic. (Actually, LG and Panasonic make solar panels!)
And, as with any company in the technology industry, solar manufacturers and researchers are always trying to create the next great product that is cheaper, more beautiful, easier to install, or produces more energy.Continue reading
You might have heard talk that solar windows are going to be the next big thing in solar. I mean, how cool would it be to look out your window and know that they’re producing electricity while you do it? While there are one or two companies actually manufacturing solar windows, many questions remain: are they really a viable option? Can you install them on your home? How much do solar windows cost?
If you’re ready to hop on this bandwagon, don’t jump quite yet. Currently, solar windows are still in the nascent stages. Only a handful of companies are actually manufacturing them and, while they are certainly super-cool, they’re still miles away from being commercially viable.Continue reading
Pollution has been around in one shape or another for as long as humans have been walking upright and building fires. Although those early campfires were unlikely to cause any real air pollution or lasting threat to the health of the planet, things have only gotten worse.
If we take a look back through history, people have long recognized air pollution as a serious threat that can shorten the lives of people around the world because they are breathing in harmful chemicals and particulates.
Earlier this year, Panasonic (the same company that manufactures Tesla’s latest low-profile, roof-mounted solar panels) made a pretty exciting announcement. The company developed a new type of PV module specifically meant for the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. Toyota debuted the new car at the New York Auto Show in March 2017. That’s right – there is now a Prius solar roof option for this popular vehicle.
Brooklyn start-up company LO3 Energy has teamed up with industrial giant Siemens to offer Brooklyn residents a local option on their energy menu. It’s called the Brooklyn Microgrid, and it offers solar energy sent directly from the solar panel of your neighbor’s rooftop installation to your home. You can now sell solar power to your neighbors!
Tesla’s cars have been all the rage the past few years, as they’ve matched energy efficiency with elegance and charm. But just how much is a Tesla? Are there any financial incentives out there for buying an electric vehicle (EV)? Is it really worth the investment? Let’s take a closer look at how much a brand new Tesla would set us back.
As of July 2017, Tesla officially has 3 cars on the market, the Tesla Model S, the Tesla Model X, and the Tesla Model 3. We will break down the costs of each one separately, using only 2017 models to maintain a fair comparison.Continue reading
Most of us picture a fixed rooftop installation when we think of solar panels – but did you know that there are solar panels that don’t sit still as they soak up the sun? Some photovoltaic systems are connected to something called a solar tracker, which powers ground-mounted solar panels to slowly change position so that they continuously face the sun.
Solar trackers can use a number of methods and mechanics to function, but all of them are meant to do one thing: increase energy output by moving solar panels so that they receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Some manufacturers boast that their trackers can increase energy production as much as a 45% over a fixed roof system.Continue reading
By now you’ve probably heard about Tesla’s solar roof tiles – the panels camouflaged to look just like standard roofing shingles, allowing for a subtle, inconspicuous way for homeowners to go solar.
But now Tesla has also designed low profile solar panels for those of us who can’t – or don’t want to – tear off our roof and put up another one just to go solar. These new panels, made in collaboration with Panasonic, offer a subtle look that’s faster and easier to install than old school panels. Continue reading