NanoSolar-The Future of Solar Cell Technology

March 20, 2008

Nanosolar of Palo Alto, California is emerging as the world leader in solar energy technology. The companies solar electricity panel production utilizing a unique printing technique, delivers cost efficiency, enabling applications to deliver green power on an expanded basis.

The offset printing press combined with a proprietary Nanoparticle ink (which Nanosolar owns the processes and designs to) produce the world’s most cost-efficient solar cells and deliver them in many versatile product forms. Solar cells can now be printed on flexible sheets of metal or plastic, and fabrics in rolls which can be applied to large surfaces.

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are among the prominent investors in the companies Thin-film solar cell technology. Other noted investors in Nanosolar include Mohr Davidow Ventures and Benchmark Capital. Nanosolar holds at least 42 patents on the technology. Contributers from the scientific community include Stanford professor Michael McGehee, a leading expert on photovoltaic technology, and the University of California at Berkeley. Read more

Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Take a Back Seat

March 15, 2008

fuhummer.jpgBrain dead consumers are still ignoring the impact of purchasing vehicles with low eco-scores even with the price of gas moving past the $4 per gallon mark in some metro areas. A low number of new car buyers are willing to pay the upfront cost of an “environmentally friendly” vehicle, according to a J.D. Power & Associates survey.

“The marketing buzz in the automotive industry is all about green cars and trucks,” said Jon Osborn, director of research at J.D. Power and Associates. “While most consumers immediately think of hybrids when considering an environmentally friendly vehicle, the price premium of hybrids may be prohibitive.” While many new car shopper have an interest in purchasing an environmentally friendly auto, only 11 percent are “very willing” to spend more to do it, Osborn said.

In a recent edition of the Power Auto Media Report they discovered that new car shoppers that were willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly auto are more likely to be female, and are highly educated. Not exactly the demographic you might find at your local Hummer Dealership! In addition, the study noted that one in ten of the eco-conscious car shoppers have previously purchased a hybrid vehicle. Additionally, the owners of hybrid vehicles have a higher household income on average, the study found.

The Nationwide survey found that the concentration of consumers willing to pay extra for environmentally friendly alternative products is largest on the West Coast of the United States, and the smallest is in the Midwest. Coincidently, the largest Hummer Dealership can be found in St. Louis, Missouri.

The J.D. Power study also reports that new car shoppers who say they are willing to pay more for an auto that is eco-friendly are also more likely to choose a smaller compact auto than the average auto shopper. The environmentally conscious buyer also has a history of owning smaller vehicles previously.

“However, consumers don’t have to buy a hybrid vehicle to be environmentally friendly. One can still be environmentally conscious by buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle that gets good gas mileage,” Osborn said. “Despite heavy media attention on hybrid vehicles and the emergence of a greener auto industry, the hybrid market is still in its infancy, and currently comprises only about 2.2 percent of the new-vehicle market,” Osborn says. “However, this segment will continue to grow as more hybrid models are offered in the marketplace, particularly since gasoline prices are likely to increase and more stringent gas mileage standards are expected to be imposed on automakers.” Read more

Solar Power-Advantages and Disadvantages

March 14, 2008

There are many advantages worth considering when it comes to solar energy and everything that it offers. There are many advantages that solar energy has over oil energy. Not only does solar energy benefit your pocketbook, but it also benefits the environment as well. However, there are two sides to everything, and there is a list of solar power disadvantages to accompany the list of advantages.

Advantage: Solar energy is a completely renewable resource. This means that even when we cannot make use of the sun’s power because of nighttime or cloudy and stormy days, we can always rely on the sun showing up the very next day as a constant and consistent power source.

Disadvantage: The Solar Cells and Solar Panels that are needed to harness solar energy tend to be very expensive when you first purchase them.

Advantage: Oil, which is what most people currently use to power their homes, is not a renewable resource. This means that as soon as the oil is gone, it is gone forever and we will no longer have power or energy.

Disadvantage: Solar power cannot be harnessed during a storm, on a cloudy day or at night. This limits how much power can be saved for future days. Some days you may still need to rely on oil to power your home.

Advantage: Solar cells make absolutely no noise at all. They do not make a single peep while extracting useful energy from the sun. On the other hand, the giant machines utilized for pumping oil are extremely noisy and therefore very impractical.

Advantage: Solar energy creates absolutely no pollution. This is perhaps the most important advantage that makes solar energy so much more practical than oil. Oil burning releases harmful greenhouses gases, carcinogens and carbon dioxide into our precious air.

Advantage: Very little maintenance is required to keep solar cells running. There are no moving parts in a solar cell, which makes it impossible to really hurt them. Solar cells tend to last a good long time with only an annual cleaning to worry about.

Advantage: Solar panels and solar lighting may seem quite expensive when you first purchase it, but in the long run you will find yourself saving quite a great deal of money. After all, it does not cost anything to harness the power of the sun. Unfortunately, paying for oil is an expensive prospect and the cost is still rising consistently. Why pay for expensive energy when you can harness it freely?

Advantage: Solar powered panels and products are typically extremely easy to install. Wires, cords and power sources are not needed at all, making this an easy prospect to employ.

Advantage: Solar power technology is improving consistently over time, as people begin to understand all of the benefits offered by this incredible technology. As our oil reserves decline, it is important for us to turn to alternative sources for energy. Read more

Rising Oil Prices make Going Green Affordable

March 13, 2008

oil1.gifThe per-barrel Oil price hit near record levels of $110 dollars in the market, propped up by the declining US dollar.

The movement of investors into the commodities market looking for a safe place to hedge against inflation and the weakening US dollar was also contributing to the rise in crude prices.

In early morning trading, the New York Stock Exchanges main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery reached trading levels at 110.12 US dollars per barrel before ending trading at $109.85 dollars per barrel.

London’s Brent North Sea crude oil prices for April delivery eased 22 cents to $106.05 US dollars.

“Fundamentals are well and truly out of the window when it comes to oil prices,” said Jan Lambregts, head of regional research at Rabobank in Hong Kong.

“A lot of money’s obviously looking for a place to park and crude oil appears to be one popular destination among commodities in general,” he noted, and then added “the weak dollar doesn’t help one bit at this stage.”

The failing US dollar has also fueled a jump in world oil prices because crude that is priced in US dollars and has become cheaper to buy for purchasers holding stronger currencies abroad.

The US dollar dropped to a new low with an exchange rate of 1.5570 dollars to one Euro on Wednesday.

Note – 1 Barrel of oil = 159 Liters or 42 Gallons Read more

Energy Efficient Business-Solatube Solar Sky Lighting

March 12, 2008

There are two very good reasons why creating an energy-efficient business is a good idea.  The first is obvious, because energy-efficient office buildings are easy on the environment and eco-friendly, and the second is because using less energy is great for the bottom line of any business that wants to save some money.  There is absolutely no reason to pay overpriced energy costs, when you can make your business energy-efficient much more easily.  The following is a simple list of hints and tips for reducing the amount of energy that your company consumes on a daily basis.

Office Equipment:

You can save as much as $35 every year for every single computer in your office building simply by selecting equipment with an Energy Star logo.  Energy Star brand office equipment will automatically go into sleep mode in order to consume less power.  You can save more than $100 a year simply by switching all of the office equipment before you go home at the end of the day.  Leaving all of this equipment on unnecessarily can increase your bills significantly every year.  You can save as much as 80-percent of your energy bill simply by installing compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of the standard light bulbs that you have always used.  These compact fluorescent light bulbs are capable of lasting as many as 15,000 hours rather than the 800 hours that a normal light bulb will usually last for.  Not only do they last longer, but they also use up a lot less energy, saving you quite a bit of money in the long run both on your lighting bill, and your electric bill.

Heating and Cooling:

You can save several hundred dollars every year simply by keeping all of the external doors in your building closed as often as possible.  Leaving these doors open can waste a lot of heat, so aim to use the heat that you already have instead of letting it float right out the door.  By resetting your thermostats for cooling purposes, you can save as much as $60 every single year.  Cooling costs rise by as much as 20-percent for every degree lower that you set your thermostat.  And finally, by turning heating off when it is not required, such as at night, on weekends or when it simply is not cold, you can save as much as $700 in heating costs in a single year.  Program your thermostat to turn the heat off around thirty minutes before everyone is set to leave for the day, and you will be surprised at how much money you have saved at the end of the year.

Solatube Solar Sky Lighting Video:

Zap-Xebra Electric Sedan-Hybrid Conversion Announced

March 11, 2008

zap-car.jpg A nice little example of the Zap Xebra Electric Sedan was spotted on the streets of Aspen, Colorado today. The Xebra zero emission vehicle zips along at up to 40 miles per hour and can be recharged on any outlet.

Zap announced today that the company will is offering a plug-in hybrid conversion systems for the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid through a collaboration agreement with Hybrids Plus of Boulder, Colorado. The retrofit will provide millage of up to 120 miles per gallon and a vehicle equipped with the conversion. More Information on the Zap Hybrid Conversion

Photo Credit – Boyd Billings, Aspen Daily Image

Daylight Savings Time aims to Save Energy

March 8, 2008

Daylight Savings Time 2008

animated_clock.gifSpring your clocks forward one hour on March 9th at 2am.  Daylight Savings Time starts 3 weeks earlier to conserve energy nationwide.  One of the primary reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that the the extra daylight during evening hours can save energy.  Home energy consumption and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes has a direct connection to when we go to bed at night, and when we get up in the morning.  Bedtime for most of us is late evening through the year.  When we go to bed, we turn off the lights and TV.

On average, 25 percent of electric consumption is for lighting and small appliances, such as Tvs, VCRs and stereos.  A high percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home.  By setting your clock ahead by one hour, homes can reduces the amount of electricity used each day.

A study conducted in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that we trim the nations electricity consumption by about one percent EACH DAY with Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time creates the illusion that the sun will set one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour.  This means that less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day.

Residential solar power-home energy

March 7, 2008

We are very lucky to have the sun at our disposal, and our earth is blessed to have the center of the entire solar system so close, or at least at the right distance.  Without the sun, life never would have been possible, but had we been located any closer, we likely would have burned up.  The sun has always been looked at as a powerful source, from the olden days when it was worshipped as a god, to modern times where it is regarded as a highly efficient source of energy.  Solar energy is the name for the energy we derive from the sun’s power.  Your homes energy be powered by residential solar power rather than by fuel or oil.

In order to get the most from solar power energy, you must be willing to use it wisely and effectively.  The largest uses for residential energy are powering your refrigerator, heating the home and water, and cooking.  Heating needs extend to the back yard if you have a pool that needs to be kept warm.  In a solar powered home, the power of the sun can be harnessed to power your oven and your stove top.  There are plenty of different types of solar ovens and cook tops.  The most important of all energy users in your home is the refrigerator, which can be energized using solar power.

Solar energy is simple to store at home, and the solar power system is easy to use and understand.  You can store extra solar power in your back yard in the form of a solar battery, which is perfect for the evenings or days where the sun is not out.  This way, you always have a renewable energy source available to you, even when it’s dark or raining.  An efficient residential solar power energy source will make it possible for you to stop paying for electricity all together.  Can you imagine drawing all of your electricity power from the sun, and never paying another electric bill?

In other countries such as Japan, using a solar powered electricity system is nothing new.  Many Japanese residences are solar powered, and the home owners are completely comfortable with these energy systems.  Solar energy systems are also being used where many villages cannot easily obtain power or water.  Solar power systems are also being manufactured for homes in the United States, including in Nevada, Texas and California.  You may even be able to locate building materials which are solar-enabled or solar capable, creating a power system which is insulated and installed during the home building process.

Micro Hydro Electric Power Generators-Alternative Energy

March 6, 2008

Micro hydroelectric power systems can be extremely beneficial to the entire environment, simply because neither the air nor the water is contaminated by pollutants.  These small hydroelectric applications generally require very little space to operate.  There are actually several different types of small water-powered generators which can operate using so little water, that they can actually be placed next to a small stream without ever needing a dam or a reservoir.  It is becoming increasingly apparent over the years just how important these micro hydro-powered systems are, because they are friendly to the environment and produce renewable energy.  As a result of this newfound understanding, many countries have begun to set up small hydroelectric power systems as a way to provide at least some if not all of their electricity.  These micro water powered generators have the capability of producing a large amount of electricity without harming the environment. Read more

Hybrid Cars-Top Hybrid Vehicles List

March 4, 2008

lexus-hybird.jpgHybrid cars are vehicles that run on an interesting combination of the traditional gas engine and an electric motor. This combination increases power and improves gas mileage simply by creating a combined system for propulsion. Both Toyota and Honda are serious players in the hybrid vehicle industry, but nearly every other carmaker is now entering into the race by developing a hybrid vehicle model. Based on great performance and improved gas mileage, here are some of the best hybrid vehicles on the market right now.

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