Solar recycling – a looming problem with a European solution

The price of solar panels continues to drop – down 86 percent since 2009! That means having solar is more affordable than ever and with solar leasing options growing and now California mandating all new construction must include solar, its use is set to explode.

But as I’ve noted before, every solution presents new problems which must be addressed. Solar panels have been rated for a 25-year lifespan. Although they will continue to function after that – many solar panels installed in the 1980’s still function close to their original levels – ultimately they will lose efficiency and at some point need to be replaced. The looming issue here is what to do with those solar panels?

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Renewable energy and its real potential for this country

Solar Day - celebrate the opportunities of renewable energy

Contrary to what the conservative media continues to focus on, renewable energy is alive and well and holding strong in this country. And its potential to replace fossil fuel-based energy sources looks pretty darn good.

In July, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a report examining and applying methods for estimating the current and future economic potential of domestic renewable energy. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which recently crunched the numbers, NREL’s analysis shows that renewable energy sources have the potential to supply anywhere from “35 percent to as much as 10 times the nation’s current power needs.”

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The future of commercial buildings – see-through solar powered windows

Mew Energy Technologies' new Solar Window™

Mew Energy Technologies’ new SolarWindow™

The growth of solar is exploding. As the technology continues to improve, the focus for commercial buildings is solar, but with a twist.

Not all commercial buildings can handle large solar arrays on their rooftops. Between the weight of the solar panels and the fixed angle of the buildings, standard solar panels aren’t a one-size-fits-all. Because of this, the new technology of smaller solar cells embedded in glass has become a race to see who will perfect and make this available first.

One of the leading contenders in the U.S. is New Energy Technologies, a building integrator photovoltaic (BIPV) developer in Maryland. Their chief focus – a product called SolarWindow™ – is a spray-on solution of solar cells that allows windows to generate electricity.First announced in 2010,/the idea of this solar film caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2011. NET now has an exclusive world-wide licensing agreement with the University of South Florida, and a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NREL to advance SolarWindow technology.

To learn more about this exciting new innovation, see the full article here.

Colored Solar combines beautiful color with energy efficiency

Colored Solar (green)As the cost of utilizing fossil fuels continues to unfold – i.e. oil spills devastating wildlife habitat, increased carbon released into the air, growing occurrences of asthma in metropolitan areas – cost-saving renewable energy sources look better and better.  As the price of the installation solar panels continues to fall, this is becoming an increasingly attractive option. Yet homeowners have to put up with unattractive solar panels with no regard to aesthetics. Until now.

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Solar panels showing to impede fire prevention

Solar panels on fire 1As useful as solar panels are in helping to save energy and helping to wean us off fossil fuels, there’s a darker side that is proving to be unexpectedly hazardous. Firefighters are having enormous difficulty fighting fires in or on buildings sporting energy-producing solar arrays.

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SolarReserve brings sun and salt together to light up Las Vegas

Much has been written about the anticipated large solar array in the Mojave Desert, and the unexpected problems posed by the native population of endangered desert tortoise, the official reptile of the state of California.

While that is still being sorted out, SolarReserve, a Santa Monica-based company, is working on a different type of solar project.

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New Windows Generate Solar Power

EnergyGlass turns skyscrapers into electricity-generating solar farms

With the growing emphasis on alternative energy sources, rooftop solar arrays are springing up around the country. As useful and environmentally friendly as photovoltaic panels are, they don’t exactly blend in aesthetically. What’s more, they can sometimes be difficult to integrate with other rooftop equipment, and can sustain damage from exposure to the elements.

Florida-based SAF-GLAS, which creates disaster-resistant and security-related glass products, recently introduced EnergyGlass at a solar seminar at GlassBuild America.

For more on the amazing capabilities of this energy-efficient glass – including its ability to withstand natural disasters – see http://bit.ly/zRNd0i.