Tag Archives: Solar Power

SolPad is Disrupting the Solar Power Industry at CES



SolPad logoFree energy. It’s a dream shared by every homeowner when it’s time to pay the monthly utility bill. The closest thing we’ve got to a true “free energy machine” is solar power. These systems harness light from the sun and convert that light into electricity that can then be used by anything and everything in the home. For years, solar power has been a steady but still kinda slow-growth industry. That may change soon thanks to new technology being developed by SolPad.

Todd stopped by the SolPad booth to speak with Chris, where he learned about SolPad’s new portable and home-based solar power offerings. Some highlights from their discussion:

  • SolPad has a complete solar solution that includes panels, battery, and an efficient inverter
  • Wireless connectivity to control SolPad systems from mobile devices
  • Portable SolPad panels use the same technology as roof-based panels
  • SolPad panels “snap” together like Lego pieces, which can reduce the cost of installation by up to 50%
  • SolPad systems run on a “net zero” concept designed to not push power back into the electrical grid
  • SolPad panels come with a 25-year warranty, SolPad batteries come with a 10-year warranty

Pricing is not yet available for SolPad products but the company will be releasing that information soon.

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Your Next Roof Could Be a Solar Roof



Solar City logoWhen Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors acquired SolarCity earlier this year, there was much speculation as to whether or not this was a good idea. SolarCity’s business is based on installing solar power systems, and the company has struggled financially. But Musk must see something good in what SolarCity is doing. Indeed, there are definitely some parallels between the overall missions of Tesla Motors and SolarCity. the main one being to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. To that end, SolarCity recently announced it will begin installing solar roofs.

I now what you’re thinking. Haven’t solar panels been installed onto roofs for decades? Yes, that’s true. But SolarCity isn’t talking about retrofitting an existing roof with panels. Instead, the company’s new roofing system is made entirely of the solar panels themselves. SolarCity cites data that shows there are more than 5 million roof replacements per year in the U.S. Instead of having those roofs replaced with traditional shingles or other materials, and then possibly adding a solar system afterward, why not just build the new roof completely out of solar panels instead?

SolarCity is expected to roll out its new solar roofing product in the coming months. The company will also be able to install Tesla’s new whole-house batteries, allowing a home to run on solar power 24/7.


Famous Route 66 To Become First American Solar Road



SolarRoadways logoU.S. Route 66 is more of a legend than an actual highway these days. Route 66 was decommissioned as an official thoroughfare decades ago, giving way to more modern interstate transit ways. Portions of Route 66 still remain, however. And there are plenty of guides that can help you drive an approximation of the old route from Chicago to Los Angeles, if you want to indulge in some nostalgic Americana.

In its heyday, Route 66 was emblematic of the mid-20th century American dream. Cars were cool. Gas was cheap. The open road beckoned with a sense of adventure. Much has changed since those times. Cars are seen now more as functional devices than modern works of art. Even when prices are down, most drivers still groan over the cost to fill up a gas tank. Conveniences like GPS and mobile data have taken some of the adventurous edge out of a long road trip.

Change is inevitable. Yet, it seems somehow fitting that Route 66, an icon of 20th century fossil fuel consumption, will become the first road in America to be partially redone with special solar-power generating pavers:

The street pavers were developed by Solar Roadways, a company created by inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw which raised more than $2.2 million in crowdfunding in 2014 to bring their technology to market. The Brusaws claim that replacing all of America’s roads and parking lots with their solar pavers would generate more than three times the country’s electricity consumption in 2009.

It seems like a no-brainer. Why not replace all of the world’s roads and parking lots with solar-generating pavers? It’s all open space that’s just sitting there, waiting for a solar upgrade. The state of Missouri’s transportation department will be spearheading the installation of these photovoltaic pavers on Route 66. They’re hoping to have them in place by the end of the year.


SunPort Demands Solar Anywhere You Are



Sunport logoIf the world is ever truly going to embrace renewable energy, it’s going to take a concerted effort. People from all walks of life, living in varied environments, will have to either fully embrace things like solar power, or they’ll have to do everything they can to let others know they support the cause. SunPort is hoping to help consumers do this and more, no matter where electricity is being consumed.

Scott met with Nick Williams, Director of Information Systems at SunPort. Scott took a look at SunPort’s first product, a “smart plug” that users run in between wall outlets and electrical devices. The SunPort plug then tracks how much electricity was used on the outlet and sends that information to SunPort HQ. From there, SunPort purchases solar energy in a matching amount to what the consumer’s individual SunPort plug reported. This allows consumers to pay for solar energy, regardless of their physical location. This creates an energy offset so that, no matter what, SunPort users are supporting the growth and development of a renewable energy source. One SunPort device is expected to retail for $80 including the plug itself and a year’s worth of energy tracking.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Ford Electric Concept Car



Ford LogoTodd takes a look at Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi concept car, which amongst other things, features a solar panel roof that uses a special light concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass to improve the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Ford reckons that a day’s worth of sunshine is enough to charge the hybrid’s battery, which is good for 21 electric-only miles.

This is good news for the environment as it would reduce yearly carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average US car by as much as four metric tons – the equivalent of what a American house produces in four months. This probably assumes a perfect sunshine record and maximum electric mileage each day, but, hey, every little bit helps.

Review by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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WakaWaka Makes it CES Debut



WakaWaka WakaWaka, which means shine bright in Swahili is a company that is built around providing power and light in areas and situations where electricity is not readily available. Their products including the WakaWaka Light and the WakaWaka Power have been used around the world in both natural and man-made disasters in places as diverse as the Philippines and Syria. In areas where electricity is not readily available many people will use Kerosene lamps which are costly, inefficient and dangerous. The WakaWaka Light which is solar-powered can replace the kerosene lamp and provide a safer and more efficient light. The WakaWaka solar power charger will charge up a smart phone within 2 hours while still providing light. Perfect for power outages when your phone is your main communication device with the outside world.

WakaWaka is meeting its mission by selling the WakaWaka Light and the WakaWaka Power at competitive prices in the first world and taking those proceeds to sell the products at an affordable price in areas around the world that are off the grid. WakaWaka is making its CES debut in 2014 in the Venetian Ballroom at booth 70306. Camille van Gestel, the Founder & CEO of WakaWaka, will be attending Unveiled and International CES to present the WakaWaka portfolio, including several exciting new products. He will be available for interviews from January 5 – January 11.


Luci: Lighting the World



Luci

Luci is an inflatable solar power light. It runs on lithium-ion batteries. Luci can be charged in 4–6 hours and will give you 6–12 hours of light. It will maintain a single charge for up to 3 months. You can even set Luci to two brightness levels to help maintain a charge. The enclosure is made of PVC and is waterproof. Luci weights only 4.5 ounces and is 5″ in diameter. It collapses down to the size of a small dinner plate. It is easy to store and carry, making it great for camping, hiking or emergency situations. Luci is also being developed to be used in the developing world, where over 3 billion people either live in areas where the grid is unavailable, unaffordable or unreliable. A simple light can aid in education, increase productivity and lower crime.

Luci is a product of M-Powered which is a benefit corporation. Luci is available thru the website and they hope to have it available in retail stores. They have a buy one give one program. When you buy a Luci for yourself another will go to someone in a developing country. Luci is currently an indiegogo project and they are looking for contributions.

Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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