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PacificSky Solar
Instead of relying on shaky third-party installers like many other companies, PacificSky is an all-inclusive solar agency, which means its installers are trained in knowing exactly what your home will need to cut…

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Solar power remains, after hydro and wind, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity. What’s curious is that many countries with the most installed solar power may not enjoy the highest levels of insolation. What motivates these countries to adopt solar are better incentives (government and state subsidies), which make solar power increasingly more affordable. Hungry for Solar According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), the global PV market has grown at a remarkable rate and is becoming a major source of power generation. More than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power was installed in the world, enough to produce at 110 TWh of electricity every year. In 2013, PV installations set a record with 38.4 GW of newly added capacity around the globe and almost 11 GW in Europe. While early EPIA figures show installation rates across Europe have fallen over the past four years (due to retroactive subsidy cuts and import tariffs on low-cost Chinese solar panels), early adopters continue to set new records for solar. Solar is Ausgezeichnet in… Read more

Both NASA and private enterprise will soon be launching manned missions to the moon, asteroids and other planets. Mission systems engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently outlined a plan to use bold new propulsion systems for these future manned missions. A Matter of “Delta-V” As space engineers put it, navigating through space is simply a matter optimizing changes in velocities, or “delta-v.” There are lift-off, orbital and mid-flight velocities during which you want to expend the least amount of energy. Up until now, chemical rockets have been the propulsive power source for space travel. While they deliver the high thrust needed to get from planet to planet, chemical rockets need increasingly more fuel as payloads go up—eventually, it’s almost all fuel and little payload. Enter Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Attempting to improve the fuel-to-payload ratio, Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) systems use electrically charged cesium or xenon atoms for thrust instead of igniting chemicals.  Currently used on a number of unmanned spacecraft, such as NASA’s Deep Space 1 and Dawn, these ion drives and Hall thrusters can run for years… Read more

Today’s electric power storage systems cover a wide spectrum. Refining these systems to boost their efficiency and storage capacity is needed if we expect to compensate for the fluctuations inherent in renewable energies and extend the range of electric vehicles. The goal is to move us ever closer toward the energy turnaround, and to help us finally achieve national climate protection objectives. Battery-Based Systems: a Holistic View Unlike photovoltaic modules, how well a storage system performs is strictly dependent on how well its various parts and assemblies dovetail with each other. When evaluating the efficiency of a solar system, every part from solar generator to battery must be considered. Today’s high performing battery systems using lithium-ion cells can achieve efficiencies of 99%. This is the starting point, additional components in the system will act to reduce overall efficiency. Dr. Olaf Wollersheim, a leader in the Competence E Project of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), stresses the importance of using highly efficient lithium-ion cells and of designing an overall system around the specific needs of an application. While the system’s architecture… Read more

Many homeowners eager to go solar for environmental reasons and for the many soon-to-be expiring incentives are encountering a roadblock. In certain locales, companies installing PV systems simply don’t believe the job is big enough. They say the biggest and costliest hoop they have to jump through is site assessment—to determine if the homeowner’s site is viable. This can be a costly and involved process that takes into account a property’s age, location, type and size, neighborhood density, access, and even the historic significance of a property. Enter Solar One A new community initiative from the nonprofit organization called Solar One helps homeowners go solar at a discount by turning small jobs into big ones. Through its Here Comes Solar program, groups of property owners get free site assessments to determine if solar panels are viable for them. Their easy-to-use website quickly classifies properties into the right grouping to make them more accessible to rooftop solar panels. Included are such things as roof age, electricity use, number of units and floors in a building. Once groups of three to 10… Read more

Personal solar-powered electric vehicles are already making the news. They’re riding the crest of ever-advancing photovoltaic technology, getting better, more efficient and increasingly popular. Here’s a sampling of the way solar power is changing personal transportation  SolarCross eBike Hits the Road The solar electric ebike is here. Called the Solar Cross by its builder, Terry Hope, the unique sun-powered bicycle is built on a special FSR mountain bike frame. Efficient and portable, the 2-speed, 9-gear ebike features a custom freewheel crank with one 95T chain sprocket driven by a 750Watt DC motor. The bike is driven by eight solar panel arrays that cover the front handlebars and also extend beyond the rear seat. While SolarCross may not look sleek and aerodynamic, one can’t argue with its performance. It can run nearly 100km per charge, reach speeds of up to 40km/h, and climb 1000' ft/per hour with an extra 25kg of loaded weight. Pedal-assisted speeds can top over 50km/h. The other thing to consider is that advancing PV technology will eventually shrink solar cells to make ebikes more stylish. Solar Powered Scooters Electric… Read more