Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Solar PV Power in Cold Climate


Many people interested in generating solar PV power for their household power needs are also interested to know how PV solar panels operate at colder temperatures or in cloudy conditions. Actually, PV solar panels work better at colder temperatures - some of the best efficiencies ever recorded were at the South Pole! This is because the solar cells in the panels are electronic devices that generate electricity depending on the amount of sunlight they receive, not heat. In cold climates, PV panels will generate less energy in the winter than in the summer, but this is due to the shorter days and less sunlight, not the colder temperatures.

Photo credit: altenergy.blog-city.com
PV solar panels continue to work even in cloudy conditions, although they do produce less electricity. On days with cloud cover or windblown snow, the PV panels' output power is reduced significantly. With sun angles approaching the highest limits and visibility being high, the PV panels reach their rated output power.

Many countries in the northwestern region of Europe, including Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia, make extensive use of solar power. Germany is the world's leading installer of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, although its climate is mostly temperate. Japan is also a major installer of solar PV panels, and their climate is temperate.

An example of integrating PV technology in the daily life are solar powered parking meters which are fairly common in Germany and the Netherlands. The electricity which runs them is supplied by small solar panels on top of the parking meters, right there in the streets.

Canada is another cold-weather country where PV technology is quickly gaining ground. PV cells have been used in Canada over the last 20 years or more for many applications. Photovoltaic modules were used as standalone units, mainly as off-grid distributed electricity generation to power remote homes, telecommunications equipment, oil and pipeline monitoring stations and navigational applications. Over the last few years PV technology has also started to be introduced into urban areas, incorporated into the roofs and facades of homes, offices and factories. And the largest solar PV energy park in North America will be located on approximately 300 acres of land in the Township of Stone Mills, Lennox & Addington County, Ontario. The 19-megawatt project, known as First Light, is being built by SkyPower Corp and SunEdison Canada. The construction is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2009 and local communities will benefit from clean renewable energy sufficient to power more than 2,000 homes annually.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Solar-Powered Ski Jacket by Ermenegildo Zegna


It is winter time here - time for chilling temperatures, snow, but also white beauty, skiing and much fun. So, news like this could be interesting for all environmentally-conscious and geeky skiers. The first "ecological" luxury solar-powered ski jacket designed by Italian designer Ermenegildo Zegna is able to recharge your cell phone, iPod and other gadgets on the go. Italian clothing manufacturer Ermenegildo Zegna, has joined hands with a German company called Interactive Wear, a firm that specializes in "smart" textile technology, to develop the world’s first ski jacket that gets its juice from solar energy.

The jacket uses Microtene material that makes it water resistant and has integrated discreet solar cells placed in neoprene collar, which converts sunlight into renewable power to charge your electronic gadgets while you're outdoors. An hour of direct sunlight will charge up a phone for about 35 minutes of talk time. The battery requires four to five hours for a full charge. Good thing is also that you can take off the collar anytime, so you can use it to charge your gadgets even when you are back at home.

Although this jacket doesn't seem to be very innovative, since it looks like they’ve just stitched a couple of solar cells into the jacket’s collar, I think that all trials in the field of "intelligent" clothing deserve our attention and should be admired. And it is one more opportunity to promote your green ideas to the world, well... if you can afford it - Zegna Sport Solar Ski Jacket retails for about $1,350 at all Ermenegildo Zegna boutiques.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Beginning the New Year with a Blog Award


Happy, Prosperous and Green New 2009 Year to all my readers! I wish you also many sunny days throughout the year ;)

It is good to begin the New Year with something encouraging and inspiring, so I decided to start my first post for this year with another blog award which I received from Barbara at GoalForTheGreen some time ago (goalforthegreen.com/2008/12/wowanother-award) but just didn't find the right moment to post about it so far. Again special thanks Barbara!

These are the rules for “I Love Your Blog" award:

1). Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2). Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3). Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4). Add those links to your blog.
5). Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

And these are the 7 blogs I’m passing this award to:

Green Not Mean
Save the Earth
Endangered Spaces
Simply Abundant Living
Birding in the Falkland Islands
Strawbale House
Blog Appetite

Happy New Year!