Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

5 Partially Solar-Powered Cars You Can Buy


                        Video Credit: DPC cars &

The creation of a solar-powered car is an ambitious project that many enthusiasts were trying to bring to reality. Unfortunately, so far are created only partially solar-powered cars, and in this post, I’m going to describe 5 of them you can buy.

1. Lightyear One is a long-rage, solar-powered electric car that has five square meters of small solar tiles, which cover the whole futuristic vehicle, from front to back, across a curved roof. The solar car has a 60kWh battery and charges at a rate of 12 km (7.5 miles) per hour while driving. It can also use electric vehicle charging stations, which provide up to 725 km (450 miles) of range on a single charge. The solar cells are 20 percent more efficient than traditional models and can add 50 - 65 km (30 - 40 miles) of range per day. The solar cells are encased in safety glass to protect them from damage. The company says that the Lightyear One is the most aerodynamic car in the world, with a drag coefficient below 0.20, although it is still in the prototype stage. 

Lightyear is the Dutch car company founded in 2016 by ex-members of Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), a team of engineering students who won the solar-powered World Solar Challenge race in 2013, 2015, and 2017. The Lightyear One car is expected to cost about €150,000 when it goes on sale in 2021.

2. A German full electric car Sono Sion developed by Sono Motors is another example of a partially solar-powered car. Thanks to its battery charge it can run 155 miles (250km). The car also has 248 solar cells spread across its body, which provide it an additional 21 miles (34km) of solar range. With a completely new manufacturing process, the solar modules are perfectly adapted to the shape of the vehicle. You can find it on the market at 25,500 EUR. The Sono Sion uses a bidirectional onboard-charger to share its power to recharge other electric vehicles.

3. The Korean car manufacture Hyundai also created a partially solar-powered car. A new version of its hybrid car Sonata (gas-electric sedan) offers built-in solar panels on its roof. The solar roof gives the car an extra 2 miles (about 3.5 km) of driving range per day, charging a car’s battery for 6 hours - both while driving and when parked in the sun. They say that between 30 and 60 percent of the car’s battery can be recharged by its solar panels. Hyundai underlines that its solar roof has a “supporting role" to its hybrid engine but for a year, it can add up to around 700 miles (1,300 km) of driving range from solar power.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited is the first of its kind available in the United States. The Toyota Prius Prime has a solar roof available in some overseas markets, but not in the U.S. The as-tested price of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited comes to $36,430, which includes Hyundai’s 10-year warranty.

4. Toyota was the first major car manufacturer to offer the option with a solar roof incorporated in its Prius hybrid plug-in model in 2010. It generates about 50 watts of power, which is enough to provide energy to a fan which cools the cabin of the Prius when the engine is off. Later, in 2017 Panasonic has developed a solar photovoltaic car roof for the Prius PHEV, upping the wattage from 50 W to 180 W. 

Now Toyota developed their latest model Prius with solar panels, in cooperation with Sharp and NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan). It uses such technology that lets the car’s battery charged while in the motion, not just when it is parked in a sunny place. The companies are working on attaching to the car's surface 0.03 mm thick solar cells. They can be attached to curved areas on cars like the roof, the hood, or the hatchback. 

The new model is still in the testing period, but it promises 860W at 34 percent efficiency, 44.5km on a full charge, and 56.3km if it's recharging while driving. The companies are hoping that by using the best solar panels and the most efficient batteries available on the market, besides experience with car-manufacturing, they can create a vehicle that might run forever. "The solar car's advantage is that, while it can't drive for a long-range, it's independent of charging facilities," said project manager at Toyota, Koji Makino.

5. California’s company Aptera Motors developed the first solar-powered electric (3-wheel, 2-passenger) vehicle that will never require charging. Besides, the car has an option to drive autonomous. The solar panels integrated into the car’s body harness the sun’s rays and provide owners with a substantial amount of free solar power. You can drive 43 miles of range per day of free solar power with a total 700W: 3 square meter/180 solar cell array. This is in addition to a 1,000-mile range battery pack, which you can charge at any time. And if there is excess power you can run electrical appliances in your home. Another option that Aptera includes is to upgrade and replace the existing solar panels on the vehicle.

The Aptera solar-powered car will cost roughly between $34,000-$59,000. The Aptera is still in the prototype stage but the company claims 10,000 vehicles will be made by 2022, and they will soon be open to taking pre-orders.

Finally, out of the list, because it is not for sale, I’m going to present an impressive model of a partially solar-powered car - Stella Era.

The Stella Era is a solar-powered, autonomous 5-person family car, developed by the Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), a multidisciplinary group of students from the Technical University Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The Stella Era has a range of 1200 km (including 300 km solar) and the ability to autonomously drive to a sunny parking spot when it is parked in the parking lot. The team also says that the Stella Era isn't just a solar-powered car, it is "a charging station on wheels”. Thankfully the innovations in charging (specifically bidirectional charging), the car can store energy and transfer it to other cars, to the grid, and into battery packs in self-sustainable homes.

So, although there is no entirely solar-powered car yet, the partially solar-powered, eco-friendly models above show that the key steps have been made and the sunny futuristic future is already here :) (Toyota), (Aptera)

Monday, January 13, 2020

How to Harvest Solar Energy on Cloudy Days


Image credit: SunModo

Talking about solar energy without sunlight, it is interesting to see how solar energy can be harvest on cloudy days. 

Even on cloudy days, there’s still solar energy send down to earth from the sun. And although solar panels don’t produce as much electricity as they do on sunny days, they have been shown to produce 25% of what they produce on a sunny day, or 10% when it’s very cloudy. The exact amount will vary depending on the density of the clouds, and may also vary by the type of solar panel - some kinds of panels are better at receiving diffuse light. SunPower solar cells, for example, have been designed to capture a broader range of the solar spectrum. By capturing more red and blue wavelengths, their solar panels can generate more electricity even when it’s overcast.

We may assume that solar panels thrive in hot, sunny weather, but too much heat can also reduce solar panel output 10-15%. The very hot climate isn't the best condition for them. Most solar panels' power outputs start to degrade if the temperature of the panel goes over about 25°C. 

Solar power can work well in areas known for cloudy, cold weather. For example, New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston, and Seattle. These cites often have bad weather, from blizzards to rain and fog. However, each of these cities tops the list of those that see major savings due to solar power installations. And rain helps to keep the panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust, pollen, and dirt. Clean panels turn out the most electricity.

San Francisco is well known for its foggy days with cool weather but rooftop solar power systems in San Francisco do function well. The amount of direct sunlight is reduced by fog and clouds, but as already was said, solar panels function better at cooler temperatures, so the electricity output in San Francisco is still significant. Using a home solar power system there can save approximately $1,500 per year on utility bills.

Germany is the fourth-largest PV market in the world that's famous for its lack of sunlight. Germany accounts for about 25 percent of the world's solar power output and achieved its strongest growth in half a decade during 2018, according to a recent Greentech Media article

Going solar is about saving on your energy costs as well as helping our planet and the weather can’t be an obstacle.

And if we choose to rely on solar panels for our home electricity use, we can also use a solar battery system to save money by storing free energy for use when it’s cloudy or for night use. Solar batteries have been around for a while, but up until recently, the costs were very high, the equipment was bulky and they were difficult to use. Except for people who lived off the grid, they weren’t so good investment. But that has changed in recent years. The price of solar batteries has dropped and in many cases, they are now an excellent investment for homeowners in cloudy regions who want to reduce their electricity bills.

Sources: Cleantechnika & Powerhome

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:
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.