Showing posts with label United Kingdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Kingdom. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Styles Solar Ice-Cream Van

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Styles Solar Ice-Cream Van
                              Image credit: stylesicecream.co.uk

Britain’s first solar ice-cream van is a concept of David Baker, the owner of Styles Farmhouse Ice-Cream, based in Rodhuish, Somerset. He designed Styles Solar Ice-Cream Van to reduce fumes from diesel engines at festivals. The Styles Solar Van idea came up to him in 2016 after customers, show directors, and event organisers complained about the diesel fumes from its regular vans.

The prototype was ready in 2018 and it consisted of four solar panels. The current model has eight solar panels and was ready in May 2019. Besides solar panels on the top, the van has a big bank of batteries inside. The solar panels and the battery storage power the freezers, ice-cream makers, and coffee machines. “In full sun the van can operate for up to five to six days. On cloudy days it will run for two to three days. The system can be fully recharged using mains electricity in just four hours.”- says Baker

The solar van is built on the Peugeot Boxer Van, though other van types can be used, too. Its latest Euro 6 low emission engine will get you wherever you want but when you are on site selling ice-cream you can rely entirely on solar energy. 

The Style Solar Van has been serving ice-cream to thousands across the UK five months of the year. Baker says that his team has attended around 160 events, including music festivals and agricultural shows. He estimates that solar energy saves him around £4,000, or nearly $5,000 a year. 

Baker’s family has farmed 300-acre land for 119 years. They were growing wheat, barley and oats, and milking cows and sheep. In 1988, Baker decided to diversify his business into making and selling luxury ice-cream in order to get more income. 

Currently, Baker concentrates more on the ice-cream side of the business while other farmers cultivate crops on his land and milk the cows. Styles Farmhouse Ice Cream now has 50 employees and supplies 250 luxury ice-cream shops and works events.

On 3 December, 2019, Styles Solar Ice-Cream Van participated at Somerset County Council’s climate emergency business summit, at Taunton Rugby Club. The van was an example of how local businesses are responding to climate change by reducing their carbon footprint. This summit is part of the county council’s plan to work towards making Somerset carbon-neutral by 2030, by involving local companies in strategies that will help reduce air pollution.

The eco-friendly vehicles officially debuted at the Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show in Harrogate, the United Kingdom which took place between 11-13 February, 2020. Styles Solar Ice-Cream Van is now available commercially and it can be ordered here.

Sources: darigold.comwsfp.co.uk



Saturday, January 18, 2020

Solar Power and Net Metering

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Grid-tied solar power system diagram
Grid-tied solar power system (with net metering) diagram

Net metering, or also known as net energy metering (NEM), is another big reason why the solar panels are a good investment for your home or business.

Net metering is possible when your home maintains a connection to the grid even after you install solar panels, and of course, when the net metering is available in your area. The grid-connected (grid-tied) solar power system with net metering consists of solar panels, a grid-tied solar inverter that converts DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current), and net meter. DC generated from your solar panels is converted into AC, which is the type of current that is used by the electrical appliances in your home.

Let's explain simply what is net metering and how it works.

When your solar panels produce excess power, it goes to the grid. The utility company compensates you for the excess grid supply with credits added to your electric bill. For the time, when your solar panels produce less power than your household is needed, you can draw electricity from the grid. A net meter (bi-directional meter) is installed to register both the excess solar energy that you export to the grid and the energy that you consume from the grid. This ensures that consumers are only charged for their “net” energy use (energy consumed minus energy sent to the grid). 

Monthly net metering allows consumers to use solar power generated during the day at night. Similarly, during the spring and summer, when the sun is shining, and your solar panels are producing more electricity than you need, that extra energy goes to the grid. Then in the winter, when the days are shorter, you can draw on those energy credits to help offset some of your energy needs.

The grid acts as an energy storage system for your excess power and saves it for later use. The grid connection ensures that you still have power regardless of daily or seasonal variations in solar panels production levels.

So, with grid-tied solar power system and net metering billing mechanism, you save money besides that you help the environment and reduce your carbon footprints.

Net metering originated in the United States, where solar panels and small wind turbines were connected to the electrical grid, and consumers wanted to be able to use the electricity generated at a different time or date from when it was generated. In 1979 an apartment complex and a solar test house in Massachusetts were the first two projects to use net metering. Minnesota is commonly cited as passing the first net metering law, in 1983, and allowed anyone generating less than 40 kWh to either roll over any credit to the next month, or be paid for the excess. 

Keep in mind, however, that net metering policies can vary significantly by country and by state or province. It is not available everywhere in the U.S., which means that there is a need for other nighttime power supply options such as solar battery storage.

Net metering was slow to be adopted in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, because of confusion over how to address the value-added tax (VAT). Only one utility company in Great Britain offers net metering. In Canada, some provinces have net metering programs.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Orange Solar Concept Tent for Campers

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Orange Solar Tent

The United Kingdom mobile company Orange recently unveiled their concept for the "tent of the future", called Glastonbury. This tent will allow avid campers to keep in touch and power their essential gadgets such as GPS or mobile phones. 

The Orange Solar Concept Tent was designed with help from the American product design firm Kaleidoscope and it harnesses solar energy to charge the gadgetry through a wireless charging pouch (no plug in!).

The solar-powered futuristic tent captures the rays of the sun via “photovoltaic fabric" - specially coated solar threads woven into conventional fabric. The Solar Concept Tent uses this revolutionary new technology to full effect with three adjustable glides, which can be rotated throughout the day to follow the sun and capture the most sunlight. Not only that, the tent has a wireless control hub to provide WiFi, wireless charging, and a touchscreen LCD display that keeps track of the energy generated and consumed.

Another advancement is a cool feature called "glo-cation technology". This enables campers to find their tent using an SMS message or automatic active RFID tech. So if you’re having trouble finding your tent, sent a text, and the Glastonbury will glow gently for you, guiding you back to your sleeping bag.

There is also a feature known as groundsheet heat. This is an internal heating element controlled by the central hub and it is embedded within the tent’s groundsheet. The underfloor heater will automatically come once the interior temperature drops below a certain level.

Well, let's hope that the Orange Solar Concept Tent could soon become a reality.

Source: Orange Unveils Solar Powered Tent for Staying Connected While Camping in Luxury