Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Solar, Solar, Solar

Probably the number thing that comes to mind when we now here GREEN or renewable is Solar. Its been around for so many years (solar panels from the 60's are still at it, probably just not as efficient as newer ones) and is nothing really new, though technology is improving creating more efficient panels that have a higher rating of energy conversion. We are also coming up with new ways to utilize power from the sun, either Photovoltaic or Thermal (thermal is being used for large scale solar application, think tons of reflective panels in the Mohave that heat water, create steam, run turbines, its the stuff we did in 5th grade, just bigger)

On a more local scale, at home, we sought property that would be ideal for renewable energy and even dreamed of living off the grid. The property we ended up with was already grid tied thus avoiding the costly task of dragging utility lines to the house and with the cost of batteries and the maintenance, it makes more sense to continue using the grid as our battery bank but with the goal of coming close to netting our energy usage.

We aren't in a great wind area, there aren't many places that are, therefore its harder to implement on a small, residential scale. You really need consistently higher wind speeds, and thus you probably don't really want to live there. But with our Southwesterly facing property, solar is ideal. So how are we planning to do this.

Something that has gained a lot of popularity, you might see them in the car park of Google or some apartment complexes are solar arrays that also serve as a car port of types. They are a brilliant idea for those large car parks where your car just bakes in the sun all day plus, moving forward into the future you can plug in your EV straight to the solar panels and drive for free. (this implementation is by Envision Solar)
So we wanted to do something similar. We have talked about putting in a shed type structure up near the shop for the tractor, farm truck and our little caravan, Gimley. So we thought we would take it one step further and create a solar car port, a perfect place to situate our solar array. Then I saw this application (courtesy of Jetson Green) and thought it was a cool implementation of the solar array, kinda like a suspension bridge.

Here is the one at Patagonia HQ in Ventura, CA. But for a residential application I really liked this one from EcoFriend.....

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