Our Top 5 Solar Installations:
(Disclaimer – Not all of these installs are recent but they’re new discoveries for us)
- One of the largest privately owned solar systems belongs to one of my favorite private companies – The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Sierra Nevada produces around 40% of their own energy with this solar installation. All in all, their solar systems include over 10,000 individual panels! Source: Government Technology
In 2008 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. completed construction on one of the largest private solar arrays in the United States. Courtesy of Sierra Nevada
- The work has started on the world’s largest photovoltaic array (it will also claim the title of world’s largest solar bridge). The Blackfriars Bridge, in the heart of London, will be the home of 4,400 solar panels with the ability to create 900 MWh of electricity per year. (Source: Clean Technica)
The world’s largest solar bridge Is halfway complete. 900MWh per year!
- The New York Jets adopt solar with a massive solar array atop their practice facility. 3000 panels from Yingli Solar have been installed and will provide 750,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. (Source: CNet)
The N.Y. Jets go green with this massive solar installation at their practice facility.
- A solar waterfall could be powering the next Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Ok, this project is still in the design phase but if completed it would be an amazing structure. (Source: RAFAA Architecture and Design)
This ambitious project would produce electricity with solar panels during the day and water turbines at night.
- And finally, what’s not to love about this solar install? (Source: Dwell)
Students from Appalachian State designed this solar array to double as an outdoor living area. They entered this solar array in the U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon.
- Spanish solar panel manufacturing company, Isofoton, plans to open a solar panel manufacturing facility in Toledo, OH in July. The Northeast Ohio manufacturing plant that will create 330 jobs, landed a $15 million state loan to go along with about $4 million in private funding. The company also plans on sourcing materials locally. Read more at Columbus Business First.
- Now, this is our kind of solar! Pvilion is taking the traditional view on solar and stretching it to make it work their way. They specialize in flexible PV material that makes for good looking, power producing structures.
- Apple’s new data center will install a 20 mW solar array and fuel cell with a capacity of 5 mW. This will be the largest end user owned solar array in the country. Check our more at treehugger.com.
- And finally, a nice video that shows you how you can slightly alter your daily routine and save nearly 1,213 gallons of water per day. That’s a lot of water!
- Perhaps the biggest news of the week came from the office of the President. The Obama administration rejected the current proposal for the Keystone XL Pipeline which would carry over 500,000 barrels of oil a day across key aquifers that supply drinking and irrigation water to much of the Great Plains. The pipeline is not gone forever as TransCanada, the company behind Keystone XL, can submit another proposal suggesting a different route. Read more about the fight.
- The second biggest story came from our office. We are successfully packed and ready to take on the International Builders Show in 3 weeks. The trade show booth crate was packed in record time with minimal hang-ups. Anywhere Solar will be showing off our newest solar module!
- In other news, the Department of Energy released a report“showing that waves and tidal currents off the nation’s coasts could contribute significantly to the United States’ total annual electricity production, further diversify the nation’s energy portfolio, and provide clean, renewable energy to coastal cities and communities.” Go Ocean!
A map that shows mean current speeds of tidal streams. Source - Georgia Institue of Technology
- Finally, we leave you with this cool video about a windmill farmer.
The Windmill Farmer from Joaquin Baldwin on Vimeo.
Considering that most of the employees at PNS are freshly out of college we like to stay on top of the happenings at various universities around the country and talk about what we would have done differently if we could repeat our 4 years of school (Do more while doing less…everyone’s dream).
Now that we are in the renewable energy business, we are constantly looking for the institution that is doing the next big thing in industry (be it renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental education, etc.)
Today, a very exciting piece of news was released that inspired this post. According to the Wall Street Journal, “ Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to announce on Monday that Cornell University won the high-profile competition to build a new applied-science campus in New York City.” This $2 Billion project will be New York’s largest solar and geothermal installation to date in addition to the 22,500 million BTUs from natural gas fuel cells will create per year. All in all, this mix of renewable energy sources has the potential to reduce total electricity consumption at the campus by 75%. Once finished, the campus will be the largest net-zero building East of the Mississippi. Read more here.
This project is obviously huge, so tomorrow we will highlight some small universities doing some really great things.
What would putting solar on every rooftop in the U.S. do? I see three pretty big benefits.
- In the US alone, we generate a lot of electricity – almost 4,000 billion kWh of power — and less than .01% of that comes from solar. If we imagine solar on every rooftop, we could, according to some pretty good estimates and some sophisticated models, produce about a third of the energy that the US uses annually – about 1,400 billion kWh of power.
- That’s a lot of clean, renewable energy and a whole lot less dependence on coal and nuclear resources. If we imagine solar on every rooftop, we would be able to reduce how much we worry about dirty air from burning coal, what to do with nuclear waste, and the possibility of reactor meltdowns.
- US system designers, installers, contractors, and solar maintenance workers would be needed to make this happen. If we imagine solar on every rooftop, that could translate to millions of US jobs.
Solar on every rooftop?
Who knows, with increased US demand for solar modules, we might be able to lure PV cell and solar module manufacturers back to the US.
-Dan, PNS Energy
Having solar panels has, to this point, been a luxury item and, even in the corporate world, only the elite brands (those we all know make tons of money) have been making the commitment to change to solar power.
Kohl’s Department Stores has taken their commitment to using solar (as part of their energy usage reduction plan) so much more mainstream.
The brand recognizes that as a company that focuses on their retail stores, their biggest environmental impact is in energy usage. How about these accomplishments (taken from http://www.kohlsgreenscene.com/Energy/EnergyEfficiency.html):
- 50 ENERGY STAR labeled stores
- 116 activated solar sites
- #1 Retailer for Green Power Purchases, #2 Overall and #12 for On-Site Generation
- 100% of all Power used by Kohl’s comes from renewable energy sources
- Energy Star Partner of the Year Award—2010 and 2011
Kohls has Installed Solar Panels on 116 Stores (solarpanelspower.net)
You can check out the Kohl’s Green Scene
to see the depth of their whole environmental commitment. You can go to your local Kohls and see the corporate commitment in action. How cool is it that more people can exercise their option to choose to buy from a company that is really practicing great environmental leadership?
As more companies prove that you can be both environmentally friendly and profitable, choices will open up. For example, look at what is happening at Johnson & Johnson or IKEA or Google. It is so exciting that it might be time to start looking at the companies we buy from every day and try to make buying choices that reflect environmental values.
The Johnson & Johnson Solar Array – the largest solar array in New Jersey
This blog post features a new product we have been messing around with at the office for the past few weeks. I will give you a quick review of our experience with the K3 Wind and Solar
Portable Device Charger.
The K3 Charger sun-bathing
The first thing I noticed was the K3 is very easy to operate; just set it out in the sun during the day and let the elements do all the work. When you need a charge on your device and do not have your wall charger with you or you are away from an outlet you simply pull the cord out of the built-in storage area, then plug into the USB port on the charger, finally plug in the correct tip to your phone and watch as your device charges up (according to the instructions you are supposed to give it a full charge from the wall first).
According the the K3 website, the charger is “ideal for mobile phones, iPods/mp3 players, iPhone, smartphones/PDAs, portable gaming devices, GPS units, digital cameras, Bluetooth headsets, and more.” I intend to use mine mostly as a supplemental charge for my cell phone.
The design of the K3 allows you to prop it in many different posistions to take advantage of the the angle of the sun. I also found a good way to put the K3 in the back window of my car. I drive with the windows down most of the time so the wind turbine can work on my commute.
Propped up to take advantage of the sun-angle.
One negative thing that I accidentally found out was when I made the mistake of falling asleep with my phone plugged in to the charger and woke up to a dead battery in th K3. This made me use the wall charger once again to refill the K3, thus eliminating the benefits of using the sun to power my cell phone. I also figured out that if I want a good charge from the K3, it needs to be fully charged from the sun, wind, or wall before plugging it into your device. I tried to charge my phone with a half full battery in the K3 and it didn’t last very long.
The K3 Charging a Phone.
Overall, I recommend the K3 Charger as a good, quality, portable mobile device charger. I can’t wait to take it with me on my next camping trip – I’ll no longer have to worry about conserving my cell phone battery!
featuring the K3.
Positives: Durable, Wind AND Solar, USB port and multiple tip options, LED lights show battery life, Looks cool(there is also a black color option), Unique
Negatives: A little bulky, takes more time to charge than expected, relatively short phone charging time.
Ideal Uses: Camping, car travel, take it to work for that “mid-day boost,” backpacking, etc…
Two color options for the charger.
Filed under Carbon Footprint, Cell Phone, Cell Phone Battery, Conservation, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Technology, Innovation, Outdoor Adventure, Parks, Renewable Energy, Solar, Uncategorized