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The global photovoltaic, or PV, industry has been continuously growing at a rapid pace over the recent years. In 2008, the annual global installed PV capacity reached around 5.6 GW, taking the total installed capacity to around 15 GW by the end of that year.
Various factors including government incentives for solar energy, narrowing cost differentials between solar and conventional sources of energy, increasing environmental concern and emission regulations remain major growth drivers for the PV industry worldwide, according to the report “Global Photovoltaic Market Forecast to 2013”. This report gives an overview of the market forces that are currently driving the global demand for the PV industry.
The global PV industry is highly dependent on government initiatives and this shows that the industry is yet to achieve self-sufficiency. The impact of government initiatives can be easily understood considering the US market, which lags behind Germany and Japan due to lack of government initiatives. The report anticipates that the future of PV market will largely depend on government’s enforcement of existing or new support mechanisms across the world. Besides this, competition among the major manufacturers is expected to intensify, with new players entering the market as the potential for PV opens up.
This report “Global Photovoltaic Market Forecast to 2013” focuses on the growing marketplace for the PV industry at global as well as at the country level and analyzes the current market trends along with future growth prospects of the industry. It contains extensive data on cumulative PV capacity, annual installed PV capacity, and the future market potential of the key countries. The report also features the leading-edge opportunities critical to the success of the PV industry. It will help clients to discover the forces backing the growth of the PV industry, thus enabling them to outline their market strategies accordingly. From the future perspective, PV market EPIA scenario has been taken into consideration under the set of certain assumptions.
About RNCOS: RNCOS, incorporated in the year 2002, is an industry research firm. We are a team of industry experts who analyze data collected from credible sources. We provide industry insights and analysis that helps corporations to take timely and accurate business decision in today’s globally competitive environment.
Highly volatile oil prices and depleting conventional sources of energy across the world have highlighted the need for renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic (PV) to rebalance the energy mix. Consequently, the installation of PV has been growing at rapid pace, leading to reduction in PV module costs with rising capacity, says our new research report “Global Photovoltaic Market Forecast to 2013”. (more…)
The Holy Solar crew trucked down to Hopland, California, for the annual SolFest celebration at the Solar Living Institute & left with this song and video.
Solar Living Experiment
For those of you who’ve never been
It’s so amazing as to be a sin
Right along scenic highway one-oh-one
There’s a magical place, mostly about the Sun
We’d heard about the Redwoods, so we came to see,
What it felt like to be under all of those trees
We weren’t the first to hear their call
Hundred foot Redwoods dwarfing any wall
Under their canopy you might feel a little small
Until you give one a hug and feel part of it all.
With towering trees and ancient ferns
Restoring the forest each time it burns
Once again, we’re headed down to the Solar Living Institute in Hopland California to take part in the annual Solfest gathering. For those who are not familiar, the Solar Living Institute is one of the most active and established sites using green technologies and earth-friendly land strategies since 1998.
Associated with the Real Goods Eco-store, the Solar Living Institute is one of our favorite places on Earth. Featuring the largest array of solar panels in Northern California, SLI’s Solar 2000 module grid produces more than 160,000 kilowatt hours of power annually. Since 2003, anyone traveling Highway 101 has been able to top off their biodiesel tank while visiting this historic landmark of the future.
A leader in alternative energy information, SLI sponsors ongoing workshops in the Bay Area and along the North Coast throughout the year, but SolFest brings together speakers on topics from straw bale building construction and permaculture to biofuels and windmills.
And, of course, solar energy. The entire event will be powered by the many solar panels which adorn the venue year round, and experts in grid-tie applications, tax incentives, and off-grid solar photovoltaics will be making presentations, as well as being on hand to answer questions.
Year-round interns care for and eat from the organic farm and permaculture displays, leaving with an intimate knowledge of Earth-friendly techniques to bring into a world in desperate need of solutions. Each year, the volunteer staff joins them to help produce a zero-waste event using all-natural biodegradable plates, bottles, and utensils.
We’ll be volunteering there as well as signing up folks for our new newsletter- which will be launching sometime next week with our experiences and inside view of the event. We’ll also be trying to get a hold of a video recorder so that we can make a brief documentary about SLI, Real Goods, and SolFest, hopefully with interviews and some good shots of one of the most innovative villages on Earth.
*The Solar Living Center picture was provided by anotheremily
In the previous post, we covered some of the main reasons why we chose the Unisolar 64 Watt solar panel for supplemental power in our alternative energy bus. We made the purchase at the Real Goods store in Hopland, California, but because our roof had no metal to fix the mounting brackets to, installation was pretty much up to us.
Erik at Real Goods helped us develop a plan, drew a diagram showing the proper way to hook up the wiring between the junction box of the solar panel, the regulator, and batteries, and wished us well. We had his card in the event of emergency; fortunately, we never needed it.
The first issue we confronted was the fiberglass roof. Since Mahayana was not new when we met her, we lacked electrical diagrams of the wiring scheme, although we could make some educated guesses. We decided that the region on either side of the visible wire bundle ought to be safe for drilling, and this turned out to be correct.
Along with the Unisolar Thin Film Panel, we chose the Uni-Rac RV mounting bracket set, which brought the total bill to just under $500. The bracket set is simple enough, but to avoid undue stress to the fiberglass, we mounted a T-plate to the roof beneath each bracket and attached the mounts to those.
This works well, but at high speeds there is some vibration noise, which makes us wish that we had insulated the T-plate with felt “washers,” such as battery terminal pads. Live and learn!
Each T-plate was mounted with a pair of fittings to the roof. The holes were drilled with a 5/8″ bit and secured with 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ mechanical bolts.
Since our solar panel is bus-mounted, we didn’t need to worry about connecting the panel to a ground, but those working on residential installations will need to ground the frame of the panel.
We drilled an additional hole through the roof in order to accommodate the positive and negative wires which passthe charge from the panel to the batteries, making a total of nine breaches in our ceiling. Preserving the integrity of the roof being a priority, we were glad to see that we made only as many as were needed. We were quite happy as well to see that the holes were confined to a relatively small area, approximately two feet across and three back. This means that there is room for at least one more panel like this if- and when- we expand our solar collection potential.
After making sure we had all of the wire, connections, splices and fuses we needed- all of which are included in the Global Solar Energy Extra Connectivity Kit– we proceeded to connect the SunSaver controller first to the deep-cycle marine batteries, and then to the panel. We made sure to splice the included fuse module to the positive wires on either side of the controller for overload protection.
It’s been a little more than two weeks since we added the Unisolar Thinfilm Panel to our alternative energy houseboat, and the results have exceeded expectations. The little green light, signifying charge, goes on with the first glint of dawn and stays fiercely bright, in shade and beneath cloudy skies, until the last flash of sunset disappears from the horizon.
We are proud to announce that the production of this site is now completely solar powered, as our two computers currently run off of our recently installed Unisolar Thin Film solar panel, which soaks up light like a sponge and allows the two of us to write and design to our hearts content, without using fossil fuels or depending on grid power.
Frankly, we’re pretty excited about it. Our hardy road-boat, Mahayana (which means “The Big Vehicle,” a type of Buddhism), has sailed the highways for over two years under the faint scent of French fries from the biodiesel she drinks with glee. Adding a solar panel to our array of alternative energy was a logical next step, but we found suppliers and information to be shockingly scarce…which is part of what motivated the construction of this site.
As the great Bobby Weir still sometimes sings, “it’s all too clear we’re on our own.” Switching to alternative energy made us amateur electricians for a few days, with an emphasis on amateur. Neither of us had a lot of experience in drilling and wiring, but there was no choice but to learn the basics. Installing a solar panel on the bus brought this home, and fortunately we had the time and patience to carry it off without mishap.
The first task, of course, was choosing the right panel. We went with the Unisolar model for several reasons. First, unlike its vulnerable mono-and-polycrystalline counterparts, the ThinFilm technology is considered “unbreakable.” Of course, you shouldn’t take a sledgehammer to any solar panel, but the manufacturer asserts that it can sustain normal impact without damage.
There will surely be many unplanned tests of this claim as we travel, so we’ll let you know what parking stupidities the Unisolar has survived, or-perish the thought-failed to. Physical damage to the panel is definitely a risk in the wooded regions we travel, so we wanted the most durable design available.
The second reason we chose the Unisolar 64 has to do with how it collects light. The amorphous solar panel design is much more efficient in partial shading than panels composed of serial cells, which can fail to perform if even a portion of the panel is in shadow. In fact, the charge indicator light shows that the Unisolar is passing current to the regulator, even in complete shading on an overcast day.
The downside to the Thin Film style of collector is that the surface is not as efficient as other types of panels per square inch, which means that our 64 watt panel has the physical dimensions (about 54″ X 30″) one normally associates with grid-tie panels of 100 watts or more. The ES series is versatile and is perfect for auxiliary power on boats, RVs, and remote work trucks as well as residential grid-tie and even massive megawatt arrays.
For us, the slightly larger surface is no disadvantage at all, as Mahayana has ample roof space and room for two more such panels should we ever need them.
In the next post, we’ll describe the DIY installation process, what we learned, a few helpful tips for those of you considering going solar, and links to all the equipment you’ll need for personal energy independence, with a little help from nature.
It feels wonderful. Thank you, old Sol!
Get the Unisolar Thin Film and other solar panels from Real Goods.
The purpose of this site, as we’ll keep mentioning until we’re sure it has been made quite clear, is to advocate for and provide information on renewable, nonpolluting energy sources. There are quite a few reasons why we feel this is important, but all of them boil down to a concern over the toxic social, economic, and environmental impact of petrochemical dependence.
The solution, we believe, is to turn to nature. When we talk about solar power, we don’t just mean photovoltaic modules, although that is certainly one of our favorite forms of electricity generation. Solar power includes windmills, biofuel, and non-PV applications such as solar heaters and ovens.
In fact, in a sense all of the power on the planet derives ultimately from the Sun, even those nasty petrochemicals we so avidly avoid. Yet there is a conceptual distinction between using dead, stored energy from a limited and ecologically problematical cache, and choosing from a panacea of naturally clean power which replaces itself with each new day.
Slapping solar panels on every rooftop in the world might go a long way toward addressing the petro-mess, but that isn’t going to happen overnight, and it will never happen unless the people collectively demand it.
Some individuals may feel that the threat of climate change is exaggerated, or that oil is more abundant than current projections indicate. Others are inclined to believe that the green movement is a liberal conspiracy to attack businesses with taxes and regulations.
We may not be able to convince these folks. That’s not our job. We are here to evangelize to the choir, to provide a perspective and strategies as much as tools and applications for green living. Converting the critics is a job we leave to those of you able to combine honesty with diplomacy. They’ll come around, once they realize their tree-hugging neighbors don’t pay an electric bill.
Can the energy needs of the entire species be accommodated by green power? We believe the answer is: absolutely. Within the decade, if a planet-wide initiative takes hold as we dream. The technology exists and improves daily. No system is without disadvantages, and underestimating the challenge would be a mistake.
Nevertheless, the time is ripe for a transition that could sweep the globe with positive effects, not only in the ways we gather energy, but the way we approach nature and economics as well. We are at a crossroads, and the type of technology choices we make today will have an impact on how tomorrow’s civilization collects and uses the power to live in harmony with the Earth…or render it forever uninhabitable.
With the rising cost of fuel and the need to find more renewable sources of energy, advanced research is being conducted to discover more efficient ways to go green. Solar energy in a natural solution as the sun is constantly providing abundant energy which powers the world already. Harnessing solar energy does not produce any type of pollution or damage to our planet, and there are numerous ways in which we can utilize this ample resource to power our everyday needs.
Solar water purification is a great example of an efficient green technology, as it replaces a machine which everyone has a need for that would normally use standard electricity. A solar water purifier makes it possible to produce pure drinking water that is healthy for all with a minimum of input.
With the choice of stationary or portable units, it is easy to purify water anywhere without being connected to the grid. Solar powered water purification units can be used as a portable device for personal use, as well as larger, industrial scales to produce clean drinking water for even sizable communities.
A solar water purifier operates using natural energy from the sun which is gathered by solar panels and then converted into serviceable energy. The solar panel must be placed in direct sunlight for optimal efficiently, which makes solar powered water purifiers an ideal solution for outdoor use such as camping.
These solar units are easy to maintain as there are no batteries required, no external electronics and no moving parts. Because they need only water and sunlight to operate, these distillation devices rarely need cleaning. There are many applications of solar water purification, as energy from the sun is used to heat up the water in order to sterilize it. Much like boiling water on a stove to get rid of any contaminants, a solar powered water distiller heats the water up until it is clean enough to drink. It works by heating the water until it evaporates, where it attaches to a piece of plastic held at a slope. All contaminants and other solids are left behind, leaving only pure, clean, drinking water that is ideal for both adults and children.
Portable solar water purifiers can distill and purify liquids from natural fresh-water sources such as lakes and streams as well as salt water sources. Some models use both solar energy as well as batteries so that a charge can be stored, giving you the ability to use your purifier any time, anywhere. These solar-powered units even give off a larger yield than standard water purifiers which use grid-power or other sources of energy.
If you need more charge, these purifiers can be hooked up to a car or other direct-current power source, but can still operate using only the energy from the sun. A portable solar water distiller could save your life during an emergency situation such as a flood or earthquake, as it can transform even the dirtiest water into healthy, pure drinking water. It can also be used for camping trips or trips where no clean water is available or even brought along just in case the clean water supply runs out.
The same technology used on portable solar water purifiers can also be applied on a larger scale, making it possible to purify large amounts of water using only the energy from the sun. Most portable solar water purifiers can clean up to 100 gallons of water a day, using only the natural energy given off by the sun. Large-scale purifiers, however, are able to clean up to 1000 gallons of water each day, and can provide clean water from sources including lakes, streams. Like portable purifiers, they can also use a secondary source of energy like a generator, but mainly rely on the natural energy that the sun has to offer.
Communities all over the planet are creating their own, homemade solar water distillation devices, in order to provide clean drinking water for their families and neighbors. Because there are still areas that do not have direct access to clean water lines, they must find methods to transform their water from natural, and possibly polluted sources into water that will be healthy for their entire family.
Everyone needs access to clean water in order to maintain a healthy life. Knowing that the sun will shine on every inch of the globe at one point or another, we can now empower ourselves to utilize the sun’s bountiful energy to persevere.