Monday, October 31, 2011

Greece Bets on Solar Power As a Debt Solution

This is just the type of outside the box thinking that I can really appreciate. Greece has racked up a substantial amount of debt in the European Union (EU) and in my mind there is really no way of repaying via traditional "cutting off the nose to spite the face" methods (i.e. raising revenues through taxes on folks without jobs or with stagnant wages or cutting spending through "austerity" measures like reducing or eliminating pensions). Greece is both sunny and beautiful. There are only so many tourists (and revenue) that can come through each year to see the beauty of Greek history and its people. So the smart people of Greece think they can capitalize on something that they have an abundance of - the sun by capturing it and exporting it to other EU countries. Cool huh?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Colorado Scores Another Win: GE Will Build a Solar PV Factory Here

The good times just keep rolling into Colorado. First there was the announcement earlier this week that Arrow Technologies was moving their corporate headquarters to the Centennial State. And then it was announced that GE is bringing a $300 million thin-film solar manufacturing plant to this state. This article from the Denver Business Journal says that reasons GE chose this state were because of an "well-trained workforce with access to higher education" and the "ability to move into a 700,000 sq. ft. facility" to name a couple. This is an incredible announcement considering that Ascent Solar in Thornton, CO announced recently that they are building a thin-film solar manufacturing plant in China. It's been a great for this state and I know that the Colorado Economic Development Office is working hard to bring in even more businesses.

Vestas’ Brighton Blade Plant Gets First Order

Good news from Colorado Energy News on the Vestas plant in Brighton, Colorado receiving their first order for 55-meter wind turbine blades to be completed by the end of the year. Looks like X-mas comes early for the folks working at that Brighton plant.

And speaking of wind turbine blades, while I was driving down I-76 today I saw a huge turbine blade being transported via semi. It was incredibly long (seemed like a city block) and I wish I could have snapped a picture of it (but I was driving). After it drove by I did wonder how they install those blades. Do they put the tower up first and then add the blades or do they put the whole thing together on the ground and then pull it up via helicopter or crane or what? Any ideas dear readers?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Westinghouse Solar Introduces Low-Cost, DIY Home Solar Power Kits

The price of solar is perpetually dropping. It's a beautiful thing. Because of this Westinghouse has developed a simple low-cost solar photovoltaic kit for your home. They come in various sizes from a small one-panel experimental kit to a 20-panel kit that can satisfy about 70% of the homeowners electricity. I hope to see solar panels on every home in the United States. But remember to make sure that your home is as energy efficient as possible before you supplement your power with solar PV or thermal.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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