Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Versatility Of Solar

By: Eugene Wilkie

Recently the news has been all about the huge drop in the price of solar. This has launched the ability to create green renewable power like never before. It is definitely an exciting time for the solar industry and a chance to  really make a difference in the amount of carbon released in the atmosphere. The great thing about solar is the ability to integrate it into so many different types of applications. The only real stipulation is that they need to be south facing.
Lets look at the versatility of solar's ability to be a integrated solution into just about any application (including powering satellites and the Comet Landing) and why it makes common sense to finally consider owning your own power.

Solar For Space
Spacecraft operating in the inner solar system usually rely on the use of photovoltaic solar panels to derive electricity from sunlight. In the outer solar system, where the sunlight is too weak to produce sufficient power, radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs) are used as a power source.[1]
The first spacecraft to use solar panels was the Vanguard 1 satellite, launched by the US in 1958. This was largely because of the influence of Dr. Hans Ziegler, who can be regarded as the father of spacecraft solar power.[2]
Solar panels on spacecraft supply power for 2 main uses:
For both uses, a key figure of merit of the solar panels is the specific power (watts generated divided by solar array mass), which indicates on a relative basis how much power one array will generate for a given launch mass relative to another. Another key metric is stowed packing efficiency (deployed watts produced divided by stowed volume), which indicates how easily the array will fit into a launch vehicle. Yet another key metric is cost (dollars per watt).[4]
To increase the specific power, typical solar panels on spacecraft use close-packed solar cell rectangles that cover nearly 100% of the sun-visible area of the solar panels, rather than the solar wafer circles which, even though close-packed,cover about 90% of the sun-visible area of typical solar panels on earth. However, some solar panels on spacecraft have solar cells that cover only 30% of the sun-visible area.[3]

Roof Top Solar: This type of installation is well known and can give any homeowner or business the ability to generate their own power. One needs to remember that solar panels need to be cleaned periodically to continue peak production so access to the roof is important. The roof also needs to have a south facing roof space for optimal production.


Ground Mounted Solar: A ground mounted system is preferable if one has an appropriate amount of land. Ground mounted solar lends to the ability for easier access to keep your panels clean for optimal performance. When considering solar one needs to insure that there is no obstruction of the sun reaching your panels throughout the day and the seasons such as shading from trees and nearby buildings.

Ground Mounted Solar

Solar Tracking System: Solar trackers are a great solution as one can generate up to 30% more production from the solar panel with the ability to follow the sun from sun up to sun down. The ability to increase production leads to a decrease in the amount of solar panels needed to offset your electricity needs.

Solar Tracking System

Solar Carport Systems: Solar carports are great in that they have multiple functions offering energy production while providing shade and protection from the weather. Every space with parking lots or driveways should have one of these. For retail spaces this adder can make all the difference in the world to your customers. The designs on these are endless and can be adjusted to fit the design of you building to make it architecturally pleasing.

Solar Carports

Rooftop Solar Tracker: Rooftop solar tracking is fairly new to the market. Like ground mounted solar tracking it increases the production of solar up to 30% from each panel. One must be careful in that it does increase the weight of the system so be sure the integrity of the roof can handle it. These can also be easily integrated into solar carports.

Roof Top Solar Tracking

Solar Street Light: Solar street lights are becoming the norm for municipalities for new and upgraded installations. When combined with LED the life cycle can be great. These are also very compatible for commercial and residential lighting needs.

Solar Street Lights

Solar is and can be utilized in the residential markets, commercial and utility. As you can see the applications are endless in all sectors. 

One commercial application that we have seen on the rise is agricultural. From the ability to power remote irrigation and livestock watering needs to offsetting sometimes quite large electrical bills. Many agricultural facilities can incur high electrical needs from production, storage and processing of their food products. Wineries are a prime example of this and many have installed their own solar production facilities. Electric tractors have recently hit the market and it only makes sense to self produce your own electric needs utilizing solar thus greatly reducing your fuel bills on the farm. The great thing about agricultural applications is that you can still utilize the earth below for livestock.

Now that the price of solar has dropped so dramatically it has put the ability of self producing ones own power needs without being economically challenging when looking for great ROI. When combined with all incentives available it is an amazing opportunity! 

There is another factor in all this and that has been the ability to finance your system has greatly improved. There are many options available through local and major financial institutions that were not in existence just a few short years ago. There was a time when we spent the majority of of our energy as a company trying to locate financing for our customers. Now we have multiple choices to offer just about any interested in obtaining solar. NOW! is the time for solar

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