Drone's-eye view of how solar farms clean all those panels

Clifford Burgoni wanted to sell his system for cleaning 86,000 solar panels, so he made a cool drone video of the gear in operation. Read the rest

Meet Twitchy, my new dashboard owl

A post shared by Jason Weisberger (@jlw) on Mar 6, 2018 at 2:50pm PST

Better than Jesus, this cute, solar-powered owl is twitching away on my dashboard.

I've always wanted to have a bobblehead on my dash, and I still don't! This owl comes close tho! He twitches his center section about once every second, when in moderate to direct sunlight. As my '87 Vanagon shakes so much, and the suspension is rather whimsical, Twitchy doesn't need the sun to move around.

The marketing says Twitchy is 'dancing' but he seems to just be really, really edgy.

Solar Power Motion Toy - Owl, Dancing via Amazon

Image via Amazon Read the rest

Trump slaps 30% tariff on imported solar-cells

It's a political no-brainer for Trump, who gets to clobber the renewables market, rattle his saber at China, extend the viable economic life of climate-destroying hydrocarbon fuels (like coal) and rile up the libs. Read the rest

Promising energy storage technologies for our renewable future

When the wind is blowing, the great plains could generate enough power to supply all of America, but storing and moving energy to supply those places where the wind isn't blowing, the sun isn't shining and the tide isn't coming in is a significant technological challenge that we're still figuring out. Read the rest

Florida Power and Light lobbyists made it illegal to use solar during outages

Florida Power and Light's grid did not fare well under Hurricane Irma, despite the company's assurances that it had spent billions hardening its systems after 90% of its customers lost power to 2005's Hurricane Wilma. Read the rest

California has so much solar power it has to pay Arizona to use its energy

...But California keeps green-lighting more natural gas plants, thanks to hydrocarbon industry pressure on state regulators, who operate at cross-purposes to the legislature and its targets for renewables. Read the rest

The 120watt 12v solar camping solution for my VW Westfalia

I am very happy with the solar power solution I've adapted for my van camping needs. I can power all my toys! Read the rest

Fill Your Boots: my column on how technology could let us work like artisans and live like kings

My latest Locus column is "Fill Your Boots," in which I talk about how scientists, sf writers, economists and environmental activists have wrestled with the question of abundance -- how the "green left" transformed left wing politics from the promise of every peasant living like a lord to the promise of every lord living like a peasant. Read the rest

Has anyone tried the ALLPOWERS 80W foldable solar panel?

I'm looking for feedback on this solar panel. I am looking to charge a 37 qt ARB portable fridge while rolling about Baja in my Vanagon. I believe this panel, with good sun, should out put more than enough power to run the fridge.

The Dometic fridge that has been in my VW for 29 years has sucked for 29 years. It barely gets cold enough for cans of soda.

Forums on line claim the fridge peaks around 1.5Ah use on hot days, and this panel should deliver (80w/18v) 4.4Amps. My smallish deep cycle battery is a 44Ah unit. I'm hoping that 6hrs of strong sun a day will get me to just around 24hrs of power.

Unless I get flagged off in the comments, I'm going to order one tomorrow or the next day, and run a test load on the system at my house this weekend. I can't be sure to have strong sun in the SF Bay Area, however.

ALLPOWERS 80W Foldable Solar Panel Sunpower Solar Charger with iSolar Technology via Amazon

ARB 37 Quart Fridge/Freezer via Amazon Read the rest

Greenpeace NZ delivers a solar power petition -- with a song

The government of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand imposing an energy-company-backed tax on people who put solar panels on their homes. Greenpeace's petition in support of sustainable, renewable power was delivered with a catchy, angry song by Tiki Taane. Read the rest

$20 Water resistant, solar charging, 10000mAh power bank

For $20 I really like this new Matone dual USB battery pack! I haven't found anything better at this price.

The Matone battery is a great combo. I've tried water and damage resistant batteries, and solar charging units -- but this is the Bartles and James of outdoor USB power banks.

At 10000 mAh advertised, I can get around 1 3/4ths full charges on my iPhone 6 with this battery. It seems a bit low, but is certainly enough juice for my needs. Keeping a cellphone running Waze going on an all day motorcycle trip. Charging with the solar panel is slow as there isn't a lot of surface area. I'd consider solar to be an emergency only kinda thing, and not to rely on it for regular charging.

This'll certainly be the battery I use for this Spring's road trips.

Matone® Portable 10000mAh Solar Battery Charger Shockproof, Dual USB output via Amazon Read the rest

USA uses TPP-like trade-court to kill massive Indian solar project

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was on track to deliver deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 ("more than the current solar capacity of the world’s top five solar-producing countries combined") but because India specified that the solar panels for it were to be domestically sourced, the USA sued it in WTO trade court and killed it. Read the rest

NASA looks directly at the sun so you don't have to, and it's gorgeous

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in orbit keeps a constant vigil on the Sun to help us understand how solar variations impact life on Earth. Launched in 2010, the SDO is part of NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program. NASA just released this magnificent 4K video shot by the SDO of our star's nuclear fire. It's titled "Thermonuclear Art."

Read the rest

SunCalc: customizable data for the sun at any time and place

SunCalc is a nifty site and app by Torsten Hoffman that allows visitors to enter any location and date and find out all the details of that day's local solar path: Read the rest

Four of USA's top solar states are on the east coast

California may be the first US state to generate more than 5% of its electricity from utility solar, but runner-up North Carolina leads the four east coast states that comprised last year's top solar states. The top ten: Read the rest

IKEA selling solar panels

IKEA has now started selling solar panels in the UK. According the Associated Press, "a standard, all-black 3.36 kilowatt system for a semi-detached home will cost 5,700 British pounds ($9,200) and will include an in-store consultation and design service as well as installation, maintenance and energy monitoring service." Feel free to suggest funny faux-Swedish product names in the comments. Read the rest

Solar pays

Redditor Tufflaw has been running a central air-conditioning system "24/7" during the New York heatwave. But the bills were offset by 26 home solar panels by Sharp that took three days to install and were subject to state and federal tax-credits, and will take 7-8 years to pay for themselves. Here is the most recent bill: $6.05. Tufflaw says that there are sometimes months that go by with no bill at all (and one year generated a $20 rebate from the power company!), and adds, "There's also an intangible benefit, feeling good about using a free renewable source of power."

Been running my central air 24/7 lately, especially with the recent heat wave. This is my most recent electric bill. Damn I love my solar panels. Read the rest

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