Category Archives: Solar

Bright Outlook for Texas Solar

Experts are anticipating that the solar energy market in the state of Texas to achieve significant growth over the next several years.  According to to the Solar Energy Industry Association:

  • Texas ranks 13th in the country in installed solar capacity, with enough solar energy installations to power 12,300 homes.
  • Residential and commercial photovoltaic systems prices fell by 22 percent over the last year.
  • More than 280 solar companies are actively working in the state of Texas, employing more than 3,000 Texans.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy Conservation, Solar, Technology

Benefits of Solar Power for Outdoor Lighting

Harness the power of the sun with solar powered lighting. There is free electricity readily available in your own backyard. Outdoor solar lights are easy to install and are virtually maintenance free. Solar lighting makes the perfect complement to your energy-efficient landscape.

Solar Lighting Benefits:

• Low energy costs. After equipment purchase, the sun provides all of the necessary power.

solar security light

• Minimal maintenance. Solar products typically have a limited number of moving parts, which eliminates the need to replace parts due to breakage and wear.

• Zero emissions. Solar products use the power resource without any resulting waste material.

• Off grid power needs. Solar lights continue working even if there has been a power outage. Because the energy isn’t coming off of an electrical grid, power outages make no difference.

• Portability. You can use solar lighting to light homes, cabins, campsites, backyards or RVs in remote locations. With no power lines to run, using solar power may be a cheaper.

• Easy installation. The majority of outdoor solar lighting has no confusing wires that must be connected to your main electrical system. Setting up your lights can be as simple as hanging them on a tree or staking them into the ground.

These advantages extend to both the wallet and the environment. In addition to all of this, the benefits of solar lighting are only destined to increase as solar technology advances.

Solar Lighting Placement

•  Place lights in areas that will receive direct sunlight. Placement in shaded areas will result in poor lighting performance.

•  Consider installing  a variety of products for the various applications, including walkway, festive, security and standard lighting applications.

1 Comment

Filed under Energy Conservation, Solar, Sustainable Goods, Technology

Benefits of Solar Hot Water Heating

A solar hot water system can not only be a conscientious purchase for the environment, but the installation can also provide real and practical benefits for the consumer or homeowner.
Personal benefits of a solar hot water system include:

Solar Water Heater

  • Environmentally friendly by reducing greenhouse emissions by reducing the usage of electric or gas water heater
  • Reduce your energy bills, hot water accounts for 20 – 30% of the average homeowner’s energy costs.
  • Increased home value – A study by the Appraisal Institute have determined that people are willing to pay more for homes with solar hot water systems.
  • Extends the expected life of your residential hot water tank by dramatically reducing scaling
  • Increased hot water – hot water systems can be installed with larger storage tanks to maximize the amount of heat captured by the sun.

According to the EESI, residential solar water heater systems cost between $1,500 and $3,500, compared to $150 to $450 for electric and gas heaters. With savings in electricity or natural gas, solar water heaters pay for themselves within four to eight years. And solar water heaters last between 15 and 40 years–the same as conventional systems–so after that initial payback period is up, zero energy cost essentially means having free hot water for years to come.

2 Comments

Filed under Energy Conservation, Solar, Technology

Hill Country Solar Tour – Saturday Oct. 12, 2013

Image

Join the Hill Country Solar Tour, a collaboration of TXSES, Pedernales Electric Cooperative, and in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society National Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The tour will take place next to Oak Hill and the surrounding areas, and it will feature homes with solar installations and other green features.

This year’s tour will feature opening presentations on solar energy, a solar car workshopPEC_Hill_Country_Solar_Tour_1 for kids ages nine and up and a solar and energy-efficiency exhibit.
9:00AM – 11:00AM:   The day begins at the PEC Oak Hill Office with Cathy Redson’s popular Solar 101 class, a presentation that is well worth a second visit if you have heard her before. Larry Howe from Plano Solar Advocates will discuss his organization’s successful Solarize Plano project that organized interested residents in his community to negotiate a group purchase of solar installations for their homes. Dr. Gary Vliet will conduct his energetic Solar Model Car Workshop for kids (9 years and up please), buiding and racing the finished product.
11:00AM – 3:30PM:  The self-guided tour of five solar powered homes spans the territory from just off FItzhugh Rd. all the way to Blanco, with projects in between. You need not travel in any special order to see these homes, nor are you required to attend the presentations (though there is much to learn!). The tour is free and we will post the addresses of the homes closer to the tour date. Tour guidebooks will be available  at the PEC Oak Hill office on tour day, at the homes, and in .pdf form on this website.
Tour Preview:
Traildriver in Big Country, 78737
Duvall house_final_0.jpg 
Builder/Solar PV Installer – Native
Just completed in the summer of 2013, this 3,200 sq.ft. home for a family of five was built with a 6kW solar array, rainwater collection, geothermal HVAC, Energy Star appliances and heat pump water heaters. Siting the home for solar energy collection and passive solar design features were crucial to
energy efficiency and comfort.
Harris Dr. in Belterra, 78737
Dickey house.jpg
Solar PV Installer – Longhorn Solar
Built in 2008, this 2,530 sq.ft. home in a traditional suburban subdivision was retrofitted for a 5kW solar array in 2013. Prior to the installation, the owners made sure their home was energy efficient by adding extra insulation, solar screens and double pane windows. This is the first ‘visible from the street’ solar array in this subdivision.Thanks to the Belterra HOA for their open minded attitude regarding the adoption of solar.
Twin Oaks Trail west of Dripping Springs, 78620
Huk.jpg
Solar PV Installer- Freedom Solar
Designer, Builder and Solar Thermal Installer-Z Works Design Build
This home has both solar thermal for hot water and 7.3 kW solar PV for electricity. Built in 2012, it was designed, sited on the property and built for energy efficiency, comfort and beauty. Insulated concrete forms the walls and structural insulated panels (SIPS) the ceilings. A 28,000 gallon rainwater catchment system supplies all their water.
RR 165 between Henly and Blanco
Lochridge house.jpg
The air conditioned space for this 18 year old home is 1500 sq.ft. The solar configuration is a combination of both grid tied (interconnected to Pedernales Electric Co-op) and off grid (stand alone) production. The grid tied array is 2.46kW on a single axis tracking device. The off grid .7kW array is
on a fixed pole mount.
Misty River Run, Blanco
Pitts_house final 3.jpg
Built in 2010, this 1,144 sq.ft. home was planned and constructed to be extremely energy efficient. The 2.7 kW solar array is your first clue, but there is more. Deep porches, a metal roof, geothermal heating and cooling (efficient also for hot water), thick walls and ceilings  and a modest footprint all contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.
               Hill Country Solar Tour, Saturday October 12, 11:00-3:30

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy Conservation, Solar, Technology

Advantages of Solar Chargers

There are several advantages to using portable solar chargers and solar panels. First of all, they are eco and environmentally friendly. They do not emit harmful waste, and can be used anytime and anywhere as long as there is access to sunlight.

Freeloader Solar Charger

A solar battery charger is a device used to power electronics batteries without the use of a power outlet. They are easy to make use of and do not require a great deal of attention. You simply connect the battery to a charger that has solar panels and allow the sun do the rest. The solar panel will collect power from the sun and translate it to electricity. That is accomplished by use of small solar cells within the charger that translates the sunlight into electricity.

Solar Chargers are a convenient source of power in remote areas, on field trips, or when hiking and camping out. They can recharge batteries, cell phones, or other gadgets in any location. In addition to being convenient, solar chargers are a clean energy source and do not cause pollution or other harmful emissions while creating electricity. They also reduce the need for disposable batteries, and thus reduce the overall volume of harmful chemicals and toxic waste that ends up in landfills.

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy Conservation, Solar, Technology

Solar Wild Grass Garden Lights

The Solar Wild Grass Lights use solar power to provide a beautiful, eco-friendly lighting feature to your garden or landscape. The lights come in a set of 3 sprigs of fiber optic lights that can be arranged in a variety of ways, each leaf can be manipulated for the desired look. Wild-Grass-Solar-Garden-Lights.-3-LED-Lights-400x243

The Solar Wild Grass Lights are powered by a 0.2 watt solar panel that chargers a 500mAh rechargeable NiMH battery. The battery can provide around 6 hours of lighting for the wild grass sprigs from only 8 hours of sunlight. The grass lights achieve this as they use 3 LED bulbs, one per sprig, to provide the lighting. The grass lights turn on automatically as dusk approaches by the light sensor.

These are absolutely gorgeous and stylish lights for lighting up flowers, steps and patio seating area. 1 pack includes 3 LED lights connected with 1 solar panel on with stake.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Product Review, Solar, Technology

Freeloader Classic Solar Charger Review

Solar chargers are ideal because they allow you to harvest energy from the sun and then deliver it straight into your mobile device of choice without having to plug into power outlet.The Freeloader Classic is the new star of the solar mobile charging world. Sleek and robust it contains the most cutting edge electronics capable of powering the world’s most popular devices including the iPad and the iPad2.

The Freeloader Classic is comprised of three aluminum coated parts – the battery and the two solar charging panels. When not charging, the panels can be folded and hooked together, panel-to-panel, keeping them protected. The main battery has a backlit LCD display that illuminates and to signal the current battery life level, detecting charge being picked up by one of the panels and if the device is connected and charging. The fully charged battery can supply around 2 hours charge to an iPad and a full charge to most smartphone devices.

On the left hand-side of the battery unit are two USB ports, one full size and the other a miniUSB slot. The first is used to connect the various charging adaptors, while the smaller can be used to link the Freeloader Classic up to a PC for a quicker 3 hour charge.

There’s a specific Globetrotter Edition of the Freeloader available, building upon the Classic by adding a larger Supercharger panel that, can charge the battery up in 4hrs and is great for those who spend extended periods of time in the outdoors.

Key Features:
  • 1200mAh environmentally friendly Li-ion battery
  • 150mA premium quality crystalline solar cells
  • Charge Time: 8 hours via solar panels or 3 hours PC
  • Nine included tips
  • Removable solar panel modules
  • Charging via miniUSB option
  • 8-hour solar charge time
Compatibility:
Supplied with a master cable and nine adaptors to fit the following:
1) Mini USB – Motorola, Blackberry, Smartphone, iMate etc
2) Micro USB – Motorola, Blackberry, Nokia etc – the new “standard phone adaptor”
3) 4mm straight jack – PSP, TomTom, EBook etc
4) Nokia 3.5mm straight jack
5) Nokia 2mm straight jack
6) Sony Ericsson – wide adaptor
7) Samsung – G600 series adaptor
8) LG – Chocolate, Prada etc
9) DS – DS Lite
*USB socket connector allows connection from devices with their own USB charge cable – e.g. Apple products.

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy Conservation, Product Review, Solar, Technology