Tag Archives: solar

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.

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Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The environmental impact of installing solar panels are evident. The installation of residential solar panels will reduce the size of your carbon footprint and your share of greenhouse gases that are produced annually. As you go through the decision-making process of determining the feasibility of installing residential solar panels, here are a few key points to consider:
  • Start-up Costs - You can reduce the substantial initial outlay by taking advantage of incentives and tax rebates.
  • Self sufficiency and independence -The ability to get of the grid can be liberating. You can also remove a bit of market volatility that can be caused by terrorism, natural disasters and market forces.
  • Return on Investment - The initial purchase of solar panels is obviously a substantial investment, but energy genera
  • solar panelstion starts immediately, resulting in immediate savings on electrical costs. After the initial outlay is covered, in 10 – 15 years, the system will provide pure profit.
  • Remote Installation - Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are great places to see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power infrastructure.
  • Environmental Impact - The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise pollution.
  • Home equity - Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.
  • System Longevity - Solar panels have the capability of collecting energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers typically warranty the systems for 20 to 25 years.

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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.

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Hill Country Solar Tour – Saturday Oct. 12, 2013

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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.

 

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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.

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Green Product Review: Nokero N200 Solar Light Bulb

Even if you are not one of the many individuals in the world in need of kerosene lanterns, the Nokero N200 is a great eco-friendly lighting alternative. We decided to test the Nokero N200 as an alternative light source for an outdoor building without any access to interior lighting.

At first glance, we enjoyed the light bulb shape design and the clever swiveling solar panel, for optimal charging exposure. At only 85 grams, the Nokero N200 is lightweight. The overall construction of the N200 is also quite durable and well made, which would be beneficial in rugged outdoor situations. This rugged design extends to the waterproof casing of this solar light bulb. The N200 has 4 LED lights powered by a rechargeable battery that receives its charge from a solar panel. There is also an auto sensor that turns the bulb off it is exposed to light.

The Nokero N200 has three modes of operation: On, Off, and Turbo-Task. The bulb received a full 6 hours of sunlight for each of our product tests. For our first test, we tested the Nokero N200 in the “on” mode. We were able to achieve a full 7 hours of light before the LEDs went dim. For the second test, the bulb was tested in “turbo-task” mode. The bulb was significantly brighter in this setting, but provided just over 2 hours and 50 minutes of light in this mode.

We recommend Nokero N200 for the avid camper or anyone in need of an outdoor lighting fixture that is more economical and environment friendly. We also appreciate the vision of Nokero and their effort to support efforts such as the New Beginnings Project to improve millions of lives through clean, safe, solar light bulbs.

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Product Test: Novothink Solar Surge for iPhone

Anyone who has a iPhone knows that battery life can be a significant issue. Novothink has come up with a solution that harnesses the power of the sun to keep your iPhone up and going, the Solar Surge for iPhone.  One key benefit of this charger over others is that this is the only one to be Apple-certified.

The Surge features a  solar panel on its back, connected to a 1500mAH lithium-ion battery. There are Indicator lights to let you know the status of the charge and the current strength of your light source, while an additional speaker is built into the bottom to compensate for the iPhone’s own speaker being covered. The case also provides a cutout for attaching wrist straps, carabiners, or other clips to charge the device while hiking, biking or other outdoor activities.If you find yourself without adequate sunlight, you can also charge the Novothink Solar Surge via USB. For our first test, we placed battery depleted iPhone into the Solar Surge without charging. We placed the Solar Charge in sunlight for an hour and a half. We then calculated that we were able to get nearly fifty-five minutes of talk time on the iPhone before the phone needed additional charge. We then charged the Solar Surge for sixteen hours to get a full charge. From a full charge, the Solar Surge provided over six and a half hours of talk time on the iPhone. As a bonus, Novothink offers a free app from the App Store that helps you plan for extended trips. The app, Novothink Solar Planner, lets you adjust for sunny or cloudy trips and app usage, and it tells you how long you’ll need to keep the Surge in the sun to keep it – and your phone – juiced up. The Novothink Solar Surge for iPhone is a recommended power solution for iPhone users with the need to keep connected on the go.

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