Solar power has
finally gained acceptance as an important technology for
providing energy in the future. The technology has been
improving over the years. Here's a few innovations.
RWE Schott has developed an
ASI® Glass for Facades and Light Roofs. It is a
semi-transparent glass that generates electricity. They are
made in a laminate or double glazing units, which provide
Sun Power has
one of the most efficient solar cells on the market. Their
A-300 cell has a minimum conversion efficiency of 20%. They
also have panels that have an all black appearance, instead of
the usual bluish color. Some people prefer this black
appearance. Sun Power plans to bring out a solar panel with a
220 watt rating in 2006 (model SPR-220).
has developed flexible photovoltaic (PV) laminates which can
be adhered to a metal roof. They also have solar shingles.
With energy costs going up, this offers an appealing option
for new home construction.
SunTile roofing system
integrates well with many existing roof tiles for an
technology for heating water is becoming popular. These
collectors work well even on overcast days. They can heat the
water to a very high temperature. They can be practical in
northern climates where traditional collectors weren't
considered very cost effective.
Solarhart has solar water heaters backed by Rheem. They come
with solid warranties. The company's systems have electric or
gas boosters built into them for cloudy days. This type of affiliation with an
established manufacturer like Rheem should help HVAC companies
feel more comfortable getting into the area of installing
solar water heating systems.
Pathfinder has a clever device to determine which areas of
your property will receive sunlight throughout the day.
in California has developed the
first "ultra-thin solar cells comprised entirely of inorganic
nanocrystals and spin-cast from solution". Currently, solar
cells are made from organic materials, which is a very
sophisticated and expensive process. This breakthrough should
one day allow inexpensive solar roof coatings for homes and
There is a lot
of excitement in this field. Renewable energy, including solar
power, has been projected to grow to a $100 billion per year
market by 2014. There is a great opportunity for both small
and large businesses to tap into this growth and be doing work
that is good for the Earth and good for all of us.