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Innovations in Solar Power





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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 insulation.


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).


Uni-Solar 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.


Power Light has a SunTile roofing system integrates well with many existing roof tiles for an attractive look.



Evacuated tube 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.


Solar Pathfinder has a clever device to determine which areas of your property will receive sunlight throughout the day.


Berkely Lab 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 buildings.


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.








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