Town Bans Solar Panels For “Sucking Up All The Energy Of The Sun”

Solar panels are a great step in renewable energy. They are constantly being upgraded, from absorbing new areas of the light spectrum to being made see-through. Companies and governments are understanding their importance and role they could play in renewable energy, France has even made it a legal requirement to use them if your building a new office. MIT recently said that solar panels could power the planet’s energy requirements alone, and with the steps they are making that means fewer panels for the same amount of energy, doing away with things like nuclear or coal stations. The reason we don’t see more solar panels? Fear and recently Woodland, North Carolina, proved this by voting to not only stop development on a solar farm but also to ban all future solar farms.

Woodland Town Council recently voted to stop a rezoning application that would have allowed the development of a solar farm. Retired science Teacher Jane Mann told Roanoke-Chowan News Herald that she had witnessed plants around the solar panels going brown and dying because they didn’t get enough solar energy. She went on to question the number of cancer deaths in the area saying no one could tell that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

Bobby Mann, a local, stated that he had watched communities dry up when the I-95 was built and that solar panels would do the same to Woodland. He continued to say that solar farms would “suck up all the energy from the sun”.

The development of a newly renamed “solar vacuums” are on hold as we wonder what education and scientific principle were used to ban solar farms, while not perfect they are environmentally friendly and to go so far as voting on a moratorium on future solar farms with these “facts”, we hope they rethink the issue through soon.

Do you have solar panels? How have you found them? Do you like the idea of a solar farm outside your local area to help power the community or are you afraid of the effects the new technology may have?

Google’s Project Sunroof Makes Solar Panel Implementation Easier

Google’s always keeping an eye on what people search for using its search engine, so when it noticed that more and more users were looking for information on how to install and use solar panels, it decided to launch Project Sunroof in order to help them out. This new Google project uses Google Earth data in order to tell users just how much sunlight comes down on their roof and where are its primary hotspots. The project can also calculate how much a household could save on bills after installing solar panels, and it even ensures a link to some local companies that specialize in solar roofs.

It’s worth noting that the feature is only available in Boston, the Bay Area and Fresno right now, but it will surely expand to other areas in the future. If you currently live in one of these places, you can just type in your home address and let Project Sunroof do its thing. It will tell you how much sunlight reaches your roof in a year and will suggest how many solar panels you should install. The application works by analyzing a 3D model of your roof, and it takes into account nearby buildings or trees that could cast a shadow on it. Historical temperature patterns as well as sun positions throughout the year are also analyzed in order to deliver the most accurate data possible.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information.

See-Through Solar Panels Could Turn Windows and Screens into Energy Generators

Solar panels are more popular in homes than ever, and a new innovation could take their personal use to the next level. Silicon Valley startup Ubiquitous Energy, founded by researchers from MIT and Michigan State University, is hoping to bring transparent solar panels to a household near you. The practical implementation of the technology is boundless, from windows in homes and cars, to screens on smartphones, tablets, laptops and televisions.

“It’s a whole new way of thinking about solar energy, because now you have a lot of potential surface area,” Miles Barr, Chief Executive and co-founder of Ubiquitous Energy, said. “You can let your imagination run wild. We see this eventually going virtually everywhere.”

The basis of the technology is to convert the energy from the invisible ends of the light spectrum into electricity. Since such a solar panel will only be absorbing invisible light, it will allow light visible to the human eye to pass through, meaning the panel can be transparent. Ubiquitous Energy has taken published research from 2011 and developed an optimal formation for transparent solar panels from it.

“There is generally a direct tradeoff between transparency and efficiency levels,” Barr added. “With the approach we’re taking, you can still get a significant amount of energy at high transparency levels.”

Ubiquitous plans to introduce the tech on a small scale, to begin with, starting with smartphones and watches powered by the sun’s rays. “We think providing battery-life extension and solving battery life problems will be a very good entry point for us,” Barr said. The company is not working to a particular timeframe, but hopes to debut the technology soon.

Thank you National Geographic for providing us with this information.

France Starts With Solar Panels or Plants on the Rooftops

The rooftop scenery in France is set to change over the new few years as new buildings built in commercial zones in France will be required by law to either be covered in plants or solar panels.

While originally intended to cover all new buildings, the law was narrowed down to only included new commercial buildings. Intended to implement “green roofs” on all buildings, a term used to describe roofs which are covered in plants and grass, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat a building by insulating the roof (one of the main sources of heat loss in a building) thus keeping the building warm in winter and cool in summer. The new law, brought in on Thursday, allows for only part of the roof to be covered and offers the option to include solar panels, allowing them to generate electricity instead.

This is not the first case of a country enforcing green roofs through the law, Toronto in Canada adopted a law making them mandatory in industrial and residential buildings.

Have you ever seen a green roof? What do you think of them, is this the future of buildings?

Thank you Guardian for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ezsolar.

Blu-ray Technology Improves Solar Panel Efficiency by 20%

Who knew that home release copies of Jackie Chan’s Police Story 3: Super Cop would be used to save the environment? Researchers at Northwestern University, apparently. They discovered the azure nanoscopic pattern on Blu-ray discs can be implemented to improve the efficiency of solar panels.

The team bought up several copies of Police Story 3 (on sale at Best Buy, at the time), pressed plastic stamps out of the data side of the Blu-ray discs. The stamps were used to manufacture solar panels with the exact same pattern as the Blu-ray disc. After comparing numerous different pattern-pressed solar panels over the course of a few months, the researchers concluded that the Blu-ray patterns were the most efficient, by an impressive 20%.

Source: Techspot

New Self Cooling Solar Panel Design Will Increase Efficiency

The last thing that comes into my mind when thinking about solar panels is how they are cooled, after all they are designed to have the sun shining on them for 65% of the day every day. Solar power cells need to stay relatively cool for the sake of both efficiency and longevity, but active cooling (like ventilation) isn’t practical; it’s expensive, and may block the very rays the cells are supposed to collect, which defeats the point of a solar panel all together.

Now, very clever researchers at Stanford University have created a new form of Solar Cell, one that cools itself without needing additional help. The new design consists of placing very small cone and pyramid shapes into the collector’s silica surface, bouncing hot infrared wavelengths away whilst letting in the visible light that generates the most energy, which is a win win if you ask me.

Scientists say that the results are very nearly ideal, the solar panel takes in more energy whilst reflecting most of the heat that hit it, prolonging the panels lifespan and cost efficiency. The team at Stanford University have a long way to go yet, including actual outdoor testing, but they see this new design hitting a commercial level in the not so distant future.

Thanks to Engadget for supplying us with this information.

Images courtesy of Engadget.