As the small wind industry grows, it’s becoming easier to buy certain models of turbines online and from big-box retailers. For example, Southwest Windpower offers the Skystream 3.7 through Home Depot and now offers the Whisper 100 through Lowe’s. Whisper 100 can produce up to 100 kWh a month in moderate to high winds, according to Southwest Windpower.
Today, the Solar Decathlon officially opens to the public and the games begin. The competition is organized by the Department of Energy, and 19 teams have invested more than two years of effort to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner will be the one with the highest score after the following ten contests:
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The value proposition of solar energy is driving great opportunities for homeowners looking to invest in sustainable power production. In fact, the average installed cost of a solar PV system completed in 2010 fell by 17% from the prior year, and the cost has also dropped an additional 11% so far in 2011, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Photovoltaic panels and solar hot water panels both provide useful benefits for the buildings they are attached to, but sometimes there is limited space on the roof, and usually only one or the other is installed. Solimpeks, a solar panel manufacturer based in Turkey, has been producing solar panels for a long time, and has an elegant solution to the problem: a panel that produces both electricity and hot water. It turns out that the Solimpeks Volther dual-use panels increase efficiency more than you might expect.
New Jersey-based Englert, a company that specializes in metal roofing and gutter systems, recently earned a citation from Architect Magazine for their incredible Solar Sandwich roof system. On the surface, it looks like any other standing-seam metal roof with columns of thin-film photovoltaic solar. Yet below that, to capture the warmth generated from hot metal roofing, there’s a grid of pex-filled purlins with a water and glycol solution for a solar thermal system.