California-based Sunrun and Harris Interactive recently announced the results of a survey of 2,211 adults (1,475 homeowners) about the cost and desirability of installing a home solar system. The main sound bite is the one-liner that “97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar,” as well as the stat that “nearly 8 out of 10 of those who do not already have solar panels say they would install solar if cost were not a factor.”
A company called Solyndra pioneered the solar tube but this new invention by UK-based Naked Energy may just take cylindrical solar to a whole new level. Called Virtu, the product includes an integrated photovoltaic cell in a vacuum tube to generate both electricity and warm water at the same time. The setup keeps the PV cool to optimize energy production and maximizes space with a combined PVT solution.
Letting the sun’s rays reach your home’s interior rooms, or down to lower level, is a challenge on any project, and virtually impossible without cutting a large hole in your roof. But now, Solectric offers an electronic skylight that promises the next best thing — interior lighting that is powered by the sun and can be rendered at the same color temperature.
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.