South Carolina-based Firefly Power is one of 20 other social- or environmentally-inclined companies presenting at the i2i Awards program in conjunction with SXSW Eco in Austin through Friday, October 5, 2012. The company makes lightweight small wind turbines out of carbon-fiber blades in the vertical axis form. The residential unit is rated at 1.8 kW, weighs less than 60 pounds, cuts in at 10 mph winds, and is expected to sell for about $7,000, according to Firefly Power.
Turns out the Rhône Alpes team from France with the Canopea house won Solar Decathlon Europe held in Madrid. Their home is actually the top of a conceptual “Nanotower” that the team proposed to bring single-family style living back to the urban core. The top level acts like a rain forest’s canopy — hence the name — by collecting 95% of all solar energy and 30% of rainwater for the tower. Canopea was built of a prefab CORE, site-built SKIN, and a SHELL capable of off-site fabrication as well.
This is Grow Community near downtown Winslow on Bainbridge Island in Washington. The first three model homes — Ocean, Everett, and Aria — are finished and work is moving forward for the next 24 homes and two 10-unit rowhouse apartments. The eight-acre project is the first residential One Planet Community in North America (issued by U.K. non-profit BioRegional). However, in addition to this recognition, the aim is net-zero homes and an entirely net-zero energy community by 2020.
Recall for a second a project called Rubble Floor by Dave Hakkens. Hakkens recently published another project called “Wind-Oil” to show how to use industrial processes at home to create good food. He made an oil pressing machine that’s powered by a small-wind turbine. The machine has a worm drive that presses nuts and seeds — walnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, linseeds, hazelnuts, etc — and spits out oil in one bottle and a food pulp in another.
I’ve been watching plug-and-play solar systems like the one offered by SpinRay Energy to see how viable and affordable these can get. It turns out GoGreenSolar.com just unveiled a similar system called the SunPlug Plug n’ Play Solar Kit. The kit includes one 235-watt polycrystalline panel, a 120 VAC/60 Hz grid-tie inverter, racking mount, WiFi module for monitoring, and a connector to plug directly into an AC outlet.
I really like the dark-blue/black look of solar PV, but I suppose there may be someone that needs a different color, whether for aesthetics, compliance, or branding, etc. Colored Solar is trying to grab a toehold in this market with red, emerald green, forest green, and polished marble panels. In terms of panel efficiency, NREL found there is little performance compromised for a 16%+ efficiency colored 225W panel, according to Colored Solar.