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.
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:
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.