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Colored Solar Panels Hit California Market

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.

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How to Power Gadgets While in Nature

I spent three days camping and hiking in the mountains of Utah last week and used my iPhone to snap the above photo while slightly downhill from the summit of Mount Timpanogos, which has an elevation of 11,749 feet.  In preparation for this trip, I researched for a sustainable, backpacker-worthy solution to keeping my iPhone powered in order to take photos, jot notes, listen to music, and maybe communicate with family when presented with an available signal.  I don’t have an iPad, but this solution works for both iPhones and iPads, either one.  Here’s what you need:

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2.5 kW Ground-Mount Solar Kit by Schletter

It’s surprising how easy it is these days to line up all the components necessary for a residential-scale photovoltaic array. Solar panels can be purchased on Amazon (among other places) and tracking systems are readily available, too. If you have the land or your roof isn’t right for your needs, Arizona-based Schletter makes a ground-mount kit for up to 2.5 kW of solar PV and it can be purchased for under $1,000.

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Bornay Two-Blade Small Wind Turbines

It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything new in the world of small wind, but I recently noticed that Bornay turbines from Spain are now distributed in the United States.  The company has several models, including two-blade models rated at 600 watts, 1500 watts, and 3000 watts, and a three-blade model rated at 6000 watts.  The Bornay 1500, for example, is about a nine-foot turbine that weighs 90 pounds and cuts in at winds of six mph.  The 1500-watt kit is sold for $20,000 by Electrex Industrial Services.

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Alva: An Edison Inspired LED Lamp

Luke Anderson started with a reasonable request for $4,000 on Kickstarter, and he reached funding in 24 hours.  Now, with 14 days left, Anderson has $25,000 in support for Alva — The Lightbulb Lamp.  It’s 8.5″ wide by 17.5″ tall and comes in brown, white, or black ceramic base options.  The lamp is powered by a replaceable LED with a hand-shaped filament.  Alva* looks like a classic early Edison bulb, but it’s a lot bigger and will retail after the Kickstarter campaign for $550.

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Most Efficient Heat Pump by WaterFurnace

WaterFurnace International, Inc., a manufacturer of geothermal and water-source heat pumps, just launched what the company is calling the “world’s most energy-efficient heat pump,” according to a press release. The 7 Series 700A11, pictured, is the first variable capacity unit available for homeowners and boasts a 41 energy efficiency ratio and 5.3 coefficient of performance. The 7 Series exceeds Energy Star requirements and qualifies for a 30% federal tax credit, said WaterFurnace. The heating and cooling system also comes with a laundry list of other design features: integration with automation and energy monitoring systems, online remote monitoring and control, quiet performance with a lower compressor speed, advanced hot water generation, and a port for service and diagnostics that doesn’t require opening the unit.  700A11 uses a soft-start variable capacity compressor, variable speed ECM blower, and variable speed loop pump to scale output as needed.

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