Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of Sierra Bonita, an affordable housing development in West Hollywood, is the facade-integrated solar array that powers most of the peak load electricity demand for the common areas. The building also has a solar-powered hot water heating system, but beneath the clearly visible green technology is a modern building with apartments fully adaptable for its disabled residents.
Texas-based Solar Lights Factory just opened an online store with various solar LED products — pavers, cylinders, and icebergs — intending to make them available to regular consumers at an approachable price. The paver costs $40 each; the cylinder costs $50 each; and the iceberg starts at $15 each. Each product is self-contained and, with some creativity, can be used for landscapes, gardens, decks, pathways, driveways, and patios, etc.
Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, a new company comes along with a different approach. SolTech Energy makes an innovative roof tile — similar but distinguishable from this thin-film solar tile offered by SRS Energy — that harvests solar energy with a traditional looking glass tile. Currently offered in Spain and Sweden, the SolTech System can be installed to work in conjunction with most common heating solutions on the market.
Recently, Chelsea Green Publishing sent us a copy of a new book, A Solar Buyer’s Guide for the Home and Office, by Stephen and Rebekah Hren, also the authors of the Carbon-Free Home. Just like the first book, the authors chose a topic that they’re clearly expert to talk about. Stephen is a builder and teacher with experience in passive and active solar heating technologies, while Rebekah is an NABCEP-certified photovoltaics installer, licensed electrical contractor, and ISPQ-certified solar instructor.
GE just announced that it is readying a new solar thin-film panel, system, and inverter product with a goal to provide the lowest cost of electricity in the market. The multinational corporation is backing a cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film product and recently topped 15% efficiencies on commercial glass, according to a press release.