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:
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.
Since I last shared photos of the Dow POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle, this line of business has picked up. In October 2011, the Solar Shingle launched in Colorado, and Dow expanded the launch to Texas and California in April 2012. As part of the launch, this commercial — lazy roof — aired recently to show these markets how Dow is helping to reinvent the roof so that it not only provides shelter but power, too.
This is the first and only UL-listed, 120-volt, plug-and-play solar kit in the world, according to SpinRay Energy. The DeckPower120 comes with one, 240-watt solar panel and can be hung on a deck or elsewhere outdoors using a simple mount bracket. The system allows for up to 1,300 watts of AC power with five solar panels and should qualify for available federal (and sometimes state) tax credits.
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.”