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.”
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.
This is a net-zero energy showhouse in the Belgravia neighborhood of Edmonton. The home, built by Effect Home Builders, has been open on Sundays and displays the solar-powered approach to reducing the use of fossil fuels. A massive rooftop solar array feeds energy into the grid and produces as much energy as will be needed on an annual basis. In addition, the home has several other green aspects.
We’ve mentioned solar-tracking but the systems are usually pictured on a pole in a big grassy yard. This is a Dual-Panel Tracker by Maryland-based Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR) on the roof of a row house in Federal Hill in Baltimore. The install consists of two panels, 235-watts each, on a sun tracking mount with a GPS-controlled drive unit that follows the sun to yield about 30% more than fixed panels.
When I first mentioned the Mendoza Laneway House, it was one of the first laneway homes in Vancouver under the city’s EcoDensity program. The company behind that efficient SIPs home, Lanefab, and its partners, designer Bryn Davidson and builder Mat Turner, have been busy and recently completed the first Net-Zero Solar Laneway House on a corner lot at 57th and Vivian. It’s beautiful inside and out.