Tag: Solar technology

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What to expect from solar systems in 2017

The past few years have been hugely successful for solar power. Homes and businesses alike have benefited from having solar systems installed, and the environment has benefited from the use of this clean energy. The industry itself has seen a massive drop in the price of solar panels, even though the community has not been completely supportive.

But what many people don’t know, is that in 2016 solar panels became cheaper to use than fossil fuels.

As with any renewable technology, there were bound to be a few setbacks when solar power first became a reality, but even with the few setbacks, solar power has soared ahead to remain one of the most popular sources of Green energy.

In more than 30 countries, solar and wind power became cheaper than fossil fuels in 2016, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum in 2017. And as prices for solar power continue to plummet, it is estimated that in 2017 more than two-thirds of nations on the planet will have “grid-parity” which means there will be a drop in the completely relying on fossil fuels.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

But while the support for solar power will continue to grow in 2017, investment from the rest of the globe is still not what it should be. This means that there are not enough investments coming in to avoid the looming global energy crisis. Only 25% of the investment amount decided upon at the Paris Climate Change Accord has been paid and because many of the barriers preventing the payments from being made are politically motivated, overcoming this barrier will take time and policy changes. Other factors preventing the money from being paid over include economic setbacks such as contracts not being standardised and the lack of a steady track record, drawn up by financial institutions, which needs to in place to reassure the investors.

Although this may be seen as a setback in 2017, the lowering of prices for solar power will triumph in the end, especially as solar power looks set to outperform all forms of fossil fuel energy within the next decade.

There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017
There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017

 

Solar power developments in 2017

The development of solar panels and their accompanying systems are set to go into overdrive in 2017, as we see the development of solar panels embrace technology in ways that it has not previously been seen. Solar panels are also set to become more energy efficient.

At Cambridge University, experimental physicist Sam Stranks has been trying to develop ways to make solar power less expensive to harvest and more efficient once it has been collected. His idea is to place a mineral layer of perovskite onto the solar cell which will be used to boost the efficiency of the cell.

According to Stranks, “We could take a silicon solar panel with a lab record efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity of 25 percent, add a perovskite layer, and boost the power generation by a fifth,” says the 31-year-old. “For a solar cell, the maximum efficiency is around 30 per cent – but with one of these perovskite ‘tandem’ layers it could go up to around 50 per cent.”

This is a wonderfully positive development and if it becomes successful and enjoys widespread popularity, it could become one of the important developments in solar power in 2017.

In 2017, the solar industry also hopes to see more commercial businesses transitioning towards renewable energy. There are many businesses who are serious about only using renewable energy. Take for instance Google. Just last year Google announced that they would be relying 100% on Green Energy and Green Energy initiatives in 2017. They are not the only corporate giant who is making this commitment to the planet.

2017 will be filled with new opportunities to change the way that you access and harness electricity. At Green Leaf Alternative Solutions, we can supply Green systems such as solar systems, grey water systems and LED lighting which will help you to make your own commitment towards a Greener future.

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2017 might be the year that solar power becomes cheaper than coal

2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.

This could be the biggest turning point in Green energy history!

In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.

“In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.

While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records.  These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.

This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices.  Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.

Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy.  In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.

“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”

The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.
The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.

Change is coming

While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017.  Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.

But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.

Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.

2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.

You can equip your home or business with solar technology from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have a selection of solar systems including solar panels suitable for a variety of building structures. Contact us or browse our website to find out more about how you can Go Green.

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The 6 most unexpected places to find solar power

When taking a walk around your neighbourhood it is probably not unusual for you to see a few solar panels on your neighbours roof. Solar power is growing in popularity; it is affordable to install and provides sustainable, free energy that benefits the environment!

There are so many additional possibilities for solar power than just providing electricity for a home. Innovations from around the world are using solar power in unexpected ways, and the success of these projects are going a long way towards creating a world that depends on energy from the sun.

These unusual, unexpected ways to use solar power will inspire you to think differently about how you can transform how you use energy.

    1. Solar powered bicycle path

The Dutch always seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to alternative energy, and they have done it again through an interesting collaboration between the Dutch provincial government and a group of Dutch companies. Bicycling as a means to get around is exceptionally popular in the Netherlands and bicycle paths have been created to accommodate these road users.

The project recently undertaken has created a solar powered bicycle path of around 70 meters, called SolaRoad. The path is one long solar panel sandwiched between prefabricated concrete and a layer of tempered glass.

The path has been made smooth enough so that dirt doesn’t stick to it and block out the sun, while at the same time it is not too slippery, enabling cyclists to easily navigate it.

What is the point of the SolaRoad? The strip of solar panel will generate around 700 kilowatts of energy for homes in the area. It took 5 years to build the path and 3.5 million Euros, but this interesting approach to using solar energy will surely inspire similar paths to be built around the world.

    1. Solar public rubbish bins

Any surface exposed to the sun can generate solar power with the right equipment. In New York, city rubbish bins have been given a solar makeover with a number of them being equipped with a solar panel, solar battery, and a compactor. Bigbelly Solar Inc. has been producing these trash bins and distributing around 30 000 bins in Amsterdam, Chicago, New York and Berlin.

These trash cans are not being used to power homes or buildings but the energy they create is used to alert the company as to when the bin needs to be emptied, this limits the amount of energy used to continually check whether the rubbish bins need to be emptied. The energy that is created can be stored for up to 72 hours.

South Africa receives well over 2500 hours of sunlight each year, imagine the possibilities of equipping our public bins with solar harnessing capabilities.

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Solar power rubbish bins, such as these, are being used all over the world.

 

    1. Solar powered ship

12 million Euros were spent to build the world’s first 35 meters long solar powered ship. Solar panels line the entire surface and when fully charged the ship is able to run for 72 hours in complete darkness.

The first ship of its kind was built by a German entrepreneur and did a full tour of the world in 2010, proving its immense capabilities and replication possibilities. The ship was named Turanor, which means “power of the sun”, in the language Tolkien created for his book trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

    1. Solar tents

Taking camping to the next level and minimising the need to lug around gas bottles or generators, a solar powered tent is bound to peak the interests of every camper.

These tents were originally created by the United States Army. Each tent is fit with flexible solar panels, which can harness enough sun energy to power computers, batteries, and other military gear. This minimises the need for their army to carry extra weight.

The tents are not yet available but they are being tested in Africa and the Middle East. This project has also led to further experiments to create solar harnessing tape and fabrics, essentially creating solar powered clothing.

    1. Solar parking lots

Many parking areas provide covered shading for vehicles to park under, sheltering them during the heat of the day. Now these shades are being fit with solar panels. Such installations are obviously beneficial for many reasons especially as shaded parking is popular in every city.

The energy created by these parking lots can be used to reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity used within a building complex, thereby reducing the monthly accounts of the tenants or business owners.

    1. Solar powered airports

South Africa is really taking advantage of all those sunny daylight hours. As of 2016, South Africa is now home to 3 Green airports. These airports receive all of their energy via nearby solar plants and the most recent addition was built by the National Department of Transport, Airports South Africa.

The three solar-powered airports in South Africa are found in Upington, Kimberly, and George, and they are sure to influence the building of similar projects throughout the country and perhaps in nations around the globe.

With each new solar invention, we are one step closer to a cleaner world.
With each new solar invention, we are one step closer to a cleaner world.

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is the Green Company paving the way forward for homes and businesses to Go Green using solar geysers, solar panels, LED lights, solar lights, and grey water systems. We’ve worked with numerous clients in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Contact us for your innovative, Green technology.

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What to know before you buy solar lighting

Solar lights are one of the recent and perhaps less known developments in the Green industry, as well as in lighting industry, and follow on from the already popular solar technology that is currently being used by people all over the world. Solar lighting is great for outdoor areas at home and for public settings alike, providing stable light without the hassle of connecting wires. With this lighting, you will not be left in the dark with power outages. And this is just one reason why it is worth changing the way that you light your garden, the outside of your home or for your parking areas.

What are solar lights?

As with all of the other solar powered appliances and devices, solar lights are rechargeable products which are powered by the sun. Solar lights are powered by a photovoltaic system which includes a solar panel to catch solar light during the day.

This light energy is then stored until it is needed after the sun sets later in the day.

The most common areas in which this lighting is used is outdoors, where the light can charge for an entire day. Outdoor garden lights can be placed anywhere in the garden, unlike conventional lighting which will require wiring and therefore a little more consideration as to where the lighting will be placed. These outdoor lights are a fantastic option if you are looking for cost effective security lighting or if you are simply looking for an effective way to light your path at night. This form of lighting can also be decorated in certain ways, adding a certain aesthetic appeal to your landscape.

Solar street lights and lighting for parking areas are also an option to look at when you want an environmentally friendly and affordable way to provide enough lighting to darkened areas. Solar lights have also been used to light billboards at night.

As solar lights are known to be used as decorative features, this form of lighting comes in all kinds of designs and colours. This is what makes these lights great for parties and other get-togethers.

The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.
The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.

How do solar lights work?

With the PV system attached, solar lights generate their own electricity in the exact way that other solar power is made. To put it simply, when the sun shines on the panel, the electrons become, for want of a better word, excited. This process is what generates the power that keeps the light shining throughout the night. The system also includes a solar battery to store power. The panel is far smaller than the one you’d normally see on a solar PV system on top of a home’s roof. In this case, the panel is usually small enough to fit the top of the light.

The following morning, when the light energy has run out, the process will repeat itself all through the day and be recharged and ready to light up again the next night.

Why use solar lighting?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to light an area, and you don’t want to have to pay out or deal with having to have the wiring seen to and the devices installed, then solar lighting can be the better option.

Solar lighting is basically lighting for free as once the initial setup is done, you will never have to pay for the light that you get. Free lighting to massive areas is certainly worth it once you have decided to install these lights.

Here are a few other reasons why solar lights should be something you consider:

  • The energy is 100% free, clean and renewable.
  • You don’t have to worry about the lighting being damaged. These devices are made from durable materials.
  • If you are already looking for a way to make your entire lifestyle Green, then this is another step you can take.
  • Solar lights can be installed just about anywhere, so long as they receive sunlight.
  • The installation process is wonderfully simple and you will be able to do it yourself.
  • You will be saving on your monthly costs by not having to pay out anything extra each month to have this lighting.

Solar lights, along with solar geysers and solar systems, are the more cost-effective option to go with and in the long run, you are going to be happy that you made the decision to install these versatile lights. If you have any questions or want to install this lighting, you can contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We can give you great advice about which lights to choose as well as other ways to live a Greener lifestyle.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Turning Chernobyl into the world’s biggest solar power farm

On the 26th of April 1986, the world experienced something that has been feared since the invention of nuclear technology: a nuclear disaster. On this day the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former USSR (modern Ukraine) experienced an explosion which released harmful radioactive chemicals into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding earth. The catastrophe affected over 500 000 people and 31 people lost their lives in the nuclear meltdown. Remaining a desolate area, a no-go destination for the last 30 years, there is hope that Chernobyl will have a Green makeover.

The disaster released more radiation than the combination of the atom bombs dropped during the Second World War. The legacy of what happened is seen in the genetic mutations and increased mortality rates that have plagued both the human and the animal population in the area. But now the Ukrainian government has decided it is time to give the area a new legacy, a more positive one, by turning Chernobyl into a renewable energy farm.

There is a proposal suggesting that a solar energy plant is built in the area, and if this becomes a reality, a massive 1-gigawatt of solar power and 400 megawatts of biogas will be produced every year!

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The solar farm will be the first of its kind built on a nuclear disaster zone.
The solar farm will be the first of its kind built on a nuclear disaster zone.

 

The Ukrainian government is predicting that the plant will take around 6 months to complete, with proposals for funding already being sent investment companies in the USA, the UK, and Canada. Should this plan become a reality, the plant will provide around a third of what the former nuclear plant was capable of producing.

The irony is not lost when you consider that Chernobyl remains one of the world’s biggest environmental disasters of our time, but now something Green is going to be built on the land. Not to mention that this technology is considered to be one of the world’s safest ways to produce energy.

Working on a time limit

The 6 month proposed time frame to build this solar and biomass energy plant means there is likely to be a strain on the team and on the resources. But there are two big benefits of building on this site and they are the 4GW nuclear reactor that is still in place along with power lines that can still be used.

A few of the investors who have been approached have expressed their interest, but along with a very short time limit, the money to be raised amounts to between $1 and $1.5 billion US dollars. A spokesperson for the project has said that nothing is imminent and that they are keeping an open mind. However, their top priority is to secure the necessary finances. It is also encouraging that the Ukrainian government has said that it will open the exclusion zone should the project get a financial green light.  The land cannot be used for anything else, which means that it is cheap and can be used for this exciting solar power project.

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Renewable Green power is going to be the way of the future.
Renewable Green power is going to be the way of the future.

 

There is a boom in solar power’s popularity in the Ukraine and recently a solar power plant was built north of Chernobyl.

The Ukraine will benefit greatly from having this source of electricity as it will go a long way towards the country being more independent with their access to power.

While the land won’t be habitable in our lifetime, as the plutonium isotope from the spill lasts for more than 24 000 years, the world can look forward to something good coming from an otherwise terrible event.

Looking at turning your own home or business into a solar power haven or are you a contractor looking for the best prices and most reliable products for your construction project? Green Leaf Alternative Solutions can offer you exceptional solar power products at great prices. We also have a range of other renewable energy items for you.

Visit the rest of our website: www.greenleafas.co.za

Get in touch: info@greenleafas.co.za[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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