Archive for the ‘Solar PV’ Category

Metering for “switched on schools” in Northern Ireland

Thursday, June 4th, 2009


An innovative project involving the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and renewable energy streetlights, as well as metering and data services, has been implemented in forty educational establishments across rural Northern Ireland.

Energy and advanced smart metering firm, PRI, is providing the metering and data services for this NIE Energy (NIEE) project, named “Switched on Schools”.

For several years NIEE has worked on an ad hoc basis with the five Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards in installing renewable energy systems at schools throughout the region. Supported with European funding, a program approach evolved for achieving a thriving, sustainable rural community in Northern Ireland via increased awareness of PV technology.

The award-winning Switched on Schools project made this possible, and has enabled schools to appreciate how valuable energy is as a resource and how energy bills and CO2 emissions can be reduced. Spreading the carbon footprint reduction message to families and friends, pupils gained an understanding about renewable energy and monitoring online their solar power system.

PRI supplied the energy data services for remote collection, analysis and billing from the Spring XP and GSM top hat meter in each school involved.

Company sales and marketing manager Geoff Chapman explains: “Our meter and energy data service solution records the amount of energy used in each school and provides historical data for trend analysis. Significantly, this information is relayed to a central point for monitoring and interpretation.”

Data is collected and monitored from the customer’s equipment. Received data is presented in a pre-determined format appropriate to customer needs.

Installation across the forty schools enabled them to claim money from the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) system for the renewable energy produced. The NIEE generation tariff offers rewards for electricity exported back to the grid and ROCs.

Ni-MH Batteries for PV & Wind

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Nickel–Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) rechargeable battery modules specifically designed to meet the needs of off-grid photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy systems. This offers better performance, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), improved integration and better environmental profile than traditional batteries.

Stand-alone renewable energy sources are increasingly popular in applications ranging from street lighting and signage, water supply and irrigation, weather stations and environmental sensors, wireless local area networks and navigation aids. These applications benefit from reliable, maintenance-free and long-life energy storage. However, renewable energy storage in highly distributed, often remote locations in uncontrolled environments is characterized by a high number of shallow cycles, with erratic charge current and time, often under extremes of temperature. Today’s lead-acid storage batteries do not cope well in these conditions, and suffer from limited life, poor reliability and even sudden death – leading to high maintenance and replacement costs.

Despite its higher initial cost, the Ni-MH chemistry of the Smart VHT Module range has been shown to reduce total cost of ownership by 45 per cent, or more, when operating over a 15- year period in such applications. This is thanks to its longer life (typically 3–5 times), better failure resistance and wider temperature tolerance than lead-acid technology.

The design and production of the VHT range have been optimized to minimize water and energy consumption, reduce the production of greenhouse gases and toxic waste, diminish negative effects on global warming and the ozone layer, and curb the unnecessary depletion of natural resources. The Smart VHT Module enables direct integration of smart electronics – such as seamless charge/discharge management, battery condition logging and accurate state of health indicator – removing the need for separate PV controllers.

Available in 12V, 24V and 36V versions in 10Ah capacity increments (up to 80Ah). Modules can also be housed in a ruggedized aluminium casing providing added protection from the elements. They are directly interchangeable with traditional Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) battery modules.

Solar Cells for Highways Generate Electricity Even at Night

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Solar Cells for Highways Generate Electricity Even at Night

A promising invention now being tested at Towson University in Maryland collects and stores solar energy, even when it isn’t sunny.

The inventor says the circular solar collectors placed along a wall gathers much more energy than flat panels, even when its a dim day or at night.

“Part of the ability we have that no other solar cell system in the world has is when headlights strike these tubes at night, they create electricity,” said Kahrl Retti, Solarroad Technologies.

The electrawall also stores what it collects in batteries.

Solaroad Technologies is part of a business incubator at Towson University, near Baltimore. The invention was recently shown to Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes, who’s committee is encouraging development of alternate sources of energy. The inventor claims a million feet of his collectors could match the output of a small nuclear generator.

“Solaroad is developing this technology that can be deployed very quickly across the country in ways that can capture the sun and capture light and produce energy from that,” said Congressman Sarbanes.

Professors and students at Towson are involved in testing of the solar tubes. “We have had at least one or ten student interns working in the company as well as research projects on the capabilities of the technology,” said Dyan Brasington, Towson University.

The company also wants to market a cube tube, which would be installed on top of a workers cubicle in an office and it would get energy from the florescent lights in the work space.

Every cubicle in America that has a computer, printer, light whatever could be powered using interior photo voltaic cells.

Source: Ecofriend .

Wind and Solar-Powered Street Lighting Skips the Grid

Friday, May 29th, 2009

French company Windela has created a street lighting system that works without any connection to the grid. The Windelux is powered by both a small vertical wind turbine and a solar PV panel.The lamp is comprised of 84 LEDs and automatically switches on when a photosensitive cell detects that it’s dark. A built-in control system stops the wind generator if the wind speed is too high and also allows the pole to act as a Wi-Fi relay.

Inside the pole is the battery that makes all this possible. A rechargable LiFePo battery stores the energy generated by the solar PV panel and wind generator and supplies four nights worth of light before needing to be recharged.

Street lighting accounts for a huge percentage of most cities energy use and costs. The Windelux seems to be an ideal solution for providing both street lighting and distributing Wi-Fi, without ever touching the grid. Currently, units have only been installed in France and Algeria.