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Tsunami Solar Light Fund Launched

Tsunami Solar Light Fund Launched

As the immediate Tsunami emergency relief efforts begin to fade for the ravaged coastal villages along the Indian Ocean, new sources of funding for the reconstruction of homes and communities are urgently needed. To help meet these challenges and to provide a critical solar energy infrastructure component, RenewableEnergyAccess.com has teamed with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) and SELCO India to initiate the Tsunami Solar Light Fund.
Hawaii Should Be Our Kuwait

Hawaii Should Be Our Kuwait

About 10 years ago my wife and I took a “work-cation” to Hawaii, to the Big Island. Back then I was an “expert” on Internet commerce. I knew those days were ending, because as I said at the conference I attended in Kona, Internet commerce is becoming just commerce, Internet merchandising just merchandising, and Internet publishing just publishing. But I […]
Solar-energy-without-semiconductors

Solar-energy-without-semiconductors

Many of our most important solar technologies are a direct outgrowth of the computer revolution, says Dana Blankenhorn. However, emulating plants is an option for solar photovoltaics, once we understand how to capture light the way that plants do, down to the nano level.
Second Wind Offers Cell Phone Data Check-ins

Second Wind Offers Cell Phone Data Check-ins

So you have a snazzy cell phone. You can download ring tones, send text messages, check the internet, maybe even take and send pictures -- but can you remotely check in on how your wind anemometers are doing?
If Geeks Ran the Electric Grid

If Geeks Ran the Electric Grid

Once we thought the phone network was a "natural" monopoly. But history proved otherwise. Look beyond the electric grid's "natural monopoly" and look backwards at telecom deregulation and the internet to see how big the Smart Grid can be for America.
What renewables say about Egypt

What renewables say about Egypt

This is far afield from our regular discussion so indulge me. Or feel free to move along. In a resource-based economy a Hosni Mubarak would have no problems. It’s just a small minority producing the nation’s wealth. You can control those jobs, treat everyone else like a mushroom, and do what you want. Democracy has a tough time where fossil […]
Energy Democracy Becomes More Real

Energy Democracy Becomes More Real

Will new technologies democratize energy much the way the Internet did information? Industry movement seems to point in that direction with the rise of the smart grid, time-of-day pricing, distributed solar, and the electric vehicle. Together these technologies offer a vision of a less centralized energy system, one where communities and households ‘vote in’ or shape the electric grid by […]
Who Cares about the Lights. I Can’t Get on Facebook!

Who Cares about the Lights. I Can’t Get on Facebook!

Most people don’t realize it, but their relationship with electricity is odd. Ed White, vice president of customer & business strategy for National Grid US, summed it up in a recent interview by relating a vignette from a colleague with a 13-year-old son.  The boy ran from the house one day shouting, “We don’t have Internet. We don’t have Internet!”  […]
New Micro-Parallel Inverters Aim to Reduce System Costs, Improve Performance

New Micro-Parallel Inverters Aim to Reduce System Costs, Improve Performance

Traditionally, there have been two main options for solar installation designers and engineers to convert DC to AC power: string inverters or micro inverters. Both present significantly different advantages and disadvantages for installers, with installation expenses varying up to 20 percent depending on the inverter selection. Either solution had drawbacks: what one would gain in convenience, it would sacrifice in performance and maintenance and vice versa. But a new class of inverter is entering the market that combines the installation simplicity of a string inverter with the intelligence and energy harvest advantages of a micro inverter.
What Business Are Electric Utilities In?

What Business Are Electric Utilities In?

Many businesses can now perform the traditional functions of an electric utility — provide affordable, reliable, resilient power to homes and businesses. The barriers to entry in the business have fallen. For instance, a home with rooftop solar panels, batteries, and gas-based generators may choose to be grid-independent. Even when homes decide to remain grid-tied, utilities face falling demand and revenue, and the possibility of future grid-defection. Further, competing electricity solutions can emerge quickly, and not one-home-at-a-time — microgrids can offer community, village, or campus-level solutions.