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Much Better Solar Photovoltaics On the Way

Startup Enphase Energy of Petaluma, CA , is now making its first micro-inverters.  The small inverters can be bolted to the racking under each of an installation’s solar panel to convert DC power into AC for each panel individually. The company claims that the devices will increase a PV system’s efficiency by 5 to 25 percent and decrease the cost of solar power. SolarPanel Microinverter by Enphase Enphase has already teamed with various distributors and partners, including solar module manufacturer Suntech Power Holdings and installer Akeena Solar, to bring its device to customers.  The micro-inverters can be used on residential, commercial, or even utility-scale photovoltaic systems. There’s much more to solar power than black glassy panels glistening on rooftops.  Perhaps more important now that installations and real world testing is well underway and understood is the inverter performance that convert DC power created by the solar panels into grid-ready AC power. Currently all the panels in a rooftop photovoltaic system are connected to one large inverter mounted on the side of a house from which the AC power is off loaded to the house or grid.  This is being done as solar panels are wired together in series, and their combined high-voltage DC power is fed to the inverter. From that current flow the inverter’s logic circuit optimizes the total current and voltage levels. But if one panel’s current drops, it becomes the limit of the overall output of the system.

Recent Entries

NEW: Home Controls Now Offers AirVac Motors

The best part of an AirVac central vacuum system is what it doesn’t have: noise, inconvenience, and dust. Much less dust left behind – in your rugs, on your furniture, in the air and in your family’s lungs. Traditional vacuum cleaners allow too much dust to recirculate – on your rugs, on your furniture, throughout your home. The result: indoor air pollutant levels two to five times – and in some cases 100 times higher – than outdoor levels. AirVac Central Vacuum Systems previously manufactured by M&S Systems are now manufactured by Linear LLC. M&S Systems has been an industry leader in the design and manufacture of built-in, electronic home amenities for over 50 years. AirVac Red Series: The AirVac Red Series Bagless Central Vacuum System is a bagless central vacuum power unit.

New energy efficient lighting options

I ran across a company last week called MaxLite . They had some extremely cool new lighting products that could be very applicable to the industrial and commercial electrical supplies market. I want to say upfront that I have not seen any of these products in a working environment, but I have seen the products work in a demo situation. First, Maxlite has a high lumen CFL (compact fluorescent) for use as a field replacement for metal halide lamps all the way up to 400w (yes, 400w!). How it works is you replace the 175, 250, or 400w HID lamp with the high lumen CFL.

Can Government Make a Disaster From Nothing at All?

IHS Global Insight of Massachusetts under a contract from the American Petroleum Institute has rolled out its report about the consequences of a Federal takeover of the regulations from states overseeing the oil and gas well finishing process called “hydraulic fracturing.” Before we start, hydraulic fracturing is packing water, some solvents, and strong sand and special chemicals into the rocks thousands of feet down so that oil and gas can flow back out.  It’s a kind of miniature, slow motion cracking of the rocks much further out from the little well hole.  One could also call it an explosion, but it takes hours, running into days to build up the pressure, to get some cracking and pack the sand into the fissures.  It turns a little hole into solid rock into a hole in lots of little rocks. It’s just critical to keep this technology in use and further development. Hydraulic fracturing has a 50 year history beginning with quite simple pressure buildups to today’s highly sophisticated multi directional wells in rocks that only a half decade or so ago were considered hopeless repositories of petroleum.  Today, using hydraulic fracturing a well or even a set of wells can release huge quantities of natural gas.  This can easily be seen in the natural gas price at the home meter to fertilizer for food and investments in even more production.  In the coming months more technology is coming and is being blended with technology that looks into the earth to guide where more effort should be applied. All that, the potential and the world’s lowest prices of natural gas for Americans are at risk from a disaster of rearranging (and adding) regulations.  The Federal proposal is so bad that the amazing situation of business preferring a single regulatory framework over 50 regulations from the states is not preferable.  Yup, government can make a disaster from nothing at all, which isn’t amazing at all. The matter is a fully Democrat sponsored attempt to place regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act thousands of feet down below any source of water for human use.  The bills, a House version and the Senate versions are very similar, which cautions one to realize this is a concerted attempt to subvert the existing framework of petroleum operations and regulations into a whole new field of bureaucratic interference. Just to make things worse, the Feds propose not to unify regulations; they want to ADD a Federal layer.  IHS Global Insight’s study, “Measuring the Economics and Energy Impacts of Proposals to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing,” predicts the number of new U.S. wells drilled would plummet 20.5 percent in the first five-year period.  That would potentially reduce natural gas production by about 10 percent from 2008 levels by 2014, a mere 5 years out. Remember the last marginal buyer’s impact on prices?  Carving off 10% of supply isn’t going to be cheap for heating homes, running business and industry or generating electricity.  Someone is passing put stupidal capsules in D.C. There are problems, to be sure