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August 22nd, 2013

From white to green: President installs photovoltaics panels (and six facts about solar panels)

From white to green: President installs photovoltaics panels (and six facts about solar panels)

The news that the White House is reinstalling solar panels on the roof demonstrates a real commitment from the Obama administration to encourage green energy management and sustainability across the country.  Photovoltaic technology, however, is not a new initiative. In fact, back in the 70’s President Jimmy Carter had about 30 panels installed on the roof of the White House before President Ronald Reagan had them removed in 1986.

Prompt London: Green tech PR opinion on solar panels and PVAs we’re interested in all kinds of technology – including green and sustainable technologies – we thought it would be interesting to look at some facts around photovoltaics , also known as PV, or more simply, ‘solar panels’:

  1. Photovoltaics is a method of generating renewable power by allowing sunlight to be converted directly to electricity using semiconductors
  2. Photovoltaic cells are comprised largely from silicon and can be mounted on buildings or on standalone frames. A number of cells are connected to form an array, either to cover basic home energy needs  or to feed the national grid, or both
  3. Solar power has increased in popularity over the years, with many common devices now powered by the sun’s energy – anything from e-readers and radios to mobile phone chargers and kids’ toys are powered by the sun’s rays. Hey, we once thought solar-powered calculators were impressive!
  4. Although there is an initial cost to install equipment, solar energy is ultimately clean, free and infinite, and thanks to some considerable technological advances, the price of photovoltaic panels has steadily fallen in recent years. It now costs around $1 to $1.3 per PV watt installed.  Cost of Solar has a great info graphic to demonstrate the costs of the panels over the years
  5. A report from IMS Research suggests that the market will grow from under $200 million in 2012 to $19 billion by 2017. Germany is currently leading the way after a home energy storage subsidy went into place on 1st May.  IMS predicts Germany will account for nearly 70 percent of storage installed in residential PV systems worldwide in 2013.
  6. Although solar power can only capture light when there’s, er, daylight, it’s estimated that by using a solar PV system, a typical home could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.  PV panels are low maintenance, have a long component life and are silent when converting energy.  However one of the biggest disadvantages of solar panels is their limited efficiency levels in comparison to other renewable energy sources such as solar thermal.  Many also argue that they are visually intrusive and the performance is intermittent, a common complaint being the variation in performance over different seasons
  7. In the next decade, it is predicted that photovoltaic power will be similar in price to traditional sources of electricity and that PV panels will be a standard feature for newly constructed homes.  So while solar energy may not provide answers to all our environmental problems, it certainly goes some way to reducing our carbon footprint – and saving a few pennies along the way

Want to find out more?  – check out these solar energy resources:

http://solarenergy.com/

http://www.uk-ises.org/

http://www.solarenergy.net/

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generating-energy/Choosing-a-renewable-technology/Solar-panels-PV

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April 24th, 2012

PromptBoston

Earth Day Evidence: Resolute Marine Energy and its commitment to global innovation

Earth Day Evidence: Resolute Marine Energy and its commitment to global innovation

On April 22, millions around the world paused to celebrate Earth Day 2012, a time taken to consider the ways in which we can band together to nurture our nature.  The Boston Globe put together a slideshow spotlighting the wonderful environment that surrounds us and some ways in which companies are attempting to save it.

Resolute Marine Energy, based in Boston and a close friend of Prompt’s, is highlighted in this list, and deservedly so.  Since founding the company in 2007, Bill Staby and his team have worked tirelessly to produce clean energy from ocean waves.  Their goal is to one day develop wave energy converter solutions appropriate for electricity generation.  Resolute Marine Energy’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.  In 2009, it was named to the Marine Technology Reporter’s “Top 100 Global Innovators” in ocean science and engineering. Resolute Marine Energy feature in Boston.com Earth Day slide show

See Resolute Marine Energy’s wave energy converter prototype (picture 22), as well as the rest of the slideshow, here: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2012/04/earth_day_2012.html.  Congratulations to Bill and his team on their well-deserved recognition!  They are a reminder to all of us that preserving the environment should be an intrinsic part of our everyday lives.

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January 3rd, 2012

PromptBoston

How the US armed forces are using green technology

How the US armed forces are using green technology

There is no doubt that green technology has transitioned from a trend to a necessity all around the world. Last week, NPR published a story detailing how the US military has begun to minimize its energy use, through the usage of things such as more efficient insulation and solar energy, as well as the lofty goals it has set for itself in the coming years.  

While the military’s efforts to go green will have a substantial impact of the environment, sustainability is not the driving factor behind these changes. Cost is also an increasingly large concern, motivating the US military to explore new ways to go green, especially overseas.

Notably, the US Navy has set an ambitious goal for 2020, it wants to cut its use of fossil fuels in half. Recently it purchased 500,000 gallons of bio-fuel made from algae and cooking oil, a huge move towards sustainability. There has also been the implementation of solar equipment, greatly reducing the use of batteries. Additionally, small changes like tent liners are reducing energy costs.

Although the military is implementing new technologies to cut costs, governmental support will surely expand the green technology sector. To read the entire article visit the NPR website here.

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