Thursday, September 26, 2013

Saint Louis Zoo Installs Solar Power System

The Saint Louis Zoo now has a new, 31-kilowatt solar power installation on the roof of its Safari Gift Shop at the South Entrance—making solar the primary power supply for the gift shop.

The system’s 96, 3 x 5-foot photovoltaic modules (panels) produce enough electricity to  keep three to five homes powered up year round and is expected to save the Zoo $4,500 in net average annual energy costs over the system’s 25-year warranty period ($111,740 total over 25 years). It also offers a source of pollution-free power generation.

Visitors to the Zoo can view real-time and cumulative generation and the system’s air quality benefits (emission reductions made possible by the system) either from the Zoo’s website or from a new digital kiosk found on the South Arrival Experience bridge leading into the Zoo.

StraightUp Solar, a St. Louis-based solar energy integration company, donated the system to the Zoo.  Founded in 2006, StraightUp Solar has installed multiple solar systems with a total generating capacity of three megawatts.

In addition to the donation, StraightUp Solar is offering a special $250 customer discount plus an additional $250 donation to the Saint Louis Zoo for each new system purchased now through Oct. 31.  To receive these benefits, customers must simply post a photo of themselves standing before the Zoo’s new solar array/kiosk and Zoo sign to both the Saint Louis Zoo and StraightUp Solar Facebook sites.

 “This environmental initiative is one among many at the Zoo.  As a conservation organization, we work hard to save wild things in wild places around the globe, and we are also committed to conserving resources here at home,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Louis Zoo.

“We have an exceptional recycling program and have significantly reduced water and energy use by installing more efficient systems,” he said. We hope to share our experience with this solar energy system with our guests so that they can evaluate the use of solar energy at their own homes or businesses.”

The Zoo’s Sunpower E20 monocrystalline solar energy panels are currently the most efficient at converting sunlight into energy when compared with other conventional photovoltaic collector types.  This grid-tied, batteryless design ensures that all of the electricity is immediately used on-site at the Zoo.  For more information on how solar systems work visit

The state of Missouri has a renewable energy mandate that requires investor-owned utilities to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2021. To address this mandate, Ameren Missouri provides a $2 per watt rebate for solar energy installations.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Plug & Play Solar Power

Plug & Play Solar Power Systems Growing In Use In US, Thanks To SolarPod
If you’re a long-time reader of CleanTechnica, you might recognize the name SolarPod*. SolarPods are modular, plug & play solar power systems developed by Mouli Engineering. I think we first wrote about SolarPod back in April 2012, and then followed up on the technology briefly in May 2012 when SolarPods were shown to be performing well in the field, and again in November 2012 when a house using the plug & play solar power systems won a design award. We recently caught up with Mouli Engineering to see how things are going and whether or not more people have been using its SolarPods. Also, before delving into that, the first section below catches new readers up on this not-often-discussed solar power option.

To start with, I’ll note a few reasons why SolarPod came about in the first place. Mouli Vaidyanathan came up with the idea of SolarPod when he was conducting “legacy type” solar panel installations. In his opinion, “custom design was too expensive and took too much time.” The solar industry needed something easier, more inexpensive, and more adaptable. Of course, all while sticking to high environmental and safety standards.

“SolarPodTM as a company believes in protecting our environment, bringing earth friendly products, highest safety and quality and careful engineering for simple affordable end installation,” Mouli notes.Mouli says that SolarPod is the first company in the US to offer a modular construction solar system product using solar PV panels. I believe he is right. If you haven’t noticed, we don’t really have much news about such solar power systems. And Mouli isn’t just offering SolarPod on the web. He has actually formed relationships with large retail chains in several states that are offering the product, with the plug & play solar power system meeting and exceeding various safety codes and quality standards.Menards, a large home improvement retail store in the US, and Northern Tool, another such home improvement retail store, are two of the retail chains now carrying the SolarPodTM.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Joining The Argument on Solar Power Panels: Are They Worthy Of It?

Solar panels has existed for many years, but it’s failed to eventually become widely well-known. This may change as power costs continue to grow and oil reserves diminish. Buying solar panel systems is really a major choice that must be produced appropriately. Step one would be to consider the benefits and drawbacks of the significant expense.Prior to any choice is created, those seeking to buy a solar-power system should think about the place they reside in. Some nearby governments cost costs or taxes for using big gear. In Addition, cities and towns have zoning regulations which could need review of the entire property under consideration. This really would assure that setup could be performed safely.The best benefit that solar-power supplies is affordable operating costs. Most solar panel systems are sure to continue for 40 years, that’s longer than any mortgage will require to repay. Following the first expense, electricity is almost free. Along with that, as there aren’t any moving parts, hardly any care is needed. Cleansing the sections per annum is entirely that becomes necessary.sunpower_mainBonuses are yet another excellent reason to buy solar-power. Several energy businesses provide credit for electricity that’s offered back in their mind. In Addition, most authorities provide tax breaks to people using green energy or purchase energyefficient devices.

Yet another reason to choose solar energy is for that autonomy it supplies. There isn’t any must be anxious about energy lines dropping down, transformers coming up, or blackouts. People that create the switch will even lessen the sides’ reliance on nonrenewable petroleum.The past edge is for earth. Solar powered energy does not contaminate or produce greenhouse gases, therefore it does not lead to global-warming. It is tidy, effective, quiet, and replaceable. What more might Our Mother Earth request?The largest disadvantage to solar power systems may be the upfront price and setup. According to energy wants, costs may shoot up extremely fast. Homes consume ranging from 800 to 1500 kilowatts monthly. The original expense in price is really well in the several hundreds in lbs, pounds or bucks and unless folks are sent to their own home they might never realize the cost be outweighed by free electricity. Yet another problem may be the big impact panels must produce enough electricity to energy a home. This produces a difficulty for those who survive little regions of property.

Our Mother Earth can build a drawback within the effectiveness of solar power. Night time, snowfall, rain, and clouds are factors that will impede power era. This is often assisted with a battery to store power for potential use. Nevertheless, constant poor weather may cause stored power to come to an end. Buying a battery and inverter may possibly increase the price of the whole program by a large number of lbs too.Choosing solar power is quite challenging. It may be pricey, but monetary incentives will lower the large cost. Batteries provides protection from energy outages and bad weather. Electric expenses is a matter of yesteryear, which is wholesome for the surroundings. To the stage, solar strength is really a longterm option where the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.