Leading the World in SOLAR POWER

Submitted by Serendipity on Wed, 04/18/2007 - 15:56.

If you thought you needed to have solar panels in extremely sunny places to make it worth while, then think again!  Germany is leading the world in energy produced by the sun. This fact does not surprise me.  The Germans have been energy savvy for a long time.  I remember a trip to Münich in 1990, when I was amazed at the advanced system they had in place for commuters on bicycles.  Not only did they have separate bicycle lanes in the busy roads, but they even had traffic lights specifically for cyclists.

    If Germany can produce 1,000 Kilowatt hours per square meter per year, from solar power alone, imagine what places with extremely sunny climates can do.  However, the point is, it does not matter how little sun there is, anything is better than nothing.

   Got Solar Power?

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There is progress on the photovoltaic manufacturing side here in the US.  Evergreen Solar of Framingham,  Massachusetts will be constructing a 150 million dollar facility in Westborough Mass.   But Evergreen’s stock price moves like a roller coaster and has for several years.  Evergreen  is the American company that is working with the Germans. Much of the Evergreen production in the US goes to Germany.   Evergreen uses a patented thin silicon forming technique called "string ribbon".   A ultra thin ribbon of silicon is pulled from a liquid melt upward where it is cooled in a special air atmosphere.  This avoids having to saw crystalline silica blocks to get thin sheets of silica.  The sawing technique is what all the other solar panel makers use.   But as pure silica crystal becomes more available, the string ribbon technology loses its value proportionally.   An announcement about surplus silica on the world market seems to be what shot Evergreen’s stock down today.     

I have no doubt solar will work in NEO

Thanks for sharing that, Serendipity. I know solar can work here - Bill MacDermott demonstrated some very cool solar tech at my parents home and I saw it works under low sun conditions - and Bill has shared much else about solar here. People, and government, and other policy dirvers simply need to make it a priority, which none have done here (well, I think the Cleveland Fundation challenged us to do some solar, and "they" are putting a few solar tarps at Jaconbs field, so that is something). Keep enlightening us about how leaders elsewhere do solar and we will learn.

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Global Insolation (Sunshine) Map Tells It All

World Insolation Map

Figure 5.8 Global map of annual-mean insolation into the sea QSW in W/m2 calculated

from the ECMWF 40-year reanalysis. From Kallberg et al 2005.

Insolation - Alaska To Germany


Thanks again for the nice words....

The top photo is a map of the "insolation" for the world. This is the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface of the earth.

(From: http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter05/Images/Fig5-8A.png)

I copied the bottom photo from the first, and stretched it vertically so you could see the continental outlines better.

As you can see from the maps, most of Germany gets the same amount of sunlight as Alaska, and yet they are currently installing solar panels at such a fast rate that they are creating a solar panel shortage in the rest of the world.

Believe it, or not, but we get more sun here in North East Ohio than they get in most of Germany!!!

So..... YES!!!, solar power can, and does work here in Cleveland, Ohio, and I have a working solar shingle installation in Cleveland Heights that I will gladly show you, and/or anyone else who might be interested.

Also, I will be at Earthfest @ the Zoo on Sunday, with a working solar shingle demo/display, so if you are going to be there, stop by and say "Hi".... I will be near the large GEO "solar house" display

Solar in Toronto

I'm in Toronto and the weather is awesome today. We ate brunch - the best pancakes we've ever had - out on a warn sunny patio - I looked down the comfortable urban residential side street off Queen and noticed several of these historic dwellings had what appeat to be solar roofs.

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Solar city

For those who may have missed it today--the City of Cleveland is taking baby solar steps.