75% efficiency

Zenith Solar have launched their new installation. Amazing technology for the right location. I've heard talk that the array in the Ngeve could soon supply 20% of Israel's electricity.
The basic unit that is scalable and tracks the sun.

Here's what Zenith Solar say:
The concept of Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) systems is to use low cost optics to increase the light incident onto the very high efficiency semiconductor solar cell material, thus reducing overall cost of the system while increasing energy output.
The concentration factor, denoted by X, is a measure of the increased light intensity on the semiconductor cell. X equals approximately the area of the optic collector divided by area of the semiconductor solar cell. ZenithSolar system is designed to a concentration factor of 1000 X.
The ZenithSolar optical dish is based on a patented design, utilizing multiple simple flat mirrors mounted on a plastic surface. The molded plastic surface, divided into four quadrants, is fixed onto a rigid, high precision metal frame assembled onto an azimuth - elevation solar tracking system.
The concentrated solar radiation is reflected from each individual mirror onto an array of solar cells. ZenithSolar uses field proven high efficiency multi-junction III-V solar cells.
In conventional CPV systems, the excess heat generated in the solar cell needs to be removed to avoid damaging the cell and to maintain high efficiency of electricity conversion. ZenithSolar utilizes the heat generated at the solar cell receiver to provide usable hot water heating, improving overall solar power conversion efficiency to 75%

Solar Kit In A Box

What about smaller installations? The house builder? The DIYer? The SME? The roofer?

They need a self-contained kit that they can buy easily with all the correct kit, install it themselves then have a qualified electrician make the legal connections.

Photovoltaic panels - check.
Inverter - check.
Wiring - check.
Fixings and fastenings - check.
Instructions - check.
Recommended installers, inspectors & electricians - check.
Buyback agreement - check.

The solar kit in a box will take the mystique out of installing your own PV system and put a rocket up the arse of the rip-offs that seem prevalent in the market.

The urban model is forming nicely

The urban model has been well recieved and there has been lots of interesting feedback, even from people who were initially very cynical at solar PV.

The initial investor paper should be ready soon.

Environmental numerology

I just heard an interesting piece on Radio 4's More Or Less with Tim Harford. David MacKaye of Cambridge University was talking about his book - Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air that deals with a mathematical analysis of the joys of the various renewables that are being touted. There was food for thought on the numbers especially wind power (worse than useless) and surprisingly nuclear.

The response by Rebbecca Willis of the government's independent Sustainable Development Commission was quite dismissive, saying that you can't distill it down to numbers. Since I'm something of a number anorak I'm not so sure that we should dismiss the numerology quite so quickly - it deserves more study so I'll have to get stuck in to the book. There is always a danger that the time and effort invested in creating monolithic policies become more important than adapting to the changing reality.

But, it's nice to know that leaving a mobile phone charger plugged in only equates to 1 second of driving!

LED tie-up

I've been looking for an LED lighting tie-up so that we can offer integrated systems that really push the boundaries of efficiency.

Initial discussions yesterday with a Yorkshire manufacturer look encouraging. They have a range of interesting fittings and can do bespoke if required. Most importantly they have a high output fitting that can be used for street, utility and flood lighting. But just as important is that they are nice people and I think we could work well with them. They have been kind enough to offer full use of their designers and engineers so we can take an early look at the two projects that are on the table at the moment.

This is exciting stuff.

Perceptions of solar

We're running a few online surveys on the merits of solar PV. Here are the questions:

1. What are your thoughts on solar generated electricity as opposed to wind (on shore / off-shore) and tidal.
2. What sort of payback period would you consider reasonable? Is that period different for home and work?
3. What would you think about a renewable energy installation that sells back to the grid as a part of your pension package?
4. Would you commit to an installation that could be upgraded over the next 30 years if efficiency improved?
5. What do you think about the the appearance of rooftop solar installations?

A photovoltaic transport network

As the transport system is one of the major producers of carbon and users of fuels it is a natural candidate for taking action. So how shall we do it?

We've all seen the road signs and parking meters that run from a solar panel, but that's only scratching the surface.

What about gantries that run alongside the motorways, railways or the length of a runway? A ten foot wide panel along the length of the M1 will produce megawatts of electricity. The landscaped area inside intersections can have an array and the the service stations can have photovoltaic trees that provide shade for picnics.

There are no boundaries to how we apply our ideas to the technology.