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Solar is the solution for economic growth in rural locations

sun-powerSolar: The Catalyst for Economic Growth and Improved Health in the World’s Most Rural Locations http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-zoi/solar-the-catalyst-for-economic-growth_b_8919532.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green&utm_content=buffer9ceee&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer,  , 15 Jan 16 

Late last year my colleagues and I visited a remote village in rural Rajasthan, India. We were greeted by village leaders offering fresh flower garland necklaces while a joyous collection of enthusiastic, young boys beat drums and tins of all sizes in the background. Following a few moments of warm “Namastes,” we were escorted up the path to a terrace adjacent to the village’s central building where we participated in a town hall meeting. To discuss what? Bringing electricity for the first time to this community of 400 families.

Solar is the solution. Solar panels are the fastest-to-deploy, most cost-effective and cleanest electricity option available to bring electricity to villages like this one and provide essential, basic services, including clean water, pumps, light, refrigeration, and connectivity. To many of us in developed countries, the simple concept of light is taken for granted. Flip a switch, right? In many parts of the developing world there are no “switches” – to get light, you must burn diesel or kerosene, both of which produce harmful emissions. In fact, kerosene lamps lead to 1.5 million deaths per year– more than five times the annual malaria deaths. Simply replacing those kerosene lamps with solar-powered lamps would save more lives than eliminating malaria.

My company, SunEdison Frontier Power, is in the business of building solar-powered mini-grids in villages like this one. We design, construct and operate rural utilities that offer communities light, water pumping, phone charging, refrigeration, connectivity and other modern amenities. Children can study at night. Water can be purified. Medicines and food can be kept cold. Businesses can expand their operating hours. While this has terrific community benefits, both in terms of human health and the economy, it isn’t charity. The villagers and local businesses – in this case a flour mill and several shops – pay us for the power they consume. And at the town hall meeting in Rajasthan that day, there was overwhelming support for doing just that: the town agreed that the solar-powered mini-grid should be built. We will be starting construction early next year.

Access to non-polluting electricity in the developing world is mission-critical for enabling health and preventing disease, as well as in facilitating commerce. Over 1.3 billion people are completely without power; another billion have electricity for just a few hours a day. The economic upshot is clear: a recent International Monetary Fund report names “severe” electricity shortages as a significant contributor to Sub-Saharan Africa’s reduced economic growth. The sooner the developing world gains greater access to cost-effective clean energy, the quicker these issues will be alleviated. And it all starts with solar power.

In many remote areas, solar power is now more cost effective than diesel or kerosene. With solar now cheaper than kerosene, we can eradicate kerosene lamp deaths and remove the health impacts of burning fuel inside and around homes. By offering cost-effective electricity we can deliver other essential services and catalyze the growth of local economies – without waiting for power plants and transmission lines to be built. It takes only a few months to power a village with a solar mini-grid, whereas extending the electrical grid frequently takes several years.

Just as remote areas leapfrogged wire phone lines for mobile phones, solar can leapfrog the old way of providing electricity by skipping the capital-intensive, centralized power plants and long-distance transmission infrastructure. Solar has been used for decades, often paired with batteries, for a range of remote applications, from telephone stations on mountain tops to villagers requiring water pumping. Today a local solar mini-grid can help provide reliable internet services as well, supporting businesses, clinics, schools and families.

As a global society it is in our collective best interest for the developing world to “develop” in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable. We want to improve health, build economies and save lives. We want to do this as fast, effectively and cheaply as possible. Looking at the numbers, these objectives add up to solar as an answer. As countries continue to work through the best ways to address climate change, we are hopeful that they realize that reducing greenhouse gas emissions needn’t mean stifling growth or compromising health in developing economies. The opposite is true. Reducing carbon, improving health, enabling commerce and securing access to clean energy are not mutually exclusive; they are in fact, inextricably intertwined.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal company to launch portable solar system, and storage

The products are being launched at Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural centre in Adelaide on Wednesday 2 September. Ms Oberon said Adelaide was chosen for the launch because of the council’s Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, which provides up to $5000 towards the cost in installing solar PV storage across the residential, business, education and community sectors. Funding for the program also has financial support from the South Australian government.

“We felt it was important to acknowledge the South Australian government and the City of Adelaide for such a forward-looking and innovative scheme,” Ms Oberon said.

The company is also hoping other state governments and councils will be encouraged to take up the idea of supporting the uptake of renewable energy storage.

The company’s core mission is based on the fundamental Aboriginal approach of stewardship of the earth and its resources. This means needing to shift out of high-emissions fossil-fuel derived energy.

flag-AustraliaAboriginal-owned energy company one-upping Tesla By Willow Aliento, The Fifth Estate Friday 8 January 2016 The renewable energy storage game is about to be disrupted, with Australian Aboriginal-owned company AllGrid Energy announcing the launch of WattGrid, a new 10kWh solar energy storage system it says is around 30 per cent cheaper than the Tesla Powerwall.

Customers also don’t have to wait until 2016. Spokeswoman for AllGrid, Deborah Oberon, said the company expected to be making its first deliveries in the next two to three months.

portable solar system AllGrid

The $11,999 WattGrid unit comprises an aluminium cabinet containing tubular lead acid gel batteries, and a hybrid 5kW solar inverter with battery management system that has load share capability with the grid and uninterrupted power supply capability.

The unit is also accompanied by a software app, WattsHappening, that allows users to view real-time information and interface with the system.

Beta testing has shown the unit can help solar owners maintain an energy supply profile that can be matched to the demand profile, potentially rendering drawing grid power unnecessary.

The Queensland-based company is also releasing another product it has developed, the PortaGrid. This is an independent unit comprising solar panels, storage, UPS, inverter and outlets that is suitable for remote and off-grid locations, as well as emergency situations.

The units can be supplied with an inbuilt weather station that will automatically close up the panels in the event of a severe weather hazard such as a cyclone.

The AllGrid company is an alliance between two established firms, Consolidated Industrial Holdings, which operates across the energy efficiency, engineering design and technology sectors, and DICE Australia, an Aboriginal-owned and Aboriginal-operated company in the electrical contracting and general construction services sector………

The products are being launched at Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural centre in Adelaide on Wednesday 2 September. Ms Oberon said Adelaide was chosen for the launch because of the council’s Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, which provides up to $5000 towards the cost in installing solar PV storage across the residential, business, education and community sectors. Funding for the program also has financial support from the South Australian government.

“We felt it was important to acknowledge the South Australian government and the City of Adelaide for such a forward-looking and innovative scheme,” Ms Oberon said.

The company is also hoping other state governments and councils will be encouraged to take up the idea of supporting the uptake of renewable energy storage.

The company’s core mission is based on the fundamental Aboriginal approach of stewardship of the earth and its resources. This means needing to shift out of high-emissions fossil-fuel derived energy.

“It is so important for everyone to shift to renewable energy,” Ms Oberon said.

All the intellectual property involved in the products is owned by the AllGrid business.

Currently the company has one manufacturing facility established in Brisbane where the various parts, some of them manufactured offshore to AllGrid’s specifications, will be assembled by a predominantly Indigenous workforce.

Ms Oberon said if demand in South Australia was great enough, the company would also look to establish a plant in Adelaide.

The PortaGrid product is already attracting interest, she said, with the company in discussions with National Parks about supplying the units for remote sites that currently rely on diesel generators.

“The applicability worldwide of the technology is just enormous,” Ms Oberon said, “particularly in developing countries.”

Talks are underway with a number of groups that are currently running leadership programs with Indigenous people in other nations and setting up training programs in renewable energy for the local peoples.

The company is also investing heavily in research and development………

AllGrid has committed to directing a percentage of all company profits into creating and supporting training and employment programs for Indigenous Australian young people. http://www.eco-business.com/news/aboriginal-owned-energy-company-one-upping-tesla/

January 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, decentralised | Leave a comment

Obama backs community solar power as rooftop energy alternative

White House pushes community solar power as rooftop
alternative
, USA TODAY, 19 Nov 15  WASHINGTON — About half of electric customers can’t text-community-energyinstall solar panels because they don’t own their building, don’t get enough sun or don’t have a large, south-facing roof to install solar panels, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.Those technical challenges are a particular hurdle for low- and middle-income customers — and that’s why the Obama administration is pushing a solution known as community solar.

The White House hosted a summit Tuesday to bring together major solar players to figure out ways to expand retail solar power from traditional rooftop arrays to a model in which households and businesses invest in shared solar systems. The administration announced that 68 cities, states, and businesses had signed on to a White House initiative to promote community solar, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income households.

Obama solar

Those commitments are expected to bring solar power to to more than 20,000 households in 21 states, the White House said. And, just as importantly for President Obama, it will allow the United States to expand its use of clean energy as Obama prepares to travel to Paris for an international climate summit where he’ll press other companies to make similar strides to reduce carbon pollution from fossil fuels…….

Another participant, Michelle Moore of the nonprofit Groundswell, works as a community organizer to try to create markets for community solar power in places where it doesn’t yet exist. She said the White House summit was helpful in bringing for-profit utilities, cooperatives, local governments, non-profits and financiers together to make connections.

“Our role is organizing customers so that they’re able to have more of a say in what kind of energy they want and how they want to buy it,” said Moore, a former environment policymaker at Obama’s White House Council on Environmental Quality. “It’s a way to buy into a solar project without a home construction project.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/11/17/white-house-pushes-community-solar-power-rooftop-alternative/75950054/

November 20, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Mayor of London calls on UK govt for tax help for local community solar power

community-solarflag-UKBoris Johnson: Treasury is endangering community renewables, Guardian, , 12 Nov 15
Mayor of London calls on the government to reconsider plans to remove tax relief for investors in community energy projects 
Boris Johnson has warned the Treasury it is endangering efforts by local communities around the UK to build their own renewable energy projects.

In a letter to the financial secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, the mayor of London and Tory MP called on the government to reconsider its proposals to remove various forms of tax relief for investors in community energy.

More than 100 green energy groups have already said the change will “decimate” the sector, which has installed community-owned solar panels on village halls, small hydro schemes on rivers and wind turbines on farms.

Johnson is concerned that “the proposals may endanger the expansion of the sector given the investment required for the upfront capital costs” and “there is a danger of unintended consequences”, wrote the deputy mayor for environment and energy, Matthew Pencharz.

The mayor also thought that while such schemes might be small individually, in aggregate they are important to the security of London’s future energy supply, and a key part of efforts to cut the capital’s carbon emissions.

The short-term nature of the tax changes – which are due to come into effect at the end of November – could also put an end to schemes that are already in development or fundraising, he said.

One high-profile scheme for a community-owned solar array in a West Sussex village that was at the centre of anti-fracking protests, has already been shelvedas a result of the Treasury’s plans, announced in the finance bill last monthA recent report found more than £100m worth of community energy projects were at risk from the changes…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/11/boris-johnson-treasury-is-endangering-community-renewables

November 16, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Small scale solar power opens up big future for millions in Tanzania

“People who have small shops no longer close their shops early because they don’t have electricity. They can now operate until late at night. The availability of solar electricity has helped control immigration of people to urban areas,” says alternative energy specialist Dr Brenda Kazimili at the University of Dar es Salaam.

The government now wants all health centres and dispensaries that are not connected to the grid countrywide to be provided with solar panels.

How Tanzania plans to light up a million homes with solar power, Guardian, , 29 Oct 15, In a country where only 40% of people have access to grid electricity, the government is looking to sunshine to power health centres and homes efore solar panels were installed at Masaki village’s only health centre, doctors, nurses and midwives had to use dim flashlights or the glow from their cellphones to deliver babies and treat night-time emergencies.

In one case in 2010, a man arrived late after a motorcycle accident and needed a wound stitching. As the nurse began the procedure by the light of her torch, she felt a cold slithering sensation against her legs.

A large black snake was moving across the dark, cement floor. The nurse fled, leaving the patient in the dark with the snake.

The work of the centre, which is five hours drive down a dirt track from the capital Dar es Salaam and serves a population of 1.5 million people in surrounding villages, is now transformed by a two kilowatt solar array installed on the roof at a cost of $15,000 (£9,700). And the government wants many more like it.

In February, it launched its One Million Solar Homes initiative to provide the sun’s power to 1m properties by 2017. Off Grid Electric, the Tanzanian company implementing the initiative, says it will provide power to 10% of the country’s homes. Currently, only 40% have access to grid power with access particularly sparse in rural areas.

The challenge across Africa is daunting. ……

Funding for the million homes initiative has come partly from the government’s Rural Energy Agency – which spends $400m a year – and international donors such as the World Bank. And in rural areas, microfinance organisations are now lending to allow householders to by solar panels. The total installation can cost up to $1,000.

“People who have small shops no longer close their shops early because they don’t have electricity. They can now operate until late at night. The availability of solar electricity has helped control immigration of people to urban areas,” says alternative energy specialist Dr Brenda Kazimili at the University of Dar es Salaam.

The government now wants all health centres and dispensaries that are not connected to the grid countrywide to be provided with solar panels.

Back at Masaki village health centre, the changes were much needed. “We’d begged for so long for solar power at this health centre. Life was unbearable here. We faced so many challenges and it was hard to work at night or do tests that required electricity,” said clinical officer Ahmed Mkamba.

“[Now] we have even installed a satellite dish to keep the health workers entertained after work. Mothers no longer have to be sent to far-away health centres to conduct simple tests and health workers don’t have to walk long distances simply to charge mobile phones.”

Health workers use the power from the solar panels (and the battery installed so that they can use the power at night) to run a computer which keeps patient records, to light the centre’s compound which covers about three or four acres of land and to operate HIV/Aids testing equipment. This means that patients no longer need to be sent to the district hospital 28km away.

And says Mkamba: “The lights keep away the snakes.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/29/how-tanzania-plans-to-light-up-a-million-homes-with-solar-power

October 31, 2015 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised | Leave a comment

New batteries coming for solar powered homes

solar-rooftopsWant a Solar-Powered Home? Here’s a New Battery That Won’t Ignite
As solar panels and wind turbines spread worldwide, they’ll need batteries to store power for times when they don’t produce it. Harvard debuts a promising prototype. 
By Wendy Koch, National Geographic  SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 If you dream of an off-grid house powered by the sun, plan on a battery to store energy for cloudy days—ideally, one that won’t catch fire. Harvard researchers might have just the fix.

 In the race to build the battery of the future, they’re unveiling a unique option. They say their flow battery is the first made with cheap, non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-flammable, high-performance materials.

“It is a huge step forward. It opens this up for anyone to use,” says Michael Aziz,  Harvard University engineering professor and co-author of a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Because the battery is safe and non-corrosive, he says, it’s well suited for both businesses and homes, adding: “This is chemistry I’d be happy to put in my basement.”………http://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2015/09/150924-nonflammable-battery-could-charge-solar-homes/

September 26, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

New measures to promote rooftop solar, by President Obama

US President Barack Obama unveils measures to encourage solar power use,SMH, August 25, 2015 GARDINER HARRIS. The Obama administration has announced a slew of small measures designed to encourage the use of solar power in the US hours.

The measures included making an additional $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) in loan guarantee authority available in an existing federal program for the kind of residential rooftop solar projects that have become popular in places like California.

But none of the announced measures would provide the impact on the solar industry of the Clean Power Plan, which was announced this month and requires states to cut carbon emissions by an average of 32 per cent. That plan provides strong incentives for much of those reductions to come from the development of renewable energy resources – exactly what executives at the conference in Nevada are looking to sell.

“We’re going to make it even easier for individual homeowners to put solar panels on their roof with no upfront cost,” President Barack Obama told the summit. “A lot of Americans are going solar and becoming more energy-efficient not because of tree huggers — although trees are important, just want you to know — but because they’re cost-cutters.

With the nation’s new electrical needs growing only modestly, renewable power executives are depending on electric utilities finally retiring their aging coal-fired power plants and replacing them with renewable power sources. That process is happening anyway, but the administration’s power plan is expected to accelerate it……..http://www.smh.com.au/environment/us-president-barack-obama-unveils-measures-to-encourage-solar-power-use-20150825-gj71e8.html#ixzz3jsRuU7g4

August 26, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Control of electricity at the local level, with batteries for renewable energy

In the end, the solution might lie on a smaller scale: giving everyone the power to store their own power. Tesla is one company of several in this game: it recently announced a device called the Powerwall, designed for homes and businesses. It uses the same batteries as electric cars to store energy, either from renewables or cheap night-time electricity, ready to be used during the day.

If such systems become commonplace, we might all become a little more aware of where our energy is coming from, and how our own behaviour affects its use and production

batteries Terence Eduarte

The battery revolution that will let us all be power brokers, New Scientist 22 July 15 
Companies are racing to find better ways to store electricity – and so provide us with cheaper energy when and where we want it “……..
. Although they are still dwarfed in most respects by the bulky lead-acid batteries found in almost every car on the road today, in 2015, lithium-ion batteries will account for around a third of the money spent on rechargeable batteries globally (see “Turn it on”), and just under a sixth of the total energy stored, according to French research firm Avicenne.

At the same time, their performance has improved immensely: design tweaks have tripled the energy stored in a given volume since the technology was commercialised in 1991. Success has bred success, and lithium-ion batteries have found new and bigger applications, such as electric vehicles (see “Powered by Lithium”). For example, the Model S electric car designed by Tesla Motors, a company owned by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, is powered by thousands of small lithium-ion batteries arrayed between the car’s axles. It can go from zero to 95 kilometres an hour in 3.1 seconds, and can travel about 430 kilometres on a single charge, although charging it can take many hours.
Tesla has no plans to stop there. Lithium-ion batteries are so important to the company that it has taken manufacturing into its own hands, building a “Gigafactory” just outside Reno, Nevada. By 2020, the company plans to produce as many lithium-ion batteries annually as the entire world produced in 2013 – enough for a fleet of 500,000 electric cars – and with a 30 per cent reduction in production cost per battery………

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July 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, decentralised, energy storage, Reference | Leave a comment

Small scale energy revolution in India’s slums – from Australia solar company

Australian solar company Pollinate Energy brings light to slums of India ABC Foreign Correspondent  By South Asia correspondent Stephanie March 26 May 15 With indoor air pollution from kerosene lamps and stoves the second largest cause of death in India, one company, founded by Australians, has come up with a solution to the problem.

Every night in the sprawling shanty towns of the country of 1.2 billion people, the air fills with dense, black smoke.

“We used to get oil from the market and pour it into the lamp and light it; the house used to get full of soot and dirt,” said Abdul, a slum-dweller in Bangalore who lives in a hut made of wooden board and tarpaulin.

That was until Abdul bought a portable solar light from a company called Pollinate Energy, founded by five young Australians.

“After we got this solar lamp a lot of things improved,” Abdul said. “Now we don’t worry that there will be a fire.”

There are 400 million people in India who do not have access to electricity. Many of them live in the thousands of slums found in the country’s cities.

“They’re people who’ve come from rural places to the city to find work, usually in construction sites or as rag pickers, and to make a life for themselves,” Pollinate Energy co-founder Kat Kimmorley said.

“They are sort of like the modern day pharaoh slaves building this next new empire that we all … take for granted that is just coming up before our eyes and yet [is] completely ignored and sort of invisible to the state here.”

Pollinate Energy employs locals to go tent to tent to sell the solar lights.

The lights cost about $30 each — a lot of money for people who earn a few dollars a day. The company allows customers to pay in instalments.

“For most of the people we work with in these urban slums, when we provide a solar light, every time I sell it I think this is the same type of investment as for a plasma screen TV in Australia,” Ms Kimmorley said.

More mobile phones than toilets in India

The lights are popular — the company has sold more than 7,000, and is expanding to two more Indian cities. And that is partly because they double as a phone charger.

“We discovered that the customers would pay double what they would pay for a solar light for a solar-powered phone charger,” Ms Kimmorley said.

“So it is just testament to the fact that it is not just what we think would improve peoples’ lives but also what keeping up with the Joneses means in an urban slum. It’s having a mobile phone and being able to charge that mobile phone,” she said.

The uptake of mobile phones in India has been huge — there are more mobile phones than there are toilets.

The team at Pollinate believes solar lights can follow the same path………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/solar-energy-brings-light-to-slums-of-india/6495912

May 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, decentralised, India | Leave a comment

Rural areas in Pakistan get Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water

Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water in Pakistan – TRFN BY AAMIR SAEED LAHORE, Pakistan, May 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – P unjab province is set to launch an innovation for water-short Pakistan: Solar-powered ATMs that dispense clean water when a smart card is scanned.

The two-foot-square prototype machine looks and functions like an ATM, but dispenses water instead of cash. Users are issued a card they can use to claim a daily share of water.

The project, a collaboration between the Punjab Saaf Pani (Clean Water) Company and the Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL), a research centre in Lahore, aims to install a water ATM on each of a series of water filtration plants being established in rural and urban fringe areas of Punjab province…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/pakistan-solar-water-idUSL5N0Y51MO20150514

May 15, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, Pakistan | Leave a comment

100 per cent renewable energy plan for Apple

Apple wants to run on 100 per cent renewable energy, improve supply chain’s greenness, Manufacturers Monthly  12 May, 2015  Apple has announced plans to run its entire business in China through renewable energy, and to make its supply chain more environmentally friendly.

In a statement released yesterday, CEO Tim Cook said greening manufacturing operations would take years, but would be worth the effort.

“We are excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation,” said Cook…….

According to Apple, 87 per cent of its US operations worldwide are powered through renewable energy, and wants this to reach 100 per cent.

According to the company, 100 per cent of its US operations and all of its data centers are run by renewable power.

It launched its first solar project in Sichuan Province three weeks ago.

http://www.manmonthly.com.au/news/apple-wants-to-run-on-100-per-cent-renewable-energ

May 13, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Portable solar desalination – ideal for developing countries

Scientists are turning salt water into drinking water using solar power The world needs this. Science Alert BEC CREW 27 APR 2015 By inexpensively turning salt water into drinking water using sustainable solar power, a team from MIT in the US has not only come up with a portable desalination system for use anywhere in the world that needs it, but it’s just won the 2015 Desal Prize – a competition run by USAID to encourage better solutions to water shortages in developing countries.

solar-desalination

In order to win the $140,000 prize, entries had to demonstrate how their invention not only works well, but is cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and energy efficient. And the MIT researchers teamed up with US-based manufacturing company, Jain Irrigation Systems, to do just that.

The team’s invention works by using solar panels to charge a cache of batteries that power an electrodialysis machine that removes salt from the water and makes it perfectly drinkable. David L. Chandler explains for MIT News:………

They’re now hoping to expand their field tests to rural communities in developing countries, in the hopes that they can set them up as irrigation systems in small farms. “A solution with the potential to double recoverable water in an environment where water is becoming more precious by the day could have a huge impact,” environmental and civil engineer Susan Amrose from the University of California at Berkeley, who was not involved in the research, told MIT News. Sources: MIT NewsPopular Science http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-are-turning-salt-water-into-drinking-water-using-solar-power?utm_content=buffer4a3b6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

May 13, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | Leave a comment

An exciting solar energy idea – still at the dream stage?

THIS STUNNING HIGH-RISE HYDROPONIC FARM GENERATES RENEWABLE ENERGY AND REPRESENTS NEW HOPE FOR BIG CITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE  [ good pics] by Rachel Oakley in Exhale on Friday 8 May 2015 To make Earth a greener place, Aprilli Design Studio got its designers together to create an incredible ecological system known as the Urban Skyfarm, for a site right in the heart of downtown Seoul.

This is not your average eco-friendly building. It’s so much more.

The Urban Skyfarm isn’t office space or apartments, but rather a complete ‘living machine’ that filters water and air, provides vegetables and herbs for the community, and produces renewable energy at the same time.

There are four major components to the Urban Skyfarm: the root, trunk, branch, and leaves.

The root section provides space for a market or public activities. The trunk can be used as a community garden space for residents. The trunk is also divided into eight individual branches (the leaf portions), which each support farming decks which are suspended from each branch by trusses and tension cables. These farming decks are spread out to receive maximum sunlight throughout the day.

Now, if that wasn’t enough, listen to this: the high rise farming system plans to operate on renewable solar and wind energy alone. Meaning, it operates completely on its own energy, and indeed provides energy to the grid…….http://www.techly.com.au/2015/05/08/this-stunning-high-rise-hydroponic-farm-generates-renewable-energy-and-represents-new-hope-for-big-cities-across-the-globe/

May 9, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Despite the USA’s nuclear lobby – solar power is winning in Japan

flag-japanI predict, because solar is rising so rapidly in the land of the rising sun, that Japan will never restart any of its nukes – even though the U.S. media is demanding Japan restart one of its nukes. Let us pray that the solar home owners in Japan win this race against nuclear power. Our lives too depend on solar winning

sun-championFour years after Fukushima, Japan is solar-powered Bay View by Theresa Coleman and Paul Kangas, 29 Apr 15 In the week before the March 11, 2011, earthquake at Fukushima, one person, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, did an extraordinary act that set Japan’s energy course in history for the next 100 years. He was able to convince the Japanese Parliament to pass a solar payment policy (SPP), that required big utilities in Japan to pay solar home owners $0.53 kwh for 20 years.

This is amazing. One, because the rate is very attractive to solar home owners and two, because he even made the effort.This one policy shift is now making Japan one of the leading solar powered nations on earth – far ahead of California or the U.S.

Number one in solar generation in 2014 was Germany. The same year they won the World Cup in soccer. They are on a roll.It is going to be interesting to see if China becomes No. 2 in 2015. It is a tight three-way race between Japan, Germany and China. Who will win?

The really big question is: “What inspired Prime Minister Naoto Kan to introduce this solar payment policy to the Japanese Parliament the day before Fukushima? Was it Chernobyl?

Apparently Kan had read the book “Solar Economy” by Hermann Scheer the year before. It got him to thinking about how solar policy could actually be drafted to shut down all the nuclear power plants in Japan over the next 50 years……….

This one policy shift is now making Japan one of the leading solar powered nations on earth – far ahead of California or the U.S. Number one in solar generation in 2014 was Germany.

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April 30, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, Japan | Leave a comment

UK plan for solar panels on every school roof

solar-jobCrowdsourcing funds will put solar panels on every school roof http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/05/solar-panels-school-energy   Labour says schools would benefit by average of £8,000 a year and spread understanding of sustainability Every school in the country will be offered help with installing solar panels on their roofs under plans being considered by Labour. Schools would not only be able to reduce their bills, but could also raise revenues by selling surplus electricity back into the national grid. It is estimated that the initiative could earn schools involved an average of around £8,000 a year.

The government’s role would be in helping headteachers to crowdsource funds for the panels. Civil servants would also deal with linking up schools to the national grid and payments.

Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP mooted as a potential Labour candidate for London mayor in 2016, said the policy could help to free schools from reliance on the big six energy firms.

Thomas, who is promoting the policy as chairman of the Co-operative grouping of MPs within Labour, said: “Britain needs to expand community energy to give people more control over the energy they depend on. Helping schools to set up energy co-operatives to get a self-financing solar roof is a great way to spread understanding about sustainability.”

Friends of the Earth says that if every school installed solar panels the amount of energy generated would be the same as that used by 380,000 homes and would cut carbon emissions by the same amount as taking 110,000 cars off the road. A charity called Solar Schools is helping 66 schools raise a target of £851,000 and has crowdsourced half the target in six months.

The education sector represents a major potential market for the solar industry, as schools typically have large rooftops ideal for panels and rarely face planning difficulties. Current government regulations stop schools from borrowing to fund solar installations, even though ministers had said they wanted more solar panels installed on the roofs of public sector buildings.

April 6, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

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