Game changer is usually a term that is usually overused by entrepreneurs seeking a lot of your hard-earned money. But the shocking truth is that yes, the new battery announced by Tesla is potentially, in the words of our esteemed vice-president, a big f—king deal. Game changer may indeed be an understatement if the potential of the Powerwall is realized. Elon Musk doesn’t do things small. The Powerwall’s price is about $3,000 for a 7 kilowatt hour model to $3,500 for a 10 killowatt hour model. I have seen some estimates that this may add up to about 30 cents per kwh to get electricity from the Powerwall—compared to what you might pay about 12 -15 cents per kwh around Washington DC (some places like Hawaii is a lot more and would be ideal for the Powerwall). As the cost comes down even further as the technology improves, would you consider ditching your utility completely? Stay tuned for Musk’s next announcement.
Archive for the ‘Solar Energy Products’ Category
Portable solar chargers are getting lighter and better. And the choices are expanding. One of the most popular purchases at SolarTown are portable solar modules. When you just have to have access to your cell phone, then there are various alternatives for portable solar chargers that you can purchase at SolarTown. We now are carrying the P3 and Sunlinq portable solar chargers, which you can find in our section on portable solar modules. These portable solar chargers provide a lot more power than the solar bags. The largest we now have is 124 watts, which can provide a lot of essential power. These solar chargers can provide power for GPS devices, satellite terminals, laser rangefinders, laptop computers and other devices that require much more power than just a cell phone. And the largest portable solar charger weighs just 6.1 pounds. We are not recommending that you spend your time cruising the Internet when you should be looking at the stars. But for power for some of your essential equipment, and particularly for emergency and rescue workers and others who need a lot of power, these portable solar chargers are a great choice.
Every winter, we hear the same complaints from homeowners who have lost their power. We live in a civilized world but we can’t even provide power to our abodes during a minor storm. When an emergency strikes, some of our customers are looking for a complete backup system and we have some of those systems under our solar backup and emergency kits. They are not going to power everything in your home but they will generally get you enough power for the essentials until the grid comes back on.
In previous years, you were told to prepare for emergencies by packing away the water, a flashlight and other sundries that would get you through the hardest time. Now you can add to your list a backup solar energy system just in case…
Even those with solar power may not have electricity. If you have home solar panels on your roof and are connected to the grid, when the grid goes down, so do your panels. The grid acts like a huge battery and you store your power there. When the grid is not supplying power, then you are like all your neighbors dependent on grid power.
The technology behind solar lights has not changed in many years. There have been a couple of changes. One major change has been in the cost of manufacturing and now almost all solar powered lights are manufactured in China. Another major change has been in the design of the solar light. Some of the manufacturers we represent at SolarTown have been innovating brighter solar lights with updated design. This is all well and good until they find that some of their competitors allegedly have ripped off their design. Some of the lights have a cord so that the light can be in the shade but the panel is in the sun. During the day the solar panel can catch the sun’s rays and send the electrical charge to the battery for storage. Then at night the solar light grabs the charge from the solar battery to light up your backyard. Now that would be an innovation, how to design a solar light that doesn’t need the sun to work.
Are you going on that summer holiday in August? If you plan on staying at a five-star hotel on Oahu, then please do not read this post. If you are planning on getting out of the city but want to stay connected, then you should read on about how solar energy can help make your trip easier. I just came back from a glorious vacation with the family. We couldn’t get enough of the fresh air, the vistas and just the immense and penetrating beauty that the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion have to offer. And the kids were especially happy that we could stay connected. You may enjoy the hiking or admiring the views, but you need to remember that the kids want to be able to use their electronics even when the nearest outlet is miles away. And in an emergency, you don’t want to look down at a drained cell phone. This risk is especially acute when you are using a lot of energy on your cell phone to take pictures. Then you need to make a telephone call and you may not have enough juice on your tablet or cell phone. That is no problem. Just connect your telephone or tablet to a solar backpack and you can stay connected.
Dry and arid conditions plague many countries around the world resulting in increasing scarcity of drinking or irrigation water. Thankfully solar water pumps may be an environmentally friendly solution to this problem in countries such as Australia, Yemen and Nepal. New technology from 2013 is being implemented in rural and heavily farmed areas to give farmers townspeople better access to fresh water. Solar water pumps are allowing farmers there to replace the economic burden of a diesel engine with a renewable option. For the past three years diesel has been in short supply in Yemen so Mufrih Saleh, a farmer from the Darb Wada’a area in the Sa’ada governorate was glad to make the switch to solar power. “Around 12 percent of Yemen’s total consumption of diesel, estimated at 270,000 tons per month, goes to water-pumping generators, according to Iskander Al-Aghbari, manager of the Agricultural Irrigation Department of the Agriculture Ministry. And about 405,000 acres of Yemen’s cultivable land, totaling 1.5 million acres, is irrigated by water pumped from beneath the ground by diesel generators.”
A day in the life of SolarTown is never boring. We field calls all day long from people all over the country, some who are interested in purchasing some of our solar energy products, and some whom simply want to talk solar.
This past week, an owner of a guest villa in Baja California purchased a solar refrigerator to provide off the grid electricity for some of her guests. If you want to supply soft drinks in an idyllic setting, you don’t want to have a noisy generator in the background. Do you want your guests to hear the sound of a diesel generator or the sound of waves crashing against the rocks? Well, if I’m the guest, a solar refrigerator sounds like exactly what I would want. And if it is in the single digits where you are, Baja California probably sounds pretty good right now. We did not receive a lot of calls this past week from those folks in the big freeze. I didn’t hear from anyone in Minnesota this week who planned on installing home solar panels in the next couple of weeks. We did hear from one of our customers in Michigan who is planning a large off grid system for one of his customers in the fall.
If you live in or around Washington, DC or one of the other many areas affected by the ice storms in the last couple of days, you may have woken up without power—which could make your home cold and not a lot of fun. So what do you do when you are out of power? If you need a quick jolt of energy, you can go and get your solar emergency system. It may simply be coincidence but at SolarTown we have been receiving a lot of orders for portable solar modules and solar bags in the last few days. It may be that people are shopping early for solar gifts for the holidays–or it may be that they are preparing for the next ice storm. These solar energy systems were rudimentary even just a few years ago, but now are much better able to provide you with exactly what you need in an emergency. If all you are looking for is something to power a mobile phone or a tablet, then by far the easiest option is a solar bag. We have a large selection of these solar bags. The larger device you want to power the more capacity you will need in your solar bag or solar backpack. You have other options if you need more power for your solar emergency kit.
SolarTown announced its annual top solar gifts today. Every year, I am amazed at the ingenuity of new products running on nothing more than the rays from the sun. This year is no different, and we are offering some new and some old products. We think that they are a good way to get your friends and relatives on the solar path. Of course, using one solar panel is not going to change the world, but you have to start somewhere. If everyone just threw up their hands and said no matter what we do the Chinese are still going to pollute, the Indians are going to pollute and whatever we do won’t make any difference, then we should all move to higher ground as the oceans rise. So what does that have to do with solar gifts? Actually, a lot. You have to start somewhere and that means every small step to use solar power helps. As you buy a solar light for your parents’ backyard, or a solar backpack to power your friend’s computer, you can know that you have started them down the right path away from fossil fuels and into the right path to solar energy. Have a happy holiday season!
Even though we think that top ten lists of states by usage of a website may be idiotic, as suggested by a recent article, we didn’t want you to feel left out and so we compiled the first ever SolarTown rankings. We looked at the users of SolarTown.com over the past twelve months and here are the top rankings of the states that contribute to the traffic on SolarTown. If you are reading this blog entry, then you probably (but not necessarily) come from one of the states in our top ten list. In our top ten list, only California, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona are on the top ten list of states with the cumulative installed solar electric capacity. The other states on our list may be where the future lies. Look at Texas, for example, which is not a particular solar-friendly state, but there are a lot of SolarTown users from Texas. And which is the city with the most SolarTown users. Did you guess Los Angeles, as I did? Wrong. You are going to have to read the entire blog post to find out.