Tag Archives: solar power

Two Chinese companies are planning to build a giant solar plant in Chernobyl

23 Nov

Two Chinese solar companies have plans to build a huge solar farm in one of the scariest places on earth, the Chernobyl exclusion zone. On the 26th April 1986, one of four nuclear reactors at the Chernobyl power station exploded. As a result, the disaster released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Much of the fallout was deposited close to Chernobyl, in parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. More than 350,000 people resettled away from these areas, but about 5.5 million remain. Scandinavia was badly affected and there are still areas of the UK where farms face post-Chernobyl controls.

After the nuclear plant’s meltdown, Soviet officials set up a restricted area around the site called the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Even though it’s been 30 years since the accident, this restricted area is still exceptionally large. A 1,000 square mile exclusion zone of forests and marshland surrounds the former Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine and has been largely off-limits since the 1986 disaster. However the site is an excellent choice for the location of a large solar farm. Not only is the land cheap and unused, but there is already substantial electrical infrastructure in place left over from the nuclear plant.

Shu Hua, the chairman of GCL System Integration Technology said “There will be remarkable social benefits and economic ones as we try to renovate the once damaged area with green and renewable energy,” Making the best of a bad situation could prove motivating to others as the global community begins the hard work of implementing the Paris Agreement.

Ukraine has been trying to find an investor to build a large solar farm in the exclusion zone for several months and now the two companies, GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI) and state-owned China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC), announced their plans to start building a 1-gigawatt solar power plant in an unspecified region of the Exclusion Zone. Comments made by a GCL-SI manager suggested that the plant would be built in an area where the radiation is under control. The site itself has already gone through several rounds of inspections by the company’s technicians. GCL will build and install the solar components, while CCEC will manage and supervise the entire project. Neither company disclosed where exactly the solar farm would be built, or how much the project will cost.

Prior to the Chernobyl project, the Chinese have successfully reformatted contaminated land into renewable energy generators and therefore are the perfect candidate for the construction. Radiation levels around the remains of damaged reactor building still remain dangerously high and are likely to remain so for thousands of years. In the 30 years since the meltdown, scientists have already seen some evidence of the radiation causing harm to local animals.

To discourage urban expansion from absorbing more farmland, China has implemented policies that encourage solar and wind power plants on damaged land. China is currently the world’s top solar power generator with 43 gigawatts of generating capacity expected by the end of the year,

Though they have become the number one manufacturer in solar power, China has been encouraged to slash their carbon footprint since they reportedly derive 66% of their energy from coal use, according to the Energy Information Administration. The nation has since announced plans to eliminate all CO2 emissions by 2030 by expanding their international solar power presence and tripling their generated wind power.

Image result for Chernobyl

Solar Joins 1,000 Year Old Gargoyles On Cathedral Roof

3 Nov

A cathedral in Gloucester is having a huge upgrade by installing solar panels to help cut its energy bills by up to 25 percent. Despite its 1,000 years of history, the cathedral was keen to embrace modern technology and is having 150 panels fitted on its roof.

The cathedral is based in southwest England and was built around the year 678 and is coronation site for King Henry III, the burial site of King Edward II and famously had a featuring role in three Harry Potter movies!

Mypower are in charge of the installation and say the cathedral will be the oldest in the UK and maybe even the world to have a “commercial size solar panel system on the roof.”

The great advantage of installing solar panels on cathedrals is that they are really tall. And the fact that they are surrounded by ornate buttresses and gargoyles and other fancy architecture means that the solar panels will mostly be hidden from the ground, meaning the cathedral gets to cut its energy costs by a quarter without really sacrificing its historic, architectural integrity. The panels will generate 25,000 kilowatts of energy a year, enough to power seven semi-detached homes for a year or make an impressive 250,000 cups of tea!

Mypower, the installation contractor on the project and the firms’ managing Partner Ben Harrison said they’ve had to work around twists and spots where the roof has sagged over time. He said they’ve worked closely with the cathedral’s structural engineers and architect to guarantee the work is completed properly. “At times it’s been extremely tight in terms of manoeuvrability around parts of the site, particularly when the work required us to work just inches away from centuries-old gargoyles, but we put strategies and measures in place to protect the building from any damage.”

A further advantage of building on cathedrals and older churches are that they were usually built pointing directly from east to west, leaving a huge area of south-facing roof that’s ideally situated for maximum solar gain.

The Church of England is running a Shrinking the Footprint campaign, and the solar array will help Gloucester Cathedral work towards the campaign’s goal of slashing carbon emissions “by 80 percent by 2050.” Given that the Church of England has declared climate change “a great demon”, and has even stripped itself from the dirtiest fossil fuels, I suspect we will see many more churches going solar as the costs come down.

Once finished, the 1,000 year old building will become the oldest cathedral in the UK, and possibly the world, to claim a commercial-sized solar panel PV system. The installation forms a key part of the £6 million Project Pilgrim scheme to make the cathedral sustainable for future generations.

Solar powered Tuk-Tuk arrives in the UK after 6,200 mile trip

16 Sep

Naveen Rabelli, an engineer has travelled in a solar powered tuk-tuk all the way to the UK from India. Rabelli, who was born in India and became an Australian citizen while working as an automotive engineer there, hoped to end his journey at Buckingham Palace. His journey has took seven months in his solar-powered tuk-tuk on an incredible 6,200 mile (9,978km) journey. It has a top speed of 60km/h (37 mph) and is powered by both electricity and solar power. The vehicle he has named Tejas, which suitably means radiance or brilliance.

The big adventure began in Bangalore in India before the tuk-tuk was shipped to Iran. He then drove through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. The tuk-tuk cost Rabelli £1,100 and spent around £8500 customising it. As well as making it run on solar and electric power, he installed a bed, solar cooker and a cupboard, which he stocked with food donated by well-wishers.

Travelling at around 62 miles a day, he set off on his adventure to raise awareness of electric and solar-powered vehicles as a sustainable low-cost alternative mode of transport. Rabelli converted the petrol-run vehicle to a solar powered one, which seems like a self-sufficient home. He got the idea of creating a solar-powered tuk-tuk after he and a friend got stuck in traffic a few years back.

The 32-year-old Australian has made it to London. Picture: PA

Unfortunately on the last leg of his world tour, Rabelli had to pause his journey one country short of his intended destination after his passport and wallet were stolen from his parked vehicle in Sarcelles, north of Paris, while he was using a bathroom. The 35-year-old had to wait for his new passport so that he could cross the Channel and finish his journey at Buckingham Palace.

Talking of his journey, Rabelli particularly appreciated the support of the local people: “The highlights have been the way people have helped me out along the way and supported me. People love the tuk-tuk, particularly in Iran and many other countries. They come forward and take selfies. And the moment I tell them it doesn’t require petrol, their minds are blown.”

Mr Rabelli says his goal is to create awareness of the potential for solar-powered passenger vehicles in Asian and European countries, presenting an Indian solution to the world. Well Naveen, the world is certainly watching!

Indian Railway Tests Solar Powered Trains To Help Cut Fuel Bills And Pollution

16 Jun

India has one of the largest railway networks in the world carrying an estimated 23 million passengers daily on approximately 12,000 trains. In a huge move Indian Railways could soon be running its trains via solar power which would be a momentous move for the countries environmental conservation. The railway also transports around 3 million tonnes of freight daily which requires an enormous amount of energy.

At the forefront of the operation, Indian Railways plans to tackle the railways current fuel bill which currently constitutes as the second largest part of its expenditure, the first being its employee salaries. In 2012, Indian Railways consumed nearly 3 million kilolitres of diesel oil and about 14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Diesel alone is costing Rs30,000 crore (£3.02 billion) and overtime has been chomping away at the bank balance for Indian Railways.

The potential for solar energy in India is massive. Harnessing it will not only control diesel consumption (by up to 90,000 litres per year) and reduce carbon dioxide emissions (by over 200 tonnes), but also prove extremely cost-effective.

A prototype of a solar powered non air conditioned coach is currently undertaking trials, and soon the entire train will be fitted with solar panels, officials have said. At present, nearly 17 units of electricity are being generated from the solar powered coach. The cost of installing the panels on each coach, according to the Economic Times, is about Rs3.9 lakh (£3,905), and these are expected to result in savings of Rs1.24 lakh (£1,241) per year.

By 2020, Indian Railways plans for renewable energy to create at least 10% of its total energy consumption. The primary action is to implement solar-powered lighting via panels mounted on the roofs of trains.

As per the plan, the train would be pulled by conventional diesel-run engines while solar panels will provide all the internal electricity needs for lights and fans on both air conditioned and no air conditioned coaches.

The solar panelled coach will be tested in an assortment of conditions in the upcoming weeks by the Indian Institute of Science and the coach makers themselves, Integral Coach Factory.

Indian Railways also propose to harness solar energy in their train stations by implementing solar panels to the buildings roofs. The rail network plans 1,000 megawatts of solar-power projects in the next five years, Minister Suresh Prabhu said in parliament. Developers can use the railway land and buildings to set up solar panels.  The solar power will be used to light up stations and office buildings.

Why going solar may be right up your street

5 Jun

Are you thinking of investing in a solar powered future for you and your family? Increasing numbers of homeowners around the world are going solar, and the green energy investment not only saves money in the long run, but also helps the environment. What’s not to love?

In terms of global installed capacity, solar is the 3rd most important renewable energy source sitting just behind hydro and wind respectively. Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to work; they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

The benefits of going solar

  1. Once the panels have been installed there is no need for any fuels to be consumed. What could be greener than that?
  2. In terms of your local community – By reducing the impact on the power grid (with your house being self-efficient) power is conserved for other locations around the community.
  3. The sun must be the most reliable source of power due to the fact it will be around for the next several billion years. An abundant power source if you ask us.
  4. Get paid for generating electricity. The government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate – even if you use it!
  5. SUNLIGHT IS FREE! So once you have paid for the initial installation your energy costs will be reduced.
  6. You could sell electricity back to the grid. Basically, if your system is producing more electricity than you use, you can sell the surplus back to the grid.
  7. A typical home which operates under solar power could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year. You could be the greenest person you know considering you could save more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime!

Solar power around the world

You might be surprised to know that in 2010 Germany had the highest capacity of solar photovoltaic power in the world and still does to this day. Despite a slowdown in 2013, Germany is expected to remain the top solar market in Europe for the coming years, and still boasts a quarter of the world’s installed PV capacity 26 percent, compared to the 13 percent held by each of the next two countries, Italy and China.

China is second on the list. Coupled with a commitment to cut its coal use, the world’s biggest carbon polluter could soon also be the country powered with the greenest energy. It helps that China is a major solar panel manufacturer, and the government has had to repeatedly raise its renewable energy targets — from a plan of 20 GW by 2020 to 20-30 GW by 2020 to the current target of an astounding 70 GW of solar by 2017.

Rounding off the top three is Italy. Rising from fifth place in 2010 to third place as of the end of 2013, Italy generates more of its energy from solar than any other nation, with 7.8 percent of its energy coming from solar, compared to 6.2 percent for Germany.

As for the little island called the United Kingdom, we come at an impressive 10th. In 2013, the U.K nearly doubled its solar capacity, installing more even than Italy, the current 5th-place holder. Pretty impressive!

Frequently asked questions

  • A popular question asked by someone wanting to go solar is what happens when they move home. In short, ownership of the technology is linked to the site and, therefore, in the case where a building or homeownership changes, the ownership of the technology would also transfer to the new owner.
  • Another popular subject is the questionable amount of sunshine in the UK. Well, solar panels work using light, and not necessarily sun light. This means that a solar PV or solar thermal system can function in cooler and often cloudier countries. However you will of course generate more energy at sunnier times of the year.
  • And finally, where should you installed your solar panels – Maximum output comes from south facing systems between 30-40 degrees from horizontal. Although most systems are installed on a roof, they can be installed on any surface such as facades, sunshades, garages or ground mounted. They are normally installed in locations that receive sunshine through most of the day.

If you would like any more information regarding solar power call us on 020 8883 4595. One of our dedicated team members will be happy to help!

Kenya and their drive towards 50% solar power by 2016

14 Feb

Many countries around the world are acknowledging the need for the implementation of renewable sources of energy. Kenya has put forward the identification of nine sites to build solar power plants that could deliver more than 50 percent of the country’s electricity by 2016.

The total cost of construction is expected to cost around £730 Million, according to early designs which are very nearly completed. The assembly is set to begin this year with half the cost contributed by a partnership between private companies and the government.

The project is expected to bring down electricity costs and protect the environment according to senior administrator at Kenya Renewable Energy Association, Cliff Owiti. He says;

“We hope that when the entire project is completed by 2016, more than 50% of Kenya’s energy production will consist of solar. Already we are witnessing solar investments in Kenya such as a factory that was opened here in 2011 that manufactures solar energy panels.”

For a developing country, this would be an incredible feat for more than 50 percent of energy being generated by renewables. Owiti went on to say that over $500 million had already been invested in solar projects in Kenya;

“The costs related with hydroelectricity are very high, considering they are influenced by the low water levels in major supply dams. With high investments in solar, we will witness almost no blackouts and power charges will reduce because electricity will be in high supply.”

It has also been said that with the completion of the project, with solar power working efficiently, electricity costs could decrease by up to 80 percent. This would have a dramatic impact on the lives of the Kenyan public. Not only would they have lower bills, but they would be confidently leading the way, with many developed countries falling behind in terms of renewable energy targets.

At present, other construction plans include a wind farm, located near Lake Turkana. This will be the largest Sub-Saharan African wind farm and is set to be operating by 2015. Construction on the euro 582m Lake Turkana Wind Power project (LTWP) is due to start in June.

The wind farm will cover 40,000 acres in Loiyangalani district in north-eastern Kenya, reaching from 450m at the shore of Lake Turkana to 2,300m above sea level at the top of Mount Kulal. Due to the day-to-day temperature variations, there are strong, predictable winds between the lake and the desert, with an estimated average speed of 11m per second. A total of 365 wind turbines will be built.

Kenya ranks 22nd in Africa for the quantity of electricity it produces, and 46th in the world in the generation of solar energy. But it could rank third for solar in the next four years, according to data from the Energy Regulatory Commission, a government agency.

Farm goes green to tackle rising electricity prices!

4 Oct

A farmer in Iowa has decided to tackle growing electricity prices head on by going green. The Jensen’s of Exira have decided to invest in a rising trend tapping into the very same power that helps their crops develop. Alan and Maureen have been farming for decades and have developed 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans, as well as raising 9,000 pigs. At present their main concern is the increasing energy bills which will greatly impact their big operation.

Alan Jensen says, “We use a lot of electricity with all the livestock and the grain that we have to handle and we kept seeing the rates go up higher and higher, almost to the point where it`s unaffordable,”. The Jensen’s farm were receiving electricity bills that averaged at $1,000 per month and they quickly realised the figure would continue to rise.

“We started looking at different ways of making our own electricity and it`s good for the environment and it`s sustainable,” says Jensen. With this in mind Alan and Maureen decided to install solar power by implementing a nearly 36 Kilowatt solar array. After three months had passed the Jensen’s started to see benefits emerging.

The solar array was installed by Wind and Solar Specialists out of Alta, Iowa.  Rob Hach, the president of Wind and Solar Specialists had the following to say, “It will produce year round, even on a cloudy day like today it`s still producing electricity,”.

The average home in Iowa, USA used 900 Kilowatt hours per month according to the Energy Information Administration. At the time, the Jensen’s were using more than four times that at 4,200 Kilowatt hours. The newly implemented solar panels are producing an average 5,300 kilowatt hours per month. Any additional electrons are sent back to the grid and can be used by the farmers when needed.

Jensen also said, “We are building credits, because this Fall, all the corn drying fans will start blowing a lot of air. We`ll start using a lot of kilowatts and we`ll probably start working those credits we built up back down,” According to Hach many farmers are now turning to sustainable energy to secure the farms futures with the current energy prices rising too much.

The Jensen’s haven’t had to pay an electric bill for two months now and argued that solar was the way to go. “The cost of the power keeps going up and as the bills keep getting higher and higher” said Jensen.

All though the change has been positive for the Jensen family – the cost of installing a solar array can range from $20,000 to one million US dollars. Thus, the installation of such is a long-term investment.

The Jensen’s now own the largest privately owned solar array in Iowa and are very happy with the benefits.

 

%d bloggers like this: