Friday Field Notes 102816


In case you haven’t heard, the big reveal for the Tesla solar roof is scheduled for this evening (October 28 — 7 PM Pacific time, to be precise). If your invitation got lost in the mail, or you can’t get to L.A. in time, never fear: they’ll be live-streaming via Tesla’s website (Business Insider). Oh, the intrigue.

Here’s more solar news from the week . . .

ABC Australia touches on how some solar energy companies are capitalizing on “consumer confusion.” In short, consumers think they’re getting a better deal than they are getting. While the article pertains to New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, it could easily apply to all of us. Martin Gill, energy consultant and consumer advocate sums it up quite nicely: “We’re seeing deals which offer very large discounts . . . we’re seeing some special deals which are being offered to limited subsets of the consumers . . . Those deals, when you actually look at them, are often worse than if you accepted standard deals that are available in the marketplace.” The moral of the story: do your homework; read the fine print; understand the numbers, from beginning to end. Just like anything else, be smart about where and how you invest your money.

Construction on the first solar road in Orne, France has officially commenced. Once complete (December, 2016), the roadway will generate some 17,963 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day — enough to power public lighting for a town of 5,000 (PV Magazine). Il est excitant, non?

According to a new poll from the UK, 73 percent of the British public support onshore wind power; 80 percent support solar farms — but no one seems to believe anyone else does (Clean Technica). Hmm, that seems to be a bit of a quandary. Certainly, nothing that a little civil discourse, a little education can’t fix. Knowledge is power and all that.

Kenya’s International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) is dedicated to the study of insects. When the national grid goes down (as it is wont to do), staff members continue their research using diesel generators. But times are changing. The campus is set to welcome a solar PV system, complete with battery backup — which will allow them to bid farewell to two of their five generators. Gatigwa Kimana, ICIPE’s director of finance, explains their reasoning for the change: “The cost of lost opportunities in the event of a power blackout is higher than the monetary costs of purchasing diesel; [but] after a feasibility study was conducted, we decided on solar energy, in line with our philosophy to conserve the environment.” (Reuters)

Check out the Spin Cells from V3. They’re bright blue, have a keen resemblance to party hats, and can generate 20 times the electricity of a flat PV panel. There’s no word on the cost, mind. Of course, V3 (in collaboration with Nectar Design) hopes they’ll be the next big thing in solar technology (3 Tags) . . .

NASA’s twin spacecraft STEREO mission (or Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory) launched ten years ago. Over the course of that decade, it’s provided a wealth of information pertaining to our sun ( Check out the video. Spoiler alert: the sun is crazy cool.

Lastly, in case you’re looking for some pumpkin carving inspiration . . . here’s a fellow who created a DIY solar-powered jack-o-lantern (KFFI).


Now, for our disclaimer: Friday Field Notes is a weekly post about the goings on in (and possibly around) the field of solar. We simply link to news articles from the week to help you stay in the loop. While we try to stick with reputable sources, we cannot attest to the accuracy of each and every piece. Furthermore, the links and subsequent views and commentary are purely the opinion of the writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, nor should they be considered professional opinion, backing, and/or advice.