SolTech Energy, a Swedish company selling solutions for clean solar power, has developed a unique home heating system contained within roofing tiles made out of ordinary transparent glass. The attractive house-warming tiles (somewhat ironically) give roofs a beautiful, icy appearance quite unlike anything else we’ve ever seen before.
In 2009, the SolTech Energy System was selected by a jury and nominated among nine as the year’s “Hottest New Material.” Based on votes by the people, the company’s glass tiles were awarded with a gold medal from the North Building Fair, Nordbygg. “The winning entry combines an attractive design with essential functions for clean and sustainable energy. It is an innovative product that is well in time,“ said the chairman of the jury, PhD. Bengt Toolanen.
So what makes the system so special and award worthy? For starters, the tiles are made from ordinary glass and have about the same weight as those made of clay. Secondly, the system doesn’t, like competitors’ versions, heat up water or vacuum pipes, but clean air. The tiles are installed on top of a black nylon canvas, under which air slots are mounted. The black colour absorbs heat from the sun and the air starts to circulate. The hot air is then used to heat up water, which is connected to the house’s heating system via an accumulator. The beauty of the system is that it cuts energy costs throughout the year, during dark winter days as well as night time, due to its capacity to store heat in the isolating layers of air under the canvas.
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Falling cost of solar photovoltaic panels could help technology generate up to 16% of world’s electricity by mid-century
Solar energy could be the top source of electricity by 2050, aided by plummeting costs of the equipment to generate it, a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the West’s energy watchdog, said on Monday.
IEA Reports said solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050, while solar thermal electricity (STE) – from “concentrating” solar power plants – could provide a further 11%.
“The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels constitute the fastest-growing renewable energy technology in the world since 2000, although solar is still less than 1% of energy capacity worldwide.
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In its newest effort to combat climate change, the Obama administration today announced that it would dedicate nearly $70 million in funding toward bringing more solar power to homes and businesses, improving energy efficiency in rural areas.
The $68 million in federal funds will go to 540 energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, 240 of which will be for solar power, the White House said in a press release. Along with the funding, the White House also announced a slew of executive actions, private and public sector commitments, and initiatives from different federal agencies, including one from the Department of Energy to train at least 50,000 veterans to become solar panel installers in the next six years.
Another newly announced program seeks to get more clean energy in low-income communities, by clarifying that Department of Housing and Urban Development’s funding programs for economic development can be used for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Cities in Oregon, Maryland, and Virginia have committed to installing more solar power by 2016, and one winery in California has promised to have 60 percent of its electricity usage come from renewable power by 2016, the White House said.
Taken together, the White House estimates that all of the new programs will cut carbon pollution by more than 60 million metric tons every year, the equivalent of taking about 12 million cars off the road annually. By 2030, the programs would result in carbon pollution cuts of approximately 300 million metric tons, the equivalent of 63 million cars, the White House said.
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