Jul 122013

Originally posted on 1bog.org

One question a homeowner considering solar might ask is, “how much of an impact will putting panels on my roof really have when I’m just one person?” The average home installation generates about 6 kilowatts of energy, whereas the average power plant generates about 667,000 kilowatts. It’s pretty easy to think that the power plant dwarfs the average house, right? But think about this: as more systems are installed, their cumulative effect creates a number of benefits for both the individual homeowner and society as a whole.

To get a better understanding of the big picture, let’s take a few steps back.

where does solar energy go? Residential vs. Commercial vs. Industrial Solar.

First, some facts. In 2011, energy generated in the U.S. was distributed fairly evenly among residential, industrial, and commercial categories, at roughly one-third each with residential having a slight edge over both commercial and industrial. So, although power plants generate a whole lot more power, when put in the perspective of consumption, the playing field evens out quite a bit.

But then we have that slight edge that residential has over commercial and industrial categories, and here’s where it gets really interesting. Since residential is the largest consumer of electric power, its size allows solar to make more of an impact than if we focused solely on the other sectors which makes it a natural target for reductions. However, the size of the consumption is not the only reason to focus there.

If we take a look at the three categories in another way, this time looking more granularly at their demand in monthly increments, in the “Historical peakiness” graphic below you can see that residential power consumption is also the “peakiest” on both a daily and monthly scale. Peakiness basically means the points at which demand is highest. Residential power dominates this, which means that it rules the demand sector for power as well, especially in the winter and summer months when there is a direct need for heating and cooling in the home. Why does this matter? Because “peaky” power is the most expensive power.

Historical peakiness of solar Source: EIA

“Peaky” is expensive because grid operators and utilities dispatch power starting from the cheapest and moving to progressively more expensive power. The cheapest power comes from nuclear and hydro dams, then coal and wind, when available, are dispatched. Finally, natural gas turbines match the exact demand, spinning up and down as necessary. This ability to move up and down with the grid is what keeps the lights on and prevents brownouts or surges, but it is very expensive to do this. On the hottest summer days, when all of the cheapest power is already in use, demand dictates the most expensive power be purchased.

However, it does not need to be that way. As it turns out, solar generates power right at the same time it is needed the most — at the peak. For all intents and purposes, solar generation has the effect of shaving the peaks off. Take a moment to really digest that: solar works best when energy is most needed, so a solar home essentially bypasses the entire nuclear-hydro-coal-wind daisy chain. (Incidentally, this has utilities companies freaking out.)

We can actually see this in action in Australia, where solar is being added at a furious rate. For each year that solar is added, the peak summer demand has been shaved progressively downward. Since 2008, that demand has fallen by 15 percent. Furthermore, overall demand fell by 3 percent, whereas it was previously predicted to rise 10 percent! If the trend continues, it will translate into lower demand for new power plants and the transmission lines needed to distribute that power.

The implication of this trend is that residential solar is perfectly suited for reducing society’s most expensive power. That is all well and good for the altruists out there, but there is also a very pragmatic element as well: Whether you want to save the planet or not, as a utility ratepayer you are ultimately footing the bill for that expensive, peaky power in the form of higher costs in the summer and winter. Adopting solar means shaving down your demand, which in turn means that you will see some significant savings on your utility bills, and that always feels good whether it’s for the planet or your wallet – or both.

The post Why Residential Solar Energy is Mightier Than Its Industrial and Commercial Counterparts appeared first on Solar Power.

Sep 132011

“Concept_One” EV Super Car Boasts 1,088 HP, 600 Km Range

Electric cars have quickly gone from sideshow attraction to main stage in the global auto industry, and the wealthy are especially interested in electric luxury cars from companies like Rimac Automobili, whose Concept_One EV supercar boasts nearly 1,000 horsepower.

The Concept_One officially debuts this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show, and these initial images show a car that is sleek, edgy, and designed with an upper class clientele in mind. A unique drive system divides the propulsion units into four separate sub systems, each with its own motor, inverter, and reduction gearbox, each sub system driving a single wheel. Some basic math tells me that if the 1,088 horsepower claim is to be believed, then each electric motor is capable of delivering 272 horsepower to each wheel, independent of the others. That kind of power output puts it in the class of “hyper cars” like the Bugatti Veyron, Koenigsegg CCX, and the McLaren F1.

Of course a world-class interior and infotainment system is mandatory for a car of this caliber, and while no price point has yet been set…let’s just say if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. No doubt much of the pricing will come from the battery pack, which will purportedly offer600 km(about370 miles) of driving range, while providing a top speed of around190 mph.

Concept One

Concept One - Front

Concept One - Profile

Concept One - Profile

Concept One - Wheel

Concept One - Wheel

Concept One - Unveiled

Concept One - Unveiled

Read the full Story At Gas 2.o

Sep 132011

First Electric Car Arrives in R.I. Showroom

PROVIDENCE — The first mass-produced electric car arrived at a Rhode Island dealership last week. A Chevy Volt, which is technically classified as a plug-in hybrid, will be available for test drives through the end of the year at Balise Chevrolet in Warwick.

In November, Balise will start selling the cars.

Nationally, demand for EVs appears mixed. Both Chevy and Nissan’s all-electric Leaf have been conducting slow rollouts of their sedans, reportedly to work out glitches and build buzz for their high-tech, battery-powered cars. But independent surveys show interest from potential customers is dropping while their arrival in Rhode Island is months overdue.

Perhaps in response to slow demand, Chevy has reduced the Volt’s price somewhat, to about $33,000 after the $7,500 federal tax credit. The Leaf boosted its cost slightly for its 2012 models to about $28,500 after the credit. Both are selling in select markets across the country. Since December, nearly 6,200 Leafs and 3,500 Volts have been sold.

The Leaf is already for sale at some dealers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Rhode Island dealers will have to wait until early 2012.

The demo Volt was parked outside a meeting of the Rhode Island chapter of Project Get Ready on Sept. 8 at Save The Bay’s headquarters. The nonprofit advocacy group, run locally by Al Dahlberg, is helping EVs get a foothold in the state by encouraging public and private investment in EV education and infrastructure, such as charging stations, electrical capacity upgrades and signage.

Read the full Story At ECO RI News

Sep 132011

New Nissan charger makes juicing electric cars quicker, easier for drivers.

Nissan Motor Co. has unveiled a new rapid charger for electric vehicles that is smaller, faster and easier to use for drivers who want to recharge their environment-friendly cars.

Just as importantly, the new charger is compatible with all of Nissan’s electric vehicles — such as the Leaf — as well as those produced by other car manufacturers like Honda and Toyota.

A number of companies have developed their own EV charging facilities, including Park & Charge in Europe and Better Place in parts of America. PARVE is under development in Spain, while JFE Engineerign Corp. is developing a rapid charging system that it claims will be able to take an empty battery to 50 percent full in just three minutes.

Nissan’s new device was unveiled at the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama and will go on sale for installation at the company’s parts companies throughout Japan in November.

The charger will be made available in the North American and European markets in the near future, Japan’s second-largest car manufacturer said, although no decision has been made on exact dates for those releases.

“The newly developed quick charging unit retains the high performance of the current quick charger manufactured by Nissan … but is nearly half the size by volume,” the company said in a statement. “The new charger unit’s smaller size will take up less space and enable easier installation.”

The previous unit had a suggested retail price of Y1.47 million (€14,076), including tax, the company said, but the updated system will cost “significantly less than Y1 million (€9,576),” Nissan added. The basic unit will cost less than half the price of the present charger.

The company said it plans to sell 5,000 of the new quick chargers by March 2016 and contribute to the development of electric vehicle infrastructure in Japan.

Read the full Story At NYDaily News

Sep 122011

Brabus brings electric muscle to the Frankfurt Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus is bringing a few cars to the Frankfurt motor show, but instead of fire-breathing, gas-drinking supercars, they’re electric.

That’s right, the company that brought us the 738-hp Brabus SL600 and the 788-hp Brabus S600 R is turning its considerable tuning powers to low-emission luxury cars–for now.

Brabus Zero Emission, the alternative-drive side of the Brabus business, will have two prototypes on display at the Frankfurt show. The first is a version of the European Mercedes E220 diesel called Technology Project Hybrid. It uses two electric motors at the wheel hubs to keep fuel economy up.

The second is an all-electric version of the sedan with four wheel-hub motors and a whopping 2,360 lb-ft of torque.

The Technology Project Hybrid from Brabus has a direct-injection, 2.2-liter common-rail diesel engine with two supplemental hub motors from English manufacturer Protean Electric. Those motors produce 67 hp each in normal mode and 107 hp each when the sport button is pressed. Torque from the two hubs is rated at an astonishing 1,180 lb-ft, according to Brabus.

During electric cruising, the Mercedes is powered by an 18.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The company says that in eco mode the car can travel 75 miles with zero emissions. In sport mode, the vehicle can still go 50 miles. When both the engine and the electric motors are used, the car can go from 0 to 60 mph in just more than seven seconds. Drivers can also opt to cruise in standard diesel mode.

The system can recharge when coasting or braking, up to 140 kilowatts. For home charging, Brabus partnered with German energy provider RWE to create a 380-volt unit that can fill up the battery in 30 minutes, the company says. On a 220-volt outlet, it takes about 5.6 hours.

The extra weight of the car dictated an upgrade to the suspension. Brabus added a height-adjustable sport setup with variable dampers developed with Bilstein.

For the finishing touch, Brabus adds unique body panels, LED daytime running lights, sill plates and a new instrument cluster the displays all of the hybrid-related information.

Read the full Story At Autoweek

Sep 122011

Nissan unveils quick charger for electric cars

Nissan Motor Co., a leader in the electric car business, revealed a new quick battery charger that is around half the size and half the cost of conventional chargers, and easier to install.

Nissan plans to start selling them in Japan in November. “Preparations are also under way for future sales of the new quick charger in the U.S.and in European markets,” Nissan said in a statement.

The Japanese automaker plans to install the new charging units at dealerships, local government facilities and places that draw large numbers of customers “as part of its efforts to assure customers of a comfortable and convenient electric vehicle driving experience.”

The base model of the revamped charger will cost about half the price of the current model, which is stockier and has more parts, and costs 1.47 million yen, or$19,000.

Nissan has sold more than 13,600 Leaf cars around the world since introducing the all-electric car in December 2010.

From The Detroit News: Click Here

Sep 122011

Natural Gas for Trucking Building Momentum

Sales of trucks powered by natural gas will grow faster than the rest of the North American Market over the next several years, according to Frost & Sullivan, an industry analysis firm.

A new report predicts that North American sales of Class 6-8 LNG and CNG vehicles will rise to nearly 30,000 by 2017. That’s up from just 1,950 last year, slightly less than 1% of North American sales.

The researchers estimated that the total truck market will grow from 226,400 vehicles last year to 371,700 in 2017, and by that point nearly 8% of sales will be powered by some form of natural gas.

One of the stumbling blocks to fleets using natural gas is the higher up-front cost. The Frost & Sullivan report said while a basic Class 8 diesel tractor costs $100,000 to $150,000, but natural gas engines add $28,000 to $72,500, depending on the type of natural gas ignition technology used.

In some areas, government programs are helping out. For instance, the Ryder/San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) Natural Gas Vehicle project has allowed the company to secure lease agreements for 90 natural-gas trucks in its Southern California fleet.

The Ryder/SANBAG project is part of a joint public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments, Southern California Association of Governments, and Ryder.

The $38.7 million project includes:
* 202 natural gas vehicles available for lease or rent
* three strategically located natural gas compliance maintenance shops in Rancho Dominguez, Orange and Fontana
* two fueling stations.

Even without government subsidies, analysts at Frost & Sullivan said fleets can get their money’s worth as long as natural gas prices are $1.50 less per gallon-equivalent than diesel fuel. The researchers said most fleets they have studied pay $1.65 to $1.80 per natural gas gallon equivalent, significantly lower than the $4 a gallon diesel is running at the pump these days.

Read the full Story At Trucking Info

Sep 092011

Electric Cars on Front Line at Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW will introduce its i3 concept, the first electric car for city slickers that is scheduled to go into mass-production from 2013, at the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt next week.

In fact, the huge auto show is expected to be a veritable battlefield of electric cars among global auto makers. Volkswagen will present its new electric compact, the UP!, and its single-seat Nils, another electric vehicle designed for urban residents. Audi will unveil a small electric car with a unique exterior, the Urban, as well as its A2 electric concept.

Some 89 models will be presented for the first time at the show, which will feature a total of 1,007 auto — and parts — makers. As seen from the slogan of the show, “Future comes as standard,” the highlight this year will be environmentally friendly, small electric cars.

BMW i3

BMW i3

Audi Urban

Audi Urban

Volkswagon Nils

Volkswagon Nils

Gas Free Vision of Future

With scores of new models to be unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes Benz is not missing the opportunity to impress media and buyers by introducing five of the 89 new cars on display.

Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of the new B Class Benz, with its radically reworked exterior, as well as the high-end F125 electric car, and sports cars such as the SLS AMG, SLK 250 CDI and SLK55 AMG.

Audi will also unveil its A2 concept car, scheduled to be released in 2015, for the first time.

Toyota will present new versions of its Avensis, Prius and Lexus 450h, with the new Lexus GS450h transformed into an environmentally friendly hybrid.

France’s Peugeot, which developed the world’s first small diesel sedan in 1967, will set a new precedent by unveiling the first diesel hybrid cars, such as the 3008, the Sport’s 908, the 508 RXH and the HX1 plug-in.

Korean auto makers will present models they plan to debut in Europe. Hyundai-Kia will introduce the i30, a medium-sized hatchback, the i40, which was created by the company’s European Design Center, and the BlueOn electric car.

◆ Stricter Standards

Making a dent in the market for compacts and electric cars has become a matter of life or death for auto makers as buyers turn to environmentally friendly cars with high fuel efficiency in these financially trying times when green topics are high on the agenda.

Read the full Story At Chosunilbo

Sep 092011

Pala Casino Installs Electric Car Charging Equipment

The Pala Casino Spa & Resort recently became the first casino in San Diego County, California to offer Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) to the owners of electric cars, according to the tribe’s press release.

The upgrade is part of Planet Pala environmental program. The tribe established its environmental department in 1997, and has since expanded to include quality control programs for water, pesticides, air and recycling. Now the tribe is helping improve the environment by supporting electric vehicles.

The casino unveiled two BLINK charging systems on September 8. ECOTality is the nationwide provider of the BLINK system network.

Andrew Hoskinson, the area manager of ECOTality, Inc. for San Diego, drove his 2011 Nissan Leaf to the casino in Pala and demonstrated the system by re-charging the car’s batteries for the return trip to San Diego.

“The availability of the BLINK equipment here at Pala is very significant,” Hoskinson said, “because there is now a charging station in an outlying, rural area in Southern California for the owners of electric automobiles. This greatly improves travel distances for electric vehicles.”

Read the full Story At Indian Country Today Media Network

Sep 092011

Obama Funds EV Infrastructure Planning, Workforce Training

WASHINGTON, DC, September 8, 2011 (ENS) – The smoggiest region of the United States, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, was today awarded $1 million to create a unified statewide approach to planning and implementation of plug-in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“Electric vehicles are key to improving air quality in California and particularly in the South Coast region,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the District, based in Los Angeles. “This collaborative partnership further strengthens California’s commitment to planning for a future of near-zero and zero-emission vehicles.”

The California award was the largest of 16 announced by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in 24 states and the District of Columbia to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

Nearly as large is a grant of $994,500 to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to develop a plan for a network of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The 16 projects will receive a total of $8.5 million through the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities initiative to support community planning for plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

The funding recipients range from communities with extensive EV planning experience to those that are eager to begin, but have not had the resources to do so.

These one-year projects will help communities address their specific EV infrastructure needs, such as updating permitting processes, revising codes, training municipal personnel, promoting public awareness, or developing incentives.

Each project will create a publicly available plan so that other stakeholders can learn best practices.

In Texas, two projects will split roughly $1 million between them. The Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies will focus on a plan for plug-in electric vehicle charging infrastructure for the Texas Triangle cities of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston/Galveston, and Austin/San Antonio.

Read the full Story At ENS Newswire