Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

As Fossil Fuel Use Drops, Renewable Sources Soar To Over 11% Of U.S. Energy Production; Now Provide More Energy Than Nuclear Power

Washington DC -- According to the latest issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, production of renewable energy for the first third of 2009 (i.e., January 1 - April 30) was six percent higher compared to the same time period in 2008. Moreover, in April 2009 alone, renewable energy sources accounted for 11.1 percent of domestic energy production and exceeded the amount contributed by nuclear power.

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Italy Set to Become World's Second Largest Solar PV Market in 2009

An attractive feed-in tariff incentive and rapidly decreasing solar module prices have made Italy the most attractive PV market in the world. This year, Italy is set to become the world's second largest PV market after Germany, the undisputed leader.

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How Not to Install Batteries - Connection Considerations

meltdownPhoto at left shows the situation after a battery discharge
test at 300 amps was terminated on a 1530 AH IBE battery string when one post melted.

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How Not to Install PV - Shadow Considerations

This PV array was installed under a tree and as a result the branches of the tree were casting shadows on the PV modules.

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How Not to Treat Batteries - Maintaining Battery Electrolyte Levels

batteryDuring normal operation, water is lost from a flooded lead-acid battery as a result of evaporation and electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen, which escape into the atmosphere. One Faraday of overcharge will result in a loss of about 18 g of water per cell. Evaporation is a relatively small part of the loss except in very hot, dry climates. With a fully charged battery, electrolysis consumes water at a rate of 0.336 cm^3 per cell per ampere-hour of overcharge. A 5000-Ah battery overcharged 10% can thus lose 16.8 cm^3, or about 0.3%, of its water each cycle. It is important that the electrolyte be maintained at the proper level in the battery. The electrolyte not only serves as the ionic conductor, but also is a major factor in the transfer of heat from the plates. If the electrolyte is below the plate level, then an area of the plate is not electrochemically active; this causes a concentration of heat in other parts of the battery and “Sulfation” of the dry portion of the plates which may not be reversible. Periodic checking of water consumption can also serve as a rough check on charging efficiency and may warn when adjustment of the charger is required.

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How Not to Do It

Following is a collection of common mistakes made when installing solar electric systems.

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Newsletters

AZ Solar Center Newsletter

azsc-logo-square  

The purpose of the AZ Solar Center newsletter is to update you on what is happening around the state of Arizona in the world of solar energy. Join our mailing list.

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ACC Considering PPA Regulation In Arizona

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) may begin making decisions on how to regulate solar power systems operating under power purchase agreements (PPAs). The Phoenix Business Journal reports that regulation could come later this year.

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New Study Sheds Light on the Growing U.S. Wind Power Market

Berkeley, California - For the fourth consecutive year, the U.S. was home to the fastest-growing wind power market in the world in 2008, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Specifically, U.S. wind power capacity additions increased by 60 percent in 2008, representing a $16 billion investment in new wind projects. "At this pace, wind is on a path to becoming a significant contributor to the U.S. power mix," notes report author Ryan Wiser, of Berkeley Lab. Wind projects accounted for 42% of all new electric generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2008, and wind now delivers nearly 2% of the nation's electricity supply.

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ACEEE Creates Job Calculator for Energy-Saving Stimulus Projects

Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2009): Today the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published a jobs calculator ( http://www.aceee.org/energy/national/recovery.htm ) for estimating the employment impacts of energy efficiency projects funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
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AZ Governor signs more solar bills

Two more bills (HB 2332 & 2336) to push demand for solar and renewable energy in Arizona were signed by Gov. Jan Brewer over the weekend...

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Resource Directory Terms of Use

By submitting your company and personal information to the Arizona Solar Center Resources Directory, you confirm that the information you are providing is accurate to the best of your knowledge.

With your submission, you are also acknowledging the following:
  • The Arizona Solar Center must be able to verify your information and retains the right not to post your information for any reason.
  • The Arizona Solar Center is not financially or legally liable in any way for the consequences of any business agreements resulting from the use of this website.
  • The Arizona Solar Center makes use of the PayPal online payment service for the convenience of its advertisers but is not affiliated with PayPal, Inc. in any way. The Arizona Solar Center is not responsible for any discrepancies regarding payment that are related to PayPal.
Advertising Services
  • If you make payment for advertising services but are not accepted for posting, your funds will be refunded to you within 15 days.
  • If you purchase advertising services, the Arizona Solar Center will make a "good faith" effort to execute the service exactly as described. If, for whatever reason, the Arizona Solar Center is unable to or chooses not to execute the agreed upon service as described, the Arizona Solar Center will, at its discretion, provide an alternative service of equal or greater value.
Privacy
  • The Arizona Solar Center will not use your personally identifiable information in any way that you have not agreed to.
Reviewed: August 3, 2009
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Cool Way to Hot Water

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Sample images from movie.

Movie Summary:

This video examines solar water heating. Solar water heating is one of the most cost effective ways to use solar energy. Though there are many different types of solar water-heating systems, the basic technology is very simple and illustrated in this video.

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Plugging into the Sun

rotation
Sample images from movie.

Movie Summary:

This video explores the various uses for photovoltaics cells. From the solar powered calculator to radios, water pumping, street lighting and household use, the photovoltaic cell has found a wide variety of niches throughout modern day society.

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Masters of the Sun

rotation
Sample images from movie.

Movie Summary:

This video traces solar development from the Hohokam Civilization - a Southwest desert culture which began about 200 years before Christ - through other southwestern native cultures whose architectural structures were built with a remarkable sensitivity to the sun’s daily and seasonal movements..

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Pioneers of the Sun

rotation
Sample images from movie.

Movie Summary:

This video examines early efforts to utilize heliograph communications and solar energy in the state of Arizona and includes reenactments of their original uses. The heliograph was one of the first solar experiments in territorial Arizona. In the late 1880s, the U.S. Cavalry employed the heliograph during hostilities with native Americans. Solar developments in Arizona during early part of the 20th century are also explored, from the Eneas Engine and the Day & Night solar water heater to solar cookers and passive solar architecture. Pioneers Arthur Brown, John Yellot, Sherry Cole and Barbara Kerr are recognized for their contributions to solar development in Arizona and elsewhere.

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Solar Testing & Demonstration Facilities

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The APS STAR Center

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) operates the Solar Test And Research (STAR) facility to provide solar resource monitoring, small scale performance testing of new products, and to act as a staging area to ready and test equipment being installed for customer service.

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APS STAR Center

APS STAR Center redeployed
(December 2011, text provided by APS)

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Gov. Brewer signs Arizona solar jobs bill

In a major victory for solar advocates in the state, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today signed SB 1403 into law.

The bill extends tax credits and other incentives to manufactures of renewable energy equipment (mainly solar) if they locate in Arizona and meet other criteria...

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Why Not Arizona?

A Presentation to the Governor

This presentation was prepared in August, 2003 for the Governor of Arizona as a report of the Arizona Solar Energy Advisory Council (ASEAC) on the existing status and future potential of solar energy in the state. It takes as its principal theme the relatively minor use of solar power in Arizona, something the Council found ironic given the abundance of solar energy within its border. It suggests that Arizona could and should be the world leader in solar energy research, expertise, information and developments, and it proposes several steps that could bring this reality closer. The presentation was packaged and delivered by Dr. Martin J. Pasqualetti.
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