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Solar roofing 20 May, 2008

Lumeta has developed solar roofing that can be installed in just half an hour. It’s a clever idea: photovoltaic tiles that integrate into an existing roof.

For residential applications, Lumeta offers both integrated S tile and Flat Tile solar products, as well as asphalt shingle roof systems for home builders.

Lumeta’s larger photovoltaic module – the PowerPly 380 – is intended for commercial applications. Triplepundit has an interesting video of a PowerPly installation (it’s fast): “Peel & stick solar fulfills the need … for speed!

Installing regular photovoltaic panels can difficult in two ways: it’s a cumbersome process, and large solar panels tend to stand out from the overall house architecture (a photovoltaic eyesore, if you will). So the idea of integrating a solar panel installation with existing roofing makes serious sense.

Indeed, the future looks bright for Lumeta.

Learn more: www.lumetasolar.com

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Burn, diesel, burn 9 May, 2008

India’s booming cellphone market – with over 2 million new subscribers every week – has created an insatiable demand for diesel generators.

Livemint.com reports that mobile operators, who are just starting to see the rural opportunity, are struggling to find enough generators to expand their networks.

With this development, we may soon unfortunately have to revise our earlier estimate: that close to 2 billion litres of diesel fuel is needed every year just to power generator sets for Base Stations in India.

The environmental impacts, combined with predictions of oil prices rising up to $200 per barrel within 2 years, clearly underline the enormous need for clean and sustainable alternatives.

Seems like the time is right for WorldGSM™ »

New invention: photovoltaic paint 27 Mar, 2008

A team of UK researchers are developing a new type of paint with dye-sensitised solar cells that can be painted directly onto steel sheets.

Conventional photovoltaic panels use silicon to absorb sunlight. The solar paint uses dye molecules attached to the titanium oxide pigments commonly used in paint.

Silicon is quite expensive and short in supply. Dye molecules absorb solar energy less efficiently than silicon, but the low cost combined with the new application opportunities offsets the lower efficiency.

The solar paint is still in development, and the research team hopes to have the first commercial release ready in 2011.

Learn more at newscientist.com »

Billions of litres of diesel 2 Mar, 2008

Full-scale, traditional GSM networks use an enormous amount of power. Each Base Station requires 3-4000 Watts of power — before air conditioning is factored in.

In remote areas like rural India, there is either no electricity grid or it’s only available for a few hours each day. Diesel generators are used to fill the gap times, resulting in over 1.8 billion litres of diesel fuel being burned every single year in India alone.

And it takes even more fuel to bring the diesel fuel to each generator. The generators themselves are typically low quality and poorly maintained, resulting in replacement every two or three years — more waste, more greenhouse gas emissions.

Using sustainable energy sources is a prerequisite to reach underserved rural and remote communities. Microtelecom equipment must be energy efficient enough to allow for solar or wind power sources.

Want to learn more?The Solar Imperative” (a white paper by Anders Hansson) is a good start.