Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will solar speed up emerging cellphone revolution?

Nice news item today...one small step for PV, one giant step for....

Watching his sons kick around a makeshift ball made from tightly bound plastic bags, Ugandan handyman Jackson Mawa marvels at the way business has improved since he bought a solar-powered mobile phone.
"I am self-employed. Sometimes people call me and they find my (cell) phone is off. I have been having that problem a lot due to battery charging. So when (Uganda Telecom) brought out the solar phones, since I got it, that very day, I have never had any problem with my phone," said Mawa, clutching the device.
It might not sound like much but for Mawa and millions of people in Africa and Asia, with no connection to electricity grids or unreliable and expensive power access, these little solar-powered gadgets are proving to be revolutionary...  Read the full article

Monday, October 12, 2009

Solar Shingles, At Long Last

Not Dow's PV shingles, but you get the idea!

Dow chemical has announced that, starting in 2010, they will begin to market POWERHOUSE solar shingles with photovoltaics built right in.

The shingles will function just like any roofing shingle, to keep out the elements and provide a home with an attractive roof.  But they have the added benefit -- of course -- of generating electricity from a thin layer of PV material that is incorporated directly into the shingle.

To my mind, the more these types of products are created -- products that have solar energy technology built right in, rather than as an add-on technology -- the faster we'll see solar power become a mainstream technology for generating electricity that can be used on-site and also fed back into the power grid for more general consumption.

While solar shingles have been around for a while, Dow's announcement puts them into the mainstream of the housing technology market, and opens up a lot of possibilities.