- Investments That Uphold The Christmas Spirit
- Wireless Car Charger For The Chevy Volt
- Tesla Announces European Pricing — Same As US (Only Different)
- Plug & Save – New DIY Solar Systems from Germany
- National High-Speed Rail Still Moving Forward, Says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
- ReCycle Bikes, Bicycles Made From All Recycled Aluminum
- Upsolar & RSEnergy Team Up For 2MW Greek Solar Farm; Greece Hopes To Become Major Solar Player
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 02:18 PM PST
Recently, I caught up with Abundance Director Bruce Davis in a noisy café close to his West London office. In the second half of this article, you'll find the video interviews with Bruce, explaining the social value of democratic finance, of people taking responsibility for their money, and of defining risk.
How do we use our money, and why? For Bruce, an anthropologist, this is the question we should ask ourselves. After helping launch a peer loaning platform called Zopa, Bruce began investigating democratic finance models that could be used to build infrastructure. He teamed up with renewables proponent Karl Harder, and, just over six months ago, Abundance Generation was born.
Since then, two projects have gone into development. As you read this, one of them is powering a community in the Forest of Dean. The other is under construction. Another four projects are in the funding stage, and will one day be powering other communities. In an increasingly commercialised season that's supposed to be about peace, happiness, and goodwill to all men, Abundance Generation's brand of democratic finance is a refreshing tonic.
Reclaim Your Money
Bruce: "[People should] actually have the confidence to make decisions about where [their] money goes, and how it is used, rather than putting it to someone else and saying, 'Right, OK, you make those decisions for me…'"
Invest In 'Things'
'Invest in things' is one of the pillars of thought on which Abundance is built. Traditional financial models mean that investing in assets is a luxury for the very rich. But with democratic platforms, even students with no money can invest, in amounts of £5 at a time, in a range of renewable projects to protect their investments.
With costs of winter fuel rising (and so long as it's fossil fuels being used, set to rise exponentially), clean energy and the independence it offers is becoming more popular. There is the environmental aspect to consider, but for many, that's a luxury: for the majority, the reasons are ideological or financial. Bruce believes in having the confidence to assume responsibility for one's own money, and not letting institutions continue to disempower you.
Moving Money Out of Banks
Bruce: "99% of what banks communicate – what they call 'trust' – is actually a distrust in yourself. They try to undermine your confidence, to make you reliant on them."
Abundance is building a portfolio of investment opportunities along the same lines: renewable energy to communities. Having multiple projects means investors can spread their money around and avoid putting their eggs into a single fate-tempting basket. This is how Bruce explains the concept of risk in finance:
"When we talk about 'risk' what we actually mean is 'uncertainty'… I would say that risk is a good thing because it's when you've quantified uncertainty… Actually what you need is a mix of risks. We've lost the ability to think about risk in terms of managing uncertainty."
As an example, he refers to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which pension plans and other 'safe' investment plans all, mistakenly, placed great trust in.
You will hear more about Abundance Generation in 2013. Thanks to Bruce for agreeing to the interview. For more information, visit www.abundancegeneration.com
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 12:18 PM PST
There are 240-volt power outlets that can be set up to deliver 50 amps (12,000 watts), though.
Charge time is limited by both the battery’s current handling capacity, and the power the charge can provide. The charger needs the current handling capacity to deliver the entire 24 kWh (for example) that a battery pack needs.
Improving Charge Time Is Key To EV Proliferation
Charge time is of paramount importance to widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption.
If your electric car offers 73 miles of range, for example, and you find that you are about to run out of it, then you would normally have to plug in for hours to be able to drive much further again (assuming you are driving a 100% electric vehicle, not a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle like the Chevy Volt).
However, if you could charge the battery in 10 minutes, such as a Toshiba Supercharge battery, this would not be a major issue, and you could be on your way very quickly and easily.
If you could do so wirelessly, that increases the convenience even a bit more.
“Momentum Dynamics has surprised many people in the industry by the amount of power that can be safely delivered without the use of cables, and by its low-cost relative to plug-in chargers,” said company CEO and co-inventor Andy Daga.”
“We do for EV charging what systems like E-ZPass® have done for automated toll collection — except in this case it’s about more than reducing toll gate congestion — we are actually enabling the growth of an international industry,” said Daga.
This type of charger is probably most convenient in the parking lots at peoples’ offices, since they are sure to park there often but probably don’t have the ability to plug in like in their garage.
Another use for this type of charger is range extension. One concept is to place it on roads (especially at stoplights) so it charges cars at least partially to extend their range.
We’ll see where the company goes with this and if it is implemented in some of the above ways.
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 11:54 AM PST
One World, One Tesla Price
Tesla’s announcement makes it clear that there won’t be a one-for-one equivalence between the price of a Model S in the US and Europe, due to shipping costs, import duties, and other variables that are unrelated to manufacturing costs. The $7500 federal tax credit in the US is another key factor in the resulting differential (for a full pricing schedule, visit Tesla’s European websites).
However, aside from all that, the European Tesla Model S prices conform to Tesla’s global philosophy:
“Our goal is to make the same level of profit per car no matter where it is ultimately delivered around the world. We do not think it is right to seek higher profits from customers in some countries just because other companies do.”
Tesla Motors, from Red to Black
Tesla launched in 2003 and has had its share of critics over the years, partly from within the automotive community and partly from political conservatives as the result of a hefty Department of Energy loan it received back in 2009.
However, as of this fall, Tesla was reportedly in shape to make early repayments on the loan, and as we head into winter, the company has finally made it into the black, as we noted above.
The company went ahead and designed its own name-brand, solar-powered charging stations, called the Tesla Supercharger, which it just unveiled in September in California. The solar panels are included in a carport set up by SolarCity, and the whole thing goes next to minimarts, shopping centers, diners, and other places where drivers normally plan on stopping for a while (a half charge takes only half an hour).
The first six Tesla Superchargers are already online, and that’s just the beginning. According to Tesla: ”By next year, we plan to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York.”
Tesla is looking at a network of over 100 stations in North America alone by 2015, with more planned for Europe and Asia.
With the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year award for the Model S in its pocket, it looks like Tesla Motors has some pretty good reasons to be confident that the future is black.
Image: Courtesy of Tesla Motors
Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey
Tesla Announces European Pricing — Same As US (Only Different) was originally published on: CleanTechnica
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 10:14 AM PST
"It's as simple as putting together IKEA furniture," says Holger Laudeley, the engineer who developed this new kind of modular all-in-one solar system.
The radical new concept is as simple as it is brilliant. It consists of a rather regular-looking 195W solar panel that has all the necessary electrical equipment (inverters, wiring,…) mounted to its back. Up to 18 of these modules can be linked to form a 3.51kW solar system. The only thing the owner of new system has to do is: 1) point the panel toward the sun, and 2) plug it into a normal socket in the house or apartment.
One More Thing
Laudeley’s new solar concept is marketed under the label "Sun Invention — Plug & Save," and the best part of this story is: there are already two "Plug & Save" products available in solar PV online shops here in Germany (delivery time 5-7 days).
"Plug & Save – Optimus" includes a 0.25kWh lithium-ion battery pack (+ battery management system), whereas "Plug & Save – Light" comes without a storage component. Additionally, there are several different mounting systems available for the DIY installation on flat roofs, on the ground, on walls, or as a balcony power plant.
In one online shop, they offered a 0.975kW / 0.5kWh balcony-set (2xOptimus + 3xLight-modules) for €2,805 (excluding the German VAT: €2360). That's $3–3.60/W for a system that even includes storage.
In Germany, this system is expensive compared to multi-kW, roof-mounted systems, even small ones below 10kW. But it's still a great offer with a lot of value for all those who don't own a roof. Especially since this system could generate electricity below the residential electricity rate in Germany (roughly $0.32/kWh – including 50% taxes & fees).
And, of course, there are many other reasons to install solar, that go far beyond a simple cash incentive. For example, the simple concept of self-reliance, taking marketshare away from energy corporations, and protecting the enviroment / future of human kind. Small things….
But since money rules the world, here’s a little "What If" graphic putting the generation costs of this system into an American context.
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 09:23 AM PST
When he was speaking before a congressional committee earlier this week, he clarified that the administration is going to continue to invest in “its signature transportation project. We're not giving up on high-speed rail," said LaHood. "The president will include funding in his budget. I think we'll get there with public money, but in the absence of that we'll get there with private money."
So far, there have been more than 150 new proposals received and funded to various degrees. The new projects have been concentrated along the East and West Coast and in parts of the Midwest.
"I'm not convinced that we know how to do it because we haven't done it," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) said. "There will be huge criticism of the administration for having nothing to show for its efforts in five years."
"We need to get started," Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.) said. "I know when the interstates were being built there were areas that didn't want them. Who doesn't want a highway now?"
Several other countries around the world have high-speed rail networks and trains that are blisteringly fast compared to US trains. For many in the US, rail may be an invisible option for long-distance travel, but it is the top, most modern option in several other developed and even developing countries.
National High-Speed Rail Still Moving Forward, Says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was originally published on: CleanTechnica
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 09:20 AM PST
The one downside, though, is that the bikes are going to be a bit on the expensive side. The Moshi Moshi model is $2000, and the Mudmaste and mBula models will be somewhere around there also.
“The price tag may put some buyers off, but it’s not crazy for a high-end bike, much less one fashioned out of recycled aluminum,” Amanda Koozer of CNET notes. “If the company gets off the ground, it’s hoping to eventually implement a program through which customers can bring in used aluminum items and have them turned into a new bike. Better start saving up your Red Bull cans.”
The bike clearly has a bit in common with a recently viral cardboard bike, but it also has some clear differences. For example, the price tag for the cardboard bike is reportedly $5-12. What do you bike lovers think of this new ReCycle bike?
ReCycle Bikes, Bicycles Made From All Recycled Aluminum was originally published on: CleanTechnica
Posted: 20 Dec 2012 02:00 AM PST
The new deal adds to Upsolar's 55MW of solar energy located within the country since 2010.
An Upsolar official is very keen they can continue to see solid solar growth within Greece for their product.
"As customers in Greece seek new methods to secure strong, long-term investments, the country's solar market has the potential to become a major global player in the coming years," said Upsolar Greece Country Manager Ioannis Markatatos.
"Thanks to our partnerships with reputable partners like RSEnergy, Upsolar is poised to achieve significant market share across the region,” he added.
Meanwhile, CEO of RSEnergy Müller-Polyzos said customers are very pleased with the high quality of Upsolar's product, while providing a quality investment for investors.
"RSEnergy has constructed projects with Upsolar PV modules all over Greece. The installations show very high yields. Our customers are extremely satisfied with the quality components deployed."
"In addition to the very high electricity production, Upsolar provides security to the investors by means of the PowerGuard insurance. The PowerGuard insurance is backed up by industry-leading insurance companies with A ratings. This provides investment security to our customers over the whole lifetime of the project," Müller-Polyzos said.
Source: Business Wire
Upsolar & RSEnergy Team Up For 2MW Greek Solar Farm; Greece Hopes To Become Major Solar Player was originally published on: CleanTechnica
|You are subscribed to email updates from CleanTechnica |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|