Category — ENERGY

Cheap portable solar power setup
by SHANNON on AUGUST 31, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY, OFF-GRID 101

$700 energy gather and storage

Take your power anywhere

The chatter about solar power and energy storage over the last few years, might make you come to the wrong conclusion that such systems are neither portable nor affordable.

But testing out an off-road, off-grid solar power setup, we recently came to some interesting conclusions. Like many who read this, we like the outdoors but our kids tend to destroy the calm with their demands for the comforts of home. To tell you the truth, I believe that every single camping trip I’ve ever been on has been in the rain, so I can understand why bringing along some of the comforts of home can be attractive. Unfortunately, those “comforts” might include things like the laptop, a television, or a refrigerator. Going beyond this, what happens when the comforts of home are taken away by power outage, whether by storm or blackout?

This tends to happen regularly at my place in the highlands of Majorca’s Tramuntana mountains, such as last night when we lost power for a few hours. Candles only go so far, and do nothing for the refrigerator, laptops for work, cell phones for communication (the local cell tower has backup power) or the electric shower. A cheap Chinese 800W generator is a little over $150, not to mention fuel costs. On the other hand, depending on how much power you need, a small solar power system and energy storage could be all that is required. (more…)

Harvesting Excess Man Made Energy
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 27, 2014 - 1 Comment in ENERGY

Albany NY designer, Manoocher Zarif is piloting a device that converts vibrations found in urban traffic into electricity.

The industrial design graduate came across the idea while he was experimenting with a Piezo device that converts pressure and movement into electricity, lighting up an LED lamp. He is in line for a JAmes Dyson award for his idea. (more…)

Platinum fuel cell trials in S Africa
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 4, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Renewable Energy mag reports Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, have launched a field trial of a methanol-fueled fuel cell home generator system in an off-grid residential application in South Africa.

Rural field trial

Ballard and AA Platinum have partnered with South African power utility Eskom and the SA Department of Energy to conduct the 12-month field trial. (more…)

UK industry weaning itself from the grid
by TECHSTAR on JULY 22, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

British business lobby group Confederation of British Industry says UK manufacturers are looking to generate their own power to sidestep fears of rising energy prices and threats to supply security.

Nicola Walker, director of business environment at the CBI said more and more firms are going off-grid, especially in energy intensive industries.

A CBI survey showed over half of businesses believed the UK’s energy security has declined over the past five years, reflecting a 2013 report by Ofgem that showed capacity margins would be at a historic low next winter. (more…)

Apple to leave the grid behind
by TECHSTAR on JULY 14, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Apple Corporation facilities are self powered -  is 94% off grid

Apple Power – megacorp goes off grid

Computer maker Apple has long been providing its own power at its HQ in Cupertino CA.

Now the company has announced it is extending the policy to its server farms and new campus in Research Triangle, North Carolina – a $55 million investment to build solar farms spanning over 100 acres of land. (more…)

French company joins solar industry march to west Texas


Yet another solar company is looking cash in on the wide-open skies of West Texas.

Paris-based Solairedirect has announced plans for a two-phase, 100-megawatt solar farm on a ranch about 14 miles east of Alpine in rural Brewster County. By the company’s estimates, the plant could bring power to about 25,000 homes.

It would rival California competitor Recurrent Energy’s plans to build its own 150-megawatt plant in West Texas. Recurrent hasn’t yet said where exactly in the region it will build what would be the state’s largest single solar facility.


Texas clean coal plant may be environmental game changer
by WRETHAOFFGRID on JUNE 19, 2014 - 1 Comment in ENERGY, WRETHA


New EPA rules aimed at cutting carbon emissions are expected to be unveiled June 2nd. Coal generates nearly half of this country’s electricity and is the largest source of air pollution.

The new rules are expected to spur the use of clean coal technology. At least that’s the hope of both the coal industry and some environmental groups.

Although the term “clean coal” seems like an oxymoron to some people, the expression refers to the best way known currently to use a product that’s plentiful in the United States and relatively cheap. (more…)

Utility companies are toast
by NICK ROSEN on JUNE 6, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY


Latest episode of Off-Grid News focuses on the death of the Utility company business model as more people go off-grid.

British Gas customer ripoffs – more info
by AMY SUAREZ on MAY 26, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

British Gas owned by Centrica gives staff bonuses for ripping off old people

Bare-faced theft from British Gas

British Gas workers who doubled bills ‘were treated like celebrities and given free helicopter rides for ripping off customers’ say Whistleblowers.

Those producing high profits went to Monaco and Rome. Other rewards included 3D TVs, laptops, theatre tickets and Playstations

Energy regulator Ofgem has said it will investigate after Daily Mail exposé. Last month it emerged staff have monthly targets to bring in £120k profits.

The rewards included luxury all-expenses paid trips including limousine and helicopter rides, whistleblowers claimed.
Employees who made the highest profits by ensuring customers were sold the most expensive deals possible were sent on holidays to places such as Monaco, Rome and Iceland. (more…)

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