Archive for October 31, 2011

Solar Halloween Lights

Halloween lighting is an essential component of this holiday. But it presents a big problem – the miles of wires, extension cords, power strips and plugs which all must be hidden. Solar Halloween lights can relieve some of these problems. Although the availability of solar Halloween products is still rather limited, this year has more to offer than ever before. Here are some solar solutions!

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Beacon Power’s Bankruptcy Autopsy

The news coverage of energy storage company Beacon Power’s bankruptcy has focused on the $43 million loan it got from the same Department of Energy program that backed the bankrupt Solyndra. But at least Beacon left a beating heart in the form of a flywheel farm humming with megawatts of energy feeding into the grid today — and making money from it.

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Solyndra shouldn’t spur Congress to throw solar industry under the bus

Barack Obama at SolyndraWith about five years worth of e-mails and other materials to examine, political and media investigations into the Solyndra bankruptcy are far from over. Given the mood in Washington, I worry that the entire solar industry might be thrown under the bus as part of this mad rush to use the Solyndra bankruptcy to score political points or win journalistic renown. While just taking off in the U.S., the solar industry is recognized by most of the industrial world as a major economic driver. It would be extremely shortsighted for the federal government to reduce or abandon its support for the U.S. solar industry as a result of the failure of one solar manufacturing company.

3M’s See-Through Film Insulates Windows While Generating Solar Power


Keeping your home warm in the colder months each year can be an expensivetime. There’s ways to save on your power bill by taking a few simple steps like insulating your walls and roof, as well as investing in some extra thick, warm clothing. But even so, you’re going to have the heat turned on.
3M has come up with a new product that not only keeps your house warmer through additional insulation; it generates power while doing so. In fact, it almost sounds too good to be true. 3M’s solution takes the form of a see-through, flexible piece of film that can be placed over your windows–the one area of your house that it’s difficult to insulate effectively. However, because the film is see-through it makes perfect sense to use it on top of glass as it won’t block the light.

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National Solar Jobs Census 2011

The solar industry continues to grow rapidly, and firms are hiring workers in manufacturing, installation, sales and distribution, and a variety of other categories. Over the last 12 months solar manufacturing jobs grew nearly 25 percent, and employers expect to add an additional 3,473 new jobs by August 2012. Jobs at solar installation firms grew by 5.6 percent and are expected to grow by an additional 22 percent – 13,068 new jobs – by August 2012. The number of sales and distribution jobs grew the fastest over the past 12 months, and this sector is expected to grow by another 35 percent over the next year. Growth is also expected in other sectors.