Archive for January 25, 2013

Expect Solar Prices to Bottom Out and Begin to Rise Very Soon

The reason that solar panel prices are so low is because the supply of panels have exceeded the demand. The supply was projected on the historical growth of solar which had been rising at a spectacular rate, but governments around the world have fallen into a recession mode and have trimmed or eliminated the supports for the solar industry. Examples here are the elimination of the 1603 grant and the rising need to reduce solar set-asides in the renewable energy credits in many of our states. It started with Spain, then Italy and then Germany. China has cut back on the manufacturing of panels and many of their businesses as well as those around the world have seen their profit margins disappear. The spot price of polysilicon had reached a low of $13 per kilogram; way below the manufacturing cost of roughly $20. The smaller cell manufacturers and the panel makers have been failing narrowing down the supply of panels. The results are beginning to show up with the spot price of polysilicon rising to $16 on the spot market. With the rise in polysilicon prices will come an increase in the cost of cells and finally the cost of panels. So, if you can afford to buy panels, now is a good time. So, unless we increase the demand substantially, the price will remain static or rising until the scale of manufacturing expands significantly.

German Power Tumbles to Record Low as Solar Damps Demand

By Julia Mengewein – Jan 16, 2013 12:44 PM ET

Power for 2014 delivery in Germany and France dropped to records as rising solar output is expected to cut demand for other electricity sources.
German power, a European benchmark, fell as much as 1.5 percent, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The equivalent French contract declined 0.3 percent.
Electricity for Germany next year lost 65 cents to 43.30 euros ($57.93) a megawatt-hour, it’s biggest decline since March 6, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The French equivalent lost 15 cents to 46.20 euros.

As much as 18 percent of electricity demand may be replaced by solar panels not connected to Germany’s grid, reducing demand for other sources by 6 to 10 percent by 2020, Per Lekander, a Paris-based analyst at UBS AG (UBSN), said in a research note.

“The unsubsidized solar growth should drive wholesale power prices further down,” he said.

full article here

Knoxville Zoo Going Solar With Help From Wampler’s

Thanks to Wampler’s Farm Sausage, Knoxville Zoo is taking its most ambitious step yet toward sustainability; the installation of a solar power system on the roof of The Stokely African Elephant Preserve barn. The 50 kilowatt system, constructed by local energy electrical contractor ARiES Energy, LLC, will produce clean, renewable energy for the zoo and provide an opportunity to educate guests on the use of green power.
Knoxville Zoo partnered with Wampler’s Farm Sausage and Family Brands International, makers of Elm Hill hot dogs and Cades Cove barbecue, because of their success in solar power generation at their manufacturing facilities. Thanks to the assistance from Wampler’s, the zoo can further their mission of environmental conservation by reducing their carbon footprint with the added benefit of providing an ongoing income stream for the zoo as part of the TVA Green Power Providers Program

Full Press Release

Interested in how YOU can go solar?? Join ARiES Energy for a solar workshop at the zoo January 26th.  For more information, click here.

Can’t make it on the 26th?Join us Tuesday January 22 at United Community Bank in Farragut at 5:30PM or Wednesday January 23rd at Bearden Beer Market at 6:30PM


Advantages of Solar Heat Exchangers

Design and Operation

Solar water heating is a system that uses the heat of the sun to effectively heat water for households and commercial use. Solar heaters use collectors to capture and absorb solar energy. Some systems use a flat plate design composed of insulated boxes which house a black absorber plate that is surrounded by layers of glass. The heat travels through the glass and strikes the absorber plate, becoming trapped in the process. Liquid-filled tubes attached to the absorber plate carry the heated water wherever it is needed. Liquid to liquid systems use a transfer fluid that is heated, and then convey the heat to a separate water supply. Passive solar heat exchanger consist of an absorber material and a piping system which uses no moving parts, whereas an active system might use a pump to move larger water volumes. The coil-in-tank design uses a simple tube inside a storage tank. A tube-in-tube systems has an outer and inner tube allowing direct fluid to fluid contact. Shell-and-tube systems use two tubes encased in a shell outside the storage tank, allowing fluid to travel in opposite directions. Solar heat exchangers have many benefits over conventional heat exchanger designs.


Solar water heaters can produce a temperature increase in almost any climate. This depends upon the amount of solar energy provided and the water source, but they can typically cause a temperature variation from incoming water of 60 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In freezing temperatures, Glycol is used, which has antifreeze capabilities to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the absorption effectiveness of the plate, coil or tube material over a sustained period of solar energy radiation; even a weak solar emission is magnified and sustained.

Electricity and Fuel Savings

Solar energy is cost-free, negating the use of electrical components needed to heat coils, tubes or plates, other than an assist pump to circulate the fluid when needed. This substantially reduces the electrical heating bill by as much 50 to 80 percent, which begins to show dividends after the initial purchase and installation is recouped. The requirement for oil, wood or coal fuels used to heat the incoming water are non-existent, allowing additional savings.


Depending upon the complexity of the system, solar heat exchangers are less likely to fail or breakdown and the maintenance requirements are reduced. The passive solar heat exchangers excel in this area. Solar heat exchangers can be dismantled and cleaned thoroughly, often times by the homeowner or resident. On the other hand, boilers and furnaces, used to heat incoming water, develop performance problems or fail and can cause high repair costs.

Carbon Footprint

Solar heat exchangers are environmentally friendly, since they produce no toxic emissions or chemicals that are harmful to the environment. They are less likely to cause health problems in a building structure should they emit airborne particles or leak fuel oil. These factors promote self-sufficiency and safety, as well as safeguarding the environment.

About the Author
Elliot Delaney is a writer for, a leading online retailer of brazed plate heat exchangers

Let It Snow! Solar Panels Can Take It

Snow and solar cells aren’t mutually exclusive, according to a Michigan Technological University scientist. Photovoltaic panels can be well worth the investment even if you live in a winter wonderland.
True, a layer of snow can cause a solar-cell blackout for awhile. But not many locales enjoy heavy snow for more than a few months. And even in the bleak midwinter, panels don’t usually stay snow-covered for long.
“Sometimes snow actually helps solar cells,” says Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce. He’s referring to the albedo effect, when sunlight reflects off snow. It can make a panel generate more electricity in the same way that it gives skiers sunburn on sunny winter days.
“In most cases power losses are minimal, even in snowy Canada,” Pearce said. However, the group has developed a model that can be used to design the most efficient photovoltaic systems, no matter how much snow is in the area.

reference: Released: 10/24/2012 5:00 PM EDT Source: Michigan Technological University Newswise
full article