2009 ushers in, at least in some respects, a banner year for solar power. Federal residential solar tax credits are at their most lucrative levels yet, the polysilicon shortage is history, and tech innovations will keep on piling up while prices pare down. True to form, there are several new solar breakthroughs to check out in the first weeks of ’09.
We spend a lot of time, and fashion sense, keeping the sun’s rays out of our eyes. Why not turn those harmful rays into something useful: like solar panels to power your small electronic devices?
Double-Sided Solar Panels
As if in answer to our recent post about cool roofs and solar panels, Sanyo introduced their double-sided solar panels that are up to 30% more efficient than traditional panels, absorbing solar radiation from all directions.
Semi-Transparent Solar Windows
The latest addition to building-integrated photovoltaics are semi-transparent solar windows. They not only block out solar radiation, cutting down on heat gain, but collect that radiation as well, providing up to 250 watts of solar power for use in the home or office.
Solar-Powered Lawn-Mowing Robot
That’s right. Husqvarna’s solar-powered Automower is set for release in the United States. This hybrid lawnmower gets most of its power from the sun, the rest from a charging station connected to the house. The little robot costs a hefty sum, but could eventually change the face of lawn care.