Tom Moloughney of Chester, N.J., is one of the first in the nation to power an all-electric vehicle with electricity generated from a residential solar system, thus linking two green technologies to create a driving experience that is truly emissions free.
Moloughney, who drives 62 miles round-trip to Nauna’s Bella Casa, the restaurant he owns in Montclair, N.J., in an all-electric Mini Cooper prototype called the Mini E, was recently honored by the Garden State Green Awards for his contribution to the environment. He figures he saves $5,000 a year on fuel and maintenance expenses.
Even more importantly, as the nation anticipates the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Moloughney is pioneering a new energy future. And probably at few times in the history of Earth Day’s 41-year existence has the need to chart a carbon-free course for the automobile been so imperative.
Mini E Inspires a Green Way of Living
Moloughney, who had always been concerned about dependence on foreign oil, came across the opportunity to participate in the BMW (which owns Mini Cooper) pilot program while surfing the Internet. To his surprise, he was selected to be one of only a handful of drivers in the New York metropolitan region to receive the prototype.
BMW produced 612 of the cars, which are being road-tested by drivers all over the world. The number of Moloughney’s car, which he received in June of 2009, is 250, which is also the name of his blog: minie250.blogspot.com.
Although he was delighted to be driving an all-electric car, Moloughney quickly realized that his goal of emissions-free driving was being compromised by the fact that the electricity he was using to charge his car was generated by coal- and gas-fired power plants, as well as from nuclear sources.
“I figured that if I could displace gasoline with sunlight, I would truly be driving a zero-emissions vehicle,” says Moloughney, whose license plate reads “EF-OPEC.”
Solar for a True Emissions-Free Experience
In February of 2010, Rumson, N.J.-based solar integrator GeoGenix installed an 8.8 kilowatt solar system on the roof of Moloughney’s home. The 39 SunPower solar panels generate about 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, about half of which goes to power the Mini E, which Moloughney plugs in every night.
“I wake up every morning with a full tank,” he says.
Although “range anxiety” — the fear of running out of juice — is a concern of electric car owners, Moloughney says he has never had any problem. Fully charging his car takes about 3.5 hours, which is good for 100 miles, although he has stretched it to 130. He never waits for the car to charge, rather takes advantage of charging “opportunities.”
Moloughney and his wife, Meredith, have a second vehicle, a Chevy Equinox, for long trips, although a national public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is now being installed at convenient locations such as shopping malls, parking lots and highway rest stops that will allow drivers to “refuel” while on the road.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, Moloughney is also saving money — big time. About half of the energy generated by his rooftop solar system offsets his household electrical usage, which, at an average rate of about $0.18 per kilowatt-hour, saves him about $2,000 per year in household electricity bills.
But when he uses solar to offset gas, he saves even more. He figures it takes six kilowatt-hours of electricity to drive 24 miles, the average mileage for a gallon of gas. With gas prices approaching $4 per gallon, he is thus saving $4 for every 6 kilowatt-hours, compared to a savings of $1.08 (6 x $0.18) in avoided household electricity costs.
And, with energy prices rising, those savings will only increase: “The last time I checked with the sun, he said he didn’t plan on raising his price for sunshine … so I think I’m good there,” he says on his blog.
House That Generates Money
Nor do the savings stop there. Moloughney is also taking advantage of a state incentive to promote the generation of solar electricity. His system generates about 10 Solar Energy Renewable Certificates (SRECs) annually. Since these are currently selling for about $650, they bring him an additional $6,500 in income annually.
The savings from his solar system — not to mention the offset gasoline expenses — thus cover a significant share of the mortgage on his home. “What house do you know of that generates money?” he asks.
Moloughney is due to surrender his Mini E in October, but BMW will replace it with another test model called the BMW ActiveE. And, when BMW introduces its all-electric BMWi3 in 2013, which is the model that the pilot programs are gathering information for, Moloughney will be the first in line to buy one.
GeoGenix is an industry leader with a proven track record in residential and commercial solar installations. The firm is an East Coast pioneer of “community solar,” which allows residents of a community to band together to purchase solar for their individual homes at a discount. Selected from a pool of over 400 solar panel dealers in North America, GeoGenix was given the “Outstanding Customer Service” award in 2010 by SunPower. Additional achievements include installing the first “net zero” electric commercial building in the nation. While there are many new entrants in the solar business, GeoGenix has been installing solar since 2001 and has the experience and expertise that have made it one of the region’s most trusted solar installers. For more information, please visit the GeoGenix website and blog, as well as its Facebook and Twitter pages.
All eyes will be on Cowboys Stadium when the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers. That very sports arena ranks in the top five green stadiums on a list compiled by SunRun, a national home solar company.
The Top 10 Green Stadiums are as follows:
1. Qwest Field, Home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners – The stadium has installed solar panels to help the building offset double-digit percentage increases in electric rates.
2. Lincoln Financial Field, Home of The Philadelphia Eagles – In 2008, the Eagles produced 97 percent of their energy through renewable sources. The team also calculates their travel emissions and plants trees to offset their carbon footprint.
3. STAPLES Center, Home of the LA Lakers – Was awarded ISO 14001 Certification in 2010 for the third-party review of its Environmental Management System (EMS), making it the first U.S. arena to receive the respected accreditation.
4. Nationals Stadium, home of The Washington Nationals –The stadium is building LEED certification and has an in-house recycling center.
5. Cowboys Stadium, Home of the Dallas Cowboys – The $650 million stadium is aiming to reduce solid waste by 25%, energy use by 20% and water consumption by 1 million gallons annually.
6. Qualcomm Stadium, Home of the San Diego Chargers – The stadium boasts 350 ninety-four gallon recycling bins in the tailgating area.
7. Gillette Stadium, Home of the New England Patriots – Recycling bags are handed out at the parking lot and solar-powered compactors collect plastic bottles and cans around the stadium.
8. Meadowlands Stadium, Shared by the New York Giants and Jets – The seats are made from recycled plastic and the Environmental Protection Agency consulted on the construction of the stadium.
9. Progressive Field, Home of The Cleveland Indians – The stadium uses recycled paper and cornstarch cups in their concession stands.
10. The Future Home of the San Francisco 49ers – Still in its planning stages, the new stadium is slated to open in 2014 and will have solar panels and a green roof, recycled water, and a plan that would have almost a fourth of all fans arriving via public transport.
SOURCE: SunRun, www.sunrunhome.com
General Motors Selects Envision Solar’s EnvisionTrak™ Solar Trees®, CleanCharge™ Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
San Diego (October 14, 2010) – Envision Solar International, Inc., (OTCBB:EVSI), a leading sustainable infrastructure designer and developer, announced today that the company has been selected by General Motors, LLC to install its CleanCharge™ solar powered electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations integrated into EnvisionTrak™ tracking Solar Trees® at a number of prominent locations.
“We are pleased to have been selected by General Motors for these strategic installations that will enable Chevy Volts to leverage clean solar power to recharge their batteries without relying on carbon fuel generated electricity,” said Bob Noble, CEO of Envision Solar. “We applaud GM’s commitment to clean energy as well as green job creation through this initiative.”
The Chevy Volt extended-range electric car is expected to hit showrooms in November 2010 and will be rolled out initially in California, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Texas and New York. New Jersey and Connecticut will join in mid-2011.
“GM is committed to reducing carbon emissions and reliance on petroleum,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, global product operations. “We chose Envision Solar because its clean charging infrastructure allows us to maximize the environmental benefits of our electric vehicles through the use of clean renewable energy and further demonstrates our commitment to the proliferation of sustainable EV charging infrastructure.”
Envision Solar’s Solar Tree with EnvisionTrak™ is a highly engineered parking lot solar array that is 20 to 25 percent more productive than conventional fixed solar arrays, due to the incorporation of dual axis tracking which enables the canopy to follow the sun throughout the day. “We have designed this technology with an architectural focus that enhances the overall aesthetic of corporate and commercial campuses,” Noble added. “The addition of our CleanCharge system makes this a truly comprehensive design and technology package, offering a value-added investment for businesses anticipating the dramatic growth in the electric vehicle market over the next decade.”
Pike Research forecasts that the market for plug-in hybrid and battery electric passenger cars and light duty trucks will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 106 percent between 2010 and 2015, resulting in sales of more than 3.24 million vehicles during that period.
Gloucestershire, UK – In today’s society, it’s virtually impossible to go a day without use of a cell-phone, MP3 player, or digital camera. With that dependence on hand-held technology and lifestyles that are becoming increasingly on-the-go, a dead battery is a very real nuisance and searching for an outlet to recharge can be an insurmountable burden. Recognizing the demand for convenient and affordable power sources, Solar Technology International is launching its line of Freeloader Solar Chargers, which harness the power of the sun, in the United States.
By channeling power to Li-ion batteries through its solar panels, the Freeloader Solar Chargers are able to reliably power any hand-held device anywhere, anytime—essentially freeloading power from the Sun. Solar Technology International offers three different versions of the Freeloader, all of them providing a sleek, compact design along with an environmentally conscious mentality.
“Being able to free load the energy from the sun, and use that to power all of the gadgets that we use day-today; that is our vision,” says Adrian Williams, President of Solar Technology International. “We provide that with the Freeloader. It’s something that everyone from techies to greenies to anyone who is constantly on the go can appreciate.”
New to the US, the standard Freeloader appears as a stylish aluminum body the size of a cellular phone. Utilizing two 120mA solar cells, the standard Freeloader can charge the 1000mA lithium-ion battery in as little as eight hours. The standard Freeloader can power an iPod for 18 hours, a mobile phone for 44 hours, a PSP for 2.5 hours, a PDA for 22 hours and much more. MSRP $59.99 USD.
New for the worldwide marketplace, and designed to provide free and infinite power to almost all portable electronic devices, the FreeLoader Pro is the perfect eco-friendly, pocket sized partner for an endless array of gadgets such as mobile/smartphones (including the iPhone and Blackberry), mobile gaming devices, MP3 players, GPS devices, e-books, PDAs, and more. Included with the Freeloader PRO is the CamCaddy accessory, which gives the Freeloader PRO the unique ability to charge compact digital, DSLR and video camera batteries. The Freeloader PRO uses two 200mA solar cells to power a 1600mAh lithium-ion battery which can provide a mobile phone with 70 hours of standby time, 5,000 page turns on an eBook, or fully charge a digital camera battery. MSRP $119.99 USD
Also completely new for the worldwide market, the Freeloader PICO is the ideal travel buddy for virtually any portable electronic device. Boasting an extremely lightweight and tiny design, the Freeloader PICO can provide enough power to keep a mobile phone running for 35 hours or an iPod for 14 hours. When fully charged, the PICO will charge a gadget in just 30 minutes using one 75mA solar panel which powers an 800mA li-ion battery. MSRP $29.99 USD
The Freeloader Solar Chargers are currently available for purchase at www.freeloadersolar.com and will be at select retailers nationwide starting May 1, 2010.
About Solar Technology International
Solar Technology International designs and produces a range of solar products that allows users to harness solar energy. The solar panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it to electrical current to power a range of appliances. Solar Technology’s panels use Crystalline silicon technology, the latest in solar technology to harness power which is more efficient than amorphous or thin film solutions, particularly in lower light conditions. To find out more about Solar Technology’s product range, please visit: www.freeloadersolar.com
SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR), and Xcel Energy’s (NYSE: XEL) regional operating company, Southwestern Public Service Company, announced a deal for five photovoltaic solar installations in New Mexico that will total 50 megawatts (MW) in generation capacity.
The five 10MW sites, to be located in Lea and Eddy counties in southeastern New Mexico, will comprise a utility-scale, ground-mount system that will be fully operational by the end of 2011. In total, the installations will generate enough power for more than 10,000 homes in its first full year of operation.
This total project will enable Xcel Energy to continue meeting New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires that regulated electric utilities meet 15% of their electricity needs by 2015, and 20% by 2020, through renewable energy sources.
The five installations will be built, financed and maintained by SunEdison, under a 20-year solar power services agreement (SPSA) with Xcel Energy, which will buy the solar power generated by the plant.
This project eclipses the 8.22MW (DC) solar power system SunEdison activated for Xcel Energy in Alamosa, Colorado in December 2007.
SunEdison finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers.
Solar wafer maker MEMC acquired SunEdison in October 2009.
Off grid charging station to allow New York firm to recharge electric car using solar power
By Tom Young, BusinessGreen.com
Sustainable energy company Beautiful Earth Group has this week unveiled New York’s first solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station, which will allow the firm to recharge its electric MINI E using zero carbon energy making it one of the few cars in the world to run exclusively on solar power.
The off-grid station features solar photovoltaic panels and has been built using recycled, decommissioned steel shipping containers.
“It never ceases to amaze me, when I get behind the wheel of this 95 mph sports car, that it doesn’t use a single drop of gasoline, and that all of its power comes from the solar energy we collect right here on the Brooklyn waterfront,” said Beautiful Earth’s president and chief executive Lex Heslin.
The company said that the charging station has a capacity of about six kilowatts and will also produce enough energy to power a small home. It added that an integrated battery bank will stores electricity and ensure that the system can provide power 24 hours a day.
The move comes in the same week as London Mayor Boris Johnson announced plans to install 25,000 electric car recharging points across the UK capital, including 22,500 charging points at workplaces.
By Paul Courson, CNN.com
A university team from Germany has won the U.S. Energy Department’s Solar Decathlon for the second competition in a row, officials declared Friday. In second place was Team Illinois, and third place went to Team California.
Team Germany’s submission is covered in panels that produce more than enough energy for the house.
Twenty universities began constructing solar-powered homes October 1 on the National Mall, between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument. The competition was judged in 10 categories.
The judges said Team Germany’s strongest advantage was the amount of energy their house put back into the power grid.
The structure, a large, dark rectangular cube with wood trim, is nearly entirely covered in solar panels.
“OK, I’ll be totally honest; I did not prepare a speech. It’s supposed to be my job, but I didn’t, because we did not expect to win again,” Sardika Meyer said in accepting the award along with her teammates from Germany’s Technische Universitat Darmstadt.
The school won the previous competition in 2007.
Meyer later told CNN that her colleagues were concerned they might lose this time because their engineering design did not seem as strong as that of other schools, and she was worried the dark cube lacked what is popularly called “curb appeal.”
Officials judged the 20 schools not only on aesthetics and solar power generation but on consumption of energy and ability to maintain a “comfort zone” between hot and cold for the home’s inhabitants.
Team California’s design ranked among the highest for curb appeal. But the home’s ability to be energy self-sufficient was not as strong as Germany’s, and its overall ranking fell behind that of Team Illinois.
Nonetheless, the California team declared the results a great reason to start a party at the house, and as judges and spectators had one last look at the homes before they are dismantled, the sounds of California-themed music played loudly from the house’s entertainment electronics.
The system appeared to have adequate power from the home’s solar panels, despite the overcast, drizzly weather on the National Mall.
Up the promenade, the University of Illinois team quietly enjoyed their success in a home of modest, understated cosmetic design.
Mark Adams, a mechanical engineering student at the school, said it was a “nail-biting” close competition.
During remarks accepting the second-place trophy, he said his team proved that a “simple, cost-effective design does not have to compromise in aesthetics” and that “this is the future, and this is the way houses are going to be designed.”