As soon as he saw the first molds of the bulb coming out of the factory, Katsaros, 37, quit the legal firm where he worked as a patent agent and devoted himself full-time to Nokero.
His plan is to target countries such as India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, where hundreds of millions rely on expensive, carbon-spewing gas lamps but income is high enough to afford a $15 lamp. Demand is higher in places such as Ethiopia, but the population is too poor to afford the lamp, Katsaros says.
“This is not a charity,” he says. “We are using capitalism as a method to improve people’s lives.”
The Nokero made a few waves in the tech blogosphere when it was unveiled a little over a month ago. A big part of the pitch is helping people quit burning kerosene for light, according to a post by SmartPlanet’s Andrew Nusca: Read more
President Barack Obama has recently announced a federal loan guarantee to Abound Solar, a Loveland-based company that has a manufacturing facility in Longmont.
The company, which employs 360 people in Colorado and manufactures thin film solar panels, will nearly double its employee base in the state, Abound Solar spokesman Mark Chen said.
He said it’s not yet clear exactly how the new jobs will break down between Abound Solar’s Longmont production facility, its headquarters in Loveland and its research lab in Fort Collins.
But he said Longmont would most likely be the biggest beneficiary since the bulk of production is done in the city. The company will be able to add two production lines to the one it already has in Longmont as a result of the loan guarantee, Chen said.
The White House said the project marks the first time this new manufacturing technology for Cadmium-Telluride panels will be deployed commercially anywhere in the world.
It will produce photovoltaic panels using an innovative process in which thin films of Cadmium-Telluride are deposited onto the glass panels, according to the White House. The technology reduces overall product costs.
Abound Solar is a member of PV Cycle, an organization dedicated to creating “truly sustainable energy solutions that take into consideration the environmental impacts of all stages of the product life cycle, from raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling.”
Learn more about the Abound Solar expansion in Longmont and the federal loan guarantee at the Camera.
Taking advantage of the sun doesn’t mean you need costly solar panels. Passive solar is the heating and cooling of a building naturally by means of efficient site placement and energy efficient materials. Strategic positioning of a building in relation to the sun can be enough to heat your home and seriously cut your costs. Here in Boulder, we get a lot of sun, and you’re either fighting it or you’re working with it. Architects in Boulder know the value of passive solar: Read more
A solar cooker is a simple way to use and understand a resource Boulder has in abundance: sunlight. Simple cookers require such basic household items as Elmer’s glue, cardboard, aluminum foil and a glass jar, and can be assembled in as little as two to three hours.
“One thing that’s good about it is it’s a slow cooker,” Graef said. “You basically don’t have to watch it. You can throw in the food, go out and do some errands, come back and it will be cooked.”
“You can cook a pretty good variety of things, but things that take a long time to cook are more challenging,” he said. “The easiest things to cook are fruits and vegetables.
While a solar cooker might not be able to produce enough heat to cook everything on the dinner table, it could be a fun and energy efficient way to gain more understanding of the power of the sun.
Read more about how to make a solar cooker at the Camera.
Are you powered with 100 percent wind? (Are you sure?)
If you get your wind power through Xcel Energy in Colorado by subscribing to the company’s popular Windsource program, you’re getting mostly wind, but you’re also getting some of your electricity from hydroelectric (about 7 percent), solar (about 2 percent) and biomass (about 1 percent).
This, of course, doesn’t bother many renewable energy supporters, but it does beg the question: should Xcel change that program’s name? Tireless Xcel watchdog Leslie Glustrom thinks they should — not just because the program is more than wind, but also because the program’s past missteps may have tarnished the brand. (Glustrom has filed a request with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission asking that the name be reconsidered.) Read more
Thin-film solar technology is potentially lighter and more portable than your average solar panel. It’s frequently described as something you can “print” onto building materials or, as in the video I’ve embedded here, as a “label” — peel the backing off and stick it to something. (But, unlike Lisa Frank stickers, it absorbs light, rather than blinding passersby with it.)
It’s been around for a long time, but it’s a challenge to make thin-film solar efficient.
That’s why NREL has built a robot that can not only build thin-film solar but also analyze it:
A couple of mobile home owners in Boulder (who actually live in a super-retrofitted 1958 trailer that doesn’t look anything like a trailer at all) have gotten shut down by Xcel Energy in their quest to power their mini-house with solar.
Apparently, solar can only be put on permanent structures, and mobile homes, by definition, aren’t permanent. On the surface, that doesn’t sound unreasonable, but for Maria Downing and Nick Tamm, the issue is that their mobile home is their permanent home. And they don’t plan on moving.
(Also, their neighborhood is zoned only for mobile homes, and they have a 99-year lease on their land, so there’s no reason to think they’ll be forced to leave anytime soon to make way for some other, glitzier development.)
Downing and Tamm are frustrated about their own situation — but they’re also frustrated about the larger implications. Is solar only for the rich, who may be the people who are least at risk for rising utility bills? What about lower-income folks in Boulder who’s money is going, in part, to subsidize the solar panels put on wealthier people’s homes?
Read more about the solar mobile home shutout at DailyCamera.com.
From the Post’s quickie on the Denver tour of solar homes:
In conjunction with the tour, the first Green Jobs and Career Resources Fair is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the First Universalist Church. The Denver tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society’s annual observance. Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Estes Park, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Alamosa, Delta, Durango, Walden and Westcliffe also have tours or events planned.
Boulder’s latest climbing gym — which just upped the number of places local hardmen (and hardwomen) can pull down on plastic holds to 3 — was awarded one of 12 companies to get money in the first round of federal renewable energy grants from the stimulus act.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which passed in February, allows companies to get a cash grant for up to 30 percent of the cost of installing renewable energy, instead of getting a tax credit for the same amount.
The grant to the climbing gym, which opened in late July, was the smallest of the 12. The largest, $114 million, went to a wind farm in Texas.
It’s Monday. Maybe some of us even have a case of the Mondays. And maybe some of us were cheered by this beer-and-renewable-energy story about New Belgium adding solar power:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — New Belgium Brewery is planning its first solar panel at its Fort Collins bottling plant, and the brewer decided to go big.
The brewer says it will install a 200-kilowatt solar panel on the roof of its 50,000-square-foot packaging hall. When complete in November, the $1 million solar installation will be one of the biggest in Colorado.
New Belgium says the solar installation will provide up to 13 percent of the brewery’s electricity.