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Aesthetics are Key to a Great Installation May 25, 2007

Posted by solarpundit in California, Solar News, Solar Panel Technology.
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DRI Energy’s Roof Integrated Solar Tile

One of things that has always been of concern to me is the pure lack of aesthetic appeal most solar panels and installations have.  Let’s face it, a common residential installation takes an architecturally integrated roof and places large black panels on the bulk of it.  The result is an energy generation system that hinders the overall beauty of the building and frankly makes the home look like it needs a new roof.

There are however a few options that residential owners can look at to improve the aesthetic appearance of an installation.  Photovoltaic shingles and shingle laminates are now available, although their efficiency has not traditionally been great.  However, DRI Energy has introduced a new solution that may address some of these issues.   

This week DRI Energy introduced their new roof integrated solar S tile.  This new installation is great for those of us in Southern California where every building is covered by a bar tile roof.  The new DRI solar panels integrate into an existing tile roof, and should be great for new construction. 

“The Lumeta RIPV product line is the first in its class to directly address the critical issues of building aesthetics and roof system functionality,” says DRI Energy Chief Operating Officer Stephen Torres. “We’ve literally changed the face of roof integrated PV while fully maintaining the functionality of both the roof system and the solar modules. We think these innovations will change the way designers, architects, builders and consumers think about solar energy.” 

Personally I feel that aesthetics need to be addressed as a business opportunity in this industry as more and more individuals turn to grid-tied options to reduce their economic and environmental energy burden.  Kudos to DRI for taking a steps in that direction. 

TAGS:  DRI, Solar S Tile, Bar Tile, Solar Roof, aesthetic solar installation, commercial solar, new solar products, full service solar installation

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A Cool Idea To Cut Lighting Costs May 24, 2007

Posted by solarpundit in Solar News, Solar Panel Technology, Uncategorized.
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Sunlight Solar hybrid solar lighting system

 

After reading this, I and many of my friends have stated “now why didn’t I think of that.”  Duncan Earl created a technology a few years ago that is now in the process of larger commercialization.  His company, Sunlight Direct, uses fiber optics and a roof-mounted solar collector to collect and distribute natural light inside of a building.  This technology can essentially replace much of the interior lighting of a building; as long as the sun remains shining. 

 

solar traker from Sunlight Solar

Duncan’s innovation is quite remarkable.  Essentially, his device consists of a solar collector that is mounted on the roof and connected to a collection of fiber optic cable.  The cable is routed to the interior of the building, and can be wired directly into existing light fixtures as well as attached to “light” switches within the room.  Sunlight that is collected in the collector goes through the fiber optic network and is used to power the “lights” within the building.  These lights can be turned on or off through the light switch.

Now there are a couple of caveats to Sunlight Direct’s products.  The first is that the system reduces the need for electric lighting, but does not eliminate it.  Fixtures will still need electric lighting to compensate for gray days, or night.  Also, running a fiber optic system into an existing building is as expensive as re-wiring it for electrical.  All in all however, I think it is a cool idea and a great approach for new construction to reduce electric usage.

Tags:  Sunlight Direct, Duncan Earl, Solar Collector, fiber optics, hybrid solar lighting