Solar power is something of the everyday person's darling of renewable energy: it is easy to see and conceptualize, and (along with wind turbines) sort of defines renewable energy for most people. Unfortunately, there is not very much knowledge among the average citizen about solar energy systems beyond that they are renewable. Our solar page gives a basic introduction to solar energy -- which for small-scale purposes can be subdivided between solar thermal system for hot water/heat and photovoltaic (PV) system for electricity.
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today that its Commonwealth Energy Fund (CEF) has invested $200,000 as part of a larger round in McLean, Va.-based Sunnovations Inc., a clean technology company specializing in solar hot water (SHW) systems for the US and international residential markets.
Sunnovations’ SHW system is based on its patented “geyser pump,” which uses no electricity and has no moving parts, displacing expensive and failure-prone electric pumps, controllers and sensors. Removal of these active components found in conventional solar hot water systems cuts costs, simplifies installation and provides greater reliability than existing systems on the market. Sunnovations’ robust product pipeline also includes a low-cost SHW monitoring system that tracks actual energy production and homeowner savings from their system.
Have you ever considered getting solar panels for your home or business? Ever wanted to know more about solar panels in practice, but didn't know anyone with experience with them? If so, you have a chance this Saturday, October 1, to talk with home and business owners in the central Shenandoah Valley who have solar panels. This informal "solar tour" will feature installations of both PV and solar thermal panels in locations ranging from Waynesboro to Harrisonburg to Fincastle. There is no need to sign up, just show up at any of the locations listed here during the availability listed on each location.
These home and business owners will obviously have different levels of knowledge, but all have agreed to be around their homes and answer whatever questions they can about their panels. The sites range from newly installed systems whose history is measured in months to systems that have been in place for over two decades. The event is part of a national effort to increase awareness of solar power as a clean and available source of renewable energy. Hopefully, the more people are able to see installed systems and ask questions about them, the more they will consider solar systems for their own homes. Also, if you have a solar installation and want to be added to the list, details for getting involved are here.
This project will conduct a feasibility assessment of the adoption and diffusion of solar energy in the residential sector of the Shenandoah Valley. The feasibility analysis will use formal technology assessment techniques to evaluate the opportunities and barriers to adoption of three solar energy technologies: (1) solar photovoltaic, (2) solar thermal for domestic hot water, and (3) solar thermal space heating systems. Four specific categories of opportunities and barriers will be addressed in depth: technical, economic, social, and public policy.