Solar energy collected from a 200-yard stretch of road and a small parking lot helps heat a 70-unit four-story apartment building in the northern village of Avenhorn. An industrial park of some 160,000 square feet in the nearby city of Hoorn is kept warm in winter with the help of heat stored during the summer from 36,000 square feet of pavement. The runways of a Dutch air force base in the south supply heat for its hangar.
Note to automakers: cars of the future are meant to be fierce. Sure, they may get the equivalent of 100mpg through electric efficiency, but they’d better look like they can decapitate onlookers during the morning commute…
Then again, any car capable of 44mph speeds for three hours at a timeâ€”that runs on nothing but the sunâ€”has our ears perked.
Designed for the streets of Taiwan, the car uses a airplane-grade Nomex honeycomb body that makes it just 550lbs with seats. The light weight brings efficiency, so much so, in fact, that the developers claim that the car just needs a few hours of sunlight to recharge its batteries for another 3 hours of driving. But we’ll admit itâ€”with a solar panel that tiny on top of the car, we can’t help but be a little skeptical about that figure.
Then again, for its groundbreakingly low $24,600 price tag, we’ll be willing to give it a chance over this more expensive, equally hideous alternative.
The Freiburg Estate is a solar village where there are solar panels on roofs. Many people take guided tours to view the economical helpful homes.
“Freiburg is the warmest city in Germany. Solar technology made in Germany is a world leader. Solar modules installed on roofs have been around for decades…
But what’s interesting for the people who live here is that once they own a solar plant, their additional costs go down. In fact, they can even make money.”
American Electric Power, a coal-burning utility company that is looking for ways to connect more wind power to its grid, plans to announce on Tuesday that it will install huge banks of high-technology batteries.
The batteries are costly and their use at such a big scale has not been demonstrated, but they may be an essential complement to renewable power, experts say.
â€œWeâ€™re looking at what we believe the grid of the future is going to be,â€ said Carl L. English, president of A.E.P. â€œWeâ€™re going to need a significant amount of storage if for no other reason than to take greatest advantage of alternative energy sources like wind power.â€