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Konarka’s Power Plastic technology which makes flexible thin film solar cells that are used in San Francisco’s solar-powered bus stops, is now available embedded in a solar-powered umbrella. SOLARBrella provides power for laptops, mobile phones, IPods and other personal appliances.

The Solarbrella is a 13’ x 13′ umbrella with solar panels embedded on the PVC Fabric. It includes 4 Power Outlets, 4 USB Ports, and will power 4 Laptops for 9 hours AFTER the sun goes down, says the company. A battery bank is in the base. WiMAX might provide backhaul.

It’s a patented design by Australian-based Skyshades, a leader in shade and tension membrane structures. SOLARBrella costs $4,500-$10,000, but prices could come down as production ramps up.

“Transit shelters that use photovoltaics, LEDS, and WiFi are going to be standard in the future and I’m proud that San Francisco is once again acting like the pace car for other cities by trying and implementing these technologies,” said mayor Gavin Newsom at a ribbon cutting ceremony this May. San Francisco’s transit shelter advertising and maintenance contract with Clear Channel will generate at least $300 million for over the 20-year term of the contract, says The City.

Toyota’s solar-powered WiFi flowers are germinating in Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Kyocera supplied the solar modules for the Toyota Prius ventilation system.

Color changing LEDs illuminate the area at night, says the creator, PoeticKinetics.

Konarka also makes thin film battery chargers including the Power Plastic 120 (1-watt), Power Plastic 320 (3-watt) and Power Plastic 620 (7-watt). Konarka has teamed with Arch Aluminum & Glass to develop building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) products using its polymer-based, organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology on glass. Arch Aluminum specializes in artistic and architectural glass products.

A ‘massive’ increase in photovoltaics production capacity is now underway which should lead to lower prices. Amorphous silicon may be losing the shakeout against cheaper thin-film printing such as Nanosolar, and more efficient crystalline silicon.

By 2030, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) aims to put into geostationary orbit a solar-power generator. Japan’s $21 billion solar-powered generator in space would be enough to power 294,000 homes.

The satellite would have two gigantic solar power-generating wing panels, each three kilometers long. Since they are constantly exposed to the sun, such solar power satellites could potentially provide a continuous stream of 5-10 gigawatts of energy.

The researchers are now looking at using the 2.45GHz and 5.8GHz bands to transmit one gigawatt of energy to Earth, equivalent to a nuclear power plant. Of course, that would be like living in a microwave oven.

Solaren Energy Company and California’s Pacific Gas and Electric are working together on a project to deliver 200 megawatts of power from space over a 15-year period that begins in 2015. The concept was first proposed in 1941 by science fiction author Isaac Asimov in his book “Reason,” about a space station that collects solar energy and beams it to Earth.

CIGS solar cells are not as efficient as crystalline silicon solar (yet), but they’re much cheaper, getting down to $1 per watt, comparable to fossil fuels.

The Treasury is doling out a second round of money for its cash-instead-of-tax credit program, benefiting not only renewable energy developers but also manufacturers such as Solyndra and Vestas.

Mike Rogoway reviews solar manufacturing in Oregon, including two of the largest solar plants in the United States, Centron Solar, which plans to produce a gigawatt of cells and SolarWorld’s plant in Hillsboro which will produce 500 megawatts of solar cells.

Small wind turbines like the Revolution (right), can generate up to 160 watts of electricity at night, for powering remote WiFi hotspots and lights for bus and train stops or automobile rest areas.


Helix Wind, another vertical wind turbine, hopes to put them on cell towers in the U.S. and West Africa by November 2009. Their Savonius wind turbines are designed to generate 300W, 1kW, 2.0kW, 4.0kW, and 50kW. PV.tech and North American Windpower have the latest solar and wind energy news.

Related Dailywireless solar articles include; SF Gets Solar Wi-Fi Bus Shelters , Solar-powered WiFi Flowers, Solar WiFi Park Bench, Meraki: Wall Warts and Solar Power, Cell Towers Go Green with Renewables and Emergency Communications Applications.

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