What Should We Expect of Solar?

I was pleased to see our fellow contributors give voice to the promising outlook of solar energy in a recent post. There is no doubt that this technology will be a game-changer for utilities in the coming century, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Last month, I was thrilled to start my first full-time position at SunPower Corporation, one of the largest solar cell manufacturers in the United States. Tempering that excitement was the knowledge that, at least for the short term, I wouldn’t be traveling to India to work with Crist and some of his wonderful staff. But let’s back solar.

This is every solar installer’s dream: a perfectly tilted, south-facing, non-shaded, sun-bathed roof.

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WED 2013: Megawasted Opportunity?

WED 2013 - Raxa Collective

On June 5, we’ll celebrate World Environment Day. This year UNEP focuses on the theme Food waste/Food Loss. At Raxa Collective we’ll be carrying out actions and sharing experience and ideas. Come and join us with your ideas and tips to preserve foods, preserve resources and preserve our planet.

When I tell people that it’s possible to grow highly nutritional food on agricultural waste products with almost zero technology, I usually get a blank look. On a good day, someone will demand an explanation. Why would such a process, if existent, be so obscure if it could help solve malnutrition in underdeveloped communities? While I’m sure there is a logical explanation for this, it remains a mystery to me at present.

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In Conversation with Team Sustain

Over the past week our team at Cardamom Country has been in conversation with another team working for a brighter and better future for Planet Earth called Team Sustain. Founded in 1994, Team Sustain is based in Kochi, India and provides cost effective logistics and infrastructure solutions for sustainable resource utilization, engineering green solutions for the modern world. Mr. George Matthew, the founder of Team Sustain, spoke with me and explained that his main goal was to reduce the carbon footprint of as many people and organizations as possible. Mr. Matthew especially said he wanted to increase the benchmark and accepted levels of energy efficiency and encourage further sustainability-oriented social projects with minimal environmental costs. Continue reading

Solar Powered

Over the last couple of days solar panel engineers have been arriving at here in Kumily to gauge the possibility of installing solar panels as well as examining the solar tubing water heating system to increase its efficiency. This involved the measuring and examination of various areas including the open rooftop of the All Spice Restaurant and the wide expanse of organic plantations, including the area cultivating ginger root, turmeric, and two varieties of yam: the typical sweet potato and the elephant yam.

Our team of engineers including Suresh and Santosh listed the various outlets of energy in the resort to help the solar paneling engineers estimate the input that could be provided as a supportive energy source. This included the fans, plug outlets, and the CFL or compact fluorescent lamps that are a very low 6W (watts). The solar paneling engineers mentioned that the last project that they had worked on was quite a large one, which involved a 65kW power source that took approximately six months to complete. As a reference, the nearby 25 meter high power line, which is provided by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), is an 110kW power source. It has not yet been determined how the space can be utilized here and how much wattage it will be able to harness from the power of the sun because as I’m quickly learning, it is a long and complicated process.

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