Ten California home developments will soon have solar power as a standard feature. KB Home, a company that builds homes to order, has provided energy efficient amenities for residents before, but this is the first step in making photovoltaic solar systems standard in new homes. Each system will be 1.4 kilowatts in size, and have the potential to lower energy costs by as much as 30% in an average 1,800 square foot home.
Unused real estate is quickly becoming a commodity for solar plants throughout the nation. In New Jersey, developers are working on an incentive that will allow solar energy “farms” to be constructed in open fields of unused land. One farm was opened in 2009, just outside Rutgers University. The farm is a $10 million investment with 7,000 panels that provide 11% of the campus’ power supply. New Jersey plans on offsetting the cost of these larger solar farms with Solar Renewable Energy Certificates that allow the energy to be sold to companies at retail price.
Suntech Power Holdings Company is currently launching a 10-megawatt solar power plant project in Tibet. Tibet is known for its abundance of sunshine (3,000 hours yearly) and holds the second longest sunshine time (after the Sahara Desert), which makes it a great candidate for solar power development projects. Once the power plant is completed in June 2011, it will be connected to the central power grid in Tibet in order to generate 20 million kilowatts hours of electricity for the nation per year.
Solar power is now being used to charge cell phones. A technology company called Wysips is developing and promoting a photovoltaic film that can be placed over most cell phone chargers to feed the battery. The gadget’s manufacturers anticipate that an average sized phone can be fully charged with the new film in just six hours, eliminating the need for bulky cell phone chargers that require an electrical outlet. Wysips hopes to launch the product next year, but you can get a sneak peek by watching the video below: