We started monitoring the performance of the Greeny Flat on Earth Day (April 22nd) last year hoping that we could make more energy than we used over a full year. This Wednesday will be Earth Day 2015 and, at the end of our first year, we will have exported to the grid almost FOUR TIMES as much energy as we have imported from it!!!
The Greeny Flat has exceeded all our expectations and we’re throwing a little party to celebrate. All are welcome to join us on Wednesday, April 22nd, from 3-7pm at 16A Queen St, Mittagong. Drinks and snacks will be provided as well as plenty of information about the Greeny Flat and how it works. Please join us and help us to spread the word.
With lots to do before the party I will keep the rest of this Newsletter as brief as possible. But I’ve come across lots of interesting things this week which I will outline below and leave it to you to follow the links if you want to know more about any of the following…
Battery Costs Dropping Fast
This article from ‘The Conversation’ details how the costs for battery storage systems are dropping faster than anyone predicted due to rapid development and growth in electric car sales. This is good news for those of us who would like to be able to store some of the excess energy we make during the day from our solar power systems for use when the sun doesn’t shine.
As with all articles on ‘The Conversation’ there is some very interesting and informed discussion in the comments that follow the article.
It’s been so long since I’ve celebrated St Patrick’s Day in Australia that I can’t remember the local traditions here, including whether we drink green beer. Near where I used to live in Montana there’s a town called Butte (pronounced ‘Beaut’ although ‘Butt’ might be more appropriate) which, at one point in its history, was home to the largest copper mine in the world. Many of the people who settled there during its boom years (and have clung on ever since) were Irish. So, needless to say, the Paddy’s Day festivities in Butte are legendary. One of the customs there is for the pubs to serve green beer on the big day. They do this by adding green food dye to one of the lighter coloured lagers… I don’t think they can make Guiness go green because it’s too dark.
Now they don’t have to… as this article from Gizmag tells it, Guiness has turned itself Green (or at least they’ve made one of their breweries as sustainable as possible) which is great news for those of us who want to save the planet by drinking more beer.
Here’s a fascinating concept called ‘Cloud Solar’ which allows anyone to buy solar panels (or even as little as a quarter share in a single solar panel) and reap the economic benefits without having to actually install them on their roof. The first crowd-funded solar farm is scheduled for construction in the US this year with over $400,000 already pledge by individuals from all over the world. And they didn’t just buy a share in a solar power company, they each bought a physical solar panel which they can go and visit if they want to once the farm is built.
The FAQ section of their website states that… ‘As the panel owner, you will receive 80% of the total economic output generated. The remaining 20% is CloudSolar’s administration and management fee. In a 25-year period, the total economic output could be 300% of an initial contribution of $750.’
This probably doesn’t add up to an earth-shattering compound interest rate over twenty five years but it’s an intriguing way to fund a large-scale solar project.
Tesla to build Charging Station in Goulburn
According to this article from ‘Eco-generation’, the Tesla Car Company is planning to build a Supercharging station in Goulburn (about an hour from the Greeny Flat) to give its customers a way to charge their cars (for free) while they take a break half-way between Sydney and Canberra. This will be part of a whole network of charging stations slated to cover the south-east coast of Australia from Melbourn to north of Brisbane.
I’m sure the poor folks who forked out $97,000 – $200,000 for a Model S will be greatly relieved that they can keep their car going for free.
Better Batteries on the way?
Here’s another article from Gizmag that describes a new Aluminium Ion battery that is flexible, fast-charging, and promises to be cheaper, longer-lasting and safer than Lithium Ion batteries. If they can just iron out that tricky voltage problem…
Is there anything that Graphene can’t do?
A couple of weeks ago I read this article in Gizmag about a new form of lightbulb that promises to be more efficient and longer-lasting than LEDs by using graphene to turn electricity into light. This week they’ve run another article about how graphene can turn light into electricity.
‘…researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques/ICFO) in Barcelona have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector they claim converts light into electricity in less than 50 quadrillionths of a second.’
Sounds pretty quick to me… and it’s just one of the many amazing things that graphene seems to be capable of doing. I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about this stuff.
Thanks for reading. We hope to see you all at the party on Wednesday but if you can’t make it please remember that we are always happy to show off the house. So if you’re ever in the Mittagong area and would like to come and have a look please let us know. You can contact us here.