Month: May 2014

Solar Roadways solution

Solar roadways pathways to a solar powered street of the future.

The solar roadways project has raised $1.5 million of the $ 1 million asked for through indigo go crowd sourced funding,obviously a popular path for the future sustainable city.


Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds… literally any surface under the sun. They pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole ( They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a “home” for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking lots and driveways and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.



Micro hydro dams a small scale solution for energy generation


Small hydro is the development of hydroelectric power on a scale serving a small community or industrial plant. The definition of a small hydro project varies but a generating capacity of up to 10 megawatts (MW) is generally accepted as the upper limit of what can be termed small hydro. This may be stretched up to 30 MW in the United States, and 50 MW in Canada.[1] In contrast many hydroelectric projects are of enormous size, such as the generating plant at the Hoover Dam of 2,074 MW or the vast multiple projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Small hydro can be further subdivided into mini hydro, usually defined as less than 1,000 kW, and micro hydro which is less than 100 kW. Micro hydro is usually the application of hydroelectric power sized for smaller communities, single families or small enterprise.

Small hydro plants may be connected to conventional electrical distribution networks as a source of low-cost renewable energy. Alternatively, small hydro projects may be built in isolated areas that would be uneconomic to serve from a network, or in areas where there is no national electrical distribution network. Since small hydro projects usually have minimal reservoirs and civil construction work, they are seen as having a relatively low environmental impact compared to large hydro. This decreased environmental impact depends strongly on the balance between stream flow and power production. One tool that helps evaluate this issue is the Flow Duration Curve or FDC. The FDC is a Pareto curve of a stream’s daily flow rate vs. frequency. Reductions of diversion help the river’s ecosystem, but reduce the hydro system’s Return on Investment (ROI). The hydro system designer and site developer must strike a balance to maintain both the health of the stream and the economics.

Plants with reservoir, i.e. small storage and small pumped-storage hydropower plants, can contribute to distributed energy storage and decentralized peak and balancing electricity. Such plants can be built to integrate at the regional level intermittent renewable energy sources.[2]


Indian solar lamps project lighting solutions


LEDs Light Up The Way in Rural Orissa

Solutions Zone says
“This solar lamp project from India, is a low cost solution.
Appropriate technology, it has been around for 4-5 years, it took many years of research and development to create.
It is an award winning invention, an indigenous effort by Indian engineers, living and working in a sustainable community projects in Orissa India.

The cost is reasonable and affordable in developing countries and the developers hope it is used by low income communities for activities like, school children’s lessons and evening classes.
For people cooking in the dark this invention is positively enlightening.
Oil lamps smoke creates breathing problems and the expense of oil as opposed to renewable energy from infinite sun power.
The challenge is to convince people the worth of the initial investment for long term benefits.”

When student members of Engineers Without Borders and AID JITM (Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management) decided to come up with appropriate technology based projects for remote communities in India, the result was a low cost solution for lighting.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have recently become even more affordable and power efficient. LEDs operate at low voltages, and have incredible efficiencies at very low power levels. The solar LED lantern is equal to a kerosene lantern in usefulness and comparable in light output. The goal is a light source with power consumption close to one watt. This allows the use of a small photovoltaic panel to charge a 12 Volt 1.2-1.5 Amp-Hour battery. Its design uses a number of smaller LEDs wired in a parallel series arrangement. The design has the ability to direct and focus light without reflectors, uses only 1/3rd the current, and employs a 12-Volt battery and photovoltaic cell.

The solar lantern can last up to five years, with a Rs.180 battery replacement cost every twenty months. With the help of a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the students have recently fabricated 80 prototype lamps for trial in villages near JITM

By improving indoor air quality and decreasing energy costs, this technology will not only improve the quality of life of the poor in the developing world, but will also decrease the global dependence on petroleum, and take a significant step towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Barefoot College- the College has worked to improve the lives of the rural poor by addressing basic needs for water, electricity, housing, health, education and income.

The Barefoot College

Tilonia, a small village in Rajasthan, India is the home of the Barefoot College. Since 1972, the College has worked to improve the lives of the rural poor by addressing basic needs for water, electricity, housing, health, education and income.

Today, women from more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have been trained by the College to solar electrify their own communities.