• This way, the solar plant controller meets the requirements of the grid operators regarding state-of-the-art feed-in management for large solar parks.

    According to the EEG (Renewable Energies Act), solar power plants are required to provide an active contribution to the stability of the public power supply and to allow the grid operator to temporarily reduce the fed-in active power if required (EEG feed-in management). Additionally, for newly built solar parks some grid operators require that reactive and active powers are controlled directly at the feed point since January 2012. In order to equip PV plants for these requirements, the new SolarMax solar plant controller MaxWeb NX pro is ideal, controlling the inverters of the plant so that these feed into the public power grid according to the specifications of the grid operator.

    The grid operators normally control large solar parks with the help of a SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). This way, MaxWeb NX pro is provided with the required target specifications of the grid operator and compares these to the current actual values at the grid feed point. Now, the device controls the cos-φ value, reduces the active power, provides for compliance with the reactive power specification, and controls the circuit breakers, amongst others.

    “The further the expansion of photovoltaics proceeds, the more important it is to guarantee precise control of the grid feed-in, particularly for large solar parks. We developed the MaxWeb NX pro solar plant controller so that it is designed for continuous operation and works maintenance-free even at extreme temperatures of -40°C to +70°C,” says Rudolf Bühler, senior Product Manager Data Communication at SolarMax. “The MTBF value, i.e. the expected operating time between two consecutive failures, is approx 22.5 years. This way, both the plant and the grid operator are provided with continuous output and, thus, high reliability regarding grid feed-in.”

    On the basis of the diverse interfaces, the functions of MaxWeb NX pro can be extended easily and can be adapted quickly for future requirements as well.

    After moving to the Western Isles Bill was immediately impressed by the open landscape which is dotted with spectacular lochs, enormous skies and prolific wildlife, and as an avid conservationist he was keen to retain the landscape he loves to paint.

    Recently Bill decided to branch out into solar energy in order to do his part for the environment as well as supplement his income and reduce his electricity bills.

    He said: “As a lover of wildlife I have been interested in solar energy for a while and was keen to experiment with different ways of producing green energy.

    “Above all I felt the need to reduce my carbon footprint, and was delighted to discover a solar panel company working directly from South Uist who were able to install my system with minimal disruption.”

    Bill and Norma had a 16 panel solar PV system installed by Absolute Solar and Wind on their property near Bill’s studio and gallery in Askernish in December 2011 and are already seeing the benefits.

    He added: “I generate and use a lot of my own energy now, which not only has a feel good factor but has also given us a great financial investment as we have lower out-goings and also receive money back through the Government’s feed-in tariff.

    “We’ve been very pleased with the results so far. On a sunny day it generates energy before we even get up. Of course it doesn’t need to be hot to generate electricity, even on clear cool days it will be working away.

    By May, Bill and Norma’s ground mounted system had already produced 1260kWh of clean green energy despite the winter months’ low light levels.


  • led light 13.02.2012 No Comments

    The new law phasing out standard 100-watt incandescent bulbs, on hold until October, has left many people in the dark. And they are wondering: Will I be forced to buy a fluorescent light bulb, at $20 a pop? Is it true incandescent bulbs will no longer be available? Are the light bulb police going to be knocking on my door if I continue to use 100-watt bulbs?

    “There’s not going to be any light bulb police going around,” said Cathy Choi, understanding that along with wild conjectures are serious questions that need to be answered.

    “This law has caused a lot of confusion,” said the president of Bulbrite, officer of the American Lighting Association Education Foundation Board and member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. “The 100-watt bulb has been in existence for a very long time.”

    When computers and cell phones were introduced to the public there was plenty of information and people knew what was going on, whereas with this, very little light has been shed.

    Choi said what people need to know is that the law requires manufacturers to stop production of the 100-watt bulb. Retailers still will be allowed to sell what they have in stock. When they’re gone, Choi said, consumers will have several other options.

    “It’s an exciting new year,” said Choi, referring to the lighting industry and adding that the law is a step in the right direction. “If we can provide products that help consumers save energy and save money, it’s a win-win.”
    What the industry has known all along, and what consumers are just finding out, is that the changes actually began in 2007, when the Energy Independence and Security Act became law.

    As a green effort, the law was all-encompassing, covering everything from vehicle fuel economy and alternative automobile technologies to industrial energy efficiency, solar power and more. There’s a section that addresses the need to set new efficiency standards for appliances — including furnaces, air conditioners, battery chargers, clothes washers, dishwashers and refrigerators — and another targeting energy-efficiency standards for “general service incandescent lamps.” These are, as most of us know them, the everyday common household light bulbs.
    Don’t worry about that light in the Easy-Bake Oven. Specialty bulbs such as black lights or those bulbs 40-watt-or-less are not covered under the law.

    General service incandescent bulbs — including 100-watt, 75-watt, 60-watt and non-specialty 40-watt bulbs — draw a great deal of power and much of that is released as heat, not light.

    Phase I calls for a bulb that puts out the same amount of light as a 100-watt bulb but only draws 72 watts of power. Next year, and the year after that, the same expectations will be required for the other light bulbs.


  • AS BEIJINGERS coughed and hacked their way through another smoggy day, there were tentative signs the government was becoming aware of the broader impact of climate change and may be gearing up to do something about it.

    Driving efforts to combat pollution is a growing awareness of the impact of environmental issues on political stability, and on how it affects China’s growing economic wellbeing and food provision.

    China is the world’s most populous nation, its second biggest economy, is the biggest producer of CO2 gases and is home to some of the most polluted cities on the planet, the capital included. Climate change has also wrecked havoc on the rivers and lakes and glaciers that water the country, and desertification is eating into arable land.

    The central government has also released a hefty tome entitled the Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change, which assesses the impact of global warming for China, and says climate change could slash harvests, devastate rivers and cause droughts and floods.

    “China faces extremely grim ecological and environmental conditions under the impact of continued global warming and changes to China’s regional environment,” said the report, which was published late last year.

    However, China is still very much in the initial phase of its transformation from an agrarian society to an industrial one, which means that greenhouse gases blamed for global warming are unlikely to even start falling off before 2030.

    Without any action, grain production could fall from anything between five and 20 per cent by 2050, says the report.

    It said climate change would cause major imbalances in water resources every year.

    “Without effective measures in response, by the latter part of the 21st century, climate change could still constitute a threat to our country’s food security,” the report said.

    Rising seas would also cause problems in the big cities of the coast, many of which have been the economic engines of Chinese expansion in the past three decades.

    In the 30 years up to 2009, the sea level off Shanghai rose 11.5 centimetres, and would probably rise another 10 to 15 centimetres in the next 30 years.

    Meanwhile, after months of prevarication, the city government has agreed to start to publish more detailed air quality data on Beijing at some stage later this month, following a public outcry over official government readings that hugely underestimated just how bad the air pollution is in the nation’s capital.

    The Beijing municipal government plans to publish hourly air quality reports based on an international standard known as PM 2.5, which measures tiny particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

    Until now, most Beijing residents have had to rely on the US embassy website for their data, on a Twitter feed. And given that Twitter is banned, this was not an option for most Beijingers.

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  • A new installation at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus, portraits of Cold War Afghanistan and an eclectic sampling from Hera Gallery artists on the road in Providence are among the exhibitions worth a scenic drive this fall …

    We begin on the bay, where URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography looms above the shoreline in a collection of disparate buildings and research laboratories. The university has been seeking more cohesion in its Narragansett Bay Campus landscape, and earlier this year it took a major step in that direction when a public artwork commissioned by the school and the R.I. State Council on the Arts through the Allocation for Art for Public Facilities Act was unveiled in the lobby of the Ocean Science and Exploration Center.

    The act recognizes that art in public places creates a more humane environment, and the resulting installation, a stunning sculpture by Cliff Garten titled “Schooling,” is a testament to the power of public art to transform settings into distinctive places that foster identity and community, invite reflection and add graceful notes of beauty and aesthetic to otherwise impersonal environments.

    “Schooling,” a sculptural installation appearing in front of a white wall and cast in LED lighting that gives off a sense of bioluminescence, is an energetic and dynamic work, as well as a sublime marriage of art and place. Suspended by fine aircraft cables at various heights, the sculptor’s labor-intensive layered forms repeat, hovering in proximity, becoming a funneled mass of more than 200 individual elements suggestive of a school of fish. The work shimmers and glows in tones ranging from blue to silver, changing in appearance depending on the time of day or night, the quality of the light and the angle at which it is viewed.

    Garten, an internationally recognized artist with a reputation for creating evocative site-specific works that integrate man-made landscapes with their surrounding environment, has succeeded here in bridging the nautical focus of the institution that calls the Ocean State its home with the mission of the university in charge of navigating the education of its students.

    “Schooling,” with its allusion to the habits of both fish and students, is artfully considered and expertly rendered. The ventilated shapes are abstract enough to appear as either fish or vessels. Between the torpedo-shaped pieces of brushed aluminum that make up each individual sculpture are marbles that appear in form and color as pearls, holding it together. Curved cut-outs within each piece give it the quality of semi-transparency; the holes capture the glimmer of the LED lights, evoking the diaphanous quality of marine life. The repetitive nature of the work suggests fleeting movement in a realm of constant motion, and its position aiming at the bay conveys a feeling of eternally forward progress.

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