Edison Recognizes the Top Ten Solar States

It wasn’t so long ago folks were interested in getting more solar-electricity generated and used in actual applications. Today, there isn’t a state that does not have goals in place for this energy resource, or renewable portfolio standards that specify how and when solar generated electricity will be implemented. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, here below are the top ten states in early 2018 showing their rank, the amount of solar electricity generating capacity installed ( in MW-megawatts) and the number of homes “solarized”. Edison was very interested in solar energy way back in 1910. He would be smiling now.

Edison Recognizes the Top Ten Solar States

Experience tells us the sun does not shine consistently across the U.S. as the map shown below indicates. It can vary quite a bit across a state, even across a small state like NJ where it is 13% more sunny in the southern half of the state. Not all states can be as sunny as the southwestern states. Dealing with those differences is what solar engineering is all about. Not so much sun as you would like basically means you need more solar panels to meet your needs-so solar system size is the answer and a consequent increase in installation costs to accomplish this. Smart engineering and energy conservation combined can make solar work in most areas.

Edison Recognizes the Top Ten Solar States

Solar panels come in handy module sizes that can be plugged together to get the job done. How many you need for say your own home depends upon the electric load you have, the amount of sunshine available at your site, time of day you want to serve the load while the sun is available, and back-up power availability either through the local utility or via your own battery storage.

Panels can be installed directly on home roofs, adjacent garages and even incorporated into ground-mounted arrangements. Various tax credits are available to help defray installation costs, so jump in and learn about this exciting option for your home. Make Edison proud!

Thomas Edison said … “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Edison Smiles at Vertical Farming

The idea of farming is being re-imagined, no longer a horizontal area of land, but a vertical affair instead, stretching up into the air. Could this be a way to introduce farming into the urban environment and put people back in touch with where their food originates?

Vertical plant growth can be through hydroponics [where roots are immersed in a pool of water and nutrients], or aeroponics [where roots are misted with water and nutrients]. Artificial lighting is used to provide the “solar” input. But no soil is needed.

A look at the benefits of controlled growth vertical farms:

  • Year-round production
  • No need for pesticides
  • Weatherproof against harsh weather/temperatures
  • Water conservation-may be up to 70% savings in use
  • Less spoilage
  • Food sold locally in urban areas requires little transportation costs/emissions
  • Requires less space than traditional horizontal farms
  • Urban farms can make use of old abandoned factory buildings
  • Creates local jobs and industries for expanded tax base.

Some downsides:

  • Not all crops can be grown this way- would still need to use traditional farming
  • Artificial lighting can be energy intensive, leading to energy emissions, and higher food costs.

Are we likely to see a massive shift to vertical farming? It’s probably too early to know for sure, but some interesting trends are happening. Consider, at Sky Greens in Singapore, one ton of greens is produced each day using vertical farm techniques.

Sky Greens is a single-story vertical farm.

Sky Greens is a single-story vertical farm.

Give it a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X8E7MmeYL4.

Newark, NJ, based Aerofarms operates several farms. Its global headquarters hosts a 70,000 square foot vertical farm, [the largest in the world] capable of harvesting 2 million pounds of produce every year. Check it out at http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-aerofarms-the-worlds-largest-vertical-farm-in-newark-2016-2.

A rendering of Aerofarms' new facility, the world's largest vertical farm—built on an old manufacturing site.

A rendering of Aerofarms’ new facility, the world’s largest vertical farm—built on an old manufacturing site.

Even though vertically grown leafy vegetables are a bit more expensive, consumers like the freshness and locally grown nature of it all. Costs are not prohibitive and likely to improve with time and technological advances. Keeping those artificial lighting energy costs down is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

In his later years, Edison was growing large crops of special plant varieties in Florida in an attempt to find a substitute for natural rubber. If successful, he would have established large farms in Georgia and Florida dedicated to growing the plants. Certainly, farming technology would have interested him.

Thomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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How Old are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?

How Old are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?Read the popular press and you conclude that successful entrepreneurship is the domain of the young, what with the personalities we see so prominently in the news regarding high tech, and information based companies. Folks tend to think youth is favored for really great ideas and innovations.

Consider….would investors bet their money on high–energy youthful entrepreneurs over the older “silverbacks” with lots of hard-knocks experience….thus missing out on some great potential opportunities? Might older entrepreneurs be too ingrained in the status quo as opposed to younger folks who have little to tie them down to what already exists, and thus are better potential “disruptors” that can laser focus on the new business?

A recent study that involved researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau and MIT has developed some interesting facts about entrepreneurship. In a nutshell, the researchers concluded:

  • The best entrepreneurs tend to be middle-aged.
  • Among the very fastest-growing new tech companies, the average founder was 45 at the time of founding.
  • A given 50-year-old entrepreneur is nearly twice as likely to have a runaway success as a 30-year-old.

Work done at the Kellogg School seems commensurate with these findings. Basically, the longer you have been around, the better your chances of success.

Industry disruption does not have to come from outsiders. Silverbacks with loads of experience and market savvy can make a big difference.

How Old are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?

Will this change how investors fund new start-ups and older entrepreneurs? Are we going to see a shift in business investment strategies?

Edison innovated and disrupted things throughout his life, his experience and determination so highly focused on the tasks at hand; and he never let failure stand in his way. Look at these stats about his age and major accomplishments:

  • Revolutionized telegraphy – 27
  • R&D Labs concept – 29
  • Phonograph – 30
  • Light bulb – 32
  • Electric utility – 37
  • Establishes General Electric – 43
  • Movies – 46
  • Edison cement – 52
  • Storage batteries – 63
  • Spreads R&D Labs to U.S. Navy – 68
  • Artificial rubber – 80

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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