The rising popularity of solar energy panels attests that something new and different is permeating our energy mix. These panels, technically known as photovoltaic energy converters, take incoming sunlight and quietly produce clean electricity for direct use. Invented at Bell labs in 1954 and first used in the space program of the 1950s and 60s, these panels now are being used on homes, schools, municipal buildings and commercial structures.
Google also has integrated solar panels into their massive, multi-building, Mountain View , California campus. There, about 9,000 solar panels will use the sun’s energy to provide about 30% of their peak electrical use. Check out this interesting website and short video to see how Google is becoming one of the greenest corporations on the planet. Shown here is a portion of the panels installed on Google’s campus.
One particularly ingenious application by Petra Solar of South Plainfield, New Jersey, involves mounting solar panels on utility poles and connecting the electrical output directly into the secondary wires of the utility electrical system. Installed by local utility company bucket truck work crews, these panel systems, known as SunWave, are a quick and economic way to bring megawatt size distributed generation to utility grids. This work by Petra Solar is a revolutionary new application, capable of being used immediately and worldwide and interfacing to the smart utility grid of the future. Visit their website and see some videos there.
As we watch the rapid evolution of the solar industry, it is most interesting to recall that Edison was a big proponent of alternate energy forms. Shortly before his death, in 1931, Edison was advocating the use of solar energy …
Imagine what he could have done had he lived longer. He would love to see Petra Solar’s integration of solar panels directly into a utility system. After all it was Edison who gave us the utility system in the first place!
“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.” ~ Thomas Edison Quote
Time ®, Google ® and Petra Solar ® are registered trademarks of their respective companies.