Solar manufactures are continuously experimenting with new products, technology and materials that can help decrease the cost of solar panels, with the goal of making them more affordable and decreasing one of the barriers to entry into the solar market. There have been many so many innovations in the past 10 years that it is hard to keep up with the newest technologies and products. But here is one that you wont forget about: solar cells from shrimp shells.
Creative scientists from Queen Mary University of London(QMUL), the same scientists who told us that rock music can increase the efficiency of your solar panels, are always looking for innovative and unique ways to increase the success of solar adoption and efficiency.
The QMUL team created a solar cell using the chemicals found in the shrimp shells, chitin and chitosan.
Chitin and chitosan, are significantly cheaper to produce than the materials used to create traditional solar cells, not to mention much more sustainable than ruthenium or platinum. “This could be a great new way to make these versatile, quick and easy to produce solar cells from readily available, sustainable materials. Once we’ve improved their efficiency they could be used anywhere that solar cells are used now…” says Dr. Joe Briscoe, a researcher on the project.
Using hydrothermal carbonization, researches create carbon quantum dots (CQDs) from the chemicals found in crustacean shells. To make the solar cells, they coat the standard zinc oxide nanorods with the CQDs.
The efficiency of these shrimp shell cells is significantly less than those of traditional PV panels, but if it can be improved, it can be used in a variety of products such as phones, smartwatches, wearables, etc. As innovators in the solar industry, we are always excited to see the newest innovations on the market.
It’s time for more women in the solar industry. And no, we are not talking about more booth babes. With women only making up 18.7 percent of the solar workforce, it is time for a change. And this change could make you money.
The solar job industry is booming. As of November 2013, the solar industry employs 142,698 solar workers, up from 119,016 in 2012. This 20 percent increase in jobs has no signs of stopping. Solar employment is expected to go up by 15.6 percent over the next year, adding 22,240 new solar workers to the workforce. But women only represent 26,738 of the solar work force. So what is stopping women from joining the solar industry?
The solar industry largely stems from the construction industry, which has an even lower distribution of female workers. This male-centric workforce has seemingly carried over to its solar cousin. While women in solar have made a significant impact on the industry’s workplace diversity, there are still many hurdles for them to jump.
One of the more alarming hurdles is the growing prevalence of booth babes at trade shows and conventions. Booth babes are the scantily clad women hired by some solar companies to attract visitors to their booth at solar conventions and conferences. While these lovely ladies may accomplish the goal of increasing foot traffic to your booths, it is unlikely that these visitors are there to learn about or purchase your latest and greatest solar products. By employing booth babes, you are wasting a prime time to meet and network with genuinely interested customers. Even more detrimental to the solar industry is that fact that booth babes make it even more difficult for the real women in solar to be acknowledged and accepted. We prefer the women in our booths to be educated in our products and interested in solar technology.
And you should too. Companies with greater gender diversity and women in leadership roles have been shown to outperform those companies who lack that diversity dynamic. Women play an important role in collaboration, teamwork, relationship building and motivating others, which are all important aspects to have in a successful leader. But,when it comes down to obtaining business goals, female leaders showcase higher competencies in taking initiative, showing high integrity and honesty and on-going drive for results.
Here is another knowledge nugget for you to nibble on: women are major solar consumers. A survey by Identity3 found that 90 percent of women make or participate in the decision to go solar in their home, and they tend to be the ones who initiate the discussion about solar and do the research. Who better to appeal to the women of the house than a woman herself?
There are several female CEO’s, presidents and founders leading successful solar companies who are making a difference for all women in solar. In fact, we have a few powerful and successfulwomen in leadership roles at Zilla. But, lets not forget about the fierce and fearless women who are on the roofs every day doing the heavy lifting (literally).
GRID Alternatives and SunEdison recently launched its Women In Solar Initiative, which focuses on bringing more women into the solar industry and onto your roof. It provides hands-on-training, fellowships and real-world experience in the solar industry for thousands of women all over the country. The most exciting thing about this initiative are the women-only trainings and installations that allow women to ask questions without judgment.
Strength comes in numbers. And with the help of other successful solar women, we can help change the gender distribution in the solar industry. Many women in the solar industry find strength in talking and networking with fellow female solar professionals. There are several female-led solar organizations that focus on bringing together and supporting solar women.A few of our favorite are: Women in Cleantech and Sustainability, Women inSolar Energy and Women4Solar.
We are so excited about the continued progress that isoccurring in the solar industry. As a women-led solar racking and mounting company, we have been there. We can’t count the “Dear Sirs” emails that we have received. But, as women continue to join and grow in the solar industry, we know that the future is bright for all women in solar.
We all know that selecting the right solar panel for your system is important. But arguably the most vital part of any solar system is the racking and mounting equipment. Reliable, durable and efficient solar racking equipment can dictate the lifespan of your system, while saving you time, money and headaches.
A group of solar experts based in California conducted a study of solar systems in order to determine best practices for solar racking and mounting. The team looked at 20 rooftop PV solar systems, which averaged 10 years old in San Francisco.
“In general, the reliable systems that were surveyed exhibited three common characteristics:they followed best installation practices at the time, used solar-specific components, and were installed by conscientious contractors,” noted in the report’s Executive Summary. Their study, “The Importance of Reliable Solar Mounting Systems”, uncovered a series of best practices that can ensure the reliability and cost effectiveness of residential rooftop PV systems.
Following these best practices can positively impact there liability and cost effectiveness of your system. The best (and simplest) way to ensure your system meets all of these requirements is to use an integrated solar mounting system.
Zilla® solar mounting and racking products, designed specifically by installers for installers, meet all of these best practices requirements. Zilla products meet a variety of testing standards and are made of rust-free stainless steel or aluminum material. We offer the most vertically integrated line of solar mounting products including best-in-class pitched roof, rail-less roof, ground mount and flat roof systems that are continuously being innovated to meet the needs of solar installers. With Zilla, all solar racking equipment is compatible eliminating mismatching of components and ensuring reliability and ease of installation.
Follow these best practices to ensure your customers enjoy clean, renewable, inexpensive electricity with minimal upkeep or maintenance costs. Get started with Zilla today and rest easy knowing your system will last for years.
Zilla prides itself on its innovative approach to solar installations. The Zilla team works tirelessly to bring our customers solar solutions that are easy and affordable in an attempt to bring solar to as many homes as possible. In an effort to further expand solar adoption and bring solar to even more homes than ever before, Zilla is joining forces with the revolutionary Sun BanditSolar Hybrid Energy Systems from Next Generation Energy.
Sun Bandit is the most revolutionary way to heat water since fire. Sun Bandit uses photovoltaic technology to put the sun to work to deliver clean, reliable hot water. Sun Bandit® patented technologies eliminates the need for complex solar mechanical water heating and replaces it with clean, simple to install and easy to enjoy PV technology to effectively and efficiently provide hot water. Unlike traditional solar thermal installations, Sun Bandit eliminates the need for fluids, pumps and complicated plumbing or architecture.
Sun Bandit comes in pre-packaged kits with everything youneed for an easy and efficient installation. Each basic two-module kit features four Zilla Zip Flashing Assemblies with L-foot and Mounting Hardware, two Zilla Quad Combo rails, four End Clip Assemblies and two Zilla Top Clip Assemblies, four Wire Management Clips and four Zilla PVC Electrical Flashings.
Combined with easy to install Zilla racking components, Sun Bandit is one of the easiest ways to go solar. We are proud and excited to contribute to such a revolutionary solar product! To learn more about Sun Bandit, please visit www.sunbandit.us.
At Intersolar 2014, DNV GL, a leading global energy advisory and independent testing authority, announced a new solar installation standardization program. This new program provides installers a uniform baseline for comparing solar installation equipment.
After acquiring PV Evolutions Labs in March 2014, DNV GL is expanding their current solar panel and solar system component testing to include a solar racking and mounting standardization program.
“Our solar customers asked us to step forward and providestandardized, independent testing,” said Ray Hudson, DNV GL global solarservice line leader. “This helps them establish and evaluate their decisionsbased upon a common set of metrics for racking installations.”
The standardization process starts with a time-lapse video of trained PV installers performing a solar installation, featuring a specific solar racking system. The video is reviewed by DNV GL experts to compare installation times and efficiencies, while also addressing areas for improvement. The DNV GL testing facility will conduct both commercial and residential testing.
This new third-party standards program allows installers to decrease risk, improve performance and provide accurate labor projections. It will also allow solar industry professionals to compare solar racking and mounting equipment side by side with third party, expert evaluations.
As this testing process becomes mainstream in the solarindustry, we at Zilla are up for the challenge. We look forward to seeing how we rack up against the competition.
DNV GL boasts 2500 energy experts who deliver world-renownedtesting and game changing expertise from the energy value chain, includingrenewables and energy efficiency.
Having released several new and innovative products last year, 2014 was a busy year for Zilla. And our hard work paid off. The respected industry publication, Solar Power World, recently featured the Zilla Phantom XL system as one of the Top Solar Mounting Products of 2014.
With increased attention on solar soft costs over the past year, producing innovative and efficient solar mounting products have become an important endeavor and an easy way to cut solar soft costs. The Zilla Phantom XL system does just that, allowing it to help make the cut.
Showcased at Solar Power International 2014, Zilla Phantom XL stole the show. With the ability to attach directly to sheathing and its compact and efficient rail-less attachment solution, the Zilla Phantom XL allows for the fastest, most flexible installation in the industry. This new system allows for more installations, with less manpower and in many different installation setups.
This pitched roof rail-less flush mount system allows for attachment directly to sheathing or structure, eliminating the need to search for installation points. It provides a fully flashed, waterproof and self-grounded system that attaches anywhere on a composite roof, giving most flexibility to panel arrangement.
The Phantom XL system features the Zilla Double Stud XLFlashing with the Mini Adjustable Standoff, Quad Combo, End Clip Assembly and Top Clip Assembly with integrated grounding for even greater savings. Using less material than traditional flush mount rail systems, the Phantom XL helps to reduce installation time, ultimately helping to cut soft costs. Another unique feature of the Phantom XL system is the ability to install the flashings independently of the rails, allowing for safer and more efficient on-roof installation.
“The Phantom® XL system is designed to be one of the fastest, safest and strongest solar mounting systems on the market,” Zilla Corporation CTO, Dave Kreutzman said. “Our years of experience working with installation professionals drives our goal of delivering flexible, time-savings solutions like the Phantom® XL to meet the needs of this dynamic marketplace.”
We are pleased and honored to be recognized as a leader in the solar mounting industry. To learn more about the Phantom XL system and our other innovative XL products, visit our website or contact one of our sales representatives today.
Ken Sanger of Solar Dad and Sons has been in solar for 24 years. Earlier this year, he ran into a situation that threw him and his team of expert solar installers for a loop. Mid-way through an installation for a client, him and his team realized that the roof they were installing on had recently been repaired and the rafters were odd sizes and in varied positions, making a traditional installation close to impossible. It was then that Sanger recalled a solution that might just work.
Sanger first meet the Zilla team at Solar Power International in 2015. As a longtime user of Quick Mount PV, Sanger was not quite ready to make the switch, but spent the afternoon chatting with the Zilla team about their unique and different approach to solar installations. The Zilla team explained how their innovative Double Stud XL flashing can attach right to sheathing,making even the most complicated installations faster, safer and easier. When Sanger left the booth, the seed had been planted.
When Sanger and his team ran into their own complicated installation they knew who to call.The Zilla Double Stud XL was the perfect solution to an otherwise complicated problem. They quickly moved forward with the installation and called Zilla to order 150 more Double Stud XL’s and L-Feet. “They do what they are supposed to do,” says Sanger. It was a tough installation situation made possible by the innovations of Zilla.
Both Sanger and Zilla are excited about the new partnership and look forward to expanding the relationship into other ZIlla product lines. Solar Dad and Sons haven’t expanded into ground mount installations, but are already looking forward to chatting with the team at this year’s SPI!
If you have complicated installations or are just looking to speed up your projects, try our Double Stud XL Flashing. It’s patented base plate design has multiple attachment points and provides speed and flexibility for securing directly to sheathing or structural members.
Are you going to be at Solar Power International 2016 this year? Visit us at Booth #215 to learn more about the full range of industry-leading flashing innovations and ground mount systems.
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