Elon Musk’s New Solar Project: ‘It’s Not a Thing on the Roof. It is the Roof’

Elon Musk’s New Solar Project: ‘It’s Not a Thing on the Roof. It is the Roof’

With Tesla’s historic acquisition of SolarCity now pending, Elon Musk has announced two new solar products, including one that could disrupt the roofing industry.

Tesla and SolarCity could change the roofing industry Credit: SolarCity Twitter

Tesla and SolarCity could change the roofing industry
Credit: SolarCity Twitter

As Electrek reported, during a conference call with investors Tuesday, Musk and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said they were working on creating a roof made entirely of solar panels—solar shingles, if you will. Instead of tacking on solar panels onto an existing roof, the whole roof itself will be integrated with photovoltaic material.

“I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof,” Musk said. “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof.”

Rive confirmed the project. According to Electrek, “Rive added that there are 5 million new roofs installed every year in the U.S. and if your roof is about to need to be replaced, you don’t want to invest in solar panels to install on it since you are about to take it down, but if the solar panels are the roof and you need to redo it anyway, there’s no reason not to go with a power-generating roof.”

Roofs certainly don’t last forever. As U.S. News explained, depending on the material, roofs can last more than 50 years but homeowners with roofs made of fiber cement shingles or asphalt shingle/composition roofs can expect a lifespan of 20-25 years. Inclement weather—snow, hail and hurricanes—can cut a roof’s lifespan even shorter.

Asphalt roofs—which are by far the most common in the U.S.—also happen to create about 11 million tons of waste each year. Though inexpensive, asphalt shingles are also a petroleum-basedproduct which carries major environmental impacts. So if a homeowner needed to re-shingle the roof anyway, why not go with shingles that could double as an electricity generator instead and might be better for the environment?

Musk, who is the chairman and largest shareholder of Tesla and SolarCity, said there’s a “huge” market for roofs at the end of their lifespan.

He also said, according to Bloomberg, “If you need to replace your roof in the next five years, you’re not going to get solar. What if your roof looks better and last longer?”

Musk and Rive did not provide exact details on the solar roof, but they are not inventing something brand new if they are proposing to produce solar shingles. Dow’s Powerhouse was the biggest name to forge this path around 2009, but the technology was possibly too expensive and perhaps impractical to take off. The company decided to stop selling this product just this past June.

Electrek deduced that the other new Tesla/SolarCity solar product will be for existing roofs. The two products are expected be unveiled by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s $2.6 billion stock offer for SolarCity awaits shareholder approval. In announcing its decision to combine with SolarCity, Tesla said it has a vision of “creating the world’s only vertically integrated sustainable energy company.”

This article was written by:  and first appeared on: ecowatch.com

Poland Unveils Bright Blue Bike Lane That Is Charged By The Sun

Poland Unveils Bright Blue Bike Lane That Is Charged By The Sun

The Starry Night bike path is illuminated by phosphor, a synthetic material that lights up after it’s been charged by the sun. This improves the aesthetic appeal and safety of the path.

Credit: TPA Sp. z o.o.

Credit: TPA Sp. z o.o.

If you ever plan on visiting Poland, be sure to bring your bike. That way you won’t miss out on trekking the luminous bike path which is completely self-sustaining, as it’s charged by the sun.

Located near Lidzbark Warminski, the bike path is illuminated by phosphor, a synthetic material that lights up after it’s been charged by the sun. The starry-looking path was inspired by Studio Roosegaarde and was created by TPA Instytut Badań Technicznych Sp. z o.o,

Said Igor Ruttmar, president of TPA Sp. z o.o.,

“The material we used for the track gives light for over ten hours. That means the road can radiate throughout the whole night and reaccumulate light the following day

Reportedly, the bike path is meant to improve the safety of people biking at night. The fact that it’s so beautiful is an added bonus.

Though the luminophores, or “particles” in the bike lane material can emit a variety of colors, the designers behind the project picked blue to best fit in with the surrounding landscape. Next Nature Network relays that a priority was to ensure the lane was as sustainable as possible, as well as cost-effective, that way it did not need to cost more than traditional bike paths.

bikepath-768x511

The Starry Night bike path is illuminated by phosphor, a synthetic material that lights up after it’s been charged by the sun. This improves the aesthetic appeal and safety of the path.

Credit: TPA

Credit: TPA Sp. z o.o.

 If you ever plan on visiting Poland, be sure to bring your bike. That way you won’t miss out on trekking the luminous bike path which is completely self-sustaining, as it’s charged by the sun.

Located near Lidzbark Warminski, the bike path is illuminated by phosphor, a synthetic material that lights up after it’s been charged by the sun. The starry-looking path was inspired by Studio Roosegaarde and was created by TPA Instytut Badań Technicznych Sp. z o.o,

Said Igor Ruttmar, president of TPA Sp. z o.o.,

“The material we used for the track gives light for over ten hours. That means the road can radiate throughout the whole night and reaccumulate light the following day

Reportedly, the bike path is meant to improve the safety of people biking at night. The fact that it’s so beautiful is an added bonus.

Though the luminophores, or “particles” in the bike lane material can emit a variety of colors, the designers behind the project picked blue to best fit in with the surrounding landscape. Next Nature Network relays that a priority was to ensure the lane was as sustainable as possible, as well as cost-effective, that way it did not need to cost more than traditional bike paths.

bikepath

The Starry Night bike path used from the Van Gogh-themed lane is actually quite different than the one installed in Poland. Reportedly, Studio Roosegaarde’s bike lane was lit by LEDs powered by as solar array and “light-collecting paint”. TPA Sp. z o.o’s bike lane, however, doesn’t require any power source other than the sun.

Because the bike lane is still being tested, it is unknown how long the fabulous-looking path will continue to last. For now, it’s one more reason to visit Poland if the opportunity is presented.
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New Solar Panels Pull Drinking Water From The Air Because Clean Water Is A Human Right.

New Solar Panels Pull Drinking Water From The Air Because Clean Water Is A Human Right.

These solar panels are seriously changing the game for both tap water and clean energy.

Credit: Zero Mass Water

Credit: Zero Mass Water

In an exciting new development, a startup company called Zero Mass Water has created solar panels that passively and efficiently pull water from the sky, purify it, and transport it to the tap for drinking and cooking purposes. Though the primary motivation for creating these panels was to help people living without access to clean drinking water, it can also help a variety of people from all walks of life while conserving traditional energy that is bad for the environment.

The founder and CEO of the startup, Cody Friesen, said he was inspired when he was setting up another one of his technologies in Indonesia and thought about the abundance of rain, but lack of clean water in the region. He decided to focus his efforts on improving the global water supply. Friesen told Fastco Exist:

“Everybody’s heard about the latest nanofilter this…or whatever the latest pump technology is. None of those end up being sort of the leapfrog technology that addresses the fact that drinking water is a fundamental human right, and yet we have one person dying every 10 seconds from waterborne illness on the planet.”

Credit: Zero Mass Water

Credit: Zero Mass Water

Though these are the first solar panels of their kind, the idea and technology behind the water conversion and supply is simple. Zero Mass Water created a material that absorbs water from the air at an extremely accelerated rate, then it draws the water back out to evaporate it and draw out pollutants. After this purification process, the distilled water is run through a mineral block to add calcium and magnesium and to improve the taste.

Since waterborne illnesses are so prevalent, this water can save millions of lives and slowly eliminate diseases, as it becomes more widely-used by countries suffering the most as a result of contaminated drinking water. Having an in-home water supply would also save girls and women worldwide approximately 200 million hours annually, as that’s how much time they spend retrieving water. They could use this time to go to school, perform more tasks around the house, or work.

The solar panels are currently being tested in Ecuador, Jordan, and Mexico to test their viability and effectiveness. Though they’re starting out in areas rampant with poverty, the panels can also make a difference in the lives of the citizens whose water supplies are tainted with lead. There are roughly 5,300 such water systems, and this could be a safe alternative to drinking that lethal tap water and buying bottled water.

 

Credit: Zero Mass Water

Credit: Zero Mass Water

A single panel can provide enough clean drinking and cooking water for a family of 4, and additional panels can be used on larger buildings, such as hospitals.

Zero Mass Water hopes that this concept won’t remain novel for too long; despite the success they’re likely to have for being the only sellers of this panel, their goal is to make the technology common throughout all solar panels installed in people’s homes.

“When you think about solar today, what do you think about? Electricity,” Friesen said. “Everybody thinks that way. I think that in a few years when people think about solar, they’ll also think about water abundance.”

This article (New Solar Panels Pull Drinking Water From The Air Because Clean Water Is A Human Right) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com