Solar Panel Built into Leaf Spoiler

solar panel in leaf spoilerIdeally electric cars would be solar powered. The Nissan Leaf has a solar panel built into the spoiler, but the specs aren’t mentioned. Why? Because sometimes, like in this case it’s better marketing to not mention the specs at all. Of all the costs of an electric car the most obvious is energy costs, and I have no doubt that the panel will provide more energy, but if we’re to be hones a solar panel the size of a spoiler couldn’t produce more energy than perhaps 50 watts to be very generous peak- enough to run the stereo at a mild volume.

So what the solar panel on the solar panel in Nissan leaf amounts too is nothing more than a gimmick that may sucker a few overzealous buyers, but the panel will never power anything more than your radio.

Watts Up Review

The watts up meter is intended for use with rc equipment, but with tolerance of 60 volts the watts up meter can work great for small solar systems as well. The “watts up” is essentially a dc version of the popular kill a watt meter.

watts up meter

Read the rest of this entry »

Panels by cost per watt

Many stores that sell solar panels can have them filtered by the cost per watt. Theoretically this should tell you the best value. There are a few things you’ll want to factor in as well when buying solar panels.

Cost of shipping. Ive found that some stores give you a teaser price. I call it a teaser price because if you are only purchasing a couple panels you can easily end up paying just as much in shipping as the cost for the panels. One store that seams to have reasonable prices and fairly low shipping costs is They are about inline with amazon as far as pricing, but when you take into account brand things change.

Brand. Lowest price doesn’t always mean the best value. Chooses brand with a good warranty and track record.

What’s the Difference between Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline & Amorphous Solar Panels?

There are three types of technologies that you might find in solar panels or solar cells:

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

moncrystaline solar panelAs far as efficiency by square footage, mono crystalline panels are the way to go. Monocrystalline cells also do a great job in high temperatures, only loosing about 12-15% of their power.

Monocrystalline panels typically have a rounded square array of cells as you can see the the left here.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The power production in polycrystalline cells is reduced 14% to 23%.polycrystalline solar panel That is kind of a high hit to the efficiency at almost 25%! That means you’ve got to have an extra panel to each 4 in order to get the peak ratings advertised in direct sunlight. This could partially explain why they are the cheapest solar technologies.

Polycrystalline panels are typically made up of non-rounded square cells.

Amorphous Solar Panels

amorphous solar panelAmorphous solar panels are the largest panels, or the least efficient per square foot. They are actually about half as efficient as polycrystalline or monocrystalline cells. They’re also the technology that you’re probably the most familiar with, probably the panel you’d find in your calculator.

It’s also a technology that is very durable and flexible, so panels can be used for a calculator or as a roll that’s used while camping.

Although the lifetime of panels or their cells is difficult to test for sure, it’s believed that amorphous cells loose quite a bit of there power after 15 years.

These are the panels that you see a top a lot of homes because they are so cheap at around $5/watt, and the greatest benefit of all is that they don’t become less efficient in elevated temperatures infact in some cases the input increases slightly in high temperatures.

Fenix TK45 Review

Fenix TK45 Review

Brand New TK45

Chances are you’ve already read the reviews of the Fenix TK45 prototype that came out around May. So in my Fenix TK45 Review I’ll skip what’s already been covered and focus on the final product as I received it in January of 2011.

Light Source

Producing the light are 3 Cree R5 LEDs the prototypes had used much cooler and slightly less powerful R4 Cree LEDs. When comparing the beam to that of my PD30 with a R4 Cree LED it’s very easy to notice the much more natural looking light from the TK45.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Much Energy does my Fridge Use?

Energy Fridge UseEach fridge is different depending on the size and efficiency. I’ve got a 13 cubic foot or so manufactured around 2007. It uses almost 880 watts when you first plug it in, but it only pulls at that level for 10 seconds or so. Read the rest of this entry »

Most Powerful LED Flashlight

A few flashlights are running for the title of Most Powerful LED Flashlight. The Olight SST-90 at 30 Watts and 2,200 lumens makes a good case for it’s self.

sr90 torch

The torch throws light over 1000 meters, an incredible feat for an led powered flashlight. The new TK75 could be the brightest LED Flashlight as it gives off 2,600 lumens of light. The throw is not quite as far at about 600 meters.

Fenix tk75

When you consider what flashlight is the most powerful you have to look at a few things:

  • Throw The distance at which the light can still light up objects.
  • Intensity Measurement of brightness at a specific point.
  • Lumens Overall brightness. Takes into consideration all the light put out by the flashlight.

Coming in behind the Olight SST-90, one of the most powerful LED flashlight is the Coast LED lenser x21 at 1086 lumens. That’s more light than your headlight puts out. More than the light output, what makes this light incredible is the amount of energy it consumes. It runs on 4 D cells using 7 LED’s and 15.5 watts at the highest output. Read the rest of this entry »

Are LED’s Worth it on my Christmas Tree?

Led Christmas TreeWe’re buying our first Christmas Tree this year and being the nerd that I am LED lights seem rather attractive. Not just because it’s a new technology, but also because it costs less to run them and that will satisfy the conservation nazi within.

So as we looked at different trees and noticed that the prelit LED trees cost more than the standard lit trees I started to wounder, “How much will these LED’s really save me on my Christmas tree? Here’s what I found:

Cost to run a standard tree

I learned that each bulb on a standard tree consumes 4 watts. For the small tree we are looking at that’s 600 x 4 or 2400 watts. That’s about the amount of energy it takes to run a couple space heaters. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing an Inverter

modified vs sine inverterWhen choosing an Inverter you need to consider how much wattage you’re going to be drawing and what the most wattage you’ll need to draw at any instant might be. You’ll also have to think about how sensitive the electronics are that you’ll be using with your inverter. Choosing an Inverter is then pretty easy, with these considerations in mind you’ll know: Read the rest of this entry »

Green Hosting

My choice for green hosting is iPage hosting.

So far here’s my rating for iPage Green Hosting:

Customer Service: ★★★★★ 
Cost: ★★★★½ 
Green: ★★★★★ 
Quality of Product: ★★★★½ 

Read the rest of this entry »