Kickstart(er) Solar: Small Panels, Big Dreams

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I believe that passionate and invested inventors are the best innovators. Now it is time to add Alex Hornstein and Shawn Frayne to the ranks of the Wright Brothers and Alexander Fleming.  Our two new revolutionaries are pushing the boundaries of solar energy.  They are not pushing them upwards for large panels, instead they invested in small hyper efficient solar panels which can power every small object in any home.

PhotonSynthesis to recharge phone

Micro Solar Panels, A Plethora of Opportunities

Small solar plates are increasingly becoming an integral part of the world’s solar supply.  In the past, only devices like throwaway calculators and a few outdoorsy tools were powered by small solar panels.  Today, there are already niche solar markets arising; everything from cell phone chargers to glow in the dark bricks are powered by the sun.

Most small solar panels are produced in a slow and inefficient manner.  There are whole factories dedicated to outdated and time-consuming.  Panels are hand glued together; as many as one in five are discarded due to workmanship faults.  The annual output of one factory is around a 300,000 units.     These  panels will last approximately two years, under the best conditions.

Currently, our two new inventors are gathering funds to finalize their invention, the Solar Pocket Factory.  Just one of these table-top factories can produce a whopping 2,103,793 panels in a year; a panel can be produced every fifteen seconds.  These durable have a ten-year guarantee.  The factory can fit in a pickup and run anywhere in the world or even on the go.

This project is currently a favorite on Kickstarter.  This grass-roots site connects inventors, innovators, and artists with people who want to support their causes (and get nifty prizes).  For instance if you give our lauded innovators a scant $35 they will ship you everything you need to build a few small solar devices with their patented plates.  Big spenders can select the $10,000 option; with this prize our inventors bring their micro factory to your hometown and crank out hundreds, if not thousands, of plates and products.  A whole town could be powered by one little trip.  The future looks sunny.

Wanna help the cause?  Their Kickstarter Project continues until September 14, 2012.  Click here to green up your home!


Germany: Nuclear Switch-Off Spurns Green Explosion


Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant Cooling Towers

Nuclear Power Plants: A Dying Breed?

The radiation tormenting Fukushima struck a chord in Germany; amidst widespread protesting the government shut down the seven oldest nuclear reactors in Germany to placate the public.  While the general population was captivated by the celebrations of the protesters, apprehension filled the halls of government, and a window of opportunity was presented to green energy firms.  Nuclear power plants are an essential player in producing German electricity.  Unless the German’s would favor being dependent on Russian oil pipelines the only viable path left to them is a rapid adoption of green energy.

Germany needs a silver-bullet solution to answer the energy vacuum left behind by the absentee nuclear plants and the declarations that the ten remaining nuclear reactors would be shut down ahead of schedule.  It’s solution is as ambitious as it is green. By 2030 Germany plans to take a third of its power from green sources.  By 2050 Germany plans be on eighty percent green power the 205o.  the government will spearhead incentives in every field: biogas, biomass, solar, wind, and hydro.  In addition, the country is abandoning the production of new nuclear plants and is pledging to decommission those that remain in operation ahead of schedule.

This is nothing short of a dangerous gamble.  Germany will become the flagship for alternative energy production of the world, if they succeed.  If they fail, the rest of Europe will  have to sell power to the Germans to keep the country lit up.  The German people are coming to a hard ceiling; either they break through and prosper or they fail tragically and suffer a decline with cumbersome and unreliable energy fees.  When it comes to heating homes and power industry their is only a small margin of error for Germany.

It will be interesting to see what Germany will look like in thirty years: will it be a green paradise or a darkening backwater?

U.S. Solar Panel Manufacturers Declare War On Chinese Imports For (Justified) Protective Tariffs


Solar Panels

The American-Chinese Trade War Heats Up

After years of American solar panel producers giving the cold shoulder to sizzling Chinese competition sequestering colossal sales with unscrupulous warlike tactics.  Now at the brink of extinction seven American solar panel producers banded together to defend American manufacturing.

How Will the Americans Save Their Industry?

Seven Solar companies, led by SolarWorld Industries America, have filed a broad trade case before Commerce Department to institute tariffs that would double the price of imported Chinese solar panels.  This protectionist tax wall would inflate the price of Chinese imports.  Demand for Chinese solar panels would elastically erode with the price increase.  The supply of Chinese solar panels in the American market would also deteriorate.  Meanwhile, American panels would be substituted into the fair playing field.

Critics question the damage this move could do to the blossoming solar market.  This will doubtlessly raise the price of solar panels and reduce quantity.  However, everyone agrees it will funnel money to American industry and build American jobs to compete with the Chinese.

Chinese solar panel manufactures have already captured over fifty percent of the international market and eclipsed the United States’ production.  Only a scant six percent of sales remain in American hands.  However, with recent blows to domestic companies such as the bankruptcy of Solyndra, it appears the Chinese seek to monopolize the market.

This cannot stand.  America is in a trade war with China; mobilizing in support of the American companies is the first step in retaking our own economy

How are the Chinese Acting Illegally?

Nationally, the Chinese government is stacking the deck.  Chinese companies are able to outbid American manufactures at extraordinary rates that far outpace Chinese technical development.  Their government sabotages laissez-faire and gives the Chinese produces a disproportional advantage with no interest loans and free land.  This is a definitive trade violation.  America reaps bittersweet sorrow with the Chinese criminality. Early solar energy adapters are excited by the prospects of cheaper solar panels in the short-term.  Meanwhile, their neighbors lose their domestic alternative energy jobs and cannot afford anything more than unemployment will allow.

Each company itself is also rife with corrupt affairs.  Accusations of corporate fraud against Chinese companies rival the gross output of #OccupyWallStreet.  Chinese panel output is hampered intermittently by furious strikes that threaten Chinese manufacturing and international sustainable energy.

Bernie Madoff would be proud; not since his bankrupting of charities has such wholesale criminality at the expense of the American public.  The Chinese parallel this infamous criminal on a transcontinental scale.  First, trust is built on the quicksand of an inflated currency and illegal tactics.  Second, in the darkest days of the recession the criminal is unmasked.  An empty husk of charitable hopes and broken panels of the alternative energy dream are all that remain.

How Must America Retaliate?

America is in a trade war with the Chinese.  Action must be taken.  Currently, Both sides symbiotically cooperate for shared prosperity.  However, nibbles of this analogy are being eaten by the Chinese as they consume the American economy for their own benefit.  Already, China has simply cut off trade of rare-earth metals to the United States.  In Libya, they opposed NATO by attempting to arm the Pro-Gaddafi forces with over two hundred million dollars in weapons.

Whether the politicians like it or not America is at war with the Chinese.  Protect our own industries is the only way to insure the continuation of the American dream.  The only alternative is to watch the lights across the United States go dark, one by one, as we are blotted out by the Sino smog.

The CFTC (Commodity Futures Tragedy Commission) and the Oil Bubble Bursting (All Over the American Economy)

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Car fire Freshfield road  09/01/2006 05:06
Pictured: The American Economy in the Aftermath of the Oil Bubble

Today, crude oil prices fell by a pay jaw dropping four percent; the cascading effects through the international economy will reduce all costs and prices in a few short weeks.  However, the damage by the four month oil bubble has already culminated and several destitute developments.  Americans have been saddled with a devalued dollar and increasingly reckless investors.  Inflation during the oil bubble drove up prices and despite energy costs decreasing all other prices will remain high. Wall Street traders first drove the price of oil up through over eager investments and now are backpedaling at record rates as the economy suffers a stinging blow that could result in a double dip recession.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who monitors this market, not only allowed this financial disaster to happen but openly encouraged it in defiance of Congress.

How Did the Oil Bubble Devalue the Dollar?

In the past couple of months wrenching transportation costs caused by the oil bubble drove up energy prices around the world.  When transportation costs rise sellers of goods have to raise prices in order to stay profitable; this drives prices for goods across all markets.  The rises in rapid inflation.  Despite the costs now dropping the dollar has already been devalued; prices will remain higher than before the oil bubble.  This distressing fact manifests in every developed nation, as the latest paychecks will be worth a little bit less and economic slump will sag a little bit more.  The United States will be hit worst by this crisis because nearly all OPEC reserves are traded in American dollars.

What Do Wall Street Traders have to do with the Oil Bubble?

One of the largest markets that investors gamble in is futures.  This financial system acts like a delayed contract.   Businesses generally buy products with money in normal transactions; futures allows those same contracts to be used on goods produced in the future, sometimes before they are even produced.  By speculating on the price investors beat the market rate and make small fortunes.  The problem with this process is that these contracts can be bought multiple times and each time the price of the gas rises to balance out the cost to obtain the future.  To further compound the issue third part investors can bet on the contracts as well, driving energy prices up over 40% of their real value.    This drives up energy prices, along with every facet of the economy, at record rates with bounding inflation.  Once these investors realize their futures are overvalued they rapidly sell off them, resulting in 4% dip in crude oil prices today.

Why Was This Harmful Speculation Allowed?

Senator Bernie Sanders, a prominent socialist from Vermont with one of the most progressive stances in Congress, outlined how this financial debacle endangered the United States and how it could have been easily prevented.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is supposed to monitor, was given strict speculating limits to prevent this exact scenario.  While energy prices would have risen they would have not bubbled and busted catastrophically.  However, the CFTC deliberately disregarded its duties, not implementing Congress appointed restrictions on the futures market. Corporatist leadership within the Commission is having its hand forced by Congress as a bill is being passed that will force this government institution to do its job.  These reactionary measure will prevent this type of bubble from forming ever again, if administer properly.

Renegade Radiation: Fukushima Contamination Escapes Exclusion Zone, Town Evacuated

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fukushima #3 blacksmoke

Two months after a tsunami devastated Japan cancerous levels of nuclear radiation have been discovered in a Japanese town forty kilometers from the leaking Fukushima Reactors, twenty kilometers outside the state declared exclusion zone.  These high radiation levels were discovered by International Atomic Energy Agency officials, who suspected that undiscovered pockets of radiation had been missed or ignored by Japanese officials. Residents were evacuated from the village, while more extreme actions by the government are being planned once specific levels of radiation are determined.

How Dangerous Are the Radiation Levels?

The radiation spikes in the village raised immediate concerns because while they would not instantly kill or main anyone.  Only prolonged exposure would result in cancer.  Residents were notified and promptly evacuated from the town.  Iodine tablets had been distributed by the  Japanese government to the entire region after the disaster, the tablets counteract radiation poisoning which is emitted during nuclear meltdowns.  These tablets may have protected many residence from cancer, giving them enough time to escape the toxic town.

How Has This Outbreak of News Affected the Region?

Officials are considering to recall civilians allowed to return to their homes in the exclusion zone; these short visits were designated exclusively to pick up irreplaceable items like medicine or family artifacts.  Many refugees have expressed fear and outrage at this latest development, blaming their ineffective Prime Minister Naoto Kan for not protecting his citizens.  This anger flared earlier in the week as unprecedented radiation levels, “550,000 bacquerels per square meter”, or enough to irradiate the area for over thirty years were discovered in the shadow of the Fukushima Reactors.  The Japanese people believe their leader should have directly taken control of Tokyo Electric Company, who operates the reactors, and dictated a resolution rather than indirectly asking for one by the sluggish company.

How Had Work on the Reactors Progressed In Light of These Recent Setbacks?

Activity at the damaged Fukushima reactor continue without hesitation; while complete nuclear meltdown has been adverted a long perilous road until the situation can declared safe.  They know they have a long way to go, these recent events are obstacles that will be overcome in due time.  Relentless struggles by the Faceless Fifty, heroic technicians and engineers who remained at the reactor despite the near certain risk of cancer, have adverted disaster and prevented the reactors from melting down have taken account of these recent activities, delegating the responsibly to the government.  Their work in the reactor takes a higher priority, such as high priority that all have placed their country above their own lives; within the next time years all are expected to die from cancer.

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