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Wello has received a 10MW wave energy park order from Gapura Energi Utama (GEU) in Bali. This new energy park will be next to Nusa Penida Island which is part of Bali and is expected to be complete by the end of 2018. This is part of the agreement Wello went into for the Indonesian market as they add renewable energy sources like wave power.

The CEO and Founder of Wello, Heikki Paakkinen, stated that he was proud of the work being accomplished and that Wello Penguin, the name of the new energy park, will be quite competitive with offshore wind energy production facilities. The overall goal is to reduce costs by as much as 50% for the generation of electricity through wave power.

The President Manager of GE, Komang Agus Pribadiana, believes that there is more than 17GW potential in the ocean that surrounds Indonesia that has yet to be fully developed. By teaming up with Wello, it helps increase the capacity for renewable energy in a safe manner that is environmentally sound.

Wello uses a wave energy converter that has been in the design and testing stages for nearly a decade. The rough waters off the coast of Orkney, Scotland has been one of the testing sites for the energy converter that has been handled by the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC). Because the testing was performed in waters that are just as harsh, if not even more challenging that what is found next to Nusa Penida Island in Bali, it means that the success of the new wave energy park is more assured.

The potential for Wello Penguin is considerable and estimated to be at over a billion euros by the company itself. In addition, new wave energy parks are planned for around the world, but the success of Wello Penguin in Bali will help determine its future.

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Electric Car (image)

It’s a known fact that the amount of cars we have on our roads is bad for the environment. With climate-damaging fuel emissions and health polluting toxic gases, diesel cars will one day be a thing of the past. While countries such as Copenhagen are seeing the rise of cycling over driving – see https://stateofgreen.com/en/ for more details – most people are looking towards electric and hybrid cars as the solution to tackling air pollution. However, how eco-friendly are they, and should you buy one?

Doubts have been raised

There are those who refute the idea that electric and hybrid cars emit zero emissions. Joshua Graff Zivin, a professor at the University of California, and advisor to the electric industry, suggests there are still issues to the climate. Why? According to him, not only is the manufacturing process less than eco-friendly, but the power plants providing the power to charge the vehicles are not completely emission free. There are also concerns about the batteries that are potentially disposed at the end of an electric car’s lifespan. Considering they contain toxic chemicals, there are fears that they will create a new crisis in the environment. As you can also read here, http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-the-myth-of-a-clean-electric-car/, there are increasing doubts as to the viability of a completely clean electric car.

On the positive side

It’s not all bad news. It has been proven that electric cars are more energy-efficient and cleaner when out on the roads, especially when compared to their diesel equivalent. In a time when there is more traffic than ever on our highways and byways, this is certainly a positive thing. Scientists are also looking to find ways to reuse the batteries from electric vehicles, such as using them within industrial processes. So, while there may not yet be an end to zero emissions, advances are being made to find a solution. While there is still a move to put electric public transport at the top of the agenda in some counties to ease traffic, it’s clear that electric cars are still the future, and continued changes will be made to ensure they are safer for our environment.

The future for you

The question for you, the consumer, is this. When should you take the plunge into buying an electric or hybrid car? We have already outlined some of the benefits here at http://www.greentechgazette.com, whether you are an eco-warrior or not. You may not be ready to make the transition, but you will eventually be forced into the upgrade, as many governments have vowed to take diesel-powered cars off the roads as soon as possible. The UK, for example, will stop selling petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Targets have been set, to both reduce greenhouse gases and tackle air pollution, so you need to check with your local government as to the implications for your future on the road.

Final thoughts

We are all responsible for playing our part in reducing the carbon footprint. Not adding to the traffic at all is one solution, but if public transport or cycling is not a solution for you, it is time to think about your future on the road. Take a look at some of the latest hybrid and electric cars here https://www.caranddriver.com/best-hybrid-electric-cars, and consider them when deciding on your next vehicle. We raised the question about the eco-friendliness of electric cars, and the answer is not straightforward. Time will tell if they reduce zero emissions entirely, but one thing is clear, they are more sustainable than the diesel cars that currently pollute our environment.

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Shape shifting metal

Shape memory alloys are metals that can shift from one predetermined shape to another depending on the temperature it is subjected to. It was discovered 60 years ago and has since been used in different fields, including biomedicine and aeronautical engineering. But it has continuously refused to harvest energy from hot water – something that is about to change.

The founders of a company called Exergyn said they have made an engine capable of generating electricity. Their machine uses morphing wire and hot water left over from industrial processes. The development of the engine has its roots in a backyard experiment conducted five years ago in Dublin.

After heating water in an electric tea maker, the founders – a scientist, an engineer, and a businessman – poured it into a bisected segment of pipe. At the bottom of that pipe lay a wire made of shape memory alloy, with one of the men holding a ruler next to it.

The men observed that the wire shortened by a couple of centimeters when hot water was poured through the pipe. When they poured cold water over the wire, its original length returned.

It is estimated that in the US about a third of the energy is lost as heat. Rigoberto Advincula, a waste-heat expert and professor of macromolecular science at Case Western University, said that lots of energy is wasted in industrial processes or during heat exchange, which happens when water is poured on machines to cool them off. The hot water produced as a result of industrial applications is not hot enough to produce steam capable of powering an engine in order to get a generator going.

There are a few power plants and others in the industrial industry who send hot waste water through secondary engines. These engines area able to convert a little amount of energy into electricity. The process for achieving that is called the organic Ranking cycle, but it needs chemicals in order to generate power from hot water.

Since some of the chemicals that need to be used are considered dangerous and harmful for the environment, they have been banned or their use is restricted. Although there are cleaner chemicals, they are not as efficient in creating energy from waste water. Plus, they create additional operational costs.

The answer, then, lies in morphing wires – the heart of what’s in the new engine created by Exergyn. The company’s engine uses nitinol, a shape metal alloy variation made of nickel (Ni) and titanium (Ti). The “nol” in its name refers to the former Naval Ordnance Laboratory where the alloy was invented.

The Exergyn engine takes advantage of nitinol’s shape-shifting behavior to convert hot water waste into electricity. Its makers say the engine could be used in a waste-heat plumbing system where hot water is cycled into piston chambers, each attached to a nitinol wire. The wire contracts when hit with hot water then expands when cold water rushes through.

A viscous fluid lies on the other side of the piston, which pushes the fluid through a hydraulic transmission which in turn spins a generator leading to electricity being created.

Exergyn isn’t claiming a breakthrough with their engine, but they used existing research to create nitriol. Just how much a company can save on electricity when they buy an Exergyn engine still remains to be seen. For now, a prototype sits in Exergyn’s own offices in Dublin with actual field tests scheduled to be carried out in 2018.

Exergyn CEO Alan Healy says that the trials will prove that there is a way to achieve energy efficiency. He says that unless businesses are given a money saving option, they won’t do the right thing.

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Renewable Energy Blockchain

While renewable energy has become popular and more relevant in today’s energy grid, it is not always available when needed. However, one major transmitter of power has removed the technology to help them better incorporate renewable energy into their power grid.

Tennet, a European firm, announced that it was going to the be the first on the continent to team up with Sonnen, a battery supplier, and revitalize the blockchain concept to incorporate renewable energy so that it can be used when their customers need the extra power. This represents a fundamental change in how renewable energy sources are used since previously they were only available during daylight hours or when the wind was constant. Now, the energy created can be stored and used when needed or the batteries can be used when excessive energy is available for storage purposes.

Under the old system in Germany, if extra power was needed it had to be delivered from other power plants which may be hundreds of miles away. With the new battery storage, energy that was created from renewable sources can be stored and tapped when needed to make up for any deficiency. The result is not only faster access to power, it also solves one of the biggest concerns with today’s energy grid in Germany.

Currently, energy transmission operators in Europe have to manage a congested network that makes up their power grid, using technology that is expensive and requiring considerable precision to operate. This is especially true with third-party plants having to be contracted to provide extra power while cutting down on wind output which only seems counterproductive. By adding large battery storage units, Tennet may be able to solve several issues at once while promoting a more renewable energy-friendly policy.

The idea sprang from the use of batteries in homes that use solar or wind power. The application seemed logical for networking in a grid if the battery capacity was available and could be stored on site. This means that when excess energy is created, it can be readily stored and used when needed. Of course, this does not address the issue of what happens when the batteries are full and excess energy is still being created.

This new approach does have advancing technology to thank for creating batteries that can hold substantial amounts of electricity. Before, batteries of that size needed to be replaced frequently because their components would no longer be able to fully recharge. Today, it is possible to overcome that issue with far less cost.

However, one effect may be to greatly reduce operating costs once the batteries are installed. It is estimated that the current network grid cost about 800 million euros, a large part of which could be saved by using battery storage instead. Plus, it would greatly reduce the demands of running an energy transmission network since most of the energy could be tapped from a singular source in using batteries. This may not eliminate the need for networking the grid, but it would greatly reduce the demand in tapping for energy that is hundreds of miles away.

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Surf ‘n’ Turf, a pilot project installed in Orkney, Scotland, has successfully generated tidal and wind energy that will be used to generate hydrogen. Whatever hydrogen is produced will then be stored and used later for a variety of different ideas and schemes.

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) believed that, unless hydrogen is produced from marine renewable projects, potential customers will go elsewhere. Thus, the need for a practical measure to generate and use electricity despite grid restraints in Orkney.

How is tidal energy produced?

Tidal energy generators are used to produce tidal energy. These are large underwater turbines that are placed in areas with high tidal movements. The generators are designed to capture the kinetic motion of the ocean tides. The ebbing and surging help produce electricity.

Because of the massive size of the oceans, tidal power is considered to have a great potential for future power and electricity generation.

Depending on the system used, energy from the tides can be captured in a vertical direction or through the flow of tides. With the former, the tide comes in and raises the water level in the basin before it is discharged through a turbine as the tides lower.

What is the technology used in Surf ‘n’ Turf project?

Surf ‘n’ Turf uses an electrolyzer unit that is powered by the Scotrenewables SR2000 and Tocardo TFS and T2 turbine prototype tidal energy converters that are currently being tested at the tidal energy test sites at EMEC. It is also powered by a wind turbine run by Eday Renewable Energy.

The power fed goes into a 0.5MW rapid response ITM Power electrolyzer unit that is located in an onshore substation. The unit generates hydrogen that can be moved and stored as needed.

According to EMEC’s Hydrogen Development Manager Jon Clipsham, “The electrolyser splits water into its component elements – hydrogen and oxygen – in an electrochemical process.  Whilst generating hydrogen isn’t a new process, this is the first time that it has been generated from tidal energy”.

The renewable AC power is then converted to DC and applied to water in a series of electrochemical cells through catalysts. Technology Development Manager at ITM Power Kris Hyde explains that after the water goes through the catalysts, it is split into separate streams of hydrogen and oxygen. The former self-compresses and is then delivered to downstream equipment, while the latter is vented.

Challenges to using tidal energy to generate hydrogen power

Although tidal power is inherently a more predictable source than wind and wave, the technology used in power generation is still in its infancy. Many of the devices used are also in their prototype stages.

In fact, the ITM electrolyzer used in Orkney was selected after a competitive tender process.

The remote location of the EMEC tidal testing facility also poses logistical and access challenges. Combined with extremes of weather, commissioning and designing of the facility was not exactly a walk in the park.

The interconnection between the inter-island grid and Scotland is also weak. So even when Orkney’s electricity grid ‘routinely hit full capacity’, distribution to renewable generators are affected.

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The smartflowerTM solar energy system brings on-the-go solar power to your home. Initially developed for European households, the smartflower is a self-contained, ground-mounted system that can be quickly installed and de-installed, perfect for people who want to enjoy the benefits of solar energy even as they move from home to home.

Here is an overview of the smartflower system and how it can benefit your lifestyle.

What Is smartflower?

The smartflower system looks like its name. Petal-shaped panels embedded with solar cells are arranged around a central point and fan out into a daisy-like pattern. The “stem” of the flower is a sturdy base containing the electronics and connections to send power to your home.  The power generated is stored in batteries and is accessed by the homeowner through a “smart” energy management system.

The smartflower petals open when the sun comes up, soaking up solar energy during the day and then fold up like a fan at night to self-clean and protect the petals. The system has a dual-axis tracker that allows the smartflower to follow the sun throughout the day at the optimum angle to maximize the harvest. In high winds, the smartflower blades retract just as they do at night, to prevent damage.

The entire system is self-contained and can be removed and re-installed at a new home if needed. With dual-axis tracking, the smartflower can generate as much or more energy as a standard roof-top solar installation. One smartflower generates the equivalent of a four-kilowatt rooftop system, according to the manufacturer.

Compare smartflower to Other Solar Energy Systems

Traditional rooftop and ground level solar energy systems are made up of stationary panels oriented to the south or southwest to catch the prevailing sunlight. Unlike smartflower, stationary panels cannot optimize the angle of approach to gather the maximum amount of sunlight at every hour of the day.

In addition to the ability to track the sun, the smartflower has a self-cleaning function, reducing the amount of maintenance needed to keep the solar cells in top condition. Traditional solar installations require periodic cleaning to clean dirt and grime off the panels and increase the amount of sunlight they can soak in.

The manufacturer of the smartflower states the unit operates at a lower temperature than roof-mounted panels because the design allows air to flow freely around the panels.

Finally, the smartflower is portable. It can be uninstalled and quickly and reinstalled at a new residence so you can take your solar energy system with you when you move; you won’t need to purchase another system for your new home.

The Advantages of smartflowerTM

The smartflower system has all the advantages of solar energy generation.

  • You reduce your utility bill.
  • You have the potential to sell electricity back to the local grid.
  • You produce clean energy.

The system also has advantages beyond the tradition solar energy system.

  • Installation only takes a few hours instead of several days.
  • The system is portable and can be taken to your new home.
  • The dual-axis tracking capability optimizes the angle of the panels to gather the most solar energy throughout the day.
  • It is self-cleaning.
  • It produces more energy than a roof-top or fixed-ground system of similar size.
  • You decide when to use power from the grid, the batteries, or the solar panels.

The smartflower may not be feasible if you have a very shady yard or live in an area where cloudy days are the norm, but those are the same disadvantages you would have with a traditional roof-top system. The petals open to 194 square feet and may not fit into a tiny yard or zero-lot-line home.

The smartflowerTM expands the choices for people who want to invest in solar energy but may be hesitant because they know they may not stay in a home long enough to reap the return. The company has a single version for sale in the US but plans to add to the selection early in 2018.

The sunflower’s easy installation, self-cleaning features, and portability plus the ability to produce clean energy lets you take your solar power with you wherever you go.

About the Author

Massy Almubidin is a solar expert and owner at IntegrateSun, providing solar panels to Houston-area homes and businesses.

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In 2017, the world is a much more environmentally friendly place than it once was. Recycling is actively encouraged, companies give away free home insulation to cut energy costs, and various products are made from recycled materials, in fact upcycling (reusing and refreshing old furniture) has even become a popular trend. We live in a world that is more ‘green’ than ever before, and that is all thanks to the special measures that have been put in place by our governments after seeing the devastation that pollution has done to our world. Even technology is now built to be more eco-friendly than ever before. Bearing that in mind, today, we will be looking at some of the most state of the art pieces of software that have been made to help save the environment.

Photo from Pixabay

Smart homes

Smart homes are not run on just one piece of software but many different pieces of technology. However, for the purpose of discussing the most eco-friendly pieces of software, it works well to group them together, as most pieces of smart home software work in similar ways. Running on the internet, these pieces of technology make managing many home appliances simple; all it takes is the tap of a button on a smart device and your oven, cooker, kettle, or heating, can be turned on or off, how incredible is that? It’s tech like this that makes leading a more eco-friendly life, that little bit easier, even for those of us who are a little lazy when it comes to turning off the lights in our homes.

Apps

Each and every day new apps are being built and released. Of the thousands available on the app store, there are some that have been designed to make leading a greener life that little bit easier. Anyone can make an app these days, it just takes a certain amount of knowledge and the use of specialist services like an automated API testing tutorial, for instance, and an app can be created. Apps like PaperKarma, JouleBug, and SeafoodWatch are all examples of pieces of software made to save the environment. These are applications that have been created by green activists who have realized the need for additional support for other people attempting to lead greener lives, and really are incredible resources.

Smart thermostats

You may think that these belong in the ‘smart home’ section, but actually, smart thermostats are something else entirely. Yes, they make up part of a smart home, but they are that incredible that they also deserve their own section. The fantastic thing about smart thermostat software is how smart it actually is; not only can these pieces of tech be controlled via a smart device, they can also be set to turn on or off depending on the temperature of a property. So when the optimal temperature is reached and maintained, the thermostat turns off the heating, preventing energy wastage. How incredible is that? These pieces of tech might be small but sure are they mighty.

There you have it, a guide to three of the state of the art pieces of software that can help to make leading a more environmentally friendly life easier.

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In many ways, batteries stand at the center of today’s energy crisis. The levelized cost of solar and wind are plummeting below that of coal – which is good news – yet those technologies will never be able to replace fossil fuels unless the storage problem is sorted first.

Then there are our devices. Consumers are demanding devices that stay charged for longer and don’t need to constantly be hooked up to the mains for a new supply of energy according to laptop.review. And they want electric cars without range anxiety – vehicles with the same, if not greater, range than their gas-guzzling brethren.

Wikipedia

The good news is that since Sony introduced us to lithium-ion batteries back in 1994, we’ve seen about a 5 percent increase in storage capacity per unit volume every year since, and a similar decrease in price. But compared to the exponential gains seen in other areas, such as chip speed or computer storage, this progress seems pitiful. Though things are going in the right direction, improvements are incremental rather than game-changing.

The real worry is that we’ll never get the battery breakthrough we want. Though there are start-ups engaged in producing battery technologies which will store energy at costs of less than $100 per kWh, the problem is integrating these technologies into the existing commercial power system, and gaining interest from major industries, like the auto sector.

Wikipedia

The problem, according to Ellen Williams, the director of the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E division, is that most people just don’t understand batteries. Although new devices come to market quickly, those are consumer products and operate by different rules to the battery sector. Commercializing new battery technologies is often very difficult, especially since many of them are unproven or unsafe.

The other big problem is the length of time it takes to develop a new battery technology. The founder of Solid Energy Systems, Qichao Hu, wants to develop a new type of lithium-ion battery with a metallic anode which will replace the traditional graphite anode. The problem, he says, is that developing a battery is almost always a compromise. Suppose for instance that you want to increase the energy density, then all of a sudden the price goes up, or the longevity of the battery falls. There really are no simple solutions.

Setting up a battery research facility is also incredibly expensive. Gerd Ceder, a professor at the University of California, told technologyreview.com that a new manufacturing line to produce state of the art batteries would cost at least $500 million – capital that most research institutions don’t have.

Flickr

At the moment, it looks as if we’re going to end up with an ecosystem of battery technologies. Our devices, unless something dramatic happens, will be powered by lithium-ion cells. Storage for the electricity network will be provided in the form of sodium-ion batteries or flow batteries. There are even discussions about non-chemical ways of storing grid energy, like pumping water uphill or store energy as heat in giant, underground brick kilns.

It’s for these reasons (unless we get a radical new chemistry), that battery technology is likely to peak – and much sooner than many of us had hoped.

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Today, technology is growing rapidly, which allows us to envision solutions that were once deemed impossible. New Holland engineers, took an idea from the future, and have brought it to life. They have delivered a tractor that will not only be energy independent, it will be doing so using waste products. The tractor features a great advancement, as farmers can now use waste products from their land. This is made possible with the help of a closed-loop cycle, and can be put into practice with the methane powered tractor.

This concept tractor is nothing like you have ever seen or experienced before, and highlight the importance of alternative fuels. Which is why they are offering you a chance to create fuel from agriculture, and food industry waste. New Holland Agriculture has successfully tested their new technology, and produced fuels from various sources that can be combined together.

Alternative Fuel Solutions

With the addition of the Methane powered concept tractor, New Holland has taken a step towards a more reliable, viable, and proven technology. The company has a long standing history in offering alternative fuel solutions. They started from a 100% biodiesel compatible tractor to being the first company to offer a hydrogen tractor concept that leads to offering an energy independent farm. This farm was based on alternative fuels, and since then they have been actively working on offering solutions for the energy independent farm. Back in 2012, they offer a propane powered tractor that offered lower running costs, and reduced emission. Furthermore, their first Methan prototype came out in 2013, followed by two more that were tested around the world.

What is New in the Methane Powered Concept Tractor?

This New Holland tractor offers a significant advancement, and is built on similar foundations that were seen in the Methan prototypes. Moreover, the tractor houses a FPT industrial engine, which offers 180hp, and torque of 740Nm at max. In addition, the tractor includes FPT’s stoichiometries combustion technology, that was first introduced in 1995. Which in result offer low emissions, and higher rate of efficiency.

In addition, the concept tractor comes with an advanced fuel tank, that offers a 80% reduction in emissions. Additionally, the tractor offers the same torque and power offered by a standard diesel engine. This ensures equal working, with a 50% reduction in noise. The crop residue, waste products, and energy crops found on the farm will be used to produce Biomethane. Which ensures that the fuel being produced has 0% CO2, and offers great overall coverage.

What is Biomethane?

Biomethane is developed by using a system that ensures an equitable CO2 production. Keeping in mind that farmers have access to the space and the raw material to produce the gas.

Benefits of Biomethane

Production – it can be produced using waste plant, food materials, and some farm grown energy crops.

Independent – the concept tractor offers a complete autonomy system, so farmers can easily work through the day.

Versatility – the Methane powered concept tractor by New Holland Agriculture can take on the same tasks any other standard diesel tractor will be able to perform.

Futuristic – the tractor offers a complete futuristic design, and layout. Which is designed to help individuals realize the importance of alternative fuels.

These are some of the many benefits that allow the Methane powered concept tractor by New Holland Agriculture to stand apart from the others.

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Solar panels attached to traditional roofing materials may not look appealing to the eye, but they have been – until now – the choice for those who want to use the sun to power their home. Tesla offers to do much of the same thing – and more – but in a more attractive package. With the solar roof product, the company has the final piece in place to achieve the goal of becoming a sun to a vehicle energy company.

Recently, Tesla has completed the first installations of their solar roof product. The homes of Tesla employees will serve as a testing bed for the product. The decision to do so is for reward and for strategic purposes. Solar roof installation on the home’s of employees serve as a thank you for the hard work performed to bring the product to market. It’s also a strategic move to closely monitor the product.

The solar roof material looks just like any of the common roofing materials: terra cotta, clay, asphalt, and slate. What makes the Tesla creation different is the presence of a solar cell that receives light from the sun which then powers the home and vehicle. With the product, the roof of homes will not only look aesthetically pleasing but also harness the sun’s energy for power.

There will be four options available for Tesla’s solar roof product, with two going into production in October. The company has opened up their online store to receive $1,000 deposits for the smooth black glass and textured-glass roof tile options. Tesla is also accepting orders from different countries for 2018.

Tesla’s solar roof product looks like a highly viable option for those wishing to switch to clean energy. But the overall cost of the product will still be a critical factor in determining if it’s a product only the wealthy could afford or an actual solution for the residential solar market, which has been experiencing a decline in the US.

The Cost of Tesla’s Solar Roof

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, unveiled pricing details and it was lower than what analysts expected. Musk revealed that installing the company’s solar roof product would cost $42 per square foot, an amount that is lower than attaching solar panels to traditional roofs.

Overall solar roof installation, however, would cost much higher because more tiles are needed. For instance, owners of a 2,000 square-foot property opting to have 40% active solar tiles would end up paying $50,000 after federal tax credits.

Despite that, it may still be the best option when taking energy savings and lifetime cost of ownership into account. Tesla guarantees their product is tough as steel and can withstand a lifetime of abuse from the elements. Residents living in colder climates can also have heating elements fitted into the tiles to melt off snow.

Musk envisions a future where rooftops not only look beautiful but also produce electricity. This may very well be achievable if pricing lowers a bit more – a scenario that is growing more likely given the continued drop in battery and solar cell prices.

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