December 6, 1998 – Vol.3 No.36
ENERGIES... week of December 6,1998
ZERO ENERGY HOUSING. If you lived in Japan you could by a self-sufficient, solar powered home - and the government would help you buy it. Solarex of Frederick, Maryland with Japanese partners MSK Corporation and Misawa Homes have introduced the Hybrid-Z - a line of manufactured homes with photovoltaic (PV) solar modules that double as the home’s roof.
Hybrid-Z is offered in 20 different floor plans and is available with a six or 12.5 kilowatt array. No gas or oil - zero fossil fuel energy - is needed for appliances, lighting, heat and hot water. Excess electricity can be sold back to the local utility. When needed the grid can supply power to supplement the home’s solar system.
The Japanese government will subsidize approximately $25,000 (three million yen) for each Hybrid-Z sold. Misawa expects to sell 2000 Hybrid-Z homes by mid-1999. The homes are prefabricated at the Misawa factory in three days and assembled on site in 8 hours.
(Editor’s note: In photos the homes are quite attractive - appear comparable in size to many American homes.)
SUN POWER STATION #1. Sun Power Electric of Boston, Massachusetts, the U.S.’s first all-solar utility, switched on its first solar generating plant this week. The 50 kW solar array, christened Sun Power Station #1, was built on the roof of a BJ’s Wholesale Club (a bulk purchase retailer) in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. When complete the 156 PV panels will generate 60,000 kilowatt hours annually - enough electricity for 10 homes.
Sun Power will sell the electricity to AllEnergy for its “Re-Gen” green electricity product. PV panels were supplied by ASE Americas and Evergreen Solar. The project was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Utility Photovoltaic Group TEAM-UP program. Sun Power and BJ’s plan further installations in Middletown, Rhode Island and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Visit Sun Power at http://www.sunpower.org/ . (site under construction, keep trying)
WOOD POWER STATION #1. Construction has begun for Europe’s first commercial wood-fueled power station in Eggborough, North Yorkshire, England. When complete next year, the ARable Biomass Renewable Energy plant (ARBRE) will produce 10 megawatts of electricity per day, supplying most of the power to 33,500 people on the local grid.
Wood chips processed from residue left over from forestry work will feed the station as well as trees grown intentionally for fuel. A stand of willow and poplar trees planted in high density will be harvested in three-year cycles to fuel the power plant.
Partial funding was supplied through the European Union’s THERMIE program which aims to increase renewable energy sources from 5-12% by 2010. The UK is aiming for 10% renewables by 2010.
Biomass energy is considered CO2 neutral. Power from plants like ARBRE is expected to displace that from fossil fuel powered facilities to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.
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