Your Questions About Solar Power Partners

George asks…

Advice on setting up a solar system for an NGO in Kenya?

I run a charity based in Canada. We are looking to provide our partner NGO in Kenya with a laptop, printer and solar power system (as they are outside any grid) that will allow them to reduce their costs.
The solar panel and battery would have to suffice to charge six cell phones a day plus use of the laptop for at least an hour (and ideally two hours) daily plus occasional use of the printer.
1. I have heard that there are laptops made specifically for use in the developing world with solar energy, and so are more energy efficient and are not as expensive. Is this so and where might I inquire about it?
2. Barring that, what are some things to look for when choosing which laptop/printer to purchase when relying on solar power and a limited budget?
3. What solar panel, battery and inverter combination do you recommend for these conditions? Is there a way of saving on the inverter/controller?
Santiago Perez

ssadmin answers:

You might look for machines which will run directly on the DC power of the solar system and battery (maybe 12 or 24V DC). Even if you do find something that runs on the *nominal* voltage, you may wish to examine the specifications carefully to see that they will accept the range of voltages (maybe 10-14V) coming from the battery. It might be a little more efficient (no energy lost as heat in transformers and inverters) and reliable (no transformers or inverters to fail and stop the whole system).

Laura asks…


3. Are there Solar power plants in Illinois? If so, how many and where?

4. Explain how Solar Panels work.

5. How long does it take for the sunlight to reach the earth?

6. What is the largest form of energy use in the US? How long can the country sustain using this form? What would be our best alternative to this form? Why?

7. What is an active solar collector?

8. What is a passive solar collector?

9. How can solar energy be used to reduce the current use of fossil fuels?

10. Explain how solar energy creates heat.

Find a solar cooker/collector you would like to build at home. Draw a basic example. Are you going to have a partner? If so, who?

ssadmin answers:

3) none that I know of, I'm sure some people have PV panels at their houses

4) Photovoltaic Energy panels are what you want to know, light from the sun hits semiconducting area of the PV panel (usually Silicon based) and this knocks lose an electron from its shell, which them falls back to its shell releasing some energy, thus light is transformed into electricity, very infefficient…maybe 7%

5) 8 minutes or so

6) For electrical energy most is produced from Coal, next is hydro, next is nuclear with natural gas and oil very small parts. For how long, estimates of coal at 500 years or more, hyrdo is infinite, nuclear is nearly infinite, gas an oil don't really mattter, we could do without them

7) Active solar collector is a PV panel, takes light and makes electrity

8) Passive solar are things like big brick walls that soak up heat in the day and radiate it out at night to heat your house. They all rely on heat produced from solar energy

9) Lots of ways, PV panels, solar water heating, solar home heating….all would reduce need to consume fossil fuels to make electricity

10) Light photons from sun strike object and are absorbed, the energy is transformed into heat. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, only changed form.

Not sure what you mean for the last one, I'm contemplating solar on my next house I'm buying in the next couple of months

Donald asks…

What companies certify and broker energy credits?

We manufacture and sell Solar, as well as electrical power condensers to optimize electricity flow.

We are looking to partner with a company that can assist us and our clients in the certification/verification of energy credits, brokering those credits and potentially presenting financing options for our customers.

ssadmin answers:

Check with the mafia..

Daniel asks…

A good science fair idea for a grade 10 student?


Me and my partner are required to come up with a science fair idea for science fair. Right now I am totally clueless as what to do. Last year, we did a solar powered car, and did quite good on it, but we are not allowed to do the same thing twice in a row.

Do you have any ideas? I don't really care if its physics, biology, or chemistry, just something that is interesting and fun.

Thank you 😀

ssadmin answers:

Here are a bunch:

Maria asks…

Solar System project, Help!?

I really need help with this:
A partner and I are doing a project about the new release of information: The Solar System is Older Than Predicted. It is a power-point presentation and we have no idea how to make it look very nice… are there any suggestions? PLEASE help us out! Thanks so much.

ssadmin answers:

Powerpoint has a bunch of pre-set presentation styles. Depends on what version you're using but if it's the most recent, they should be in the upper right corner. I think they're called something like “design templates”

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