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Solar Industry Innovations Abound At Intersolar North America 2015

Solar power technology innovations are on display at Intersolar North America 2015.

The Intersolar North America 2015 conference began yesterday with a bang, focusing on the solar + storage aspect of our growing clean energy economy, and most notably Tesla CTO JB Straubel’s opening keynote prediction that batteries will “win the day.” But let’s be honest — who wants to talk about policy or cost projections when you can look at a host of cool solar technology innovations?

Intersolar’s expo opened to conference attendees today, and the array of solar companies showing off their wares is impressive, to say the least. Since most of CleanTechnica‘s readers can’t attend in person, here are photos and a brief summary of a few of the coolest technologies and exhibits I’ve come across today:

Schunk Carbon Technology Solar Crucibles

These carbon-fiber crucibles aren’t a new technology, but they’re cool to see in person, and are what “grows” the components used to manufacture solar panels by fusing and crystallizing polysilicon.

S-Energy Solar Crane

While the S-Crane would have been quite impressive to see in person, this model hints at the technology’s potential to cut solar engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) costs. The system promises to cut EPC costs 15% to as low as $1.30 per watt, and can install a 60- or 72-cell module with a maximum 70-degree tilt.

SubDrive SolarPak Solar Pumping System

This innovative technology merges solar power with water pumping and holds big potential for any off-grid solar application from livestock watering to rural water supply or renewable energy projects. The system connects solar panels to a submersible motor and pump and can provide flow rates up to 90 gallons per minute.

Systovi R-Volt On-Roof Solar Aerovoltaic System

This reversible 900-watt solar panel system connects with a digital thermostat, filters, and vents to help capture more of the heat potential from rooftop solar installations and use it for home heating and cooling. Systovi claims it can capture the 60% of potential heat energy lost from standard photovoltaic panels. The panel face has a 250-watt capacity and the back a 650-watt capacity, and the company touts up to 50% heating bill savings and up to 95% cleaner air.

luv wind LWS 500 Flow Turbine

So this technology isn’t a solar innovation, but it’s pretty interesting regardless. The non-rotor (propeller) based wind harvester has a 500-watt capacity and, unlike vertical bladeless turbines, could be combined with rooftop solar to balance out declining power output when the sun isn’t shining. The LWS 500 also prevents bat or bird injuries, and are “whisper quiet” to avoid noise concerns.

Solar Panel Racing

Okay, so this isn’t a technology innovation at all, but who doesn’t want to see motorized solar panels racing on a short indoor track? Hard to say what was more fun about this race, the crowds yelling for their favorite panel or the inevitable demolition derby–style pileup!

Stay tuned for more dispatches from Intersolar North America over the week!

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Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.


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