/Mark Danenhower

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So far Mark Danenhower has created 75 blog entries.

Ever Heard of Solar Powered Prisons?

Did you ever imagine prisons becoming solar-powered? Personally, I know I had never really thought of such an idea before. It’s easier to think of solar power being implemented in places such as schools, homes, commercial buildings, parks, government buildings and military quarters. But prisons? Can someone say, "Awesome"?! In late October 2011, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced their construction project involving installation of solar panels at four state prisons. These included the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, Chuckawalla Valley and Ironwood prison in Blythe, and the North State Prison in Delano. The number of solar panels that are needed to complete these projects total over 83,000 and according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, [...]


SunPower Supplies Solar Cells for the Solar Impulse

Remember the remarkable solar plane that surpassed a 24-hour test flight? If you do, great! If you don’t, then sit tight because I promise to fill you in. In a previous post back in April, I had written about a solar aircraft prototype, whose team of creators agreed to an ambitious goal after the success of their 24-hour test flight that lasted 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds. That ambitious goal is to be able to fly a second solar airplane, the HB-SIB, all the way around the globe in 2014.   Now, as the title of this post indicates, that very aircraft is none other than the Solar Impulse, but what’s more exciting is the fact that the [...]


Top 11 Flying Solar Panels

Solar is taking flights all over the world. Solar-crafted planes have certainly been making news the last decade or two and, at present, the news keeps on coming. Although it’ll probably be awhile longer before solar powered airplanes may possibly be available commercially, the ideas, innovations, and continual trial and errors from research and development have already made footprints. In the meantime, I thought I’d share the top 12 flying solar panels. Enjoy!   #1: SOLAR IMPUSE The Solar Impulse was designed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Bertrand Piccard. The goal is to be able to one day take the aircraft full circle around the Earth. It is a single-pilot aircraft covered in monocrystalline solar cells with a [...]


5 Methods to Remove Snow Off Solar Panels

Removing Snow is Part of Maintenance. Just as you need to make sure you check on the roof every so often for debris and do a bit of cleaning, snow removal is equally important. If you want your solar panel system to function and continue to produce power throughout the winter season, making sure your panels are free of obstructions is critical. Luckily for most of California, snow isn’t as heavy here and is limited to a smaller region. However, if you happen to live in a snowy area , then the following tips may certainly be helpful. If your roof is easily accessible, then it’s certainly recommended; however, many rooftops are not easy to get to and can pose [...]


Can Solar Panels Ever Work At Night?

Is solar destined to remain silent at night? Some questions have definite answers. Others will always have possibilities. It has been acknowledged over the years that solar panels work best during the day when the sun is out and unobstructed. At nighttime and during the winter season, less sunlight reaches the panels and converts to energy. The good news is that there really is no need to fret in most cases, since solutions are out there. If power is needed at night or on those winter days, energy can be conserved by utilizing a utility grid or a battery bank. The utility grid can be used simultaneously with solar power and the battery bank can convert solar energy into electricity [...]


Can Airplane Flight Be Solar Powered?

Can solar planes really soar the sky? Indeed! The idea of aircraft flight has been researched, tested, and launched throughout the years. Whether they will ever replace conventional airplanes is questionable; however, the mere proof that airplanes can remain functional in the air for over 20 hours is enough to promote continued innovation in energy-efficient solar technology and other renewable forms of energy.   Back in 2010, an amazing feat was accomplished in Switzerland – an astonishing, sleek-looking, solar-powered experimental airplane surpassed its 24-hour test flight. The airplane that had a 207-foot wingspan remained in the sky overnight after being successfully powered by solar energy collected during the day time. The people involved in the organization of the flight stated [...]


Solar Panels In Space

In space, so many technological structures exist. Back in 2009, discovery astronauts made their way to space to install crucial new solar panels on the International Space Station during a spacewalk. The cost of the solar panel installation at the time? $300 million. This investment was made in order to increase the resident crew size capacity from three astronauts up to six astronauts. The solar panels are a segment of the design that completes the backbone of the station. Two of the astronauts, Steven Swanson and Richard Arnold II, did almost a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk to install the last set of solar panels. The goal, besides increasing resident capacity, is to be able to bring more power to the ISS [...]


SunPower’s iPhone App Helps Monitor Your Solar Panels

Have you heard of SunPower’s Monitoring System? If you haven’t, you could be in for a treat. The following is a brief description of their system from their website:   “The SunPower® Monitoring System is a web-enabled energy dashboard that offers homeowners easy access to view their home’s energy consumption and solar energy production in real-time. And for on-the-go monitoring, they can download an application for their iPhoneTM or iPod touch® device. With the system installed, SunPower can also ensure optimal performance and maximize your customers’ utility bill savings. In the unlikely event that a system requires service, our Customer Service team will quickly respond, typically before your customers even know there's a problem. This delivers peace of mind and [...]


Can A Magnifying Glass On Solar Panels Produce More Energy?

Are there additional ways to increase the amount of energy drawn from solar panels? Many people who own solar panels on their homes tend to want to find ways to increase and maximize their potential of converting more sunlight into energy. One of the questions I came across was stated as followed: “Could you put some type of magnifying glass and set it at the right distance to increase the heat of the sun and give you more energy production from the solar panels?” To me this sounds like creative thinking with some valid reasoning behind the thought process, but I doubt it works well if at all on ordinary solar panels. Magnifying glasses magnify the intensity of heat in [...]


Ever Heard of Solar Powered Bicycles?

Solar panels aren’t just sported on 4 wheeled electric vehicles. Even the two-wheelers are getting their share of solar panel technology as well. If solar roads among other projects can be given an opportunity for development and fun experiments, then why not bicycles? To my surprise, there are already several different solar bike prototypes, projects, and businesses existing around the world – many homemade.   Some individuals have taken on personal projects to help boost them uphill and give them a little more speed on the road whenever they feel fatigued or even lazy to pedal. For the most part, these home experimenters who may or may not be engineers by trade have come up with a design that incorporates [...]