Over the weekend I was reading some construction trade journals. There were two articles that caught my attention. The first describes how two companies….Xantres Technology, and Alantis Energy Systems, have collaborated to develop Sun Tie XR, a residential photovoltaic panel.
Sun Tie XR is a roofing panel that creates electricity from sunlight. The nice thing about this product is that it sits about 3″ above the roof deck, keeping the house attic cooler. It also is a roofing product—not a product that installs over a roof. This feature makes it very “builder friendly” and easy to install. Virtually all other photovoltic products I have seen must be installed over some type of roof for weather protection. The Catch-22 is that those products also void the roofing materials warranty due to the penetrations through the roof that must be made. Sun Tie XR has solved this problem by making the Sunslate photovoltic panels in a roofing format.
Product data says 500 square feel of Sunslates can produce about 1,300 kilowatts of power per hour in much of the United States. On a repurchase of power through Minnesota’s small generation regulations, that could translate into $300 to $400 of sales. Something to think about during new home construction.
The second article I noted was one dealing with the design of the Freedom Tower in New York. The Freedom Tower is the first building to be constructed on the 16-acre site of the World Trade Center. This new building will incorporate a wind energy system into the structure.
The 1,776 foot tower will be the world’s tallest building. The Freedom Tower will incorporate a 60 story base of office and retail space with an open-air system of tension cables above that. The tension cable area will house the wind energy system. The wind energy system is designed to produce 2.6 million kilovolts of electricity annually. This much power is enough to meet the needs of roughly 1,000 homes.
These two items, photovoltaic roofing panels and wind energy systems, have great potential for future energy production. The photovoltic panels are small enough that they can be tucked into many residentail roofs, creating thousands and thousands of small energy producers. Large wind energy systems, such as the Freedom Tower, can produce huge volumes of electricity for consumption and transmission. Both these power production methods use natural energy….sunlight and wind…..to create electricity. It seems to me these systems, along with hydrogen, biomass and other renewable systems, need to be enhanced and developed as quickly as possible to assist in meeting our energy needs.