Intro to building your own solar-powered water heater

Image: Intro to building your own solar-powered water heater

(Natural News)
The solar-powered water heater can be one of the most useful systems that you can implement in your own home. It offers many benefits, can be extremely cost-efficient, and you can save a lot of money by simply building such a system yourself.

Indeed, building your very own solar-powered water heater can be immensely rewarding. However, you have to make sure that you do it properly and that you know exactly what you want to get out of it so you don’t end up being disappointed by it.

So what exactly are you supposed to expect out of a DIY solar-powered water heater? And moreover, how are you supposed to build one on your own? You may not believe it, but the building part isn’t really that bad; what’s harder is figuring out the kinds of materials that you’re going to need based on your own personal preferences.

A solar-powered water heater can either be one of two things: active or passive. The active type systems are those that depend on external power sources in order to run pumps and circulate the heat that they manage to gather. Meanwhile, passive systems don’t require any of these. In relation to this, there’s a system called the integral passive solar water heater (IPSWH), which is an effective, inexpensive, and easy-to-build solar water-heating system.

IPSWH systems are often referred to as batch heaters, and are often described as the simplest form of all the passive systems. They are usually praised for their long-term reliability and lack of a need for an external power source while being available at a low cost. For this reason, it’s a favorite among those who like to build their own solar-powered water heaters.

With all of that said, here is a quick list of five different kinds of batch heaters that are typically in use today:

  • Single-tank batch heater — This type of heater is perhaps the most economical and least complicated of the bunch, relying on a lot of easily sourced materials to be constructed. You can use a simple breadbox design to keep things simple, and go for a discarded standard electric water heater tank that’s cased inside an insulated plywood box or an old refrigerator or freezer shell. You’d just need to use glass or fiberglass as glazing material to cover the box to be all set.
  • Vertical three-tank batch heater — Like an upgraded version of the single-tank variety, the three-tank batch heater turns up the performance with more storage space and collector area. You can build this with the use of three separate water heater core tanks that are enclosed in a well-insulated box that is large enough.
  • Greenhouse batch heater — If you’re aiming for the best option in terms of performance and freeze protection in colder locations or colder times of the year, this one may be the best ones available. In most configurations, the solar water heater is placed near the top of the greenhouse roof in order to take full advantage of the most sun exposure possible. Some extra insulation may be necessary to protect the pipes from the coldness of the night.
  • Building-integrated batch heater — These systems are usually built right into the attics of homes, or wherever it can receive more protection against freezing. Its pipes can be installed in heated space, and the heater can usually stay in place despite any future renovations that need to be done in the roof area of a house. The key thing to remember for this type of batch heater is accessibility: make sure it can be reached quite easily in case it needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Solar shower — Finally, here’s a tiny small-scale batch heater that often uses a clear and black plastic design that’s portable and easy enough to get up and running. These are meant mainly for camping purposes, as they can be deployed rather quickly and start to offer hot water in around an hour or less. The brighter the sun shines, the more effective it is.

With the above, you should be able to determine exactly what kind of solar-powered water heater is perfect for your needs.

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Solar Eclipse In Aquarius: Shifts In Our Social Networks

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We are having a partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius on February 15th/16th 2018 depending on where you are located in the world. It is a supercharged New Moon with a longer term influence than a regular New Moon. It will only be visible in parts of South America and Antarctica which includes most of Argentina, the Southern half of Chile, Uruguay, and the Southern tips of Paraguay and Brazil.

However, even if it is not visible in your geographic location, the energetic effects of all eclipses still affect everyone on the planet. This Solar Eclipse is followed by a Lunar Eclipse in Leo that occurred two weeks prior and is part of a series of eclipses happening in the Leo-Aquarius axis that started subtly in early 2017 but became more predominant last summer after the nodes of the Moon shifted into these signs in May.

Both Solar and Lunar Eclipses always occur when there is a New Moon or Full Moon near the Lunar Nodes, and this occurs every six months. The nodes are where the pathway of the Moon cross the Ecliptic from our geocentric perspective here on Earth. The ecliptic is what appears to be the pathway of the Sun from this vantage point. The Nodes are always in opposite signs and usually the eclipses happen in these signs as well, but in some cases could also occur in the signs next to these ones.

Generally, eclipses signify what is changing and shifting in our lives, which could start in the six weeks prior and can also play out over the next six months following until the next series of eclipses. However, usually the weeks near these periods is when the themes come up more strongly which could trigger certain feelings within us and can also be reflected externally through circumstances that come up.

This Eclipse In Connection To Previous Eclipse Periods

This specific eclipse is connected to the Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred in the summer, which was also known as the ‘Great American Eclipse’. It is almost exactly opposite of where that one occurred. It is possible that some of the things going on now may bring about some sort of conclusion or further change related to what was initiated or happening at that time. Alternatively, this period can also be the ‘next step’ of what has been going on over the last six months since then. In many cases, challenges could come up as well.

This eclipse is also connected to the Solar Eclipses that occurred in early 1999 and early 2000. Some of the major themes going on during those years will be similar to what is going on now except it will be a different version of this similar energy. For example, you may have had changes in your relationships back then, which might be similar to what is occurring now, however, these relationships will be different ones with different circumstances and variables. The deeper reasons connected to our inner and personal needs could be similar to that period.

Solar Eclipse In Aquarius

With the South Node currently in Aquarius and North Node in Leo, this is a period in which we are facilitating changes and releasing things associated with Aquarius energy to help us be more in alignment with our Leo related wants and aspirations. This process will also continue over the next year.

Aquarius is associated with friends, social networks, groups, teams, colleagues, the collective, humanitarian deeds, and anything scientific or forward thinking. It is intellectual and social. On the other hand, Leo is about our heart’s desires, self expression, and our joy. It is associated with our creativity, performing arts, children, and it could even be associated with sports or in any modality that we shine in, and this could even include leadership.

This is a period to consider how our relations with others are serving our passions and how we want to shine in the word. Consider which of your friendships and connections are in alignment with the way you want to express yourself and which are not. Which of your social contacts contribute to your joy and which ones are contradiction or a conflict of interest. It is also possible that for some people there could be changes and challenges (beyond your control) that could come up in relation to your social network.

Solar Eclipse Conjunct Mercury

This eclipse is aligned with Mercury which rules the mind while the sign of Aquarius is also mentally oriented as well. When considering that Leo rules the heart, and the previous summers Solar Eclipse in Leo was also aligned with the star Regulus, known as ‘the heart of the Lion’, a theme for this period (mid 2017- late 2018) is to get out of our heads and to be in our heart more.

Our actions and pursuits should be based on what our heart is telling us, our minds and mental processes should be working in collaboration with this. This is a common topic in the spiritual, New Age, and conscious community. However, during this time many of the challenges and circumstances coming up will be related to this, as the Universe is pushing this more strongly on us.

Mercury is also associated with communication and our thoughts. For some people, this can be a period of making changes in the way we communicate and our overall thought process which goes back to the need to be more heart centred as mentioned above. Sometimes when we are not in our hearts, the shadow of Leo energy can be expressed which is egoic. This can manifest in our communication and thoughts, however, it is possible that for some people these Mercury related shifts may not be necessarily connected to a lack of ‘heart-centredness.’

Solar Eclipse Conjunct Asteroid Juno

The observation of asteroids in astrology is not a primary thing to look at as there are thousands of them. However, there are some asteroids considered to be major ones and when I see a strong connection to one of those, I feel it is worthy of mention.

Juno is associated with unions and commitments such as marriage, but in this context it could also be related to other types of unions and commitments as well. Venus is in Pisces is in a sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, which for some people can also be about commitments around love, with relationships being a strong theme that could develop over the coming months.

Juno is also associated with oppressed women, in which its energy can also be empowering towards them. Jealousy is also a theme connected to Juno, especially when it is somehow tied in with our unions with others. During this period, it is possible that some of the changes that have been coming up recently and during the coming months and may also be connected to these Juno themes mentioned, but not in every case.

Uranus and Chiron Also In The Mix, Jupiter Sextile Pluto

Uranus is in a sextile aspect with this eclipse (with Juno/Mercury) and was also in aspect with the summer Solar Eclipse, as well as with many of the recent and upcoming New Moons. This planet is about our uniqueness, liberation, inventiveness, new experiences, and freedom. It is technological, futuristic, rebellious, and is also associated with metaphysics and subjects such as astrology. Some the changes reflected by this eclipse could be connected to these themes in combination with themes mentioned earlier in the article.

Chiron is making semi-sextile aspect to both Uranus and this eclipse, right at the midpoint of it all. This can be connected to healing as well as triggering wounds related to the Aquarius, Mercury, and Juno themes mentioned above. However, when we also consider that this is an easy aspect and with Uranus in the mix, this can be a great energy for overall healing and empowerment, and letting and overcoming wounds getting in the way of our authentic self expression. It can also have a positive healing influence in our friendships and social network as part of the Aquarian related changes represented by this eclipse.

Jupiter in Scorpio has been in a sextile with Pluto in the weeks leading up to eclipse season which will continue to play out until September and will be strong again next in mid-April. This combined with the Chiron-Uranus influence above can be very helpful in healing and transformations for many people, depending on how it all lines up with your natal chart. If you have been experiencing challenges throughout January and February, perhaps these energies are trying to get your attention and the need to transform aspects of your life are becoming more apparent.

Making Intentions And Things To Consider

What changes and improvements do you need to make in your relations with others? Which of your friendships are not in alignment with your true self and how you express your personal joy? Are you letting your social connections or colleagues get in the way of you shining in your light? Have you been too much in your head at the expense of your heart’s desires? What needs to change in your commitments and unions with others? What can you do to feel more liberated in expressing your own authentic expression?

These are some examples of what to reflect on at this time but not limited to them either. Keep in mind that the energy of this specific eclipse will also have an influence over the next 6 months although it may be being triggered more strongly at this time.

If you wish to do any sort of intentions for this eclipse period, it is best to do so within the 24 hours following. However, the first six hours following it will be best for reflection and tuning in to how you feel and after that period would be better for intention setting. The exact moment of the eclipse will be at 9:05pm Universal Time, you can click here to see what that is for your time zone.

Have you listened to my recent interview on the all new Collective Evolution Podcast? We spoke about astrology in general as well as some of the stuff going on in 2018 and beyond.  Check it out here.

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Looking for more insight on how this period is affecting you? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. You can also follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for more astrology related.

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Tesla building virtual solar/battery ‘power plant’ using 50,000 homes

Tesla already ‘killed the duck’ with its gigantic battery in South Australia. Now it’s looking to capitalize on that success, this time doing so by building a ‘virtual power plant’ of solar arrays plus battery storage on at least 50,000 homes across South Australia.

Egadget reports that the installations will each involve a 5kW solar array plus Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries, and that the project will begin with 1,100 public housing homes, but will be rolled out to the full 50,000 homes in the next few years.

It’s a pretty bold move, and may help to stabilize a grid that now gets close to 50% of its electricity from wind (remember when we got excited about 20% renewable energy in SA in 2008?!). The project is being financed in part by government grants and loans, which no doubt will raise the hackles of naysayers. But given how heavily coal, natural gas and nuclear have been subsidized by governments across the world, I would personally argue that – now that decentralized energy is increasingly cost competitive – it makes a whole lot more sense to support projects that will directly benefit low income families’ bottom lines and help them to gain financial independence.

I’m sure policy makers everywhere will be watching this initiative with interest. If it really does help stabilize the grid, then I would not be at all surprised to be similar project cropping up elsewhere.

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Tesla To Sell Solar Products In 800 Home Depot Stores Starting This July

By  Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

Good news! As of July 2018, 800 of Home Depot’s 2,200 stores will begin selling Tesla solar products. Everything from the infamous Powerwall storage battery system to solar panels to rooftop solar systems will be available to purchase in high-profile, 12 foot high x 7 feet wide displays, located in the stores.

As Clean Technica reports, the new marketing strategy eliminates the need for SolarCity to go door-to-door. An estimated one-third of the cost of the rooftop solar systems SolarCity sold went to commissions, promotional costs, and office overhead. By displaying its solar products in Home Depot, Tesla will save money and receive exposure to a much broader market.

Tesla will be able to meet the demand for its products, thanks to its Gigfactory 2 located in Buffalo, New York. As Bloomberg reports, Tesla is also partnering with Panasonic to manufacture solar panels at the same location. According to the company’s website, prices for a Tesla rooftop solar system range from $10,000 to $25,000. The Powerball energy storage battery costs an extra $7,000.

As Elon Musk has stated in the past, it is his hope that adding residential solar systems becomes a seamless process. Once a customer chooses which technologies they would like to install, Tesla will take care of the permitting, engineering, installation, service, and repairs under warranty. This may entice more consumers to invest in solar — for their personal benefit, and for the environment. Whether or not the new tariff proposed by the Trump administration in recent weeks will affect Tesla is unknown.

Reportedly, there is a rumor that Lowe’s, a competitor of Home Depot, is also considering adding Tesla displays in its stores. This has not been confirmed by Tesla, Home Depot, or Lowes, however.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

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Commercial Perovskite solar cells at 10 cents per watt could soon bring lower cost energy

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Nissan gets into home solar & energy storage market with all-in-one solution

UK homeowners who want to go solar will soon have another alternative, thanks to Nissan’s latest offering.

Connecting renewable energy to electric cars is of paramount importance if we want electric mobility to be fully sustainable, and although its newest product is geared toward residential electricity production and not specifically electric vehicle charging, combining Nissan’s home solar and storage product with an EV could deliver zero-emissions benefits to both home and vehicle.

Earlier this month, we covered the news about a partnership in Japan that could see new Nissan Leaf owners receive a free home solar array, and last week the automaker announced that its latest product, which combines both solar electricity generation and home energy storage, would launch in the UK. According to the company, its all-in-one residential solar solution, dubbed Nissan Energy Solar, combines “world-class residential solar panels” with an “intelligent” energy storage system (xStorageHome), along with a home energy management system to enable owners “to control how and when they want to use their energy in real time.”

“The system reduces energy costs and carbon footprint for homeowners significantly, by automating energy flows, purposefully utilizing solar production peaks and storage capacities.” – Nissan Energy Solar

Home solar is a great option for getting to a lower carbon footprint, but a grid-tied solar array without any energy storage isn’t the be-all and end-all solution, as a grid power outage will affect solar and non-solar homeowners alike. However, adding a home energy storage system that can function as a micro-grid during grid failures can be big step up. A home battery system can also allow homeowners to store some of the electricity generated by their solar array for use during the night, as well as to charge their electric vehicle when the sun goes down.

According to Nissan, the system will be priced starting at £3881 (~US$5427), and although details are sparse, it appears that this is for the basic 6-panel solar array and energy management system alone, but considering that Nissan is making its new electric vehicles with a vehicle-to-home (V2H) feature, the EV could essentially function as the home’s battery. The company claims that UK residents could save up to 66% in their energy bills with the Nissan Energy Solar system installed.

via CleanTechnica

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China is stealing solar panel jobs from American workers – Will Trump send a tough trade message?

Image: China is stealing solar panel jobs from American workers – Will Trump send a tough trade message?

(Natural News)
All along the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump emphasized how China has been aggressively manipulating its own currency in order to shadily gain an upper hand economically. And now the communist regime has been exposed for colluding to steal American jobs, particularly in the solar industry, which the International Trade Commission (ITC) is pushing now-President Trump to address, and quickly.

According to recent reports, the ITC has presented the president with a solid case proving that China’s solar manufacturing companies have been colluding with one another, all with the blessing of the country’s communist government, to steal technical, strategic, and financial data from American solar firms in order to illicitly. In the process, they’ve been effectively thieving jobs away from blue-collar American workers, many of whom voted for Donald Trump based on his platform of “America First.”

The case shows that China’s solar manufacturing industry’s illicit actions have been a “substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic (solar) industry.” The ITC was able to collect substantial evidence showing that the Communist Party’s 11th, 12th, and 13th Five-Year plans all unequivocally called for China to target and capture the solar power market, using any means necessary. Evidence of this is so indisputable, in fact, that the ITC voted unanimously back in September to make a definitive declaration, which now sits on the president’s desk for review, and hopefully swift, responsive action.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already issued indictments against at least five Chinese military officers who were specifically caught in the act of stealing American solar secrets from various corporate networks. After obtaining these secrets, Chinese solar companies were able to develop their own cheap knock-off versions of solar technology using American expertise, which they continue to sell on the American market – often without stating their country of origin.

“While international trade is a powerful force for economic development and opportunity, letting a communist dictatorship target and destroy one American industry after another, using its military to help, is the exact opposite of ‘free,’” writes Greg Autry for, urging the president to put an immediate stop to this anti-American agenda.

America needs to enact tariffs, quotas on solar cells and modules coming from China

Despite the endless shipments of Chinese-made products that arrive on America’s shores every day, the Chinese dictatorship is hardly a friend of the United States. Back in the fall, it was revealed that China has been shipping in deadly opioid drugs into the U.S. as part of a “chemical warfare” campaign against Americans – all under the leadership of past presidents like Barack Obama, who did absolutely nothing during his eight-year term to stem the tide of Chinese manufacturers stealing America’s intellectual and scientific property.

Many are hoping that this type of thing will stop under President Trump, who in no uncertain terms has aggressively brought to the limelight the ongoing threat that is China’s constant intrusion into American commerce. What’s currently happening with alternative energy, anyway, is costing tens of thousands of Americans their jobs, all the while allowing China to hijack the technology that many of these same Americans helped develop in the first place.

“Trump should choose the very strongest responses in this case,” Autry adds in his condemnation of China’s continued actions against American interests. “I’d encourage him to enact both a tariff and a quota on imported cells and modules. Doing so will leave no doubt about the outcomes for cheaters in other categories.”

“Regardless of what happens in solar, bold action today will avoid a repetition of this disaster in the future as the Chinese set their targets on additional American industries – including automobiles and airliners,” he concludes.

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A Solar Power Plant Is Being Built In Chernobyl, Ground Zero

By Fattima Mahdi Truth Theory

What was once a fallout zone, after the catastrophic explosion had plagued the Ukrainian atmosphere, has now become the site for an Ukrainian-German renewable energy project called Solar Chernobyl. It will be a 1MW (megawatt) plant, with 3,800 photovoltaic panels. The structure spans two football pitches in size,“This solar power plant can cover the needs of a medium-sized village”, said Yevgen Varyagin, head of Solar Chernobyl.

The company already has a 4.2MW plant in the Republic of Belarus, a neighbouring country, however, their latest Chernobyl project is one of 60 proposals recognised by the Ukrainian government since the land around the destroyed nuclear power plant was made safe for such developments. A steel shelter was constructed around the infamous nuclear plant in 2016 to contain further fall-out. In fact, Solar Chernobyl’s panels had to be installed on concrete slabs as the soil is still contaminated, making drilling and digging into the ground forbidden. Despite the extra measures, building at the site proved convenient for Solar Chernobyl, as they were able to utilise the nuclear power plant’s already established connection to the power grid following completion of their structure. “Bit by bit we want to optimise the Chernobyl zone,” Said Yevgen Varyagin. “It shouldn’t be a black hole in the middle of Ukraine.”

Other companies and authorities in the Ukraine are also looking to take advantage of the wide expanse of land that was once quarantined.

Read More: South Australia Is Building The World’s Largest Thermal Plant

Image Credit: Wikimedia

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University of New South Wales to go 100% solar powered

Students have long been at the forefront of pushing their institutions to divest from fossil fuels. As part of that push, they’ve also encouraged them to embrace renewables too. But few universities have gone as far as the University of New South Wales in Australia, which just inked an ambitious deal to get 100% of its energy from solar power. (Note that the press materials say “energy”, not just electricity!)

The deal, signed late last year, will see the university buy up to 124,000 MWh of renewable energy a year from Maoneng’s Sunraysia Solar Farm near Balranald in south-western NSW starting in 2019. That figure will be equivalent to the university’s annual energy requirement, and will mean the institution meets its previously set goal of going 100% carbon neutral on energy by 2020. Furthermore, the university is making a big deal out of the fact that the prices it has secured are extremely competitive with those of conventional fossil fuels.

Here’s how UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs described the significance of the deal:

“The Solar PPA arrangement will allow UNSW to secure carbon emission-free electricity supplies at a cost which is economically and environmentally attractive when compared to fossil fuel-sourced supplies. Over the past six months, UNSW has collaborated with our contract partners Maoneng and Origin to develop a Solar PPA model that leads the way in renewable energy procurement and reflects our commitment to global impact outlined in our 2025 Strategy.”

To get a sense of just how big the Sunraysia Solar Farm is going to be, check out this video mock up below. Let’s hope that many more institutions follow in UNSW’s footsteps.

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