PHOTOS: The Future of Solar at SPI

This week in Los Angeles the solar industry filled a convention center with the latest in next-generation solar panels, concentrators, and various gear. Called SPI, the show offers the first look at some of the really bleeding edge solar tech.

Today in Cleantech

It’s time for a news dump on this week’s Solar Power International show in Los Angeles. Where to start? On day one (Tuesday), we got GE’s move into thin-film solar, LG’s $820 million pledge to grow its solar business to billions in a few years, and Hyundai’s giant step into the solar cell business — all driving consensus that solar startups better compete on software and services, not manufacturing. Wednesday saw SunPower shed light on its concentrating PV plans and Lumeta show off its “peel-and-stick” solar roofing tiles. As for today, we’ve got First Solar’s two new factories and Suntech’s comments on the “build-or-buy” debate on solar cell and panel manufacturing gear. Let’s not even get started talking about solar balance of systems

Stick-On Solar with Lumeta

The holy grail of building-integrated solar might be paint-on solar, but in the meantime there is a peel-n-stick option. The Lumeta Power-Ply 380 panel uses adhesive to stick 8’x4′ panels to your roof in a matter of minutes without any racking or mounting systems — and as a result, no holes in your roof. (Hat tip Triple Pundit)

Lumeta is the brand of panels made by solar installation company DRI Energy, a division of Irvine, Calif.-based roofing firm DRI Companies. DRI Energy says they’ve installed their solar product on more than 75 roofs; being a subsidiary of a roofing company that does work in both the commercial and residential sectors gives this installer an advantage when it comes to drumming up customers.
Read More about Stick-On Solar with Lumeta

Make Your iPhone Work for You

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how you could optimize a Windows Mobile 6 Professional smartphone for web workers. This week I move onto the iPhone, which, according to research firm Canalys, accounted for 28% of the US smartphone market as of Q4 2007. Right now, the iPhone is mostly a consumer-oriented cellphone, but that’s set to change in June when the iPhone 2.0 firmware is released.

Hands on with Readius e-ink… both hands

Readius2Our podcasting partner-in-crime, Matt Miller, is over in Barcelona covering the Mobile World Congress this week and he got a good look at the Readius e-Ink device. It impressed him so much that he’s passing up a potential Amazon Kindle purchase and considering this device from Polymer Vision because it can also serve as a cellular phone. I’d be curious to see what kind of eBook content might appear on this device because it sounded like the Polymer Vision folks indicated their own eBook format in the video that Matt shot.

I highly recommend you view the video Matt took; I’ve watched it twice because something jumped out at me and I wanted to double-check it. From what I can see the device was held the entire time with two hands. I’m sure (well… hoping, really) that this was just for display purposes. Even if so, the device controls look to be usable only by the left hand. I’ll have to check with Matt on this one, but a burning question in my mind: can you flip the device so that it can be primarily used with the right hand? Although I would assume so, I don’t think I’ve seen a picture of the device with the screen rotated 180-degrees.

Speakeasy VoIP?

Bjørn Hansen points out that ISP Speakeasy has started to offer VoIP service. I guess since they are a Covad reseller, it was only a matter of time. Andy says it is Level 3 they are reselling as VoIP provider.

The Speakeasy support phone number have a “Speakeasy Voice” option in the automated menu crap now. Are they building a VoIP service? I’m thinking of switching from Vonage to BroadVoice to use their “Bring your own device” service. I have a TDM400P card that’d be fun to get setup with Asterisk again; the closed Vonage box is really no fun. I’d use VoicePulse Connect for calls to Europe as BroadVoice’s rates to cell phones are Really Really bad

At the last count, he was still waiting to talk to a live person at Speakeasy. I have heard the same thing and personally attest – their support and service despite all the posing by the company is lukewarm. I can’t wait to get out from under my contract.