DIY Renewable Energy: At Home & On the Go

“Renewable energy is geared toward community development.” Architect Porfirio Sanchez runs a program in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico that combines abundant wind and sunshine to create a substitute for network electricity for rural families who are, and will remain, off the grid. His center for sustainable development gives away kits of windmills, solar panels and dynamos, allowing them to build and maintain their own electrical plant.

Until the state and federal governments develop the means and system for connecting the entire nation to the power grid, such DIY power plants as those developed by Sanchez’ program not only save families money on candles and batteries, it allows productivity and comfort. “Now, we can see at night”, says one resident, “and my kids can do homework.” View an excellent video, courtesy of; and click through to learn more about the program that’s sponsored in part by Shell Oil.

Solio™, part of the ECOMobility™ product movement

Mobile entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike can harness the sun to power their phone and computing devices, as well. Just as a DIY power plant brings productivity and comfort to home and property, devices such as the Solio allow people to stay connected and in business, wherever they go.

Solio’s website informs and inspires with case studies of how an affordable source of power “empowers” entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike to take their power wherever they go.

Learn more about DIY alternative energy at Build-It-Solar.

Renewable Energy’s Tipping Point

Earlier, I pointed to legislation that signals broad acceptance of the renewable energy sector across all continents. Various countries are taking the initiative to invite capture and conversion of solar, wind, and thermal energy. (see 3 Aug blog) Heretofore not thought of as energy titans — i.e., no formidable oil or gas reserves — these countries now play a global role in renewable energy acceptance, as supplier/exporter and consumer/import.

Cause and effect is in play here — backed by government funds and tax savings, our utility companies prod subscribers to go green and use less of their output, not more. They co-fund valuable community information campaigns, trade fairs, and education centers that contribute to reduced power consumption and top-of-mind pursuit of alternative energy. Commendable, though not altogether altruistic, since state public utility commissions mandate that they meet rollout targets in order to receive public funds that in turn subsidize said information campaigns and programs. Key industrial power consumers dictate renewable set-asides when negotiating annual rates, too. Earning reports from the power supplier in my region were smashingly good last quarter, so taking the lead role as concerned corporate partner polishes their public image while forestalling grumbling from cash-strapped rate payers.

Atop this growing swell of acceptance sits the enlightened power consumer, who is nudging the renewable energy industry toward tipping point, one block at a time. It’s hard to argue against the viability and long-term cost savings offered by alternative energy in transportation, manufacturing, and residential power grids. When legislation and utility companies support its acceptance, and with progressive, optimistic consumers taking the lead as influencers, then suppliers of goods and services can foresee solid revenue growth in every region of the world.

Watch the renewable energy industry sector blossom for providers of goods and services, with companies like these located on every continent:

  • Adhesives and film technologies for windows that save energy by reading the time of day and amount of sunlight, and auto-tinting. See more at 3M.
  • Daylighting zero-energy lighting systems for home, commercial and institutional settings. Tubes and skylights that transform a plain old roof into an economic asset. Check out Daylight Inside and Solatube.
  • Retrocommissioning (“RCx”) a consultation service that audits building operations and unites owners with their local utility for technical and financial assistance to eliminate waste. The enterprising team at Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. has packaged their solutions as a “private label”, value-added service for multiple utility companies. In San Diego, for instance, you’ll find them identified as San Diego RCx, teamed with San Diego Gas & Electric Company.
  • Iowa Thin Film Technologies is among a global group of innovators, and rubs elbows with the likes of Kyocera, Sharp, and Sanyo. A quick peek at their website confirms the limitless growth potential in military, industrial, commercial, and residential sectors for developers and manufacturers of thin, flexible solar panels.

    Perfect Storm? Critical Mass? Choose your metaphor…The end result, though, is that entrepreneurs, property owners, and utility companies all win with more renewable energy choices.

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