Happy Earth Month!
Earth Week is April 19-24 and Earth Day is Thursday, April 22!
As more barriers cross our path towards combating climate change, the more motivation is added to our fight for renewable energies. With Trump’s pullback from the Paris Agreement, the only answer to this is to continue expansion of solar power possibilities worldwide.
As China and other players in Asia lead the way, we’re seeing pricing drop significantly on solar energies, and more nuclear and coal plants being left behind. The Renewable Energies Status Report for 2017 shows that 161 gigawatts (GW) had been installed worldwide in 2016, showing an overall increase of almost 9% since 2015, with solar energy representing 47% of that capacity.
The report also predicts the continually increase of solar demand, with a steady incline for solar projects to be implemented by the end of 2017. If pace and momentum continues, we’re looking at doubling solar production by 2019, and tripling by 2021.
Although growth is stemming from the need for more renewable energy sources, it’s also thanks to the falling price of solar technology. In 2010, we were looking at around 35 cents per kilowatt hour. In sunny countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, where larger plants are being installed, we’re now looking at prices around 2 – 3 cents per kilowatt hour. Even Germany’s solar pricing has significantly declined to around 6 cents per kilowatt, and they aren’t even getting half the amount of sunshine. Solar is generally becoming cheaper than new gas, coal and nuclear plants, and home solar rooftop panels are making it even more accessible and affordable for households to take advantage of the renewable energy source.The only way to beat ‘em, is to join ‘em in their game. Go for the gold and invest in the most economical, environmentally friendly, and accessible way to obtain electricity. We can beat climate change, and it all starts with you.
Photo source: UOSSM
Having most of the country’s electrical grid destroyed after over 6 years of conflict, a hospital in Syria will be the first institution to pilot a solar project with an aim to save thousands of lives.
Hospitals and various other infrastructure have had to rely on diesel generators over the last while, leading to fuel shortages and price inflation. Medical charity, UOSSM (Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations), aims to change this by leading The Syria Solar Initiative project to assist with reliable electricity for institutions in need. The initiative will include fitting the hospital with 480 solar photovoltaic panels and 288 batteries capable of fully powering the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This will assist operating rooms and emergency departments during diesel shortages.
“In our department, we have a total of six incubators. Electricity is critical for the functioning of these incubators,” said neonatal nurse with UOSSM, Mohamad Dirbas.
Electricity must be available continuously without shut down or cut-off. Even if the electricity was to shut down for half an hour, it can cause sever problems. Children in incubators need a constant temperature.
“Syria is in one of the best regions globally to harvest solar energy, and needs to be leveraged. The goal now is to empower the health system by scaling the solar project to at least five other critical hospitals. Our dream is to see every medical facility in Syria running on clean, sustainable energy,” said Tarek Makdissim, Project Director at UOSSM’s Syria Solar Initiative.UOSSM is projecting saving 7,000 litres of diesel fuel and severely cutting energy costs with this project. The hospital they will pilot the project with will rename nameless in order to protect the staff and facility from attacks.
We recently completed a fantastic new iSun® Solar Carport in Indiana. Made of long-lasting anodized aluminum, the structure is beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and an eco-friendly addition to the Tom Wood Subaru dealership. In the middle of the installation, we got to thinking — building a physical solar carport is not completely unlike building software. You see, even as simple as our carport is to install, there are often things that come up. For example, in Indiana we were deluged by rain, very much out of our control. Rather than trying to plan everything ahead of time, being prepared and ready for change is the most important thing that can be done — in either physical carport installation OR software development.
Our vision for many of our future products is to deliver innovative new technologies like iOT (Internet of Things) and Intelligent Automation. In order to achieve success with complex and unreliable new technologies, we use agile methodologies to project manage and break down complex software activities to simple and achievable sprints.
Some of our methods that we can see realistically applying to a solar carport installation to make it even simpler are laid out below:
1. Use a physical board to track progress
In the agile software development world, teams often start planning on physical work boards. They track what is up next, in progress, and done on a wall, often using physical task cards.
On a job site, a physical board can help manage the complexities and break down seemingly complex issues into achievable bursts of work. The more complex the job, the more value a physical work board where any layperson can come see the current state of progress matters.
2. Have an installation roadmap based on the customer’s expectations
In software development, you know what sequence of features you need in order to have a satisfactory demonstration to your customer of progress. This is also true in for a solar carport installation. Have a pre-planned series of components: ballast, beams, panels, rain gutters, wiring. You can demonstrate progress at the end of each component build out, even when done in overlapping time periods. One major lesson to note, installation & software development team members both appreciate the moral victories of completing a task and demonstrating progress before moving on to the next phase.
3. Have quick standing meetings to gauge progress and discuss issues
In software, there is a quick daily meeting where each team member is asked 3 questions: What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? What blockers are stopping you from making progress? On a job site, the daily meeting can be adjusted to be as frequently as every 2 hours. As arduous as it may seem to pull everyone off the job for 10 minutes — it will save a tremendous amount of money when you factor in the amount of rework that occurs when a job has to be redone because an issue wasn’t caught in time.Software development has long taken cues and practices from physical construction. We use terms like software architects to title some of our best software creators. However, as software continues to eat the world, maybe it’s time for the world to begin taking cues and practices from the rapid advances in software.