January 18, 2018

Films of things blowing away in Netherlands

Filed under: Architecture,Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 1:54 pm

Trains have stopped, planes are grounded, a lot of public transport is interrupted, a lot of bikes and scooters outside 24HQ have tipped over, and there’s a whole lot of Dutch reports of different things being blown around. Here’s a selection:

Here’s a video of all kinds of stuff blowing over.

See what happens to these solar panels.

And who needs the gym when you can do exercises with your car door.

Some people couldn’t take their train this morning because a trampoline rammed a train in South Holland.

UPDATE: This roof blowing off in Rotterdam Charlois is quite spectacular.

(Photo of solar panels by Mhassan Abdollahi, some rights reserved)

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June 19, 2017

Dutch device collects water in the desert

Filed under: Design,Science,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:43 pm


Dutch company SunGlacier has built a device that collects water in hot and dry environments, such as here, in a desert in Mali where the company did some tests recently. SunGlacier’s Desert Twins harvester relies on condensation, as they explain, like the drops of water that appear on a soft drink can taken out of the fridge on a hot summer day. “The harvester comprises two separate devices – an energy unit, which draws and stores power from solar panels, and the water maker, which uses this energy to cool down a metal plate.”

Although the device was tested successfully in the Netherlands, the extreme environment of the Sahara Desert caused units to overheat and stop working, as well as water to evaporate within minutes of the harvester being opened. After a few days, they succeeded in cooling the ambient air inside the box so that condensation could take place and something other than steam was possible.

Find out more by watching the video

(Links: dezeen.com, sunglacier.nl)

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September 30, 2013

Dutch law turns solar panel owners into entrepreneurs

Filed under: Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 8:08 pm

It sounds like a win-win plan for everybody: the government subsidizes the purchase of solar panels for private families who use the panels to generate clean energy and sell any left over electricity to the public utilities.

Strictly speaking, selling electricity is a commercial transaction over which value added tax must be paid. The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed this in a ruling in an Austrian case earlier this year. Dutch junior minister Frans Weekers confirmed last week that the ruling also applies to the Netherlands, Z24 reports. Owning a solar panel and selling electricity to the public utilities automatically makes it impossible, the minister told parliament, “to deny one’s status as an entrepreneur” where value added tax is concerned.

This is problematic for a couple of reasons. Solar panel owners rarely get to see how much they have sold back; the utilities just charge them for the balance. Paying VAT also means you have to start bookkeeping. You can ask for an exemption if you expect to pay less than 1,345 euro a year which also releases you from the obligation of bookkeeping.
According to Vereniging Eigen Huis, minister Weekers considers the judgement undesirable and will ask the European Union for a change in the regulations. In the meantime he will initiate talks with the utilities.

I remember when I started freelancing. I made so little money that the people from the tax office laughed at me when I told them I wanted to register for paying added value tax. The difference between me and solar panel owners was of course that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and saw keeping accounts as part of the cost of entry.

According to Dutchnews earlier this year, “solar panels in the Netherlands produce some 100 million kilowatt hours of power” whereas “Dutch solar panel makers had a turnover of over € 490m in 2010”. A quick calculation using the rates of a local supplier shows that solar panel using home owners lowered their electricity bills by 6.5 million euro in 2012, making the solar panel manufacturers the big winners.

(Photo by Mhassan Abdollahi, some rights reserved)

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March 28, 2012

Solar panels on concert hall roof for that green effect

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 9:28 pm

While the Amsterdam Municipal Theatre has bees on its roof, Amsterdam concert hall Muziektheater now boasts the largest solar panel installation on one single roof in Amsterdam and in the Netherlands. Some 350 solar panels cover approximately 1,000 square metres of the building’s roof and will generate as much electricity as would normally be used by 30 Amsterdam households. The solar panels generate 85,000 kWh of power a year, reducing CO2 emissions by 52 tons a year.

(Link: www.amsterdam.nl, Photo of Muziektheater by Alberto Alvarez-Perea, some rights reserved)

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February 4, 2011

A Dutch bike path with solar panels

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:26 pm

In 2012, the town of Krommenie, North of Amsterdam, will have cool bike paths made up of solar panels. And there’ll be roads with solar panels as well.

Developed by the Province of North Holland, the Ooms Avenhorn Group and Imtech, the solar bike path will be constructed with a concrete base, topped with a 1 cm thick layer of crystalline silicon solar cells. The solar cells will then be protected by a thick, heavy-duty glass surface strong enough to drive a truck over it. The SolaRoad is estimated to generate 50 kw hours of electricity per square meter per year which will be used to power street lights, traffic systems, and perhaps even households along the SolaRoad system.

(Links and photo (thanks Jay!): metaefficient.com, tno)

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