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A canton in Switzerland commissioned a project in which solar panels were attached vertically to a roadside retaining wall.

The canton of Appenzell Ausserhoden in northeastern Switzerland is aiming to generate at least 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2035. So, it exercised a little creativity and covered a roadside retaining wall with 756 glass-glass solar panels.

The panels have an output of 325 kW and an energy yield of around 230,000 kWh annually. This is equivalent to the consumption of about 52 Swiss households. The energy will be fed into the grid of energy supplier St. Gallisch-Appenzellische Kraftwerke, and the canton will get a feed-in tariff in return.

German mounting system provider K2 Systems and Swiss contractor Solarmotion installed the vertical system on the 75-degree retaining wall. The panels were anchored on a mounting rail with HUS screw anchors, and Lichtenstein-based Hilti provided mechanical dowels. 

The PV system was anchored on and in the masonry using an adhesive technique. An anchoring depth of a maximum of 90 mm could not be exceeded so that the retaining wall would not be adversely affected.

Due to the close proximity to the asphalt, the solar panels’ components are subject to exceptional corrosion requirements and are anodized for protection. Indirect components are made of aluminum – only the screw anchors are made of stainless steel.

K2 Systems says that “especially in the winter months (when consumption and dependence on foreign electricity imports are at their highest), the vertically aligned modules will achieve a very good electricity yield.”

Electrek’s Take

This isn’t a big project, but it’s a delightfully creative one, which is why it caught my eye. A retaining wall is dead space, and snow will slide off the panels in Swiss winters.

We at Electrek love it when solar is installed in intelligent and inventive ways. Warehouse rooftops? Cover them. Highway medians? Canal covers? Box stores? Put solar on them. It just makes sense.

Read more: In a US first, California will pilot solar-panel canopies over canals

Photo: K2 Systems


To limit power outages and make your home more resilient, consider going solar with a battery storage system. In order to find a trusted, reliable solar installer near you that offers competitive pricing, check out EnergySage, a free service that makes it easy for you to go solar. They have hundreds of pre-vetted solar installers competing for your business, ensuring you get high quality solutions and save 20-30% compared to going it alone. Plus, it’s free to use and you won’t get sales calls until you select an installer and you share your phone number with them.

Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. – ad*

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Would you rather have one $50k EV or 50 of these $1k Chinese electric cars

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Would you rather have one k EV or 50 of these k Chinese electric cars

Panning for gold in Alibaba’s electric vehicle catalog is bound to find some real doozies, such as this week’s Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week. Meet this fun little purple three-wheeled electric car that barely manages to fulfill the requirements of a car.

The “Minitype 3 Seater Passenger Electric Passenger Tricycle” is quite a mouthful of a name, but what’s really important here are the specs.

With a single driver’s seat up front and a narrow bench in back, there is theoretically space for three souls aboard this thing. There’s no steering wheel up front, though. Instead, drivers operate the handlebar that controls the front wheel through a fork instead of traditional automotive linkage to two wheels. Think of it like an enclosed tuk-tuk.

That’s probably fine based on the rather low performance of the machine, reaching just 40 km/h (25 mph) and likely taking its sweet time to do so.

It may not seem spacious, but this is one of those “the seats go aaaalllllllllll the way back” kind of cars. Or at least, the one seat.

I’m not sure what kind of freedom or bonus points that buys you, unless your date is super into trikes. But let’s just say that the car is doing everything it can to be a good wingman for you.

If you can’t pick up chicks in this babe magnet, then you’re obviously doing something wrong.

The coolest part about this thing though is the price. Sure, if you try to buy just a single car then it’s a bit expensive at US $1,200. But if you’ll take 15 units then you can knock that price down to $1,100. An order of up to 49 gets you down to an even $1,000.

So which would you rather have? One $50k electric car or 50 $1k electric cars? Well let me answer that for myself with another question. How easy is it to start a Chinese EV racing league in your backyard track with just one $50k EV?

Ok, jokes aside, please don’t anyone try to actually order one of these. This glorified mobility scooter is likely sans batteries for that price, plus you’ll absolutely spend several times the supposed purchase price just to try and get it shipped out of China.

Then there’s the wrinkle of these not being street-legal anywhere outside of China, and potentially not even there.

So let’s just enjoy them from the safe distance of our computer screens, shall we? In the meantime, I’ll appreciate even more the electric mini-truck I actually DID buy from China.

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GE scraps plans to make giant 18 MW offshore wind turbines

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GE scraps plans to make giant 18 MW offshore wind turbines

GE Vernova is abandoning plans to supersize its offshore wind turbines and will instead focus on rolling out smaller “workhorse” turbines.

In March of last year, GE Vernova CEO Scott Strazik said during a GE Investor Conference that the market was receptive to larger variants of the company’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbines: “Now we are getting a very positive reception from the market with our 17 to 18 MW Haliade-X variant off of what we’re shipping this year.”

However, GE Vernova has decided to shelve that idea for the future. Parent company GE writes in its US Securities and Exchange Commission EX-99 that its Haliade-X platform has included “offerings available from 12 MW to 18 MW with estimated capacity factors ranging from 60% to 64%.” It continued:

One Haliade-X 13 MW turbine can power the equivalent of up to 16,000 European homes.

…We believe the future of our offshore wind business will be the Haliade-X 15.5 MW-250, a workhorse product.

The company made project losses in its offshore wind business last year. It expects margins to remain challenged in 2024 as it executes its Haliade-X backlog, “which will require significant cash use and working capital.” However, GE anticipates working capital dynamics and margins to improve beyond 2024.

The 800 MW Vineyard Wind I project off the Massachusetts coast consists of GE’s 13 MW Haliade-X turbines.

Read more: 5 wind turbines just came online at Massachusetts’ first offshore wind farm


If you live in an area that has frequent natural disaster events, and are interested in making your home more resilient to power outages, consider going solar and adding a battery storage system. To make sure you find a trusted, reliable solar installer near you that offers competitive pricing, check out EnergySage, a free service that makes it easy for you to go solar. They have hundreds of pre-vetted solar installers competing for your business, ensuring you get high quality solutions and save 20-30% compared to going it alone. Plus, it’s free to use and you won’t get sales calls until you select an installer and share your phone number with them.

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Jeep’s first EV will land in the US as early as July, electric Wrangler-like Recon to follow

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Jeep's first EV will land in the US as early as July, electric Wrangler-like Recon to follow

The first all-electric Jeep could be delivered to US customers as soon as July. According to new CEO Antonio Filosa, production of Jeep’s first EV, the Wagoneer S SUV, is expected to begin in Q2. Deliveries could happen as soon as the third quarter. Jeep’s CEO also confirmed we may see the electric Wrangler-like Recon launch by the end of the year.

The first Jeep EV could reach US buyers as early as Q3

After slashing prices amid slumping sales Friday (including up to $4K on its best-selling Grand Cherokee), Filosa admitted more needs to be done to fend off incoming competition.

Jeep is facing new rivals like the Rivian R1S, which was the seventh best-selling EV in the US last year. Volkswagen’s off-road Scout brand is also set to launch its first EVs soon.

Jeep’s first EV in the US, the Wagoneer S SUV, is expected to enter production in the second quarter. Filosa said the first deliveries could happen as early as the third quarter. Ahead of its official launch, Jeep is hyping the electric SUV with new teasers.

You can see Jeep’s iconic design evolving as it shifts to electric. Jeep claims the Wagoneer S will be “lightning fast,” packing 600 hp for a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds.

Jeep-Wagoneer-S-leaked
Jeep Wagoneer S electric SUV teaser (Source: Jeep)

It will be the first EV based on parent company Stellantis’ new STLA Large platform. Jeep aims for around 400 miles range, rivaling Rivian’s R1S.

Jeep also showed the first glimpse of the EV’s interior, which has plenty of buttons and digital screens. You can see a custom driver control center with Jeep’s signature Selec-Terrain toggle.

It also includes a standard dual-pane panoramic sunroof and a premium 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.

Jeep’s electric Wrangler-like Recon launching soon

Filsosa confirmed Jeep’s electric Wrangler-like Recon could launch by the end of the year, although the timing is still unclear.

We’ve already seen a sneak peek of the Recon Moab 4xe after images leaked out of a dealer event in Las Vegas.

Jeep's-electric-Wrangler-like-Recon
Jeep Recon Moab 4xe (source: Jeep Recon Forum)

The Recon will be a “rugged and fully capable electric SUV” inspired by the off-road Jeep Wrangler. Previous head of Jeep North America, Jim Morrison, said the Recon EV “has the capability to cross the mighty Rubicon Trail.” Not only that, it will “reach the end of the trail with enough range to drive back to town and recharge,” Morrison claimed.

Jeep's-electric-Wrangler-like-Recon
2024 electric Jeep Recon (Source: Stellantis)

Filosa confirmed the Recon will also be based on the STLA Large platform, suggesting at least 600 hp is likely.

The platform serves between 85 and 118 kWh battery pack options with up to 500 mi (800 km) range for sedans. It will also come with 400V and 800V options.

Stellantis claims the platform includes “extreme power,” claiming it will “outperform any of the existing Hellcat V-8s.” More powerful models can sprint from 0 to 62 mph (0-100km/hr) in the 2-second range, according to Stellantis.

According to the new UAW agreements, an electric Jeep Wrangler is also expected to launch, but not until 2028. Jeep’s best-selling Grand Cherokee will also get an all-electric option around 2027.

Source: Detroit News

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