Tag Archives: solar cells

Government of Canada cancels the ecoEnergy Retrofit program


EcoEnergy RetrofitThe federal government is suspending a program which offered people financial incentives to have their homes evaluated for energy efficiency and then perform upgrades to improve the rating.

Under the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, homeowners could receive a grant of up to $5,000 to carry out energy saving improvements.

The program technically runs until March 31, 2011, but the government will not accept bookings for pre-retrofit evaluations after midnight Wednesday. Homeowners who have already booked an appointment, have completed an evaluation, or applied for re-entry into the program have until next year to apply for the retrofit grant.

On the program’s official website, the federal government said it was “committed to reviewing its energy efficiency and emissions reductions programs to ensure they continue to be an effective and efficient use of Canadian tax dollars.”

The Conservatives launched the ecoEnergy Retrofit program in April 2007. By 2009, the government had paid out $91 million to homeowners for more than 85,000 home retrofits.

Liberal MPP David McGuinty told the Globe and Mail newspaper the program had become too popular and, therefore, too costly.

“Here is what has really happened — demand tripled since 2007,” the Globe quoted McGuinty as saying.

The federal budget unveiled on March 4 included an additional $80 million for the retrofit program.

Many provinces, such as Ontario, match the federal rebates. Those programs are expected to continue.

For details from the federal government, see the link below.

’30 Year Laptop Battery’ is Unscientific Myth


An anonymous reader wrote to mention the wonderful news: “A research group funded by U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is developing a battery which can provide continuous power to your laptop for 30 years! Betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source…” Except, not so much. ZDNet’s Mixed Signals blog with Rupert Goodwins explains why (as always) if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: “The sort of atomic structures that generate power when bombarded with high energy electrons are the sort that tend to fall apart when bombarded with high energy electrons. While solar cells have the same problem, it’s to a much lesser extent. There’s a lot of research into making materials that don’t suffer so much, but it remains a serious issue … while it’s true that a tritium-powered battery will eventually turn into an inert, safe lump of nothing much, and while it’s also true that a modest amount of shielding will keep the radioactivity within the the battery the while, there’s the small problem that if you break the battery during its life the nasties come out.”