NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
16 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | APR.16 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
Turns Toward Solar Power
> IN FEBRUARY, the Florida Power and Light Co. (FPL) and
Daytona International Speedway (DIS) completed one of
American professional sports’ largest solar-power installations.
The FPL Solar Circuit includes more than 7,000 solar panels
that generate electricity for DIS’s operations and FPL’s 4. 8
million customers. The system will prevent the emission of
approximately 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year,
equivalent to an average-sized vehicle driving some 2 million
laps in the Daytona Speedway, which is home to “The Great
American Race,” the Daytona 500.
This project is one of three power plants FPL is installing
in 2016. The projects will add more than 225 megawatts (MW)
of solar capacity, tripling FPL’s current capacity and becoming
one of Florida’s largest distributed-generation installations. The
other planned systems will be installed at Florida International
University and include other small community-based arrays.
The DIS solar-power system is built with three canopy
structures covered with solar panels, located at the Midway,
The solar circuit includes high-tech data-gathering tools,
which FPL will use in a multiyear research study to improve
solar-energy and smart-grid technology integration.
FPL currently operates three solar-power plants and other
smaller solar installations, totaling more than 110 MW of solar
energy. FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc., and NextEra
Energy Resources is the official renewable-energy provider of
DIS and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
> DIGI TAL TECHNOLOGY has made
us more dependent on our electronic
devices, and it has made us hungrier
Recognizing the need for a more
energy-efficient way to connect
with our devices, researchers at the
University of Washington (UW)
have developed something they
call “passive Wi-Fi.” In February,
university computer scientists and
engineers announced they had generated
transmissions using 10,000 times less
power than conventional methods.
The passive Wi-Fi system also
consumes 1,000 times less power
than existing energy-efficient wireless
communication platforms, such as
Bluetooth low energy and Zigbee.
“We wanted to see if we could achieve
Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no
power at all,” said Shyam Gollakota,
co-author and UW assistant professor of
computer science and engineering.
Passive Wi-Fi can transmit wireless
signals at bit rates of up to 11 megabits
per second. These speeds are lower than
the maximum Wi-Fi speeds but 11 times
higher than Bluetooth. To achieve such
low-power Wi-Fi transmissions, the
team decoupled the digital and analog
operations involved in radio transmissions.
The architecture assigns the power-intensive, analog functions to a single
device that is plugged into the wall.
A sensor array produces Wi-Fi
packets of information using very
little power by simply reflecting
and absorbing that signal with a
Because the sensors are
creating actual Wi-Fi packets, they
can communicate with any device
that has Wi-Fi connectivity.
Aside from saving battery
life, passive Wi-Fi could also help
enable the Internet of Things, where
household devices and wearable sensors
communicate with very little power
usage. The technology could enable
entirely new types of communication
that have not been possible because
energy demands have outstripped
available power supplies.
Passive Wi-Fi Connects With Energy Efficiency
Daytona International Speedway