The 7 Successes of Solar

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:37
Posted in category Renewables


How the solar energy industry is becoming one of the most widely beneficial sectors in the country

New York Solar

Things are looking up for the solar energy industry. Its growth has skyrocketed over the past few years and is projected to endure. If current trends continue, solar will account for 10% of American electricity by 2022.
A diverse array of stakeholders is largely affected by this booming industry, from veterans to homeowners to that all-pervading stakeholder, the environment. To help understand the state of the industry and what’s on the horizon, here’s a list of the ways in which the solar energy industry is fast becoming one of the most valuable sectors in the nation. Read the rest of this entry »
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    The Era of Solar Energy

    Friday, January 24, 2014 9:14
    Posted in category Clean Energy Training, Renewables

    solar energyIn honor of “National Shout Out for Solar Day,” we couldn’t help but share our excitement about the burgeoning solar energy industry. Arguably the most limitless source of energy, solar has been used for everything from desalination of seawater to providing heat and electricity; and its future is looking bright. Read the rest of this entry »

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      How to Scale Rooftop Solar

      Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:00
      Posted in category Renewables

      Crowdsourcing Solar

      By Comly Wilson

      First the good news; in 2011 and 2010, total installed capacity of solar energy doubled, in 2012 there was more installed capacity through three quarters than all of 2011 combined. The average price of a solar panel has declined 58% since the beginning of 2011 and there are over 119,000 solar workers in the U.S., a 13.2% increase over 2011. Plus, the solar industry receives more venture capital than any other clean energy sector. There is good reason for excitement – the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that there is enough available rooftop area to support a combined 819 Terawatt hours (TWh) annually, which is equal to about 20% of total U.S. electricity demand.

      Still, solar accounts for less than 1% of electricity consumption in the United States. Despite the exponential growth of the industry, it has struggled to make real ground in the race against rising demand and carbon emissions. Furthermore, while the low prices (caused by over-supply) for solar panels has lead to more installations, it has meant tough times for manufacturers, which make up almost 50% of the solar workforce.

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        Pictures From Our Solar PV Class

        Thursday, November 8, 2012 14:24
        Posted in category Renewables

        The best part of this job is getting to know our students and helping them advance their own career as we work together to solve this country’s energy situation. Check out some pictures from some of our Solar PV Installation training courses.

        Solar PV Training

         

        Solar PanelsGrid TieSolar Training

         

         

         

         

         
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          5 Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Buying Solar

          Friday, November 2, 2012 11:54
          Posted in category Renewables

          Solar on a HomeThere is something undeniably appealing about having solar panels installed on your roof. They bring a sense of modernism, of independence and of environmentalism. The decision to go solar is an exciting one, but it should be done with the foresight of the pitfalls that others have made before you. If you go about the process correctly, you too can feel the thrill of seeing your electricity bill dwindle or, if you have an older energy meter, actually watching the meter go in reverse as you sell excess electricity to the grid!

           

          Mistake #1: Not Reducing Consumption Before Going Solar

          Solar is sexy, energy efficiency is not, that’s just the way it is. But if you are thinking of having solar panels installed on your house, you would be wise to reduce the amount of energy you use in the first place. A home energy audit by a certified professional (with a BPI Certification or HERS Rater certification) can identify where your biggest energy losses are and how to address them. Energy retrofits, smarter purchasing decisions and a few behavioral modifications can save you around 30% on your electricity bill. That makes a big difference when you end up making the purchase for your solar panels, possibly to the point of completely eliminating your electricity bill.

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            6 Common Mistakes of New Solar PV Installers

            Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:39
            Posted in category Renewables

            Solar InstallerOkay, so you’ve got some equipment, you’ve got some know-how and you are ready to get out there and become a solar installer. Sounds easy enough, I mean everyone is talking about it, right? Well yes, but before you start going onto people’s roofs and drawing high-voltage DC electricity from the sun, you should know the common mistakes that others (many others) have made before you. This is by no means a list of all the questions you will have, or problems you will run into, but it should help dispel some misconceptions you may have about solar energy.

            Mistake #1

            I learned that solar PV panels lose their efficiency as they get hotter, but I also know that solar thermal collectors use water heated by the sun for use in the home. I could just use the water to simultaneously cool the PV panels and then get heated for hot water use, I’m a genius!

            The Truth:

            I don’t blame anyone for thinking this, I know I did at first, as I’m sure 90% of people first learning about solar energy have. The truth is that the math doesn’t work out. In order for your hot water to be a sufficient for uses such a showering and washing dishes, it should be in the tank at 120° Fahrenheit, which means it would have to be 130°F on the roof and the solar panels would have to be 140°-150°F. This is a far cry from the optimal temperature of most solar PV brands at 77°F. So either you’ll be showering in cold water, or you’ll be waiting an awfully long time to get a return on those inefficient solar panels (which you’ll need to combat the 140° temperature outside)

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              IREC and Vote Solar Release 2012 Report Card

              Friday, October 12, 2012 10:16
              Posted in category Renewables

              Solar Interconnection

              Vote Solar Initiative and IREC released the 2012 findings of Freeing the Grid, a policy report that grades all 50 states on two key programs: net metering and interconnection procedures. Together, these policies empower American energy consumers to use rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables to meet their own electricity needs.

              Freeing the Grid is produced by IREC and Vote Solar in partnership with the North Carolina Solar Center, which manages the DSIRE database. Its grading methodology was also adopted for use in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, which aims to reduce the cost of going solar by 75% before the end of the decade.

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                Expert Series: how much electricity do solar panels generate?

                Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:27
                Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

                Michael Cafiero, instructor for our Solar Photovoltaic course, answers this week’s question: “Are solar panels worth it?  How much electricity do they generate, and at what cost?”

                 

                 

                Have a question you want to ask our clean energy experts?  Leave it in the comments, and we’ll answer it in a future edition of the CleanEdison Expert Series.

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                  The Best Solar PV Brands

                  Thursday, October 4, 2012 11:38
                  Posted in category Renewables

                  The fastest growing energy technology industry in the world, grid-connected solar photovolatics (PV), is growing nearly 50 percent in capacity each year, as costs fall, more workers are trained in solar installation and more consumers become educated about the new technology. According to a 2011 study by PVinsights’ market intelligence report, here are the Top 10 solar PV brands:

                  Solar Energy

                  Best Solar PV Brands:

                  1. Suntech (offices in 13 countries)
                  2. First Solar
                  3. Sungen Solar
                  4. Trina
                  5. Canadian Solar
                  6. Sharp
                  7. Sunpower
                  8. Hanwha Solar One
                  9. Jinko
                  10. REC

                   

                  The top global solar PV company, Suntech, is headquartered in China and is the world’s largest producer of solar panels across the world.

                  However, let’s take a look at some companies that are closer to home. Four of the solar PV companies established in the U.S. are First Solar, SunPower, Evergreen Power, and United Solar Ovonic (Uni-Solar).

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                    How to make a light bulb with a plastic bottle and bleach

                    Thursday, September 27, 2012 16:52
                    Posted in category Renewables

                    If you look around the neighborhood in Sao Paulo, Brazil from above, you may find a very interesting sight. Bottle tops poking out in the ceiling around the entire neighborhood. What are those bottles for?

                    In 2002, during an energy crisis and blackout, Alfredo Moser, an engineer in Brazil, discovered that he could escape from working in the dark by hanging water-filled bottles in the roof of his workshop. “On average, the bottles produce as much light as a 50 Watt incandescent bulb,” Electric Engineer Clivenor de Araujo Filho, says after he measured every bottle’s light intensity.

                    A solar bottle lamb is made by a 2-liter soda bottle with clean water, two lid-fulls of bleach and a camera film dispenser to protect the lid from the sun. The physics of the concept are straightforward: the bottles are placed in roofs – half outside, half inside – and their lower portions refract light like 60-Watt light bulb but without the need for a power source. A few drops of bleach serve to keep the water clear, clean and germ-free for years to come.

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