How to Harness Solar Power in Your Backyard

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 10:32
Posted in category Renewables
Image credit: The Home Depot

Image credit: The Home Depot

What better place to use the clean, infinitely renewable energy that the sun provides than in your outdoor space? “Living green” now has more meanings than one. Solar power might seem like the obvious choice over greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, but we still have some hurdles to overcome. According to National Geographic, the sun beams enough energy onto Earth in one hour to satisfy global energy needs for a year. The big question here is how to efficiently harness all that energy.

Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy technology is essentially capturing the sun’s light and converting it into energy that we can use to power our homes, businesses, vehicles and more. We use panels made of solar cells that absorb photons from the sun’s rays and release usable electricity in the form of electrons. This effect was discovered in 1839, but first became available to the common citizen in the 1970s. Read the rest of this entry »

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    What’s New in the World of Renewables – India’s Floating Solar Panels

    Thursday, July 31, 2014 16:56

    floatingSolar

    It was 1985 when the first Tour de Sol, a Swiss rally for solar powered vehicles, ushered in a new era of design and innovation for solar energy use. Among the first of its kind, the contest challenged teams of students and engineers to use solar cells to propel their “racecars” through Swiss towns. Now, nearly 30 years later, similar competitions all over the world openly invite interested parties to engage with solar technology in ways that maintain the velocity of its innovation and implementation.

    American Sun Read the rest of this entry »

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      The Dirty Little Secret of The Electronic Era

      Friday, July 11, 2014 12:30

      Laptops, phones, mp3 players and other electronic gadgets have become staple commodities in today’s technological era.  Our need for new and improved electronic equipment that becomes obsolete in two or three years has spawned the fastest growing waste stream: e-waste.

       

      rsz_1dlsee_image_by_rayi_christian_w

       

      The Problem:

      In 2012 the world purchased 238.5 million televisions, 444.4 million computers and tablets and a staggering 1.75 billion cellphones. Back in 2008, Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council, estimated that in the USA alone we throw out 48 million computers and 100  every year. In fact, according to Sustainable Electronics Recycling International, the average US cellphone has a 22 month lifecycle. All these discarded electronics add up to 5-7million tons of ewaste every year from the USA alone. The volume of this electronic waste is expected to increase by 33% by 2020.

      What happens to all this obsolete technology? Read the rest of this entry »

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        What the New EPA Rule Means

        Friday, June 13, 2014 16:58
        Posted in category Renewables

        Coal_power_plant_Datteln_2_Crop1 Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by as much as 30% by 2030. While this regulation received heavy support from both environmental groups and industry professionals, this plan would have definite effects on several states, some more negative than others.

        Bad News, kids

        As would be expected, the coal industry and its supporters are in opposition of the proposal. Coal mining states like West Virginia have wasted no time in voicing their opinion. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R. W.Va) sent a letter to President Obama implying that the current proposal would be “catastrophic” and urging the President to abandon the proposal. The proposal has also caused a stir in Senate offices across the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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          Combating Carbon through the Clean Power Plan

          Tuesday, June 3, 2014 18:16
          Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

          Shatura_Steam_Power_PlantWith the direction and executive authority of President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released the Clean Power Plan, which cuts the carbon pollution from existing power plants that create 38% of the nation’s total carbon emissions. The plan is meant to cut carbon emission from the power sector nationwide by 30% below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year. The proposal is meant to protect public health and fight climate change, moving the nation towards a cleaner environment. The EPA, in its press release, proposes that this new plan will ‘sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation and create jobs’. Read the rest of this entry »

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            The Sun Sets on an Outdated Business Model

            Tuesday, May 20, 2014 13:41
            Posted in category Energy Efficiency, Renewables

            Solar Word Cloud

            We are beginning to see an increased sophistication of the business models in the residential solar sector. Historically, solar energy in the residential sector has largely been inaccessible to the everyman due to the high initial investment of purchasing and installing the panels.

            To combat this issue, solar manufacturers and installers, often separate companies themselves, connected homeowners with the available grants, loans and/or renewable energy financing firms. This initiative helped many homeowners realize that rooftop solar panels were affordable for them. Read the rest of this entry »

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              What is to become of the Investment Tax Credit?

              Monday, May 19, 2014 14:00
              Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

              cleanedison_ITC_Solar
              The Investment Tax Credit has been one of the major factors of growth for the solar energy industry since its establishment in 2006. The ITC is a 30% tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. Following its success, it has helped annual solar installation grow by over 1,600% since 2006. The ITC was given an eight year extension in 2008 until December 31st 2016, when it will drop to 10%. Many professionals are now wondering what will become of an industry that has been driven so much by incentives when these will be gone. Read the rest of this entry »

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                Beyond the Rooftop: Unconventional Applications of Solar Power

                Monday, May 12, 2014 11:30
                Posted in category Renewables

                The wide variety of solar technologies being developed by scientists and engineers is permitting the almost endless array of commercial applications that can be powered by the sun. Since solar technologies differ in terms of their energy conversion efficiency, cost effectiveness, weight, flexibility, durability under extreme weather conditions and unique balance of system requirements, the possibilities for developing marketable technologies using solar panels seems impossibly diverse. Three fascinating and unusual areas being explored by visionaries passionate about solar are aircrafts, wearable technologies, and public waste bins.

                Solar-Powered AircraftsSolar Powered Aircraft

                One of the most amazing technologies being built with solar panels is the zero-emission airplane. Believed to be years away in development, this technology is already in its infancy. Solar Impulse has developed an airplane that is entirely powered by solar energy. It has made successful flights all over the world and is scheduled to fly around the world (day and night) in 2015 as the first solar-powered airplane to achieve this monumental feat. Read the rest of this entry »

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                  The Solar Industry: Booming or Busting in a Lackluster Investment Environment?

                  Tuesday, April 29, 2014 15:03
                  Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

                  website_bild_gtr_3_1The decline in global investments in renewable energy isn’t as worrisome as it may seem, according to the 2014 Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report, released in early April. The report, produced by the Frankfurt School – United Nations Energy Program Collaborating Center, reveals that the falling cost of producing renewable energy technologies is a major part of the equation.  Read the rest of this entry »

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                    Fracking: Fracturing Maryland?

                    Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:19
                    Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

                    No FrackingThe case to ban fracking is growing more popular in a society that is becoming more environmentally aware. Fracking, technically known as hydraulic fracturing, is defined as the process in which “fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface are opened and widened by injecting chemicals and liquids at high pressure: used especially to extract natural gas or oil.” While fracking has its advantages, politics is strongly divided over this issue.

                    The state of Maryland faces a split in opinions over this energy source; Read the rest of this entry »

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