Storing Solar Energy in Water with Pumped Hydro Storage

pumped-hydro-storage-for-solar

Does it make sense to use pumped hydro storage for solar energy?

If you’re like the majority of people, the idea of storing solar energy in water sounds confusing and virtually impossible. Who has ever heard of pumped hydro storage for solar before? Yet “energy storage” is the renewable industry’s latest buzz phrase, and it is changing at a rate faster than anyone but those designing it can keep up with.

“But why should I care about storage?” you ask. Great question! At the end of the day, it’s about how much money you want to keep in your wallet. Our ability to store energy more effectively will directly impact the price you pay for your electricity.

Continue reading

Are Solar Panels Dangerous for Firefighters?

Are-solar-panels-dangerous-for-firefighters

Solar energy is good for the planet, but are solar panels dangerous for firefighters?

Solar panels are a great way to ameliorate the harmful effects of climate change, lower our household energy costs and decrease nonrenewable energy dependence. But is there a downside to all this cheap energy – are solar panels dangerous for firefighters?

Solar panels, typically installed on the roof, are rigid and produce electricity (obviously), potentially making the area unsafe in an emergency situation and threatening firefighters’ ability to respond in a timely fashion. Many governments and first responder organizations have cast a spotlight on this difficult issue.

How do we reduce climate change without creating a hazard for ourselves and first responders?

Continue reading

2017 Guide to California Solar Rebates: What Are They and Who Offers Them?

california-solar-rebates

As of early 2017, 10 utilities in California still offer solar rebates.

The golden age of California solar rebates – the time when homeowners could walk away with $2.50/watt from their utility just for installing solar on their roof – is long gone. Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, pretty much any homeowner could get some fantastic rebates for going solar. It didn’t matter what utility you had – you could easily get thousands for your mid-sized solar installation.

Today, just 10 mostly small utilities offer rebates for solar installations. You might be wondering what happened? Did we go wrong somewhere? Do we no longer value solar?Continue reading

Alabama Solar – Everything You Need to Know

alabama-solar

Information about Solar Panels in Alabama

Alabama solar would be a great option if only the state would be a little (okay, a lot) more supportive. It’s got sunny skies and fairly high electricity costs (at least when compared to some of its neighbors), but unlike many other states, it seems like Alabama is actively trying to discourage solar!

There’s no net metering, third-party ownership of Alabama solar is actually banned, and residents are eligible for only scant incentives. Unlike other states with burgeoning solar industries, there’s no promise of solar savings here. You’ll need to do your homework, study your savings and financial estimates, and install as cheaply as possible.

Thankfully, once your panels are up and running, you will actually be producing quite a bit of electricity thanks to Alabama’s great sunlight, but saving money will be a struggle.

Below, we’ve got all the info you need for going solar in Alabama, including savings estimates, as well as info on financing, solar policy, and available incentives.

Continue reading

What is the Paris Agreement and Why Did Trump Leave It?

Paris-agreement

The Paris Agreement – what is it and why did Trump back out of it?

As we’ve all heard, Trump officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement on June 1st, 2017. Many have lambasted the president for the somewhat sudden move, but what exactly is the agreement and why did the US leave just 8 months after Obama signed it?

Continue reading

What Exactly Is Active vs Passive Solar?

active vs passive solar

The difference between active vs passive solar can get confusing.

All over the country, people are installing solar panels on their roofs to produce their own electricity and save some cash. In fact, residential solar grew about 1,250% from 2010 to 2016 – talk about an explosion! But this wasn’t the first solar explosion. 40 years ago, there was a huge explosion in solar as well.

Back in the late 1970s, at the height of the oil crises, renewable energy was in. President Carter installed thermal solar panels on the White House, the first federally-sponsored renewable energy lab was founded, and both the federal and local governments were actually handing out financial incentives for solar panels.

But it wasn’t the electricity-producing solar panels we so frequently see today that they were subsidizing. They were actually thermal solar panels, which harness the sunlight’s heat to preheat water for home use. Even now, driving throughout the west, you’ll see old thermal solar panels dotting roofs, either pumping away hot water or rusting away as a reminder of those times.Continue reading

How to Make a DIY Pool Heater

diy-pool-heater

A comprehensive guide to building your own DIY solar pool heater.

Owning a pool can be quite expensive, between all the chemicals, equipment, upkeep, and heating. In fact, heating alone can cause your swimming pool budget to balloon pretty quickly. A DIY pool heater powered by the sun could make these expenses less challenging, so read on to find out how you can create one yourself.

Continue reading

Rhode Island Solar – Everything You Need to Know

rhode-island-solar

Information about Solar Panels in Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the Union, but there are some very big reasons why Rhode Island solar can be a big hit for you. Between the grant program, federal tax credit, and some absolutely insane performance payments offered in the state, there is more than enough here to make a strong financial argument for getting over the pre-solar jitters. The performance payments alone can total around $5,000 in savings over time! It is clear that the state government strongly endorses both current and future solar in the state, and Rhode Island homeowners enjoy some of the highest solar savings in the country!

Read on to find out more about how you could save a lot of money while positively impacting the environment at the same time!

Continue reading

Problems with Solar Energy – Why Solar Hasn’t Taken Over the World (Yet)

problems-with-solar-energy

Why are we experiencing problems with solar energy?

If solar is so absolutely great, and we’re hurtling towards a climate catastrophe, why does it only power about 2% of the world? If it’s the panacea to our problems, why aren’t solar panels adorning rooftops the world over? What are the causes behind the problems with solar energy that we face?

To answer such questions, we at UnderstandSolar have dug into the facts and present the fruits of our labor below – an unfortunate tale of G20 hypocrisy, the Concorde fallacy (find out what this is later), and the sobering fact that we still need fossil fuels to power our planet (at least for now).

Continue reading

Louisiana Solar – Everything You Need to Know

louisiana-solar

Information about Solar Panels in Louisiana

To anyone seriously considering Louisiana solar, we're going to come right out and say that it is a challenging landscape to make a good return on your investment here. Policy in this state has been very generous in the past, but due to retroactive caps placed on their best incentive, many people are finding it difficult to make a choice to go solar.

In Louisiana, your desire for solar power must be strongly motivated by helping to save the environment and provide renewable energy for yourself to move away from using fossil fuels.

Continue reading
1 2 3 41