Tag Archives for " solar "

What Do I Need to Know When Buying a House with Solar Panels?

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Buying a house with solar panels already installed is a relatively new phenomenon. Read on to find out if it’s really worth it.

When you’re shopping for a new home, you probably have a checklist of things to do. First, you walk through the home to see if it fits your lifestyle. Next, you have your real estate agent run comps to make sure it’s a good deal. Lastly, you hire an inspector to check out the house and make sure everything is working well.

Buying a house with solar panels is no different. You need to know if the installation fits your lifestyle (more on that later) and if it makes financial sense for you to purchase, both in the short and long-term.Continue reading

Solar Energy Definition

Solar energy is energy produced by the sun. This energy leaves the sun as electromagnetic radiation, in a form we call solar radiation or solar irradiance.

About 30% of this radiation is reflected by our atmosphere back into space. The rest is absorbed by our oceans, land, and atmosphere. Different areas of the world see different levels of solar irradiance and, in the United States, the desert southwest sees very high levels.

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Saltwater Battery: One Day You’ll Store your Solar in Saltwater

salt water battery

A clean and simple saltwater battery is the 2015 winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize.

This game changing energy storage was invented by Carnegie Mellon professor of materials science Dr. Jay Whitacre who founded Aquion Energy in 2008 to produce the Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) battery – AKA the saltwater battery.

So what makes this battery different? Because it uses readily available saltwater, the material is abundant and easily sourced. It is cheap, and clean, and lasts longer than current batteries.

State-of-the-art batteries that are being designed today for energy storage, or for the grid, are lithium-ion batteries, but according to Whitacre, if lithium-ion batteries had to increase their cycle lifetime long enough to compete with his saltwater battery, they would cost significantly more.

Saltwater batteries also cannot explode or catch fire. “They are full of water,” he said. “And when they dry out, they are fire-retardant.”

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Sell Kilowatt Hours from your Solar Roof? One Day You’ll Sell Kilovars too!

Solar Homes

In California, a big change is about to happen to the way energy is sold to the grid.

Currently, if you have solar on your roof, you likely have sized it smaller than your total needs for the year, because the utilities have not been too generous in paying you for your individual contribution to the supply of energy on the grid.

But a new arrangement is about to start in California, and if you plan to go solar, you should know how this will work.

CA-ISO, the California Independent System Operator is getting ready to allow anyone who aggregates a bunch of distributed solar roofs together, to sell that power into the energy market.

Till now, the utilities and the ISO have not been able to “see” how much distributed solar is out there behind the meter. All they see is its “shadow”; the reduction in demand on the grid. But if it could be made visible, it could be used positively as a grid asset like a power plant.

So, instead of tracking all the solar roofs and electric vehicles and batteries individually, it is going to allow third parties — whether utilities or private companies — to aggregate them into virtual power plants of at least a half megawatt.

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Jerry Brown: 50% of California Energy Renewable by 2030

California Governor Jerry Brown vowed on Monday, January 5, to see to it that California’s energy sources would be 50 percent renewable by 2030. In California, this means largely solar energy.

Brown, who is now in his fourth non-consecutive term as California’s top administrator, is a politician par excellence. In addition to his popularity as governor, Brown has also served as California’s Secretary of State, chair of the California Democratic Party, the Mayor of Oakland, and the state’s Attorney General.Continue reading

Drone Surveillance Takes On Utility Scale Solar

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Unmanned drones prove effective quality-control for utility-scale clean-tech projects.

When we think of large-scale quality control, or QC, we visualize engineers in hardhats with clipboards walking around a field of solar panels, for example. That image is rapidly becoming outdated, and one only need look to the skies to find out why.

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