A typical 3kWp (kilo Watt-peak) solar system, which produces about 2 500 kWh of electricity annually, or the equivalent of two thirds of a typical American household`s consumption, will end up around $15 000. There is no doubt that purchasing solar panels turn off a lot of homeowners because of the high upfront costs and home insurance. In the last couple of years things have changed the situation for the better – Smart and creative financing models have been put in place to make solar power more affordable for Average Joe.
According to PV Solar Report, more than three out of four Californians prefer third-party-owned solar, which also happens to be the market share as of February 2012:
The same trend can be seen across the rest of the country as well – and it keeps growing. What are the different third-party-owned financing models that are available? › Continue reading
Almost everyone will want to have cheaper electricity which provides both an endless supply and is also good for the environment. A great way of achieving this is by purchasing and installing solar panels on your home; a great step towards reducing your carbon footprint.
Purchasing solar panels has become more and more popular within cities, villages and the suburbs alike; but there is still a vast majority of people reluctant to install their own, namely because they are not sure how installing solar panels may affect their insurance policy.
The largest misconception is that installing solar panels will increase the premium of a home insurance policy. Shopping around and comparing quotes will show that in most cases there will be no change to the cost of the policy and some insurance companies might even offer lower rates.
It is really important to have the solar panels installed properly, since shady construction work and installations might affect your right to make a claim. Always use a certified installer and a certified solar panel dealer. › Continue reading
Ask many people why they haven’t currently got solar panels and they’ll tell you that they’re waiting
for solar to become “affordable”, but without ever having researched it. Particularly over the last
12 months, the price of solar has come crashing down, and with many government incentives at
particularly high levels, now is a great time to think seriously about the investment.
Across the Pond, in the UK, it has just been announced that subsidies will have to be cut following
a 30% drop in the price of installed solar panels from April 2010 to December 2011. This change is
due to increasing competition in the number of solar installation companies, as well as increasing
competition among the manufacturers themselves.
The USA has a federal grant available of 30% of the installation costs. There are also extensive local
subsidies available. The hottest states for earning money with solar, at the moment, are California, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania, although it is worth a look at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to help find out what’s available where you live. Generally, solar panels should pay themselves off in about 10 years. › Continue reading
I generally type at about 65 WPM, and I like to think that this is a quite a bit faster than a typical computer user especially considering that I’ve never actually taken any typing classes. I amassed this WPM on nothing but experience, hooked to a glaring computer screen since the age of five or six (we didn’t have cable and I was easily amused). In spite of my proficiency at typing, I have nothing on the speed at which my friends text. Not yet anyways.
Like my computer experience, kids are now growing up with cell-phones, rapidly pounding out messages that I would’ve actually had to say out loud. Regardless of what can be said about how this might depersonalize our communication with each other, it is an incontrovertible fact that the world is marching along in this direction – steadily becoming more and more dependent on these small all-encompassing tools. I’ve answered surveys where I was asked about one technology without which I couldn’t survive, and without even second guessing myself, I had to say my cell phone. I can always find easily accessible computers, but when it comes to my cell phone, it stores all of my contacts along with my music, pictures, videos and even some reminders of important appointments. I can’t leave home without it charged. And I can only imagine how much more important they would than be to people who lead far busier lives than my own.
It follows than, that in such a world, emergency energy has the potential for substantial business. I myself can’t say how many times I’ve purchased Cellboost to recharge my phone after I had realized that I hadn’t recharged it the previous night. I’ve also found similar technology that relies on you plugging in AAA batteries and the like as a source of energy, a rechargeable substitute for the disposable Cellboost (which is itself not much more than smaller batteries packaged in plastic).
As we’re entering Spring, even in Seattle, we ought to start seeing a bit more sun. And nothing would show our gratitude for the change in weather than for us to actually harvest it’s potential with a solar charger.
Sold in a variety of makes and models, these little gadgets collect energy from the sun for your personal appliances. Be it a laptop, an I-Pod, or a cell phone, you can easily find a solar charger out there to match your needs, even essentially universal ones with a multitude of different plugs. One that’s caught my attention recently is the Solio Mono-i. The company boasts it’s compatibility with 3,200 devices, and also lists the other features typically found on a variety of such chargers.
Now you can be your own recharging station to all of your USB enabled devices. Cell phones, iPods, Kindles, GPS units, and just about any other hand-held electronic device can be charged by this renewable energy source.
A kinetic energy generator based on a wave energy converter, the nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator) can go with you anywhere and will recharge your devices as you walk, run, hike or bike. By harvesting vertical movements of your everyday activities, they state that it is “able to charge handheld mobile electronic devices at the same rate as a wall charger, which means most devices reach an 80% charge with just an hour of walking throughout the day.” Just think of how much additional energy you could create at the green gym!
Some other great features of the PEG:
- Generating 4 Watts outputted through a USB 2.0 standard plug
- Constructed out of anodized aluminum
- Measures 9 inches tall and weighs 9 ounces
- Produces renewable energy
- 100% recyclable
- Components made of recycled ABS material
- RoHS Compliant
- Does not contain a battery
I remember thinking that this would be a great idea back when i used to workout at the gym in college, and now someone actually did it! A gym where you create your own power during the workout. The Green MicroGym in Portland, Oregon is not your traditional gym, it is stocked with generators that are linked in to workout equipment so you actually power the studio (they estimate the equipment and solar panels will cover about 40% of the gyms’ operational energy). They are attempting to increase that number even further and have calculated a need of 240 hours per day on the equipment is needed to net a 100% self sustainable studio. They are not above offering incentives and will actually even pay you for every hour you work out with their burn and earn program.
The Team Dynamo and spin bikes are hooked in and collectively generate up to 350 watts continuous power, all of which is fed into the gyms power system or the local power grid. They are working on hooking the elliptical machines into the loop Even the ‘traditional’ workout equipment is eco-conscious with the SportsArt EcoPowr Treadmills using 30% less electricity than other models. The gym has a real energy conscious atmosphere, with solar panels, energy efficient fans to cool the gym, lighting, all of which is individual member controlled, so its off when not in use. All materials have been thought out with recycled rubber, marmoleum, and sustainable cork flooring, non-toxic cleaners and dual-flush toilets.
With 2800 square feet of space, with 4 rooms of cardio equipment, free weights, training equipment, and floor space for stretching, yoga and bosu, you should definitely check them out if you are in the Portland, Oregon area. Hopefully in 10 years all gyms will be this energy savvy.
Keep up with us on Twitter and RSS!
You can find us at: