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Educate Yourself: Don’t Get Fooled by Renewable Energy Scammers

If you’re thinking about purchasing a solar or small-wind system, make sure you do your homework! There’s a good amount of work that goes into making such an important investment, such as doing research on your installer, knowing about the product they’re installing and, most importantly, understanding the rebates available to you as a proud producer of renewable electricity. There are an increasing number people overselling the benefits to solar and residential wind systems, so it’s extremely important that you know what you’re buying! Even worse – there are scammers out there trying to take advantage of this growing market. They’re looking to prey on uneducated, green-minded consumers, so don’t let yourself be one of them! You can help drive these people out of the industry by doing your due diligence. Earlier this summer, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) received numerous phone calls from buyers who had very large deposits for solar systems taken from them. In two of the cases, $40,000 was taken and in the most egregious case, over $105,000 was taken! Now instead of enjoying the benefits of solar, these people are mired down in legal battles to get their money back. Don’t let yourself get into a similar situation. There are a number of things to keep in mind when buying a renewable energy system for your home or business. Here are a few: – Make sure your installer is a licensed contractor. All installers need to be licensed by their respective state. You can simply call your State Contractor’s License Board or visit their website and search for the company doing the job. They will be able to give you everything you need to know about a company. – Know how much the contractor can legally take as a deposit. The cases mentioned above could have been avoided if the buyers knew that in California it is illegal for a contractor to take more than $1,000 for a deposit on a residential job. – Ask if your installer is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). You can go to their website and search for the installer’s name. NABCEP certification is not legally required, but it will show that the installer has had good training. – Compare at least two other quotes for an installation. – Request at least two references from the installer. – Know the various incentives that are available to you and how long it will realistically take to payback your investment. In some cases, sham solar companies are telling customers they will get a return on investment within 11 months! Unfortunately, that’s not going...

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Energy sources and The Grand Paradigm Shift

One of things came to my mind recently is what this renewable energy tipping point we are at is all about. It is about shifting out paradigm, the way we thing about energy. Paradigm shift is absolutely necessary for any serious change in our lifestyle and new ways energy distribution is definitely one of them. Look at old energy distribution to end consumers: it is centralized. Nuclear plants, oil refineries, any other way of collecting energy widely used these days around the world is pretty much centralized. This causes huge loses on transportation. But even worse, it causes greater dependence on providers than it could be with decentralized organization. Solar panels, wind turbines, building-integrated PV panels and other smaller energy sources decentralize the system and makes us less dependent on specific supplier (which is in case of Western world is governments and their agreements with Middle Asian partners). So far in the US rapid growth of clean energy usage is slowed by variety of legislations that are very good for those having a stake in oil and nuclear plants business. And some people even think it is ok. They refuse to shift paradigm. But time will change this. Just how telephones and Internet did. You already can charge your iPod outdoors not having an access to outlet. And our future generation is where iPods are, right? Decentralization means control to more people. Control to more people means less corruption and speculation. Decentralization first came with Internet invention in 1980s and continues to spread. It changes our lifestyle slowly. Don’t worry about this paradigm shift. This is only good for...

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How to charge your iPod outdoors or just without an outlet

When you enjoy your time outdoors, handlets and gadgets like iPod, iPhone, Blackberry or any other cell phone or music player may discharge and leave you frustrated. Sure, time alone may be what you need but sometimes it’s music and friend calls. Solar cells technology of today made it possible to charge your iPod, iPhone or any other small portable device using nothing but energy from the Sun. Bags with embedded solar panels can completely charge up your iPod using energy from the Sun in 4 hours. It is available online for just $220. In a year or two we definitely will have solar cells efficient and cheap enough to charge our laptops without even plugging them into outlets. Today we already have them but they are pretty expensive. How cool is...

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