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Will solar work in your state? (Infographic)
Jan17

Will solar work in your state? (Infographic)

Do photovoltaics(PV) really work outside of California?   When first looking into solar, it seems only natural to assume that solar panels will work best in hot areas. Contrary to this intuition, solar panels perform best in cool environments.   You’ll get the maximum yield from your PV system when direct sunlight is hitting your array, but solar panels continue to generate electricity with ambient sunlight on cloudy days. Tip: monocrystalline solar panels are known to be more efficient in low-light conditions than polycrystalline solar panels. Rain can also rinse off “soiling,” or the dirt and dust that builds up on solar panels, making them operate more efficiently. Some areas also have rewarding “net metering” policies that credit you for the the energy your PV system generates on those clear days.  It’s fed into the electricity grid and later used to offset your energy consumption (kWh) on cloudy days or at night when you’re drawing from the utility grid.   To learn more about grid-tied PV systems, read Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar 101. With the installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems declining, investing in clean energy is more cost-effective than ever.  Solar is even saving homeowners money in cloudier cities like Seattle and Portland. Solar is steadily appearing on more rooftops throughout the country- which U.S. cities have you noticed more PV systems being installed?...

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Surface area needed to power the world with solar?
Dec30

Surface area needed to power the world with solar?

How much surface area would be needed to power the whole world with solar panels? 496,805 Square kilometers or 191,817.483 square miles Just to give you an idea of what this would actually look like, take a look at the image below. This info-graphic shows the cumulative surface area required to power the entire planet with solar in 2030 (678 quadrillion BTU), given that solar panels will have 20% operating efficiencies.  This includes all electrical consumption, down to machinery and...

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Summer vs. Winter: Energy Consumption Infographic
Aug30
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Follow Germany’s Lead: Streamlined Permitting
Aug08

Follow Germany’s Lead: Streamlined Permitting

Germany, a leader in renewable energy, recently set a world record when it produced 22 GW of power on May 26th, 2012. At that point in time, half of the country’s electricity was generated from solar. Germany’s currently capacity for solar energy reaches about 28 GW and the country aims to reach 66GW by 2030. By the end of 2011, Germany had about 21.6 times more solar power installations per capita than the United States. Why is it that Germany, which has a much lower level of solar radiation than the United States, proportionally dwarfs the U.S. when it comes to solar installations? What is Germany doing differently? In addition to creating rewarding financial incentives for residential solar, such as their well-known Feed-in Tariff, the streamlined permitting process in Germany has given way to widespread adoption of solar energy. Germany has successfully scaled basic design and installation processes, driving down the cost and wait-time associated with residential solar. Moreover, the country has actually eliminated permitting for standard residential solar, which is part of the reason residential solar is so prominent in the country. Standardizing permitting and installation procedures to streamline these processes has helped make Germany a world leader in solar energy. In Germany, it’s not uncommon for a person to contact a solar company and have a system on their roof in less than a week- sometimes in a few days. Meanwhile, in the United States, customers frequently find themselves forking over hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in fees, undergoing a series of unnecessary inspections, and waiting weeks to have standard photovoltaic systems installed on their homes. The United States needs to follow Germany’s lead by streamlining the permitting process for standard residential solar applications. This would make residential solar considerably easier, cheaper, and more convenient for consumers in the United States. #DOE #SolarABCs Permitting in the United States: Though the price of solar products is decreasing and solar adoption is steadily increasing in the United States, the costly, inefficient permitting processes are a burden to the buyer and impede progress of the solar industry at large. Before installing a residential solar system, a permit must be obtained from the local Authority Having Jurisdiction, also known as an AHJ. Typically, permit applications for standard residential solar installations must be submitted to the AHJ in person. SunRun recommends a standard online application for solar permitting, which would drastically simplify the process. It would be much more efficient if all AHJs utilized a standard web-based application to streamline this process. This permitting processes varies too much across geographical location. This inconsistency between AHJs breeds a series of avoidable obstacles...

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Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar 101
Jun28

Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar 101

Will I need batteries for my solar system?  How much does it cost to go completely off the grid? Let’s take a look at main differences is between a “grid-tied” solar system and the less common “off-grid” solar system. Grid-tied Solar Most photovoltaic (PV) systems are connected to the utility grid, hence the name “grid-tied.”  When your solar system is connected to the grid, you still have access to energy after dark without batteries.  Your grid-tied system simply pulls the electricity you need from the utility grid.   Here’s how it works:   A group of solar panels, known as the array, generate direct current (DC) electricity.  An inverter changes the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the grid-quality electricity that comes from the power outlets in your home. When the grid-tied system produces more energy than your home is consuming, the excess electricity is sent into the utility grid, spinning your meter backwards as credit toward your next electricity bill.  When your load requirements exceed the electricity being produced by your photovoltaic (PV) system, your home will draw electricity from the grid.  This is called net metering. Grid-tie solar systems are a cost-effective way to reduce your net energy consumption. Grid-tied solar systems are ideal for those whose utility provider bill them according to a tiered rate structure –  where rates you pay are higher when you’re consuming more energy (kWh). Grid-tied solar gets you out of the higher tiers on your electric bill to save you money. If you need help designing a grid-tied solar system, request a no obligation quote today. Will I still have power during a blackout? Not with a grid-tied PV system.  You’ll still experience blackouts when the power goes out in your neighborhood because your are connected to the utility grid.  Sending electricity into the grid during a power outage would be especially dangerous if the utility company has workers repairing power lines. For most people, a power outage here and there isn’t too much of a concern.  Just keep your refrigerator closed and charge your iPhone with a JOOS Orange Portable Solar Charger. But what about Armageddon? Or the zombie apocalypse?! I’ll need power to fight off the living dead! If you live in an area that is plagued by frequent blackouts, hurricanes, or maybe the living dead chewing on power-lines, battery backup may be an option for you. Keep in mind, battery backup is for critical loads, or the appliances that are imperative to survival.  So you really can’t blast the AC and leave the television running 24/7 in the aftermath of a natural disaster. In most cases,...

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USA Today Features GoGreenSolar Customer’s Dream Home!

GoGreenSolar.com customers Philippe and Thao Jeanty have received national attention after purchasing a 9.4 kW solar system with GoGreenSolar.com.  The couple from Tennessee was recently featured on USAToday.com. and mentioned in the New York Times.  Here’s their story. Philippe Jeanty is a radiologist in Nashville, Tenneessee, though he was actually born in Congo and lived in Belgium for some time.  Philippe lives with his wife Thao, who grew up in Vietnam. Philippe made a trip to the United States in the late seventies, where became interested in energy efficiency.   This curiosity eventually became the driving force behind the development of the couple’s sustainable dream home that most clean energy enthusiasts will only passively dream of.   Their home now has geothermal heating and cooling, it’s own drip irrigation system to water their garden, solar hot water heating, and a photovolatic (PV) system. Philippe he received help from a local solar guru with the photovoltaic (PV) installation, but he designed the plans for his home with an application called Google SketchUp.  Philippe bypassed the typical method of hiring an architect, allowing him to channel his DIY work ethic.  The SkechUp plans were converted to blueprints by Scott Jenkins, and the house was built by Green Homes (Johnny and Travis Johnson). Local springs supply the couple with usable water for their quaint farm. Their home is even set up with a drip-irrigation system to water their orchard and garden!  To heat their water, they make use of an evacuated tube solar heating system by Apricus.  According to Philippe, the water heater produces an excess of hot water in the summer.  “We have to flush out some hot water from time to time,” comments Philippe.   The interior of the home is equipped with LED lighting and clerestory windows that provide great light in the summer with no insolation.  They oriented the house on an East-West axis to get the best insolation possible.  South-facing windows are shaded during the summer months by the roof overhang, and are fully insolated during the winter to help passively warm the house.  In addition to designing the home for passive solar, the six and a half inch walls are insultated with a corn-based spray foam. They have also installed a geothermal heating and cooling system under their hickory wood floors, which they haven’t had to use the past three winters, even with outside temperatures of five degrees Fahrenheit! Philippe and Thao held onto wood, windows, bathroom fixtures, and just about anything from their previous home that could be repurposed.  By collecting fallen trees on the property for their wood-burning stove, Philippe and Thao keep their home toasty during the winter months.   Wood that was once part of their old house...

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