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Ice Bear 30 Hybrid Air Conditioner

Have you ever noticed in the rate section of your electric bill that you pay a significantly higher rate per kilowatt hour (kWh) during what the utility calls “peak hours”? If you are on a “Time-of-Use” rate the electric utility company charges you a premium per kWh consumed during hot summer days when everyone is using air conditioners and the demand for electricity is skyrocketing. This peak hour usage accounts for a majority of most peoples annual electric costs, depending on how much you use your air conditioners. Typically air conditioners are the largest load on your electric service, therefore commercializing an efficient air conditioner is the holy grail of energy efficiency. I have wrote about the GreenCore PV Powered Air Conditioner and the AC Sun solar thermal air conditioners in the past, although the Ice Energy‘s Ice Bear 30 Hybrid Air Conditioner uses Ice, the same type that comes out of our refrigerators as a storage method for cool air. The Ice Bear 30, is a piggy back unit that connects to most air conditioning systems and requires no modification to existing duct work or structure, Ice Bear hybrid A/C unit integrates seamlessly with the conventional 3-10 ton rooftop and split-system air conditioners that cool most light-commercial and residential buildings. Now this is the “cool” part, quite literally. The Ice Bear 30 stores cooling energy at night, when electricity generation is cheaper per kWh, cleaner and more abundant, by freezing water within an insulated storage tank to create and storing cooling capacity for the next day. During the day, the Ice Bear, using the energy stored the previous night to provide cooling by circulating chilled refrigerant from the tank to a modified evaporator coil within the conventional air conditioning system. Ice Energy already has Ice Bear 30 units successfully installed, the company is manufacturing product and setting up their distribution network, which is great to hear because most companies in the “smart air conditioning” space do not yet have a product to offer to the public. You maybe thinking, how is this post related to solar photovoltaic panels or solar energy in general. Well its always better to “Reduce then Produce” as a strategy to get the most out of your solar power system. Many times a solar power system will require too many panels to offset your total usage because your home or business is energy inefficient. Products such the Ice Bear 30 combined with a solar power array could be a very cost effective and reliable application of solar energy production and energy efficiency. What do you...

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Disinformation: Solar panels ‘take 100 years to pay back installation costs’

I was reading an interesting article today in The Independent, a United Kingdom publication. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), “Solar panels are one of the least cost-effective ways of combating climate change and will take 100 years to pay back their installation costs.” Rics published a new guide on energy efficiency, and stated that solar hot water or solar electric systems are unlikely to save a householder any money and solar energy is a poor investment overall for your pocketbook and the environment. In the case of Solar Hot Water to heat your household water, Rics estimated that the payback period on money saved on electricity and gas would have a payback period of more than 100 years and up to 208 years in their worst case. Rics estimated that Solar Electric Systems would break even in 50 to 100 years! Being a renewable energy professional, I’ve done and seen many of my co-workers do financial calculations and study put out by Rics is total disinformation! I have never seen payback periods that high with electric rates and gas prices shooting through the roof, actually the payback period on solar energy and wind power systems are breaking even much quicker rather then long as Rics claims. The study conducted by Rics is such a hit job for big energy, it’s not even funny how inaccurate their statements are, by spreading this type of propaganda it’s scaring potential consumers away from renewable energy. Rics did not factor any of the rebates and tax credits, they used old data for electric and gas rates and modeled the financial returns based on old solar energy technology, basically they ran the numbers in their favor for the study. So the real question is why are they afaird to publish a real story about the effectiveness of solar energy? What do they have to...

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Building Integrated photovoltaics is so cool!

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is when solar panels are actually designed into the facade of a building. Typically building integrated solar panel systems start off with an architect who draws the solar panels with the perfect orientation right into a building’s initial design. BIPV is completely different than retrofitting a building with solar panel, you can often tell by the aesthetics of a solar panel system in a BIPV building. The solar panels are flushed right into the building. Another example of BIPV is solar roofing shingles, which replace the shingles on your roof with ones that have solar cells embedded into them. MSK, a company which produces BIPV products have windows that produce electricity, how cool is that! A better way to understand BIPV is implementing solar cells into building materials we use in everyday construction. The building in the picture above is the CIS Tower in England and is a very delightful example of how the side of the building is designed to host solar panels which send the electricity produced right into the grid. The CIS building is turning a non-revenue producing asset (the side of a building) into an asset that can produce a return by integrating solar panels into their building design from the ground...

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Solar Power and Clean Energy as an Investment

Do you think of your car as an investment? Can it provide you a rate of return? Unless it’s a classic/vintage or limited production car, a newly purchased car depreciates most of its value right when a consumer drives it off the dealership lot. Purchasing solar energy on the other hand is a smart investment, because the home or business you attach solar panels to increases in value significantly. Solar Energy adds more value than adding a new room or expanding a warehouse. Solar Energy adds a large boost to the value of your home or business because it helps reduce your net operating cost to run the household or business. Producing your own clean green energy is the best way a home or business can fix in their energy costs for the life of the system. Since Solar energy systems have no movable parts the lifetime of solar panels are more than 30 years. The Appraisal Journal suggests that a home value increases by $20 for every $1 reduction in annual energy bills. For example, a solar energy system that saves a home owner $400 per year would add $8,000 to the value of the home. Solar Energy for a business can even add more value, depending on many factors, a business valuation professional can help a business entity figure out how much value a solar energy system would add to the business. In conclusion it makes total financial sense to go solar, even with an upfront cost because when a home or business is sold, the investment in a solar energy system provides a great return. In addition with this tough real estate market in the USA, realtors are reporting that homes with solar energy systems are in high demand, and these homes differentiate themselves in the real estate...

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Solar Energy protects you from inflation.

Isn’t it interesting that the US Government excludes food & energy inflation when calculating consumer price index (CPI) — the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households. Realistically the price for energy has been increasing on a yearly basis. Natural gas over the last 30 years in the residential sector was 7.54%. Electricity has been increasing 4-6% per year depending on where you live in the USA. Consumers who purchase a solar energy system, solar photovoltaic (electric) or solar thermal system (solar hot water) they are protecting themselves from inflation. Adding energy inflation to a solar energy financial analysis is a very important factor because only then you can see the true payback period of a solar energy system. Locking in the rate you pay for energy is one of the best investments you can make. The booming world population coupled with rapidly developing countries has created a global power play for energy resources, moving forward the cost of energy is predicted to skyrocket, will you have energy...

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