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Future dim for home solar incentives in Maine
Sep19

Future dim for home solar incentives in Maine

Maine homeowners contemplating converting to solar just got more motivation to make the change sooner rather than later, following a new proposal, which hopes to phase out state funded solar incentives over the next decade.   The good news is that current solar homeowners and those who manage to make the switch and get grandfathered into their rates before the proposal is voted on, will retain their net metering benefits for the next 15 years.       The Main Public Utilities Commission (PUC) proposed the solar incentive change at a state commission hearing on Sept 13, claiming that since solar energy powers about 1 percent of the state’s usage it’s time to reconsider the decades old program   According to the Portland Press Herald the PUC’s plan is to cut compensation for homeowners that aren’t grandfathered into the old rates by 10 percent a year for a decade until homeowners will shoulder the costs of solar themselves, without any net metering or other state benefits.   Compared to an alternative plan sought by Maine’s Republican Governor LePage, the PUC’s timeline is viewed as much more lenient. Earlier this year, LePage’s office filed a recommendation to phase out benefits for solar homeowners over the next three years.   The PUC’s recent proposal comes as a starting point for reopening compensation discussions regarding Maine’s solar market. Later this year, new legislation is scheduled to be discussed regarding how new incentive models might help stimulate solar growth in the state, while also alleviating some the financial burden from its power company.   The recent discussions on solar incentives in Maine is indicative of the trends in the rest of the New England region. According to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University, nearly two thirds of the states with net metering policies are reconsidering them, with seven looking to impose caps on net metering capacity....

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The New ElectroLighter™ Sparks Excitement!
Sep08

The New ElectroLighter™ Sparks Excitement!

The creators of the world’s most powerful portable solar charger, SunJack, just released the ElectroLighter™ – a USB rechargeable flameless fire-starter. Placentia, CA (PRWEB) August 18, 2016   Since Carl Auer Von Welsback first patented ferrocerium in 1903, not much has changed in the way of handheld lighters–until today. SunJack’s latest product release of its ElectroLighter™ is the next evolution of handheld fire starting devices. The ElectroLighter™ is wind resistant, waterproof and, like all of SunJack’s products, can be fueled entirely by the sun. “We decided to add the ElectroLighter™ to our product line because the ability to create fire is essential to human life.” says Harold Tan, CMO. “Our products appeal to campers, disaster preppers, and developing communities, and they can all benefit from an effective, renewable fire-starter in their arsenal.” This lighter is the stuff of sci-fi fantasies–emitting a high-pitched laser hum as an electrical current arcs across a dual cross-heat-X-beam. The ElectroLighter™ is USB charged and can power up in less than an hour directly from any SunJack Panel, PowerBank, or USB power source with an output of 5 Volts-DC and current above 300mAh. A fully charged ElectroLighter™ can last up to 80 presses. When the ElectroLighter™ is fully charged, a built in intelligent circuit indicator lights up and turns off charging to save its battery life. The SunJack solar panel can fully charge the ElectroLighter™ from the sun’s energy–making the ElectroLighter™ and its SunJack accessories ideal for travel, outdoor adventures and emergency usage. The ElectroLighter™ is compact and slim, easily fitting in the palm of your hand or in your pocket measuring in at 4.75″ x 3.75″ x 1.25″ (12cm x 9.5cm x 3.2cm) and, like all of SunJack’s products comes with a no hassle one year warranty. Pursuing its mission to provide renewable energy independence to people around the world, SunJack launched in 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign, and donates solar and lighting solutions to people in developing countries in addition to powering first-world luxuries. The ElectroLighter™ retails for $29 from SunJack.com, Amazon.com, and various retailers across the nation. ABOUT SUNJACK GIGAWATT INC. DBA SUNJACK, develops solutions to help people stay powered. Since 2006, GigaWatt Inc has been distributing and installing solar for residential, commercial, and government customers. In 2014 SunJack was launched on Kickstarter to continue spreading the power of solar across the globe. For further information about SUNJACK and its products, please visit http://www.sunjack.com or call us at (888)...

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Case Study: SolarEdge7600 Energy Production
Jul21

Case Study: SolarEdge7600 Energy Production

A 10.2 kW system using the SolarEdge 7600 Inverter was evaluated to compare the actual production against the production estimates produced by the layout design tool. The system evaluated was commissioned to operate since February, so the production values were compared from February to June of the year 2016. The results show that the estimates are very close to the actual production values. The system produced about 3.5% more than the estimates show overall in the time period from February to June. The results also show that the system actually produces about 3.5% percent more overall than the estimates in the PV layouts. This shows that the estimates attained via the PVWatts government website through our design tool are indeed accurate. The case study also shows that the SolarEdge 7600 Inverter is capable of handling a 10 kW system.   Equipment: 40x Gigawatt 255W Solar Panels 40x SolarEdge P300 Power Optimizers 1x SolarEdge 7.6kW Inverter w/ Zigbee Wireless Monitoring Location: Camaloa Avenue,Lake View Terrace CA...

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5 Ways To Prepare For Solar
Jun16

5 Ways To Prepare For Solar

In the same way you’d tape off areas before painting a room, or stretch before running a marathon, there’s some steps you can take to prepare your house before switching to solar.     X2 check permitting guidelines   Often times the most difficult part of converting to solar is dealing with local regulations and permitting processes. Most city utility companies require the following documentation before installation can begin: Level 1 interconnection Application and Agreement for inverter-based generating systems Electrical diagram of proposed generating system Specifications of inverter Application for electrical service (if you’re going to use meters) If you’re the do-it-yourself type of person, perhaps the best place to spend money on outside help is on a solar design and permit service. Municipalities are not known for their speed, and a red-flagged permit takes longer to get through the second time than the first. Also, it makes sense that you know the rules before you play the game. In some cases you might even uncover hidden rebates or government incentives.     Make sure your roof can handle the weight   Consult with a building inspector or engineer to determine the maximum load that is safe to put on your roof. Solar arrays can be heavy, and the weight of these plus any racking systems and microinverters can add up. So think of this maximum load number as Gandolf…     …and make sure to tally up the weight of every item you install.   3) Check your roof’s condition Any repairs you’ll need to make to your roof after installation will require the removal of the solar panels. Make roof repairs before adopting solar energy and don’t cut corners on using the best materials. Saving a few dollars in the short run could end up costing you thousands down the road.   4) Plan your angle of attack In the northern hemisphere most panels are mounted on south-facing roofs to capture the maximum amount of sunlight. If you have a roof with an east or west orientation you or an installer will need to position the array at optimal angles. If it’s too flat it will collect water and if it’s too tilted you’ll miss out on precious rays of power. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy has helpful guidelines on how to optimally angle your array.   5) Build a Sun Cabinet Call it a utility storage nook or sun cabinet–we just like the fancy name–but build or designate a closed space to house all your solar equipment. Batteries, inverters, Balance of System (BOS) modules all help enhance a home’s...

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Why home solar works better than solar power plants
May27

Why home solar works better than solar power plants

If you’re thinking about making the switch to clean energy, but are waiting for a community solar farm to pop up in your area or a utility company to construct a massive project that harvests the sun, might want to think again.   But first, let’s talk about Blockbuster. Remember them? That blue and yellow chain of video rental stores that could be found in nearly every suburban neighborhood in the 90s?     Yeah, I barely do, either. And that’s because when the internet changed the way people consumed movies, the behemoth company stubbornly refused to shift its model of distribution.     With the conversion rates of people switching to solar becoming more common across the globe, we’ve begun to notice a similar flub on the part of large scale solar production plants.      While these grand undertakings are exponentially better for the environment than their carbon emitting alternatives, recent problems with such projects prove the energy source is much better suited to be captured by autonomous individuals than in concentrated areas on large tracts of land.   This past March a sector of Ivanpah, one of the world’s largest solar power plants, emphasized this point as it went up in flames.     With nearly 200,000 sets of focused mirrors superheating steam to generate electricity and tons of small moving parts, it was a difficult (and expensive) project to keep running smoothly. Add to this the sprawling 3,500 acres of land it takes to house the plant and you’ve racked up a bill costing nearly 20 cents per a kilowatt hour.   Photovoltaic home solar systems on the other hand are much more scalable, only require rooftops or backyards as necessary real estate and have the advantage of making electricity where it is used–reducing its kilowatt per hour cost down to 6 cents or less.   When it comes to solar, it’s not hard to imagine a future where the outdated energy production models of the 20th century have gone the way of Blockbuster, and the companies that come out on top are the ones that shift their thinking about how the public produces, access and consumes electricity....

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