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What’s in a Gigawatt?
Mar11

What’s in a Gigawatt?

In the power industry, the word “gigawatts” is thrown around like confetti during New Years. But if you’re like most people, you might only have a vague idea about what a gigawatt actually is. And, if we’re being honest, mostly likely the only reference for that power measurement is a mad scientist named Doc:   So let’s set the record straight and unravel the mystery of gigawatts…besides 1.21 of them being able to launch a 1988 Delorean back to the future.   Starting with the latin root “giga” we can deduce that: 1 gigawatt (gw) = 1 million kilowatts (kw) = 100 million watts (w)   One gigawatt also happens to power about 700,000 homes a day, each consuming a monthly average of about 911 kw according to the US Energy Information Association. To produce this much energy with coal takes about 4.7 tons of the stuff–about the same weight as an adult elephant. Luckily for us, people have stopped ignoring this dirty elephant in the room and are harnessing the cleaner and more affordable energy of the sun. In 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association calculated the United States reached a total of 24.1 gigawatts of installed solar capacity. 24.1 Gigawatts! That’s enough energy to send Doc through the space time continuum 19 times. To put things in perspective, the US Energy Information Administration says the average nuclear reactor in the United States produces between 11,000 to 100,000 Megawatts of energy per a day. A facility like the Hoover Dam produces between 1 to 2 gigawatts of energy per a day depending on its water level (which has become increasingly low). US Bureau of Reclamation And about 5,000 hamsters running on a wheel will produce enough energy to power the average...

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Is the 60W lightbulb illegal?
Jan03

Is the 60W lightbulb illegal?

Beginning 2014, Federal Efficiency Standards Outlaw the Production of “old-school” 40 and 60 Watt Incandescent Lamps About 6 out of 10 Americans don’t know that traditional incandescent lamps are being phased out. [1] As of January 1st, 2014, it goes against Federal law to manufacture one of these old things… This federal regulation was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, banning the production and importation of 40 and 60 Watt incandescent lamps.  Over the last several years, 100W and 75W incandescent were also phased out. About a third of consumers plan to stock up on these 60W incandescent lamps while they’re available in stores. Others will reach for halogen or compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). What about LEDs? More frequently referred to as LEDs, Light Emitting Diodes are small digital light bulbs that fit into an electrical circuit board and produce light when the correct voltage is applied to them. An LED light source comparable to a 60W incandescent lamp might be around 12.5 Watts. LEDs generally have a higher price tag, but they can actually save you money over time. Not only does an LED light source consume far less energy than a 60W lightbulb, the lifespan of this solid-state technology goes far beyond that of traditional incandescent lamps.  Most LEDs will last at least 10 years and some will last a couple decades. LED lighting is available in different wavelengths, meaning that they’re now offered in a wide range color temperatures like cool “daylight” colors and cozy orange colors you’d expect to come from an incandescent bulb. The infographic below compares Incandescent Lamps with CFL and LED lighting. [1]...

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Cook local food this Thanksgiving! Infographic
Nov27

Cook local food this Thanksgiving! Infographic

Please go green this Thanksgiving by  purchasing food that’s grown locally. Not only will you be supporting local farmers and businesses, but it’s better for the environment because it uses less energy to transport the food to your Thanksgiving table. Get exclusive Black Friday offers when you sign up for our newsletter.   Just enter your email address to the right where it says “Receive solar news, expert tips, and special discounts!”    ...

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Top Tips to Save Energy Around the House
Sep16

Top Tips to Save Energy Around the House

Likely it’s not a stretch to say you would appreciate a lower energy bill every month. You probably already engage in a variety of energy-saving practices, such as turning off the lights when not in use and hollering at your kids to stop staring blank-faced into an open refrigerator, waiting for some new options to magically appear. But, as conscious as you are, you may not know what appliances and electronics are costing you the most. The appliances that use the most energy on a ratio scale may surprise you. According to Energy.gov, your laptop only uses about 50 kilowatts per hour, while your 61-inch flat screen uses around 170, and your washer uses about 500. Meanwhile, a furnace fan, whether it is blowing heated air through your ducts or conditioned air, accounts for 12 percent of the average American’s annual residential energy costs. The biggest hogs of energy consumption are your water heater, clothes dryer and dishwasher, which use 5,500, 5,000 and 2,400 kilowatts per hour, respectively. To put that into perspective, you can wash clothes for 10 hours on the same amount of energy you use when running your dryer for one. Take These Steps While it requires extra work and may feel less luxurious, a few simple adjustments can save you a bundle of cash. Use a clothes line. According to consumerenergycenter.org, the average annual cost of running a clothes dryer is $85. Wash in cold water. The North Shore Gas Company reports that by washing your clothes using the cold-cold wash/rinse cycles, you can save up to $150 per year. Moderate home temperatures. Draw the blinds in your home on hot days, lower your air conditioner’s fan speed and keep all the filters and registers clean. Porky Little Energy Bandits National Geographic Daily News reported in August that there are three energy hogs lurking in your home that leech electricity from the grid even when you aren’t using them. N.G. reports that there are six primary energy bandits that you probably aren’t even aware of: Set-Top Boxes – Not only do they deliver cable or satellite TV into your home and tell you what time it is, set-top boxes function like computers and constantly communicate with remote content sources even when they (and your television) are off. Visit bundle.tv and other satellite providers to see what kind of boxes with energy-saving features are available. Microwaves – These appliances continue to sap energy off the line even when they aren’t in use in order to power the clock and the electronic push button controls. An Appliance Standards Awareness Project study found that the average microwave is...

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Summer vs. Winter: Energy Consumption Infographic
Aug30
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