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Solar Energy, Electrons Sold Separately?
Dec21

Solar Energy, Electrons Sold Separately?

Introduction to Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), commonly referred to as “Green Tags,” help states meet their Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and other renewable energy mandates.  As state RPS requirements call for utilities to procure specific percentages of the energy they provide from renewable sources, RECs are gaining traction as a convenient opportunity.  This post will provide a brief introduction to RECs are and how they can be used.   Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) A Renewable Energy Certificate, also known as an REC, is the legal ownership of the “clean” qualities of 1 MWh of electricity that’s generated from renewable energy sources.   When electricity is generated by a qualified renewable source like solar, something really cool happens.  Two commodities are generated:  the electricity itself and the clean qualities of that electricity.   Electrons are the same whether they’re produced by photovoltaics or fossil fuels, so the electrons from the renewable source can be sold just like any other electricity.  The rights to the properties associated with this generation, however, can sometimes be traded independently.  This is where Renewable Energy Certificates come into play. One REC is equal to 1 MWh, or 1000kWh of the clean characteristics of electricity that’s produced by the renewable source.   In the case of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs, this would be the “solar” attribute of the electricity generated by the solar panels.    A clean energy provider receives one REC for each MWh that their facility produces, which they can then sell.   After purchasing an REC, these clean characteristics can be legally claimed by the purchasing party.  RECs basically allow the customer to acquire the environmental benefits of renewable energy in measurable quantities.    Though the ownership of these certificates is tracked by renewable energy tracking systems such as M-RETS (Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System) and/or WREGIS (Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System), the qualities associated with RECs are intangible so they don’t have to be restricted by geographical location in the same way as the actual electricity.  The clean qualities of the REC will sometimes have to be bundled with the actual electricity, but in theory they don’t necessarily need to be.  The extent to which RECs transcend these physical limits does depend on legislation, but we’ll see how REC markets play out with legislation in the coming years. In renewable energy certificate markets, facilities are used to keep track of the certificates. Every MWh that is generated is given an identification number so it cannot be used twice or by more than one party.  After a certificate is claimed by its rightful owner, is considered to be “retired” and cannot...

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Send Power Directly into Your AC Outlet
Nov30

Send Power Directly into Your AC Outlet

GoGreenSolar.com is proud to present our original product, the SunPlug Plug n’ Play Solar Kit. This all-in-one unit is comprised of a 235 watt solar panel, a micro-inverter, and a racking frame that gives you the option of easily placing the SunPlug on the lawn, deck or anywhere else the sun shines, rather than being permanently installed on the roof. Simply place the kit in the sun (ideally facing South), plug into a standard 110 volt outlet, and the SunPlug will immediately start generating power that is sent back into the grid, off-setting a portion of your electricity usage with clean, renewable energy. SunPlug, the new plug and play solar kit from GoGreenSolar.com The SunPlug is incredibly easy to use, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t still have questions about it! Below you will find a list of answers to common questions about this kit. The most pertinent questions have been included, but feel free to leave additional questions in the comments and we’ll get them answered post-haste! Q: Will my meter spin backwards when the SunPlug is in use? A: Before answering this, it should be noted that most electricity meters that spin to record usage are being replaced with digital smart meters that have no moving parts. So if you have a smart meter that is “spinning backwards,” you would see an arrow pointing left to indicate that your kilowatt-hours (kWh) are being reduced because more electricity is being sent back to the grid than the home is using. That being said, one SunPlug will not generate more electricity than what the home is using. For example, if your home uses 1 kWh every hour and you’re using one SunPlug that offsets .235 kWh (235 Watts per hour) for every hour that it receives peak sunlight, then in that hour your home’s net energy usage will be .765 kWh. Keep in mind that solar panels really only produce significant amounts of energy during peak sunlight hours, and in the United States peak sunlight hours range from 4-5.5 hours per day. So if the 1 kWh per hour home had 5 235 Watt SunPlugs (totaling 1175 Watts per hour or 1.175 kWh/hour) then the meter would “spin backwards” for the duration of peak sunlight hours, but that extra energy that was sent back to the grid would just go to offset part of the home’s usage at night. Q: How many SunPlugs can be used on one branch circuit? A: Circuit breakers on residential homes typically have 20 Amp branch circuits. Rather than breaking down the math, suffice it to say that it’s recommended to put no...

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GoGreenSolar Supports Grid Alternatives’ SolarThon

Los Angeles community receives free solar energy, courtesy of Grid Alternatives and GoGreenSolar. This week, brand new solar panels are glittering in the quiet neighborhood of Willowbrook, Los Angeles. The panels will generate thirty one kilowatts of locally-produced energy and save home owners over three hundred thousand dollars over a twenty five year period. How much did the panels cost the home owners? Nothing. Grid Alternatives, a California-based non-profit group, hosts SolarThons across multiple cities where volunteers come together to fight foreclosures, unemployment, and pollution by providing free solar electric systems to low-income families. “Low-income families pay a much higher percentage of their income on electricity than the average household and our solar electric systems will reduce each homeowner’s monthly energy costs by an average of 80% which will help these families stay in their homes,” says Myshel Prasad, Development Officer at GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles. Grid Alternatives relies on donated time and money to accomplish its charitable work. This SolarThon, GoGreenSolar.com donates both. “We’re happy to support energy independence, especially to those most in need,” says Deep Patel, CEO of GoGreenSolar.com. Patel, who has volunteered with Grid Alternatives for several years, also finds Grid Alternatives a great place to scout employees. “The people who volunteer with Grid Alternatives have good hearts and proven technical competence,” says Patel. One such recruit is Dave Donaldson, a GoGreenSolar.com engineer also known as “Purple Dave” to the Grid Alternatives community. “I volunteer because it’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are willing to donate their time to help advance the impact of solar, especially for local low-income families,” says Donaldson. Purple Dave has donated his time to more than 30 solar system installs. “Grid Alternatives and GoGreenSolar.com share a similar mission.  We’re both here to improve the quality of human life through renewable energy solutions,” says Patel. “We look forward to turning more of our team’s energy into solar energy in the coming years.” About GoGreenSolar.com: GoGreenSolar.com is a value added supplier of green energy products, services, technical support and financing to help you go green. As a licensed C-10 contractor, GoGreenSolar.com has helped guide home owners, contractors, businesses, and utilities through the entire solar installation process. From purchasing parts to designing the solar system to generating the first kilowatt of energy, the team at GoGreenSolar.com is on a mission to give back and change the world with renewable, sustainable energy. Join us! About Grid Alternatives: GRID Alternatives’ mission is to empower communities in need by providing renewable energy and energy efficiency services, equipment and training. We believe making energy choices that are good for the environment can go...

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Numbers Don’t Lie: National Solar Employment Growing

It has become increasingly difficult to lump the entire solar industry into the “Solyndra” category since last September.  On Friday, The Solar Foundation’s 2012 Census Press Release announced that the solar industry has added 13, 872 jobs in the last 12 months, amounting to a 13.2% employment growth rate from the preceding year.  Meanwhile, the U.S. economy as a whole saw employment growth of 2.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   The Solar Foundation’s findings show that 1 in 230 American jobs created between September 2011 and September 2012 were in the solar industry. Partially due to state and federal efforts to incentivize solar adoption and the decreasing price of PV, solar has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, with 119,016 Americans working in the solar industry as of September 2012. “The solar industry has grown at significantly higher rates than most other industries in the past several years, making it one of the foremost creators of new jobs in the United States,” says The Solar Foundation’s Executive Director Andrea Luecke, “Our census findings indicate that these new jobs are highly skilled in nature, including solar installation, sales, marketing and software development. These new solar industry jobs are sustainable, cannot be outsourced and play a critical role in our country’s economic recovery.” Luecke hit the nail on the head.  She uses the term sustainable to describe the jobs within our industry.  The very nature of the work requires discipline, fine-tuned skillsets, accessibility to customers, and the overarching goal of sustainability.  The long-term success of the solar industry in the U.S. rests upon this solid foundation.  The Solar Foundation’s full report is to be released on November 14, 2012 at the Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference in Albany, New York.  The Solar Foundation can then shed some light on the full implications of the data they have collected this past year.  The report will include an analysis of the factors that brought about this industry growth, the jobs created within specific subsectors, and employment growth projections for 2013.  The Solar Foundation 2012 Census Press Release:  ...

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Hurricane Sandy: 6 Million Currently Without Power

You’ve heard about the devastating effects of the hurricane on the northeast of the United States.  Brutal 80-90 mph winds swept across the east coast, hazardous saltwater flooded New York’s subway system, extensive damage was done to infrastructure, and the final death count may not yet be tallied. In addition to these overwhelming misfortunes, mass blackouts were caused by down power lines and the explosion at Consolidated Edison substation located on Manhattan’s East River.  You can see footage of the explosion in this YouTube video:   Consolidated Edison Inc. has said that some customers may be without power for a week.  Sara Banda of Consolidated Edison says “This is the largest storm-related outage in our history.”    At its peak, power outages spanned across 21 states, blacking out 8.48 million homes and businesses.  According to Reuters, around 6.2 million homes and businesses are still without power.      Since this natural disaster, power companies have been struggling to restore electricity and have since done so for 2.4 million homes thus far. We’ve had customers from areas hit by the hurricane calling about solar powered generators, such as the Ecotricity Eco1800S, Solar Powered Generator.  Times like this remind us to prepare as best we can for emergency situations. Our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones and we wish for a safe, swift recovery for the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy....

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