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solar energy in the sunshine state?

I had a customer call in today from Florida and he was telling me how disappointed he was that he doesn’t see too many solar panels in Florida, he stressed it is the “sunshine state”. It’s unfortunate that amount of solar irradiation has no relation to how many solar panels are installed in region, for example Germany is leading the world in solar energy usage and they are well known for their cloudy climate, in fact they have half the solar irradiation then we do here in the U.S. In Germany the energy policy is very favorable towards green energy and that’s why solar panels are much more common out there. Here in the U.S. we have very bias policies in support fossil fuels over green energy, unfortunately. Reflecting on the conversation I had with our customer, Florida is one of the top states leading the green energy revolution. In fact, this earlier this year the first feed-in tariff in America was passed in Gainesville, FL, now that’s historic. Just today, Progress Energy a major electric company in Florida announced that the hit a significant milestone of installing one megawatt (MW) of solar power capacity. Their solar rebate program encouraged more than 140 customers to install solar panels to offset their electric bills. Progress also has 20 solar pv farms generating clean power over 35 service territories. I agree we don’t see solar on every rooftop in the USA yet, although in my opinion we soon will, the technology will become as common as life is today with cell phones and computers. The green energy revolution will not transition us over night, but we will soon notice the change. One day in the future we’ll be reflecting, “remember the time when we used to have to pay for energy” What do you think? Do you agree with...

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There’s no free lunch, or is there?

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in conjunction with the Pima County Public Library in Marana, Arizona, a city near Tucson is offering a FREE workshop called “Solar Power 101” a community education series on Solar Energy. The workshop will discuss the potential for solar energy in the state of Arizona….Congresswoman Giffords, a member of the House Science and Technology Committee will kick off the workshop by speaking about extended and increased federal solar tax credits moving forward in 2009 and Arizona’s potential as a national leader in solar energy. The solar workshop will help people learn how they can work with their utilities to obtain rebates for installing a solar electric systems. Plans will be presented about new Green Building programs and they’ll cover topics such as financing and installing residential solar electric systems. If you’re in the area and are interested in learning about the basics of solar power, click on this link for more info and RSVP for the solar workshop. I think more cities and local governments should put together free educational workshops for its residents, because through my experience a lot of customers want to go solar, but there are so many questions and hurdles the process can be overwhelming, don’t you agree? Solar Energy workshops will increase adoption rate solar power technology but why aren’t more local governments around the nation offering free solar...

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Trends to Watch in 2009

Lot’s of people have been calling us this week and said they read about us in the December 2008 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine called Trends to Watch in 2009, I got a chance to pick up the magazine today at Borders bookstore to find out what all the buzz is about. The important aspects of the article is that it points out that renewable energy is geographical, meaning that solar is better in some areas and wind power is better in certain areas, the rate of return on your clean energy investment all depends on the resources you have available to you. Another important aspect is that systems are modular, meaning you can start small and scale the systems up to meet your energy production goals, you don’t have to necessarily start off by eliminating your entire electric bill which typically relates to a high upfront investment. The trend I see in clean energy moving forward is it’s going to get more affordable, the technology is going to be more efficient, utility electric rates are going to skyrocket and solar and wind power systems are going to get easier to install. Thus, eventually turning clean energy into an appliance that people can install in less time. We’re going to see grid parity sooner than later, don’t you...

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Forget the oven, cook a turkey with a solar oven. Yes it’s quite possible to use the sun’s energy to cook meals. Many people in rural areas and developing nations are dependent on solar cookers. Here in the USA, the only time you see a solar cooker is when you go to a solar energy gathering, many solar energy hobbyist cook delicious treats using solar cookers. I think the vast public here in the USA has no idea about this effective, low cost way to use the power of the sun. Many people make solar cookers at home with cardboard boxes and aluminum foil, it’s that simple, there are great tutorials online that show you step by step how you can make a solar cooker with simple items that you have laying around at home. If you had a fleet of solar ovens and did some pre-planning, it would be possible to cook your entire Thanksgiving feast with solar energy. The amazing part is that a well built solar oven would be able to cook a big turkey…typically Turkeys take all day to cook in the oven…Imagine how many kWh (kilowatt-hours) wasting. With a solar oven, the sun is providing the energy to cook your meals for free. When is the last time you got something for free? There is a society of people, called Solar Cookers International who have been using solar cookers for a long time and share their tasty recipes , you can also pick up a solar professional solar cooker if your a serious chef. If you’re like me, when attempting to cook you end up burning your food, don’t got to worry about burnt food with a solar cooker, because its impossible to burn your food since there are no “hot spots” the temperature in a solar cooker raises evenly. I find it interesting how many people out there are making the sun work for them by heating hot water, generating clean electricity and even cooking all from the power of the sun! Happy...

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"Free electricity" from the Sun claim is exaggerated.

I’ve been seeing many news articles and blogs that claim once you buy solar panels you are getting “free electricity”, well it’s true the Sun emits free energy down to Earth everyday, but the equipment needed to harvest the “free energy” into electricity to power our lives or provide hot water for our homes requires a financial investment. In reality, until you break even on the solar power system you invested in what you have done in reality is pre-paid your energy expenses and hedged yourself from raising energy expenses. Solar Panels are very reliable because there are no moving parts, the systems can last over 30 years. So after you break even on your solar power investment then you can truly say that the sun is supplying you with free electricity. States that offer incentives and rebates combined with the increased federal tax credit next year for solar power systems, most systems will break even faster moving forward in 2009. Solar Power will become a more sought after investment. How do you feel about people making claims about solar panels giving you “free electricity”? Please...

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