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ASES Solar 2008 Expo

We’re at the ASES Solar 2008 Expo in sunny San Diego, California this weekend. This show was interesting because there was a wide range of products on showcase we very well developed companies to startups. Some interesting technologies we saw included solar panels which produced electricity and heated water from the same panel, quicker and easier ways to mount solar panels, standardized systems which make it easier for general contractors and other do it yourselfers install solar power with one days work. The expo also featured concentrated photovoltaic solar panels, it seems like this technology is showing up much more at renewable energy tradeshows and as the product continues to develop it will soon hit the consumer market. The expo hall had a lot of emphasis on solar water heating; there has been a lot of progress in the technology, from newer and better evacuated tube and very interesting looking flat plate collectors. It’s great being at the trade shows because we can really find out what is upcoming in the market and deliver that information to you, so you can make educated decisions about your clean energy...

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Department of Energy provides funding for America’s top solar cities

Today, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman made a public announcement that the DOE will be funding 2.4 million dollars to 12 cities across the country. These Solar America cities have been chosen for their commitment to the deployment of solar technologies. Cities selected as Solar America Cities will receive $200,000 (doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than nothing) to implement a variety of solar technologies throughout the cities. The funded cities include: Denver, CO Houston, TX Knoxville, TN Milwaukee, WI Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN Orlando, FL Philadelphia, PA Sacramento, CA San Antonio, TX San Jose, CA Santa Rosa, CA Seattle, WA In addition to the funding the DOE will provide technical assistance to the cities for them to implement solar technologies. The cities will be free to implement various renewable energy technologies from solar water heating, photovoltaics to concentrating solar...

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Does a Do it Yourself Solar Energy Install Make Sense?

Consumers are continuously looking new methods to reduce upfront investments or avoid costs to make a solar energy more affordable. The labor costs when dealing with a renewable energy can be significant to the install of a system and could be eliminated if one prefers a self solar install. There are two sides to this coin, because all decisions come with risk, a self install could go very well and you may be able to save lots of money or it can become a money pit. What does it depend on? You! Installing clean energy systems such as solar photovoltaic (electricity), solar hot water (thermal) or small scale wind requires trade skills and in general working with electricity is dangerous. Depending on your trade skills, there is a learning curve to installation, and on your first self install, expect to make mistakes that will cost you in time and money. Depending on how many mistakes you make the end cost of installing a clean energy system could be a rewarding experience because you not only save a lot of money, but you’ll be the master of your system. Questions you may want to ask yourself before you self install? Am I afraid of heights? (if so, consider a ground mount system) Am I comfortable working with electricity? Do I have room for mistakes in the budget? Does the company I am purchasing the products from offer installation consulting / support? Should I buy a turn key system? Do I know how to use a...

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