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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   When it comes to solar, it’s not hard to imagine a future where the outdated energy production models of the 20th century have gone the way of Blockbuster, and the companies that come out on top are the ones that shift their thinking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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Documentary Shines A Light On The Solar Solution
May05

Documentary Shines A Light On The Solar Solution

What do an American worker, a Tea Party activist and a Chinese entrepreneur have in common? They’re all are racing to lead the global future of clean energy and their journeys are featured in Catching the Sun, a new documentary that showcases how doing good by the environment has created a boom in the renewable energy job sector.   “I was fascinated by the idea that solar power could democratize and decentralize energy in a way that creates economic opportunity for workers and entrepreneurs,” said Director Shalini Kantayya.   Kantayya’s film jumps between countries around the world that are fast-tracking solar production and follows some of the stories that have unfolded in its wake.   Among these stories are  Zhongwei Jiang’s , an entrepreneur in Wuxi, China, who grew up without electricity until he was 7. In 2003 Jiang took out a small interest loan from the Chinese government to start a solar company WesTech, which has grown by 50% every year and has expanded to Germany.   Other stories include those of solar installers in America who’ve found job opportunities in the burgeoning industry and a mayor who has fought tooth and nail against an oil corporation’s interests after a spill devastated her town.   The movie shows how one out of 83 new jobs created in the U.S. in 2014 was in the solar industry as a result from nearly 784,000 homes and businesses in the country embracing solar to save money and elevate property values.   Catching the Sun can be viewed on Netflix, downloaded on Vimeo or seen at select screenings taking place around the country....

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avoid air turbulence, get the most out of your wind turbine

Are you considering a small scale wind turbine system for your home or business? Well if you are, finding a proper place to install your wind turbine is critical for you to maximize on your energy harvest from your investment. Small scale wind turbines such as the Skystream 3.7 in general require at least a 20 foot of clearance from surrounding trees or structures in the area. If the height of your tower is lower than your surroundings then you will experience decreased performance out of your wind power system since the trees and buildings in the immediate area can block the flow of air that hits your wind turbine. Many times, inexperienced customers want to install wind turbines but they’re not aware of the effect trees or other obstacles in the vicinity can have on the return on investment on their wind power system. Typically, a taller tower will generate more energy, although the higher the tower height, the more it’s going to cost to install and it maybe difficult to acquire a building permit from your city. What do you think is the most optimal tower height for a wind...

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earth4energy is misleading

If you have been shopping for solar panels or wind turbines, most likely you have ran into earth4 energy, a manual and videos which you can buy for $48 that claims you can make $200 solar or wind power system that has the potential to eliminate 80% to 100% of your electric bill! Earth4Energy also says that the system would be equivalent to a professional system that would typically cost thousands of dollars. I don’t think so! Professional grade solar and wind power systems are UL listed, which means they are authorized to connect to the grid per the interconnection agreement you must attain from your utility before you can hook your solar panels or wind turbines to the grid. Eliminating 80 – 100% of your electric bill with wind or solar panels would require a large system and more than likely you would be a novice in making a solar panel or wind generator, would you really trust the saftey of your product? There would be a high risk you could start a fire and burn down your home. Although in my opinion the earth4energy website makes some outrageous claims, it may add value if you are trying to develop a small scale solar panel or wind turbine to charge a few batteries, which would be enough to charge a laptop or a small appliance. But if your expecting to eliminate 80% to 100% of your electric bill, earth4energy will not help you do that. Have you heard about earth4energy? What do you think about it? Do you agree with my...

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university installs skystream 3.7

William Penn University recently installed a Skystream 3.7 grid tie wind power system to help produce clean electricity right on campus to help power the Musco Technology Center. The Skystream 3.7 is mounted on a tower that is 99 ft high, which is very high compared to most installations I’ve seen. The Skystream 3.7 in it’s first month of operation produced 352 kilowatt-hours (kWh) which equals to about $35 dollars in savings, seems quite low for a tower that’s 99 feet up, maybe their average wind speeds are quite last month? The Skystream 3.7 was donated to William Penn University primarily for education purposes, what a great tool to help future generations learn about renewable energy, wouldn’t you agree? The wind power system blades are designed to operate quietly so the wind turbine itself is not going to be a distraction when classes are in session. I’m looking forward to following this wind turbine project to see how much electricity is generated over a course of a year. What do you think about the Skystream 3.7 at the Willam Penn University...

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