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World’s Oldest Solar Power Plant
Jun27

World’s Oldest Solar Power Plant

When it comes to having the “world’s oldest”…well, anything, California doesn’t hold many distinctions.     Somewhere hidden in the state’s White Mountains there’s a 5,068 year old tree that’s the world’s oldest bristlecone pine.   and somewhere in Downey there’s the world’s oldest McDonald’s. But conifers and Big Macs aside, California also has the distinction for housing the world’s first and oldest solar power plant, which was built way back in 1985. Owned and built by NextEra Energy Resources, the 354 MW facility houses nine operational solar plants, with the newest being completed in 1990. It facility covers 1,600 acres and houses nearly a million parabolic mirrors. According to NextEra, it can power over 230,000 homes during peak energy production. The plants, which are referred to as Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS), use panels that are different than the more commonly used photovoltaic ones, which transfer and store energy into batteries. Instead, the SEGS use mirrors that are 94% reflective (compared to typical mirrors with a 70% reflection rate) to direct the sun to heat a synthetic oil called Therminol. The focused light is nearly 80 times more powerful than normal sunlight. The heated oil then super-heats water, producing steam to power a turbine. The plant is estimated to displace about 3,800 tons of pollution per a year, which, when added up over the decades is a savings of about 60,000 tons of waste. So next time you’re driving through the Mojave desert and want to make a historical pit stop, check out the oldest solar fields in the world. And be sure to bring your sunglasses!...

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Install wind turbines in Milton, MA

They call Chicago the windy city but according to Forbes Magazine Milton, MA is America’s windiest city. This makes the perfect location to install wind turbines because the higher the average wind speeds in the area, you achieve a shorter break even point on your wind power investment. Other aspects that effect the return on investment on a wind power system include the height of the tower, how secure the base and foundation of the tower is constructed. When figuring if a wind turbine will make financial sense yo must also consider if there are any trees or buildings in the immediate area that can cause air turbulence which typically reduces the return on investment. The purpose of this post is to help you realize that renewable energy is geographical, meaning each region has their key resource which makes most financial sense. For example here in California solar power makes more sense then small scale wind turbines for most residential installations, we have a lot more sun hours out here compared to Milton. On the other hand, Milton has more wind resources in which investments in small scale wind turbines, such as the Skystream 3.7 or Proven Energy Wind Systems make more sense than solar power. Our future energy mix is going to come from a portfolio of clean energy technologies in distributed locations working together to solve our energy problems. Wouldn’t you...

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do wind turbines kill birds?

I think this rumor that wind turbines are bad because they kill birds is exaggerated. I agree there have been reports that a birds have collided with wind turbines, but on the flip side a lot more birds have died in result of flying into windows and sky scrapers, wouldn’t you agree? There was a study done for large utility scale wind turbines in which concluded wind turbines account for less than 0. 003% of all human caused bird deaths, on the other hand house cats kill around 1 billion birds each year! Making that comparison, I suppose it puts it into perspective that wind turbines are harmless to bird populations. Why do you think so many people out there believe that wind turbines are a hazard to...

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interconnection agreement 101

If you’re considering to grid tie your wind turbine or solar panels, you need to understand the interconnection agreement. Since your clean energy system will interact directly with the grid it will require you to enter into an agreement with your utility company. The interconnection agreement covers the terms and conditions of the clean energy system which will be interconnected. Specifically these agreements contain information about the technical specifications, safety, power quality, building permit required and insurance information. To ensure success of your grid tie wind turbine or solar panel project obtaining and reviewing the interconnectionagreement at the start of your project. Each utility has their own interconnection agreement, so its best to call your electric utility and ask for a copy of their agreement. There is a national standard when it comes to connecting to the grid and many utilities are following the standards. The standards of connecting to the grid focus on the grid tie inverter meeting both UL and IEEE standards. An inverter that is listed UL 1741 has “utility interactive” printed on the case which signifies that the inverter is fully compatible with IEEE 1547...

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6 new york utilities improve net metering policy

On Thursday, the NY State Public Service Commission made changes to the net-metering policies of six investor owned utility companies to encourage more homes and businesses to install solar panels or wind turbines to generate clean electricity. The term net-metering, means an agreement with your utility company that specifies the terms of what type and size of clean energy system you can connect to the grid and the value of the credit you will receive for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) from your utility company. The Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Orange and Rockland Utilities and New York State Electric and Gas Corporation will allow customers to sell back clean electricity generated at retail value. The changes included allowing non-residential entities to benefit from the net-metering policies and also increase the limit to 25 KW from 10 KW for residential solar power systems. These changes allow more people to participate, which encourages the community to support clean energy thus helping our country become more energy independent and provides new opportunities to create local jobs here in the US. What do you think about net-metering policies in general? How do you think we can get more people to contribute to the grid versus being a liability to...

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