In this corner, all the way from China, you have the reigning champion, Voltaic portable solar backpack weighing in at a stout 4.5 lbs.
In the other corner, you have the American made challenger, Eclipse Solar Backpack weighing in at a trim 3.1 lbs. Everyone knows the rules for this solar backpack match up? Let the solar backpack smack down begin. [continue reading…]
Karen Erickson and her husband Ryan dreamed of living away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. With an extraordinary commitment to solar power and energy-efficient lifestyle, the couple is now living their dream lives, off-grid free from the noise of the city. [continue reading…]
In some remote areas, sometimes you’re only choice, short of a noisy generator, but to install a big off-grid solar and battery kit because power is not available to you. Up until now, off-grid solar kits have amounted to less than 3% of the solar systems installed primarily because the payback was generally not considered a good investment. [continue reading…]
Solar in 2011 is expected to double over 2010 with renewable energy the pile driver to new jobs. Simply put, solar in this country is on the verge of blowing up. There is no substitute for experience when it comes to solar system design, installer jobs and solar sales, but the right training is a good start.
Change has become the standard in this economy for organizations, people and sometimes, whole cities. Downsizing, subcontracting, merging and closures have created an environment of fear and uncertainty. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and work through conflicts and challenges without giving up. [continue reading…]
Our phones are ringing non-stop with homeowners who are thinking about off-grid living and how solar can make it happen. I really envy those people who cannot resist the pioneer pull most of us have from time to time. My best friend spends his weekends in an off-grid cabin in an Iowa hedge ball forest. In the most remote and harshest climate, solar stands up to the elements and in some cases may be the only option for supplying power to a home or cabin.
Up until now, only utility-scale solar dual axes solar trackers were economically feasible. A solar tracker has single or dual axes motors with optics that drive the angle of the pole mounted array allowing the panel to always be perpendicular to the sun generating the most electricity possible. [continue reading…]
California Sacramento’s Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has pioneered a community solar program called SMUD solar shares. Sacramento electric customers who want to buy solar power but may not have access say because they have a rental unit, can buy what the utility district calls SMUD SolarShares. This is a program that makes solar power available all Sacramento customers including multi-unit buildings to buy solar electricity.
The California utility district feels that solar clean energy should be made available and affordable to everyone. If solar for a residential home is not an option, Sacramento customers can buy solar power through SolarShares which means the power is generated locally with solar. For a fixed monthly price based on the customer’s usage, the community solar program gives a credit on your bill every month for solar power produced on a local utility owned solar farm. [continue reading…]
I was talking to a customer last week who was researching solar for her home, when she asked me where does the typical solar system fail? Easy question to answer, but not for the reasons most people might think.
It’s not solar panel failure, and it is not inverter failure, the #1 failure of solar systems is weatherproofing, mostly roof leaks. (Although if you get someone who drills through your weather barrier on your stucco it can also cause a leak.) Unlike most solar racking we do not subcontract our roofing; we use our own in-house staff for some very good reasons.
This is a lot of grumbling these days in the solar industry about the difficulty some solar installers have securing building permits. I am sure that California is among the worst in the country. Having said that, I don’t think it is fair to demonize building departments entirely over the process of securing a solar installation permit.
Some of the regulations have grown out of government’s natural tendency to supersize, but government is also charged with protecting the public from the unskilled contractors, solar is no different.
The solar permitting barriers are also being driven sometimes by a lack of understanding by local code officials. Solar installations have a 40 some year history in this country, but it was only very recently that solar installations became so widespread and popular. [continue reading…]
Many folks are turning to solar as a way to increase their household monthly cash flow often times by purchasing home solar kits. By lowering their utility bills and controlling costs families have more money to spend. Good for them, good for the local economy. Like all products and programs that become popular, there are those who would take advantage of people’s trusting nature.
California Edison is building a large solar plant at the North end of the central valley. With a footprint of nearly 1,000 acres it is not the largest solar installation being installed in California, but its a biggie! [continue reading…]
Residential solar installers are pounding out home and commercial solar installations across America, but let’s not forget what happened in the 80’s. Just 25 years ago the solar industry was dumped and all the government money pumped into the industry was lost when the government abruptly cut and ran. A lesson from history would suggest that the solar subsidies should be slowly reduced in a predictable and scheduled way that has certainty not uncertainty. [continue reading…]
Recently several California solar companies have jumped across state lines and are taking advantage of manufacturing incentives offer by other states. Good for them! I don’t think that is a bad thing.
We are all Americans and the more states that open the door to solar and its benefits, the safer this country becomes for my grandchildren. This solar energy movement is picking up some steam across the nation and that’s fine by me. [continue reading…]