- Solar News Link Bonanza (New Solar Panels, Warranty Increases, Bill Clinton to Solar Industry…)
- Nissan Replies to Arizona Leaf Owners, Chevy Volt Outselling Over 50% of Cars, Tesla Launches Solar-Powered Superchargers, Bieber Gives Fisker Karma to Sean Kingston (& More Clean Car News)
- American Jobs at Risk (Approximately 40,000 of Them)
- Pete’s Electric Bikes Reveal Three New Products
- Recycle and Cash In Old Electronics with USPS and MaxBack
- Offshore Wind Projects Around the World
- Europe Installed Two-Thirds of the World’s New Solar Power in 2011
- 1st Geothermal Plant in Vietnam Gets Approved
- A Risky Climate for Big Dams in Southern Africa
- Solar Rooftops and Ginseng: A Shady Deal
- Why We Pay Double for Solar in America (But Won’t Forever)
- US DOT Announces $59.3M for Clean Energy Transit Projects
- India Gets a Girdle of Wave Power Plants from Israel’s SDE
- Some Solar Power Considerations
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 04:43 PM PDT
Ascent Solar has announced the North American introduction of EnerPlex, a solar-assisted battery case for the iPhone 4 and 4S. “The EnerPlex cases are now available online through the distributor’s website at www.iPhoneSolarCharger.com and soon via www.amazon.com. The EnerPlex for iPhone 4 & 4S takes advantage of Ascent’s ultra-light, thin and flexible solar panels and enables iPhone 4 & 4S users to provide supplementary charging of their iPhones with sunlight in addition to conventional charging methods to extend the usage time of iPhones.”
SolarWorld has launched a new, 270-watt, 60-cell “Sunmodule” solar panel. “The light-capture and energy-conversion technology platforms underlying SolarWorld's 270-watt solar panel combine numerous advances in materials, process and design to achieve the industry's highest levels of energy output. These advances include using more advanced technology on the front of the cell to convert more light into electricity, modifying the back of the cell to increase electrical conductivity and adding anti-reflective glass coatings that transmit more light while withstanding environmental degradation. Deploying these technology platforms, SolarWorld has boosted its power density from 250-watt-peak to 270-watt-peak in less than 12 months.”
Q.CELLS North America, a subsidiary of Q.CELLS SE, recently unveiled a new, high-efficiency PV solar module of its own. “Q.PRO L features 72 cells that combines both high performance and long-term reliability that optimizes balance of systems cost savings on the system level. As the largest addition to the Q.CELLS module family, Q.PRO L is designed to yield up to 300 Wp power for utility scale use in North American solar markets.”
SunPower has introduced the solar industry’s first 25-year combined power & product warranty. The Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems “is also shifting to a linear power warranty that offers the lowest power degradation over the life of the system.” Notably, SunPower’s new warranty is far ahead of the pack.
“SunPower is the only solar company to offer a straightforward 25-year global product warranty, which is 15 to 20 years longer than conventional solar warranties. Integrated into SunPower high-efficiency solar panels are the company’s patented Maxeon® all-back contact solar cells which are built on a solid copper foundation, making them extremely resistant to cracking, corrosion and stresses from temperature variation. In the unlikely event a solar panel needs to be repaired or replaced, an identical or functionally equivalent panel will be provided or the cost of the panel will be fully refunded. The associated labor and transportation costs for customers whose solar panels were installed by SunPower or SunPower dealer/partners are covered. The new warranty is also written in plain, simple terms that detail the coverage.”
SunPower also recently announced that it “has extended its long-standing partnership with Toshiba for the next several years.” This renewal entails a commitment from Toshiba to purchase over 100 MW of SunPower’s high-efficiency solar panels for the residential solar market in Japan. “Since SunPower first partnered with Toshiba in 2010, it has delivered approximately 70 MW of its high-performance solar panels.”
SunWize & Clean Power Finance have partnered up. As a result of the partnership, “SunWize's national network of solar installation professionals will have access to a number of competitive financing tools, allowing them to serve a much larger group of customers.” Clean Power Finance & Soligent also partnered up this month.
Canadian Solar has launched a new solar product — ResidentialAC. “ResidentialAC is a revolutionary AC solar energy solution with advanced technology that delivers a double-digit increase in solar power production over traditional micro inverters. Pre-installed at the factory, ResidentialAC’s advanced inverter technology was designed and built from the ground up, with a core focus on performance and longevity. The technology eliminates life-limiting components, dramatically increasing the inverters’ life expectancy. The Canadian Solar AC solar solution eliminates the danger of high voltage DC power and wiring for safer, easier installation.”
Suntech has introduced a compact, 305-watt solar module in Europe. “The SuperPoly STP305-24/Ve, with 15.7 percent efficiency, is ideally suited for large-scale commercial projects seeking a low levelized cost of energy (LCOE). In addition, the new Ve-Series modules feature a slim frame design lowering storage and shipment costs by up to 16 percent.” The solar module will be available starting in November.
Yingli Solar subsidiary Yingli Green Energy Australia Pty. Ltd. has signed an agreement with Solar 360 Pty Ltd. to appoint Solar 360 as a sales partner in Australia. “According to the Agreement, Solar 360 will sell and promote 30 MW of Yingli Solar modules in Australia in the following 12 months through a unique “Accredited” dealer network of up to 100 accounts across all geographic regions of Australia.”
Yingli Solar also recently introduced a 72-cell solar PV module certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for a maximum system voltage rating of 1,000V. “Specifically designed for the utility-scale market, the YGE-U 72 Cell module lowers balance-of-system costs by decreasing the required number of wire runs and combiner boxes. The module also allows increased maximum system voltage, which improves system performance by reducing resistive losses. The end result is increased PV system energy yield.”
ReneSola unveiled its Micro RePlus™, “available as a standalone microinverter or integrated with a ReneSola panel for a turnkey AC module,” this month, as well as its high-wattage 300-watt and 305-watt 72-cell poly line. “This comes in addition to the Company’s already comprehensive 60 and 72-cell poly and mono portfolio, ranging in size from 255 W to 305 W high-efficiency solar modules…. The latest line of high-wattage modules will be backed by ReneSola’s leading 25-year linear power output warranty, with optional PowerGuard™ insurance.”
Solar Power International 2012
Greentech Media had a couple good pieces from the Solar Power International 2012 conference. Here are some excerpts and links to more:
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:07 PM PDT
From Audi: electric superchargers are the future. “Once the province of sports cars only, automakers are now turning to turbochargers as a cost-effective way of providing both performance and efficiency. Audi is going even further, working on a line of electronically-assisted turbochargers that will do away with "turbo lag," curing one of the most common gripes with turbo setups.”
Nissan has replied to the Arizona Leaf owners who think their batteries are dying too fast, and their answers seem to be respectable. Basically, the batteries in these Leafs are where they are expected to be based on usage and climate. One thing to note, however, is that the battery life will degrade quite a bit rather fast, but then do so much more slowly over the following years.
Tesla has launched a pretty amazing little supercharger network that uses solar power. “Telsa insists that these Superchargers will always generate more power than is needed, resulting in the extra energy going back into the grid.” Pretty sweet. But here’s the big deal: “The 85 kWh battery of the Tesla Model S can be fully charged in about an hour from a Supercharger, while 30 minutes of charging will provide 3 hours of driving.” That’s a lot better than anything else out there.
Toshiba & Honda are teaming up to jointly perform a demonstration project of smart home systems. “Since April 2012, as a part of the E-KIZUNA Project run by the city of Saitama, Honda has been conducting demonstration testing using two smart home system equipped houses built on land adjacent to Saitama University. A third demonstration house, which will be completed before the end of the next fiscal year (ending March 31, 2014), will be equipped with home energy management systems (HEMS) of both Toshiba and Honda.”
Mercedes is bring us (or, someone) a new battery-electric van. “Mercedes-Benz will start selling a passenger version of its Vito E-CELL utility vehicles in Europe after unveiling a battery-electric Sprinter van at the International Motor Show in Hanover, Germany. The Vito E-CELL Crewbus, which the Daimler AG division calls the world’s first seven-seat mass-produced battery-electric vehicle, has a single-charge range of about 80 miles and top speed of about 55 miles per hour. The vehicle will be available for four-year, 50,000-mile leases in more than 15 countries throughout Europe, including Finland, Spain and the UK.”
Honda planning 3 hybrids and more ICEs in the coming 5 years. Not exactly leading the way on clean cars, but at least it’s planning more hybrids. “Honda CEO Takanobu Ito recently gave a speech outlining where the company will be headed over the next five years, with hybrid electric vehicles playing a major role…. Honda will use three different hybrid systems, Ito said.”
Nissan has decided to drop its plans for a big rollout of an electric version of the iQ microcar. “Announced way back in 2010, the Toyota/Scion eQ was to be Toyota's full-fledged effort at selling an electric city car.” But with sales of the Nissan Leaf not exactly going as planned, it has decided to wait a bit on that one. We’ll see if it comes back to it down the road.
Delta Electronics is rolling out some high-efficiency EV charging options for the Ishavsveien Charging Network in Norway. “Delta offers two DC Quick Chargers that provide 50-500V DC / 50kW output power with among the world's highest efficiency. The first stretch of the Ishavsveien charging network will service the E6 road between Oslo and the Swedish border, and will feature universal charging stations with Delta's EV charging solutions for all the EVs available on the market today.”
Sister site Gas2 helped (sort of) the “Electric Cowboy” set a new world record for electric motorcycles under 150 kg. “Last week, Brandon managed to set a new record of 101.652 mph over a one-mile run, and 102.281 kph over the kilometer. The runs were recognized by both the American Motorcycle Association and the International Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, respectively.” Head on over to Gas2 to find out more, including how it helped Brandon out.
Electric vehicles can save us a ton of money on fuel, yet another study finds. “As California drivers struggle with gasoline prices well over $4 a gallon, and a cumulative $60 billion was spent on gasoline during the past year alone, a new economic research report” has revealed. “The report, commissioned by CalETC, shows that plug-in electric cars can create nearly 100,000 California jobs and provide a powerful local economic stimulus that will benefit people of all incomes whether they drive electric cars or not.”
It seems that Sean Kingston had a bit of good karma, as friend Justin Bieber has gifted the singer his own Fisker Karma. ”When you’re best friends with one of the biggest artists in the world, you know what I’m saying, you get all different types of gifts, and this is one of them,” Jamaican-American Sean Kingston says. Not that Bieber didn’t like the car — Kingston says the young heartthrob is planning to get the new Fisker (the Fisker Atlantic, presumably).
On another Fisker note, the electric car company noted yesterday that ”the company's flagship Karma sedan already surpasses its 2025 fuel economy target under Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – recently finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)…. For a vehicle of the Karma's size, the fuel economy target for 2025 is 45.6 MPG. Current NHTSA methodology – notably different than the EPA label – assumes the Karma will drive half its miles on gasoline and half on electricity and takes into account the energy consumption of both, giving the Karma an equivalent fuel economy of 47.3 MPG.”
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 12:53 PM PDT
A recent DOE report indicates that over $14 billion was invested in wind power project installations just in 2011. Current wind power capacity in the US is over 50,000 MW (enough to power 13 million homes), and six states now get over 10% of their electricity from wind power.
But the most important fact to take away from the report is that the wind industry is a legitimate player in the US job market. Business has been booming; just ask states like Iowa, California, Texas, and Oregon. They all rely on the wind industry to provide jobs to wind turbine manufacturers, installers and regulators. Even farmers are getting in on the profits by leasing their land to install wind turbines. Combine all of this with the fact that 70% of wind power equipment is being provided by American manufacturers, not foreign competitors, and we have the beginnings of a prosperous, domestic clean energy economy.
While we would rather support proven, reliable, and often toxic sources of energy, countries like China and Germany are investing record amounts of money into wind and solar projects. By letting the PTC expire, opponents incorrectly say that it will “create a level playing field” where the most efficient providers of energy will eventually win out.
However, allowing our home grown companies to compete against the likes of coal, oil, and natural gas is not a fair fight. Those industries are also heavily subsidized by the government, often in the name of creating energy independence through our domestic fuel sources. Government subsidies offered for decades allowed fossil fuels to become the power source of choice, so why not give wind power the same chance? Furthermore, the health and climate costs of dirty energy is a very real, if indirect, subsidy given to fossil fuel energy sources.
The Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, recently introduced by Rep. Bob Filner of California, would extend the PTC and aim to give American citizens the opportunity to buy bonds that will give wind power and other renewable solutions the chance that they deserve. The bonds would be available for as little as $25 and would have a very competitive rate of return. In order to support the burgeoning domestic renewable energy market, pieces of legislation like this will be essential.
Abandoning American companies that have worked for years to build their businesses would be devastating for thousand of American families and the American economy. In a time when we need stability the most, throwing away competitive American jobs and a blossoming clean energy economy is not the answer. Extending the PTC and supporting renewable energy projects like the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act will show workers in the wind and solar industries that the American government is serious about creating a clean energy economy and the jobs and revenue that it provides.
Matthew Jennings is Green America’s Clean Energy Victory Bonds Outreach Fellow. He graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill this May with a degree in Geography and a minor in Environmental Studies.
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 03:10 AM PDT
The three models include an electric bikeshare eBike, an electric mid-drive cargo eBike, and a mid-drive eTrike with two wheels in front.
The electric bikeshare eBike is intended to provide those with less physical ability and those who would prefer not to arrive dripping in sweat an easier ride, even in terrain with more hills than your average flat suburbia. Including a Panasonic mid-drive motor and battery system, the bikeshare bike will be kept safe using an advanced charging and locking system, and be distributed by Bike In, a manufacturer of electric bikeshare stations.
The mid-drive cargo bike will allow riders to transport large loads wherever they want, thanks to the mid-drive Panasonic motor system and a cargo system based on the Xtracycle products. The mid-drive takes advantage of the gearing system on the bicycle, offering a seamless pedal-assist.
Source: Pete’s Electric Bikes
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 03:05 AM PDT
Make some quick cash, get rid of your old electronics, and keep more gadgets from piling up in landfills with the U.S. Postal Service.
Here’s how the electronic recycling program works:
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 03:01 AM PDT
We publish on a lot of offshore wind farms on CleanTechnica. For new readers (or those of us who need refresher courses), there’s actually an annual report that provides an overview of all the projects around the world. Main(e) International Consulting has released a PDF overview of wind projects from all over, but the report doesn’t include rankings and includes varying degrees of project details.
The report is entirely in English, which comes in handy for those of us not well versed in German or Japanese — languages of countries where offshore wind is actually very popular.
Source: Renewables International
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:50 AM PDT
The report summarizes and analyzes all of the current goings-on in the world-wide solar power market; everything regarding manufacturing, policies, and market implementation.
The solar power industry has grown by an average of over 40% per year in Europe for the past decade, at the same time as production costs have decreased by around 60%. This substantial growth has been enabled by the EU’s belief in the power of photovoltaic systems “as a means to achieve the goal of using 20% of renewable energy by 2020.”“Germany, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom are the leaders in installed PV capacity in Europe…. Since 2000, world-wide, total PV production had growth rates of between 40 and 90%. The most rapid growth in annual production over the last five years was observed in Asia, where China alone accounts for more than 50% of the world’s PV production. In addition, for the second year in a row, solar power was the renewable energy that attracted most investment, with a total of 98.5 billion euros world-wide, of which two thirds were concentrated in Europe.”
Currently, the main challenge for the European solar power industry is the enormous investment that its competitor, China, is making in PV manufacturing, “which has led to an economy of scale in manufacturing in that country. However, the delivery of manufacturing equipment from Europe to Asia is still beneficial as Europe still has the lead in PV research and development, thereby innovating the European PV manufacturing equipment industry.”
Also highlighted is the potentially huge growth possible in the innovation of both energy efficiency and improved design in buildings. Solar power modules could be built and incorporated directly as building materials, “functioning as an insulation material and fostering a new ‘European PV-architecture,’ whilst at the same time providing one of the key technologies required to achieve zero emissions buildings.”
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:33 AM PDT
Hot Dry Rock (HDR/ Enhanced Geothermal Systems/ EGS) apparently will be used to extract heat from hot rock below surface level. The project’s price tag has been stated as US$46.3 million.
It was reported Vietnam has geothermal potential throughout the country but particularly so in Quang Tri, Phu Tho, and Quang Binh. Phu Tho is in the far north of Vietnam, located about midway between the coast and the inner border. Quang Binh is near Quang Tri, in the north-central coastal strip.
About 70% of the 89 million residents of Vietnam live in rural areas.
Image Credit: Genghiskhanviet, Public Domain
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:30 AM PDT
Yet across the continent, large dams are being planned with no understanding of how a changing climate will affect them — and little attention to the related problem of how dams will hurt river-based communities’ ability to adapt to climatic changes. Governments and dam-lenders aren’t taking the lead on these critically important issues.
Dr. Richard Beilfuss, a hydrologist with 20 years’ experience on the Zambezi River, evaluated the hydrological risks to hydropower dams in the basin. Overall, he says, the river will experience worse droughts and more extreme floods. Dams being proposed and built now will be negatively affected, yet energy planning in the basin is not addressing these huge hydrological uncertainties.
The report’s key findings describe a region moving toward the edge of a hydrological precipice:
“Ensuring energy and water security for the future will require new ways of thinking about river basin development,” notes Dr. Beilfuss. “We must avoid investing billions of dollars into projects that could become white elephants.”
Dr Beilfuss makes a number of recommendations to help African nations weather the coming storm. First and foremost, he calls for incorporating climate change scenarios into dam design, to avoid the hazards of over- or under-designed infrastructure.
Africa faces numerous risks from climate change, including serious water stress. Successful adaptation will require radical new ways of thinking about water resources. The report notes: “While more water storage will be needed, decentralized solutions that preserve river-based ecosystem services are better suited to the needs of the rural majority, who face the greatest adaptation challenges.”
Dr. Beilfuss also recommends big-picture for energy planning. “Planners need to carefully consider dams in the context of how climate change will shape water supply, and how future river flows must meet competing demands for power, conservation, and water for domestic use, agriculture, industry, and other services. A strategy aimed at empowering people to adapt to climate change must be central to these planning efforts.”
He also calls for a full accounting of the values of ecosystem services supported by river flows, and changing dam design and operation to allow more natural flows to help restore ecosystem services on dammed rivers. The report also recommends more diversified investments in energy supply projects to “avoid putting all eggs into one basket” in a time of increasing hydrological uncertainty — an especially critical step for Africa’s most hydropower-dependent nations. Many African countries have a huge untapped potential for solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy technologies that are well-suited for both urban and rural energy development.
The situation on the Zambezi is hardly unique. On nearly every continent, in many of the world’s major watersheds, large dams are at risk of becoming white elephants due to drought, and weapons of mass destruction during extreme floods. It’s akin to building dozens of nuclear reactors in seismically active tsunami zones around the globe.
We cannot afford to take a head-in-the-sand approach to the climate risks of large dams. The time is now to prioritize climate-smart investments that explicitly factor in economic risk and the values of river systems.
View this short video on the climate risks to dams in the Zambezi for more:
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:21 AM PDT
Utilizing shade created by solar panels can reduce air conditioner costs and create ideal growing grounds for shade-loving ginseng. (Yes, that ginseng you swallow as part of your daily herbal regiment).
Hanwha Solar is providing 7.7 megawatts of an 8.7-megawatt installation on a building owned by Solvéo Energie in Rion-des-Landes, France. This nine-hectare rooftop solar project of 36,900 panels fosters just the environment needed for the four-year growing period ginseng roots need before harvesting. And every year those shade-giving panels will produce 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity.
Who knew a shady deal could be so mutually beneficial?
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:16 AM PDT
But I'm not alone in perceiving an enormous cost reduction opportunity for solar in the United States. An article in Forbes last week suggested that we can "Cut The Price Of Solar In Half By Cutting Red Tape.” It provides a chart (reproduced below) like one I published in March, that shows how a similarly sized residential solar array in Germany costs 60% less than one built in the U.S.
This anecdote from a colleague illustrates the ridiculous disparity in red tape between the two nations (and consequently, the enormous opportunity):
To add fuel to the fire, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory just released a chart explaining much of why U.S. residential solar costs twice as much as residential solar in Germany. The conclusion? Soft costs. (See an interactive version of the chart here.)
So, is it too ambitious to assume the price of solar continues to fall by 7% per year? On the contrary, if the cost of solar continues at that pace, it will take the U.S. until 2025 – 13 years! – to match today's cost of solar in Germany. Can anyone honestly claim we'll remain so far behind for so long?
When you add potential hardware innovations (e.g. like this) to the soft cost reduction opportunity, the cost of solar is likely to keep falling rapidly in the United States.
This post originally appeared on ILSR's Energy Self-Reliant States blog.
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:09 AM PDT
This vehicle upgrade project does not only provide the benefit of reducing bus fuel usage, but because it is an upgrade to new buses, there is an improvement in comfort and reliability, too — if the buses being replaced are very old.
Competition for this grant was fierce, and the funding requests made by the 146 grant applicants totaled a whopping $516 million. Unfortunately, only so many can be funded.
Some of the projects that won the grants include:
"As more and more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere, it's good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won't pollute their neighborhoods, while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence," said FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff. "By investing in these clean-fuel projects today, we're helping to ensure that the nation's transit services are good for the environment for years to come."
Source: Greentech Media
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 02:00 AM PDT
In a move linked to its massive blackout last summer, India is getting a ring of wave power plants along its coastline from the Israeli company SDE. In terms of the global competition for renewable energy leadership, that puts the U.S. way back in the pack. SDE is already building wave power plants in China and several other countries, and Scotland’s wave power industry is coming on strong. Meanwhile, mostly cricket chirps from the most powerful nation on earth….
Lessons from the 2012 India Blackout
The blackout in India last summer was a history-making one, affecting 670 million people or about 9 percent of the world’s population.
Spared were individual companies and villages that had their own off-grid power plants, including a remote village that had its own solar power array. Officials in the state of Jodhpur also credit wind turbines with providing enough energy for hospitals and vital infrastructure, while enabling them to restore power to the region while other parts of India were still many hours away from relief.
Wave Power for India
Until now, Indian companies seeking to shield themselves from grid disruptions have had to rely on building their own fossil fuel power plants. However, India’s rapid industrialization is headed for a three-way collision course with rising oil prices and environmental issues, making wave energy an attractive alternative.
SDE estimates that energy from its wave power plants costs only two cents per kilowatt hour, making it an attractive bottom-line alternative as well as a clean one.
The wave power projects in India will put SDE in partnership with the country’s automobile industry and other companies, along with electric utilities and local governments.
For Indian companies with an eye on global markets, access to low-cost wave power could also provide a significant competitive edge. It’s becoming commonplace for companies to tout their access to clean energy as a selling point for their products and services, and a recent study commissioned by the wind turbine company Vestas suggest that more consumers prefer to buy from companies that use clean energy.
Wave Power in the U.S.A.
To be fair, the U.S. has been playing wave power catchup with some support from the Obama Administration. Though a full-scale commercial wave power project has yet to launch in U.S. waters, the Navy set up the nation’s first ever grid-connected wave power plant to provide energy for a base in Hawaii back in 2010, with the U.S. company Ocean Power Technologies. Also in Oregon, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) at Oregon State University has launched a wave power test facility off the state’s coast.
Ocean Power Technologies is now preparing a new wave power operation for a community on the Oregon coast, and the company Ocean Renewable Power has just started operating a small pilot tidal power project on the coast of Maine.
Meanwhile, the Navy is upgrading its facility to serve as a shared test bed for additional private companies to develop new wave power technology.
Things are just getting started but the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that wave and tidal power could provide 15 percent of U.S. energy needs by 2030.
Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 01:11 AM PDT
Before investing in solar upgrades, it’s a good idea to check with the city or county where the home is located. Because electric work is involved, you may need to obtain construction permits for the installation. Even if the panels will be installed at ground level rather than on the roof, there may be some building code restrictions.
If the home is part of a community with a homeowners association, there may be covenants that prohibit installation. Check the association agreement or deed for any rules that apply.
With improved technology, there are numerous options for adding solar power to a residence. Modern roof-mounted solar panels are thinner and more efficient than early models, so they are less noticeable. Solar shingles are also available in some areas — these both function as roof covers and generate power. Portable solar generators are mounted on wheels for ease of use. There are also permanent models that mount at ground level.
Some homeowners may be reluctant to rely completely on solar power. It is possible to install solar panels and still remain connected to an electric utility, of course. In most localities, the electric company is required to credit the user's account for any excess power generated.
A few locations have tax or other rebates as incentives for solar and other green energy upgrades. There are also federal tax credits available to help offset the costs of solar installation. Several states also offer tax credits, grants, and low-interest loans for solar panels.
Solar power is a good choice for homeowners who live in rural or isolated areas. It is possible to install storage batteries and live completely off the grid. Installing a solar power system can be much cheaper than paying to have electric lines run to an isolated location.
With free electric power from the sun, it is possible to enjoy the advantages of reliable electricity without the ongoing cost of monthly electricity bills.
This post was written by Nancy Lynn of RockyMountainDecor.com. Nancy’s a true solar power lover, and a lover of rustic design and off-grid living.
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