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Do you have any idea how much energy the sun pours onto this world in just one hour? Enough to power all of humanity for a whole calendar year. Enough to power over 400 quintillion homes!
Just How Do Solar Panels Do Their Job?
A typical solar installation is comprised of a multitude of modules that are aluminum framed. Every module has photovoltaic cells, also known as PV cells. When the sun is shining, each PV cell immediately turns light into electricity. It is the light that matters, as the heat is not used.
PC cells have a top layer of phosphorus-diffused silicon. It carries what are known as free electrons. There is also a thicker layer, a boron-doped bottom that has surface areas free of electrons. Precision manufacturing of such PV cells creates electronic imbalance in between the top and bottom layers. This creates an effect at a molecular level, where photons of light that come into contact with the cell wind up bumping electrons from the semiconductor’s negative layer into the positive layer. That bumping action and activity essential creates an actual electrical current, since the electrons eventually flow into the metal contacts as such. They then flow into a 60-cell module closed loop or circuit through a bottom solid contact layer.
The new program makes clean and renewable solar power an option for electricity customers across the United States, no matter where they live.
Arcadia Power, an online renewable energy company, announced today the first nationwide community solar platform that gives people around the country the opportunity to support solar energy and get savings on their bills – no matter where they live.
This is a huge step forward for the residential solar industry which only caters to a small segment of homeowners in select states. Arcadia Power’s technology platform can connect solar panel production from a remote site directly to a customer’s power bill, and does not require any additional equipment or installation on a customer’s home.
Home Owners, Realtors and Prospective Buyers Can Now Instantly Find Out a Home’s Solar Energy Potential with Sun Number Scores on Zillow
Sun Number’s Rooftop Solar Power Potential Technology Now Featured on Zillow
Sun Number and Zillow® are putting instant analyses of properties’ solar energy potential at the fingertips of home owners, home buyers and real estate agents with a new feature on Zillow that makes the Sun Number rating of a residence just a click away.
Sun Number provides a simple-to-understand analysis of how solar-friendly a building is based on factors such as regional climate, daily sun exposure, foliage coverage from nearby trees and more. The 0-100 score and accompanying details help users understand how much they can benefit from solar power, reducing their utility bills and reliance on fossil fuels in the process.
By Alex Deeter, SolarExpert.com
How to Save on Your Electricity Bill NOW
This August was a very warm month for California. Did you know that it was the hottest August Earth has ever recorded? These hot months unfortunately contribute to much higher electricity bills. Luckily, having gone solar, hot days don’t have as drastic an effect. With the hottest days on record however, everyone’s electricity bills went up. Unfortunately, utilities limited the size of your solar system to your previous annual use. When you use more, the utility will charge you accordingly.
Southern California Edison redesigned rates to eliminate the top tier. Edison announced this summer that rates were increasing 8% for homes. That’s the average increase however, and the energy conscious are getting a worse deal. Customers who stay within the tier one and two will see those rates increase 12% and 17%, respectively.
By Timothy B. Hurst, redgreenandblue.org
Interior Sec. Salazar and Sen. Reid announce plans to fast-track commercial-scale solar power development on public lands.
In a plan announced on Tuesday, federal agencies will work with western leaders to designate tracts of U.S. public lands in the West as prime zones for utility-scale solar energy development; fund environmental studies; open new solar energy permitting offices, and; speed reviews of industry proposals.
Under the zoning portion of the initiative, 24 tracts of Bureau of Land Management land located in six western states, known as Solar Energy Study Areas, would be evaluated for their environmental and resource suitability for commercial-scale solar energy production. Those areas selected would be available for projects capable of producing 10 or more megawatts of electricity. The Solar Energy Study Areas (maps) located in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah encompass about 670,000 acres.
Speaking alongside Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Secretary Salazar vowed to have 13 “commercial-scale” solar projects under construction by the end of 2010. He set a goal of producing a total of 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.
Essentially, the plan would streamline the entire development process; coordinate zoning and environmental studies, and; prioritize the processing of the projects. The new plan will tap resources made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama.
“This environmentally-sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users,” said Secretary Salazar. “The two dozen areas we are evaluating could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.”
“It’s about time to make the permitting process more efficient and provide greater guidance to solar developers,” Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group, said in a statement.
But the plan will likely face opposition from some environmental groups and political leaders. In particular, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation opposing solar development on BLM land in the Mojave Desert back in March, calling the proposals “unacceptable.”
The federal Bureau of Land Management has received applications for 158 solar projects on 1.8 million acres capable of generating 97,000 megawatts, enough to power an estimated 29 million homes.
Light, flexible solar panels made with nanotechnology will soon bring down the cost of installing household solar energy systems, and new federal and state tax credits are providing additional incentive.
By Ariel Schwartz, CleanTechnica.com
I’ve always wanted a solar water heater in my imaginary house that I own, and now I think I know what brand I want, too. EnerWorks solar water heaters are the first to qualify for the new ENERGY STAR residential water heater program. The heaters were judged based on numerous factors, including solar fraction (portion of hot water delivered by solar energy), solar energy factor (energy delivered by the system divided by electrical or gas energy put into the system), and warranty.
According to ENERGY STAR, solar water heaters can save a typical household $220 each year.
EnerWorks solar water heaters are available in 1, 2, 3, and 4 panel systems, and all models come with a 5 year warranty. In colder climates, a solar water heater can provide up to 50% in energy savings. Warmer climates can yield up to 80%.
So in the long run, investing in a solar water heater might be a wise choice— especially when you consider the 40% to 50% greenhouse gas reduction compared to traditional heaters.