Clean Electric

VSECU Goes Solar!

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VSECU Goes Solar!

Over the past three plus months, the Soveren team has been working on a 500kW Solar PV ground installation in Guilford, VT. The power from this project is going to offset the utility bills of the Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) branches across VT. Yesterday, October 25th, was the ceremonial “throwing of the switch” on site. With representative from Soveren and VSECU present, as well as the Brattleboro Reformer and the Commons, we celebrated this landmark event for both institutions. This is Soveren’s biggest installation to date and represents months of innovation and creative investments. We are thrilled to work with VSECU, a local not-for-profit credit union,  and to do our part make their dream of going solar a reality. You can read their full article...

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China’s Solar Market Continues To Boom

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China continues to plow forward installing solar to meet its ever increasing energy demands, having installed over 15 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2015, however it is yet to be seen whether this trend is economically sustainable. Much of China’s solar capacity is installed but not yet online, and the country continues to build additional coal-fired power plants despite having the some of the most polluted air of any country. Currently their total installed capacity sits around 43 gigawatts, making them the leader internationally of installed capacity. The government is aiming to install 15-20 gigawatts of solar per year as part of their next 5-year plan. By 2020 China aims to have 140 gigawatts of installed solar. To put that into scale, the  total installed solar capacity worldwide is expected to reach 321 gigawatts by the end of this year. Installations continue and production is ramping up, but some experts have concerns that the market may be becoming oversaturated with production that exceeds global demand. Read More Here:...

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Conduct An Energy Audit To Determine How To Lower Your Current Electric Bill

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We all want to save money on our electric bill, and saving money on one’s electric bill is one of the primary reasons customers look into going solar. Going solar will certainly save you money in the long run, and in many cases can save you money on a month-by-month basis. However, the best way to save on our electric bills and to reduce our upfront costs for solar is to reduce the amount of electricity we consume on a monthly basis. Changing our lightbulbs to LEDs is a great place to start, as an LED on average requires about one sixth (1/6) the amount of electricity to produce the same amount of lumens as incandescent bulbs. LEDs also last an average of 22 years as opposed to a year for incandescents, making it worth while to spend the extra to make the transition. EnergyStar and energy efficient appliances are also a good route to go, however the cost of many of our household appliances make them an item we’d rather wait to replace when our current ones fail. So remember next time your fridge kicks the can that it may be worth investing in an energy efficient one. Aside from upgrading appliances and lightbulbs, downgrading our electrical consumption is also a good move. This doesn’t need to equate to a reduction in lifestyle, it only requires us to be more cognoscente of the energy we consume and reconsider how we do so. Turning off your lights when you leave a room, turning your AC from high to medium, and turning off your desktop computer when you are not using it can all help us reduce what we consume on a daily basis. If you want to be super stingy about it, unplugging all electronics when unused to eliminate phantom draw can also help save kilowatthours per month. If you want to go a step further, then consider an energy audit. An energy audit consists of finding poorly insulated areas in your house, and tallying all of your appliances and multiplying their wattage by the hours per day or per month they are on. This can help give you a picture of what exactly is bringing you electric bill up and where you are losing precious thermal retention. Heres the Department of Energy’s take on a DIY energy audit. I hope it helps!...

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How Much Carbon Emissions Do Solar Panels Offset?

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In pursuit of cleaner energy and reduced carbon emission, it would be imprudent to not consider the carbon costs in the creation of solar panels themselves. Luckily, solar technology has been around the block, and analysis have been done on how much they offset versus how much carbon has been emitted in their creation. It is calculated that 1kWh of solar energy is equivalent to approximately 105 grams of carbon emitted when carbon emissions in their creation is divided by their lifetime (30 year) total production. Coal, on the other hand, has an average of 990 grams of carbon/ kWh and oil/diesel average at about 821g of carbon/ kWh. Natural gas comes in at a comparatively low carbon cost of 465g/kWh, but this does not take into account the negative externalities of fracking which often leave aquifers irreparably damaged. Wood/biomass — which is renewable and often considered rather clean — has a massive 1500g/kWh carbon emission (less of the other nasty nonsense coal emits like sulfur dioxide and acid gases).   When photovoltaics are compared to other commonplace methods of electrical generation in such a way the measures energy produced as opposed to emissions to create the product, it becomes self-evident that their creation, though somewhat carbon intensive from the factory point-of-view, pays for itself in very little time compared with their usable life.   Read More Here: http://solarenergy.net/energy-saving/putting-solar-savings-into-numbers/...

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As Coal Loses Its Stranglehold On The American Energy Market, Solar Can Pick Up Those Out Of Work

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A new study was released by the Journal of Energy Economics has proposed the notion that there may be a great amount of cross applicable skills between the U.S.’s current coal industry workforce and the emerging solar industry workforce, and that retraining of coal workers to work in solar is not only cost-effective for the solar industry, but also equates to better wages for the workforce. In the study, published by Joshua Pearce of Michigan Technological University and Edward Louie of Oregon State University, findings indicate that skilled labor involved in coal extraction to coal consumption could easily be brought into the renewable energy fold with minimal retraining. This is good news for the U.S.’s coal workers, as the coal industry is likely to continue to downsize its workforce as coal becomes an increasingly unattractive means of producing energy and the costs of clean renewable options continue to come down. The labor-intesivity of solar installations means that many more jobs are created in solar then are lost in coal when replacing a coal fired power plant with photovoltaic panels, while also reducing danger to workers in comparison to coal extraction. Read more here:...

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MASDAR Institute Storing Thermal Energy in Sand

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The MASDAR Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), based out of Abu Dhabi, UAE, is at the forefront of environmental engineering and sustainable design. The City of Masdar and MIST we founded upon the desire to create an epicenter of international environmentalism. The city showcases some of the latest technology mixed with ancient architectural practices native to the region to create a synergistic approach to eco-friendly urban development. MIST, which currently is accessible solely to graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is quickly earning a reputation for the green technology powerhouse of the world. One research project that has captured our interest in the use of sand for thermal storage. Most conventional solar thermal systems utilize salt, oil or some other type of high boiling point, low environmental-friendliness agent to store thermal energy. Using sand could prove to be just as effective and environmentally sound if MIST’s new tech turns out to be viable. Reducing our carbon footprint is essential to the wellbeing of our planet, but it is not just as simple as devising new energy generation systems which do not pollute while producing electricity. We must constantly strive to create clean energy technology which can also be manufactured with the least amount of environmental impact. Using lithium ion batteries is one of the current standards for energy storage, but comes at a high price in terms of environmental externalities. Utilizing sand, which is readily abundant, requires no refining, and can be used without creating less-than-ideal byproducts, could very well play an important part in the future’s clean energy mix. Keep your eyes peeled for any tech coming out of Masdar and MIST, as it is sure to be on the cutting edge of eco-friendly.   Read more here:...

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