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SolarCity is America’s #1 full-service solar provider. Thousands of homeowners are already enjoying the benefits of clean, affordable energy from SolarCity. They continuously monitor each solar power system to ensure everything’s running smoothly,…

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Going solar has many advantages. This “green” source of electricity can boost your home’s energy efficiency, saving you money month after month. Most systems pay for themselves, and this payback period is getting shorter every year thanks to advances in technology and streamlined installation methods. There’s also the cost cutting factor of local, state and federal tax incentives.  In some cases, the right solar energy system can allow you to live off the power grid and be completely independent of your electric company. In fact, some homeowners can actually get credit for returning power to their electric company. But few homeowners realize that going solar can make their home safer. Here’s how: 1. In the event of a power outage, you’ll have a source of backup power if your solar system is connected to an electric storage device—like back-up batteries. (See Four Things You Should Know about Adding Battery Backup to Solar.) You’ll have lighting throughout the inside and outside of your home for security, and for safely navigating from room to room. No more dangerous candles that can accidentally… Read more

The leading world economies—led by Germany, Japan, China and the UK—have outpaced the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. Countries that use energy more efficiently need fewer resources to achieve the same goals. Using energy efficiently reduces costs, preserves valuable natural resources and creates jobs. Regrettably, our potential for using energy more efficiently is vastly underutilized.  According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, here’s what we can do that today’s energy leaders are doing: 1. Introduce a national energy savings goal to complement existing state policies and raise the bar for all states. Most countries already have these established goals. 2. Urge U.S. manufacturers to continually improve their energy efficiency by using Superior Energy Performance ISO 50001 (ISO 2011) and other voluntary platforms. Germany (the most energy efficient country) offers its Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) subsidies of up to 30% to improve the energy efficiency of their manufacturing processes. 3. Provide stronger financial incentives (like tax credits, loans and loan-loss reserves) to encourage private investment in energy efficiency. Since 2006, Germany has created nearly half… Read more

China seems to be leading the way in all things solar. And the new Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel in Dezhou, Shandong province is no exception. Called the world’s first environmentally friendly theme park-style hotel, the Micro E is the largest solar-powered hotel on the planet. Solar Satisfying 70% of Hotel’s Energy Needs Built by Himin Group, China’s leading solar products manufacturer, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel is truly one of a kind. Designed to international five-star and green five star standards, the Micro E covers 75,000 square-meters and features thousands of solar panels and solar heat pipe collectors. All told, the combined solar technology collects and stores enough energy to satisfy 70% of the hotel’s energy needs. The solar power is used in a wide variety of areas, including heating the hotel’s water supply and providing power for its vast heating and cooling systems. The Integrated photovoltaics (PVs) generate power and save energy.  The rooftop solar cells generate power that's stored to light the hotel’s elegant lobby when the sun goes down. Sustainability is Through the Roof The Micro E… Read more

The new fuel for personal vehicle transportation is fast becoming electricity. If you own a hybrid or other electric vehicle, it will pay you to know about the most economical residential electric rates, rates that are already being developed to reduce and manage the cost of refueling your new Prius, Leaf or Tesla. First off, you can continue to pay for all your electricity (including the power you need to recharge your new EV) on your current residential rate. How much you pay will, of course, depend heavily on how you use your electricity and when you charge your vehicle. Here are some charging options currently being offered by some electric utilities: Residential Home and Plug-in EV Time-of-Day Rate Under this rate, you combine charging your electric vehicle with your entire household electric needs and appliances (like lighting, cooking, electric heating and AC). This gives you a low-cost option for using electricity during off-peak hours, which includes charging your vehicle at night. This option requires no added metering. Residential Plug-in EV Only Time-of-Day Rate This special rate applies only for… Read more

The US is crisscrossed with thousands of miles of paved roads. All absorb vast amounts of heat—as much as 140 degrees in some locales. University of Rhode Island researchers have decided it might be time to tap into some of this wasted heat. One goal is to use this wash of sun power to melt ice, power streetlights, illuminate signs, and even heat buildings. All would reduce fossil fuel consumption and global warming. “We have mile after mile of asphalt pavement around the country, and in the summer it absorbs a great deal of heat,” said K. Wayne Lee, URI professor of civil and environmental engineering and joint project leader. “If we can harvest that heat, we can use it for our daily use, save on fossil fuels, and reduce global warming.” It’s a Wrap One idea is to wrap flexible PV cells around the tops of highway barriers. This would generate enough electricity to power streetlights and illuminate road signs. PV cells could even be embedded in the roadway between these barriers and adjacent rumble strips. Lee notes that… Read more