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Ranked as our #1 overall solar installer, SunPower features the world’s highest efficiency solar panels and features three flexible purchase options to fit the needs of nearly every homeowner. Not only will SunPower…

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Going solar isn’t just saving homeowners from high electric bills, it’s also saving Marines in the field. Much of the energy needed by combat troops in the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan is used for communications, computers and advanced tactical weaponry. Until recently, this gear had to be powered by heavy, bulky generators or “bricks of batteries.”  But all that is changing thanks to lightweight, portable solar panels. Becoming Energy Warriors The U.S Marine Corps seeks to become “energy warriors,” which is to value the energy ethos in garrison, in the field, or any operational setting. The goal is to treat energy like ammunition and limit any logistics vulnerability when it comes to energy. Being energy efficient will provide more money for training and equipment. To this end, the Marines are looking to energy efficient technologies like their Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network, which incorporates flexible solar panels and light-emitting diodes. The technology provides alternative power for communications equipment, computers, and other electronic gear in an expeditionary environment. Roll-Up Solar Panels Recently, a company of U.S. Marines in Afghanistan outfitted… Read more

Solar panels are typically mounted on the rooftops of buildings to generate electricity for the home or business.  But solar panels can offer more than just clean, sustainable power. Mounted over a window, solar panels can significantly reduce the heat gain and glare inside. Panels used in this way also reduce the cost of cooling a building in the summer. It’s the same for storefront windows, which can be shielded from the sun’s harsh glare, allowing window displays to be viewed more comfortably. Conversely, awnings can provide shelter from the rain or snow during harsh winters. Dovetailing with Traditional Architecture Traditional architects have begun to embrace solar panels as more than just collectors of electricity. Solar awnings for front entrances will begin to look less like roof panels and more like sun and weather shades. Home designers have come to realize that awnings not only add personality to the exterior of a home’s exterior but also offer protection against the sun and snow in areas with particularly harsh or hot weather. Exterior awnings can typically cut solar heat gain by… Read more

Solar generators allow some homeowners to go completely off grid. And they can do so without using gasoline, propane or natural gas. Even apartment dwellers can benefit from solar generators, which are easy to use and maintain.  In most cases, operation involves simply unfolding the solar panels for the best and longest sunlight exposure. Quality “Daylight” Panels For best electrical output, solar panel quality can make a big difference. Inferior panels have a tendency to warp in prolonged direct sunlight, which makes them entirely ineffective. It’s also important to consider charging times (if the generator runs from a battery).  Some generators need more than 12 hours to charge, which means limited power during daylight hours, since most of the charging is needed to run the generator for nighttime use. The key is to get “daylight” panels that run the generator on not just sunny days but overcast days as well. Direct sun panels need direct sunlight and will underperform on cloudy days. Matched to Your Power Needs It’s important to choose a solar generator that can produce enough electric power… Read more

Welcome to solar power on a village scale.  A number of villages around the world are increasingly adopting solar power to generate the electricity they need. Whether it’s solar sheets to power Oregon’s homeless villages or massive leaf-shaped solar roofs for hotel/entertainment complexes in Dubai, solar villages are becoming de rigueur for today’s visionary architects. A Solar Village for Homeless in Oregon  A small, micro-housing village is providing much needed power for the homeless in Eugene, Oregon. The homes in Opportunity Village Eugene are equipped with SunJack, a portable solar charger. These chargers have a battery backup. The solar panels can be quickly draped over each of the small rooftops or hung from a home’s doorway. The transitional micro-housing project is self-governed and peer-supported. A pilot program, Opportunity Village Eugene provides needed shelter for 30 homeless individuals. Each home is roughly 80 square feet and provides safety, privacy, even computer and Wi-Fi access. Kitchens, restrooms and laundry facilities are in communal areas. To cover the minimal costs, residents donate a predetermined amount of community service hours and pay $30 per… Read more

Strange as it initially sounds, some farmers are using the sun to water their crops.  Solar-powered irrigation pumps in states like Iowa prove that the sun’s energy can be used for far more than just offsetting the electrical cost of a suburban home. And farmers in countries without any electric power are using solar powered pumps to water their crops. Watering 160 Acres with Sunpower One farmer in Whiting, Iowa designed a PV solar system to take advantage of the 4+ hours of daily sunlight in the Sioux City region. The system features an array of 22 solar panels, each three feet by six feet, to generate a total of 12,000 kW annually. It’s enough to force water through a network of pipes, and to drive a wheeled sprinkler around a 160-acre field four times. Half the Costs Covered by Tax Credits The Iowa solar-powered irrigation system came in at a cost of $23,000.  But the good news is that much of the cost was rebated by generous government tax credits. Among these were a 30 percent federal tax credit… Read more