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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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There’s no denying it, the cost of energy is going up. Retail residential electricity rates have seen a sharp rise in recent years. Some areas of the country have witnessed steep price increases. Electricity rates in Hawaii, for example, have more than doubled over the past decade. So with no end in sight, the only way to keep utility costs down is to improve your home's energy efficiency. Here are 8 ways to do just that. Check for Energy Leaks This is probably the simplest and most direct way to boost your home’s energy efficiency. So look for areas where cold air enters and warm air escapes. Check doorways and windows in every room. Go into your attic and basement and check for tiny drafts and escaping air. Seal any areas you find with caulk or insulating foam strips. Insulate Attics and Basements Make sure your attic and/or basement has sufficient insulation to prevent heat loss. Use the recommended R rating material for your home and area. (Insulation levels are specified by R-Value, which measures the insulation’s ability to resist… Read more

Many homeowners still believe that solar power is too expensive, that it’s only for well-heeled suburbanites who have two cars, a big 401K and high paying jobs. No longer. Today, the cost of going solar has come way down. And helping to bring down the costs are the many incentives and benefits solar can now bring to the average homeowner. Short-Term Savings Homeowners who install solar can start saving money almost immediately. Many can finance their solar system with a $0 down loan. But homeowners also pay less each month as soon as their system goes online. Some utilities have tiered billing systems, which charge homeowners per kilowatt/hour (kWh.). The average home uses about 900kWh/mo. Homeowners who exceed that amount, can, in some cases, expect their energy bill double. Going solar can prevent many homeowners from jumping into the next higher electric rate tier. Paying at a higher tier over several years can be amount to a considerable sum. Long Term Benefits It’s no secret that electricity rates will continue to rise. When homeowners own solar, they lock in low energy… Read more

Going "off-grid" is becoming an increasingly popular choice for many looking to assert their independence and avoid reliance on fossil fuels. It’s a lifestyle that shuns public utilities in favor of creating one’s own energy. Some choose to live partially off the grid by supplying their own electricity and ditching their phone line. Others are “preppers,” survivalists, or true individualists like those in Antoine Bruy’s ongoing photo series Scrublands, who have decided to completely cut the umbilical from the trappings of modern life. Yet for many, the goal of living off grid is simply to live healthier and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Regardless of their commitment to this lifestyle, the one thing most “off gridders” will need is electricity. Not surprisingly, an entire industry has emerged to serve this emerging trend. Here are five examples of solar power innovations aiming to help those living off the grid. Waka Waka Over 75,000 of these ingenious solar LED lights have already been shipped around the globe. A safer alternative to the kerosene lamp, the handy device delivers up to 80 hours… Read more

The global market for photovoltaics (PV) has grown substantially in 2015, with even more robust growth expected in the years to follow. And while the price for PV modules has dropped considerably, there’s still plenty of room for further reductions. What’s needed is a new disruptive approach to increase module efficiency and materials use, as well as a reduction in energy needed to achieve certain quality wafer yields. Current Process is Complex and Time Consuming  A major component of a solar cell is silicon—in the form or wafers. Up till now, manufacturing silicon wafers has been an expensive, time- consuming process. That’s because more than half of the pure silicon is machined away as dust. Most silicon wafers start out as an impure chunk of silicon, which is liquefied and purified by adding chlorine. This material, known as chlorosilane is combined with hydrogen and then transformed into high-purity polysilicon. Still not yet in the crystalline form required for solar cells, these silicon chunks are broken up, melted at 1,450 degrees Celsius, grown, transferred into silicon ingots, and finally sawed into… Read more

Getting the most out of the terawatts of free energy the sun bathes the Earth with every day takes ingenuity and imagination. It means standing on the shoulders of those who have made breakthroughs and seeing how that technology can be improved and made more cost effective. If we look at the current way of manufacturing silicon wafers used in solar panels, it’s a tedious and costly multi-step process, one that eats up energy and capital. This limits the inherent potential of cell efficiency, owing to bulk quality defects that appear during wafer growth. Fortunately, there is a better way. Low-Cost Crystalline Silicon Making a Comeback While thin films were recently envisioned as the future of solar power, low-cost crystalline silicon could be on its way back. In Dubai, low-cost solar technology has succeeded in harnessing thin-film cadmium telluride solar modules made by a prominent U.S. manufacturer. The inexpensive modules boost the efficiency of solar cells and are now in high production. The solar modules are already being manufactured for less than 40 cents per watt, with further price reductions… Read more