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Save More Money Today With This Solar Energy Advice

It is important that you fully understand solar energy before you make a decision on whether or not it is right for your home or business. More »

Find Out The Solar Energy Methods Which Are Being Hidden From You

When it comes to solar energy, there is no question that it is great for the environment. After all, you are using a renewable energy source that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. More »

A List Of Helpful Hints To Begin Using Solar Energy

Have you been considering solar energy for your business or home, but don’t know where to start? It is imperative to educate yourself on the topic before you start signing any contracts. More »

Tips For Making Solar Energy Work For You

Solar power has helped millions of people reduce their impact on the environment. Those who use solar energy have discovered the amount of money it can save. More »

A Legion Of Tips And Tricks You Need If You Want To Use Solar Energy

Both business and private homeowners alike are making the switch to solar energy. Why aren’t you using solar yet? If you don’t know about proper usage, this article may help you. More »

 

New solar investment option, even if you don’t own your house!

A new program allowing US citizens to invest in solar power, without some of the drawbacks, was recently announced by Solar City, called “Solar Bonds”This is an ideal option for those who want to support clean energy and the solar industry, but don’t own a house.

What options are available today?

The current model for solar panels for your home is to buy and install them directly on your house, paying a large upfront investment (say $30,000), and over time you get a payback through electricity savings each month. For residential customers, the payback is around 10-25 years (depending on many factors). Then, after the investment has paid for itself, you start making money on that investment. However, you have tied up a lot of capital (money), have increased insurance payments, and may have to pay maintenance and cleaning costs.

Another popular option for homeowners is to lease your solar panel system, where you pay a monthly fee (like a car payment), and they install solar panels on your house. This addresses the problem of solar panel cost upfront, but you don’t have to worry about maintaining the system (monitored by Solar City).

If you don’t own a house, but still want to invest in solar power, solar bonds is the newest option available.

Check out our diagram below, to help you decide how you can support solar energy…

solar panel buying decision tree

How do solar bonds work?

This option seems ideal for those who do not own their own home, but want to invest in solar energy. With an investment as small as $1000, your money is used to fund other solar projects. However, you get a return on your investment (not just a donation), based on how long you want to wait for the payback. The solar installer uses your money (along with others) to lease a solar system to a homeowner, and when the homeowner makes monthly payments, some of the money is paid back to you as interest (similar to a bank).

If you want your return in 1 year, you will make 2% on your investment. If you want to wait 7 years, then you can get a 4% return.

What are the different investment options?

solar bonds solar city options

For example, if you invest $2000, and want a return in 3 years, then at the end of 3 years, you will get $2,060 back (earning $60).

If you invest $10,000 and want to wait 7 years, you will get $10,400 (earning $400).

This is a safe, low-risk way to invest your money, while supporting clean energy.

To learn more, go to Solar City’s Solar Bond website >>>

Which country is set to install a third of world’s solar?

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says it forecasts that China solar installations will total 13-14 GW in 2014 – nearly a third of the world total.

China is linking to its main transmission grid by installing large utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects.

During July to September (Q3 2014), key projects include:

  • $1.1bn for the 231MW Shizen Energy Setouchi PV project in Japan
  • $850m for the 530MW Huanghe Hydropower Gonghe Longyangxia PV plant phase two in China
  • $642m for the 60MW Dublin waste-to-energy project in Ireland

Despite the growth in investments, there is concern that it’s not sufficient to reduce the impact of climate change.

However, there is no room for complacency because clean energy investment of between $200bn and $300bn a year is not large enough to herald the rapid transformation of the power system that experts say is required if the world is to see a peak in CO2 emissions around 2020.

– Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at BNEF

Overall, the Q3 2014 numbers show clean energy projects (solar farms, geothermal plants, and wind farms) reached $33.3bn, which was a slight increase from $32.8bn from the same quarter last year.

On the downside for clean energy investment, troubles continue in Europe. Only $8.8bn was committed to projects, the lowest figure in the last 8 years, and down almost $4bn from one year ago ($12.1bn in 2013).

 

Shocking investigation into disadvantages of solar energy

We all know that solar energy is better than burning fossil fuels, not only for reducing carbon emissions, but for human health.

However, the manufacturing of solar panels and devices does have a negative impact on the environment, along with the disposal of them at the end of their useful life.

A 2013 investigation into the solar industry found that the millions of solar panels manufactured annually results in millions of pounds of contaminated water and toxic waste sludge. Companies that cannot process the hazardous waste on-site must send the waste to another state for processing. In fact, it can take from one to three months of solar energy generation to offset the energy needed to drive the hazardous waste to another state. Not all companies are adding these additional costs and emissions into their carbon footprint reports, which can be an additional 5% from the reported amounts.

The problem becomes worse when we look at the rise of off-grid solar devices in developing countries. Many do not have the ability to handle solid waste like developed countries, and therefore these devices will likely be burned or thrown away into the environment.

This problem will need to be fixed during the design of new products, in order to be safer, more sustainable, and include more recycled content and materials. In addition, the ease of disassembly will need to be integrated to make recycling and disposal safer and more likely to occur.

Read the rest of the article, and hear about more solutions being put into place at http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/10/08/dark-side-solar-waste-concerns-abound

 

Solar power experiencing 400% growth across the U.S.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) power installed grew in the US by 485% from 2010 to 2013. By early 2014, the United States had more than 480,000 solar systems installed (or 13.4 MW), which is enough to power around 2.4 million U.S. households.

Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems account for the majority of solar installations, while large-scale PV systems and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems make up the capacity.

Prices are a big reason for the increase in installations

  • Rooftop PV system prices have declined heavily in recent years, dropping 29% from 2010 to 2013.
  • Reductions in technology prices, innovative financing, and growing networks of solar installers and financial partners are helping bring the cost down.
  • Tax credits, rebates, and other support in leading states can cut the total costs of a rooftop system to under $10,000
  • Increasing numbers of solar customers are paying little or nothing up front by utilizing solar leases or power purchase agreements, which provide electricity from the system over a long period at attractive fixed rates.
  • In fact, costs for large-scale PV projects have dropped more than household systems, to an average 60% lower than those for residential solar on a per-watt basis.

Another reason for the growth is the amount of sunlight available for PV generation. It varies by less than 30% across most of the country, making solar power viable even in northern climates.

View the entire article at the Union of Concerned Scientists website: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/solar-power-technologies-and-policies.html

There are now more solar industry jobs than coal mining jobs?

On May 27th, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island stated:

“There are already more American jobs in the solar industry than in coal mining.”

Some people were surprised to hear that.

Is the growth in solar energy jobs growing so much that is surpassing coal mining?

Let’s dig deeper to understand what is being compared.

Coal mining jobs1123,227 

Solar jobs2: 142,698 

It should be noted that coal mining does not cover the entire coal industry, so it’s not a complete apples-to-apples comparison. However, to see over 100,000 solar related jobs is outstanding!

You can read all the details about the comparison at Politifact >>>

Purchase solar powered products at Green Eco Friendly Products >>>

1U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. This includes All occupations within the coal-mining  industry (although it is a sector of the entire coal industry)
2The Solar Foundation’s “National Solar Jobs Census 2013″. Solar workers are defined as those who spend “at least 50 percent of their time supporting solar-related activities.”

 

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