We've all heard of Elon Musk, our very own Tony Stark, but have you heard of his newest plan? How would you feel about turning your entire roof solar? After merging his two companies, SolarCity and Tesla, he announced that his master plan is to release a solar roof. Now let me clarify here, this is not a roof that has solar panels on it with the normal asphalt shingle roof underneath it, but a roof that is actually made up of solar panels! This could potentially open up an entirely new market allowing for the sale of a solar roof instead of just the panels that go on top of it. The possibilities are endless here! Gone would be the days of being limited to the amount of panels that you can install at your home due to the available space on your roof! It's a very interesting concept, one we are very intrigued to learn more about! Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think about it, and if you think this is something you would be interested in!
Wow! I stumbled upon this video today and it really sums up how fossil fuels have powered human growth and ingenuity for centuries -- all in 5 short minutes!
Now that we're reaching the end of cheap and abundant oil and coal supplies, we're in for an exciting ride. While there's a real risk that we'll fall off a cliff, there's still time to control our transition to a post-carbon future.
This amazing animated short movie is written and narrated by Richard Heinberg, author of many related books.
Be sure to watch it and let me know what you think by commenting below!
Some use the terms power and energy interchangeably...
However, these terms represent very different, but related concepts.
Power is the rate at which energy is consumed, expressed in watts or kilowatts.
Energy is the amount of power consumed, expressed in watt-hours or kilowatt-hours (kWh).
To understand energy use, and consequently our utility bills, we must factor in the amount of power devices and appliances use and how long we use them.
Let’s look at the example of a typical light fixture outside your front door with a 60 watt light bulb. Sixty watts is the amount of power the lamp consumes, or the rate at which the lamp uses energy. If you run a 60 watt light bulb from dusk to dawn for 12 hours, you will consume 720 watt-hours of energy (or 0.72 kilowatt-hours).
In Southwest Florida we currently pay around 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, so that light bulb would cost 7.2 cents per night, or $26.28 annually.
If you look at your utility bill, you will see that you are charged for the number of kilowatt-hours (KWH) that you consume.
This is the amount of energy consumed between meter readings. To reduce the energy you use, you must either reduce the amount of power you use, or the amount of time you use that power (or both!)
Energy = Power x Time
Going back to our light bulb example, you could install a light bulb that uses less power, or you could reduce the number of hours it runs. Both courses of action would reduce the energy used and save you money. Here are three different ideas to save energy and money.
1) Replace the bulb with a 13W compact fluorescent with equivalent light output (reduce power).
Energy Saved: 0.56 kilowatt hours daily, or $20.58 saved annually
2) Put the light on a timer and run for just 6 hours nightly (reduce time).
Energy saved: 0.36 kilowatt hours daily, or $13.14 saved annuall
3) Do both of the above (reduce power and time).
Energy Saved: 0.64 kilowatt hours daily, or $23.43 saved annually
While power and energy are intimately connected, they are not the same.
Understanding the difference can help you save money!
In my next article, I will take this concept one step further and explain why you should think twice when trying to be “energy efficient.”
- Fafco Solar, Cape Coral’s solar energy solutions company, will be holding an open house to celebrate Earth Day on April 19 - 23, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
FORT MYERS, Florida—April 14, 2010—Fafco Solar, Cape Coral’s solar energy solution company, will be holding an open house to celebrate Earth Day. The open house takes place from April 19 to 23, 2010, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at their corporate office located at 901 SE 13th Place Cape Coral, FL 33990.
Attendees will be able to take a tour of Fafco’s Green Building, sign a “Declaration of Energy Independence,” and learn more about all the solar energy products offered by Fafco Solar. Fafco will give attendees a listing of other local Earth Day events, tips and suggestions for going green and a “Solar Bill of Rights” to take home with them.
“This is a great opportunity for us to be able to educate the public on what they can do to be green and do their part to save the environment. Solar energy is a readily-available and renewable source of energy that will not only reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but it also helps our customers save lots of money. We’re proud to celebrate Earth Day by teaching our customers how to be environmentally responsible citizens,” says Dan Morrissey, Owner and President of Fafco Solar.
About Fafco Solar Energy:
The Fafco Solar Team, Cape Coral's Solar Energy Solutions Company, is a wonderful blend of talent and dedication. They are committed to giving professional customer service. Fafco Solar is the oldest and most trusted name in Southwest Florida. With over 116 years of pooled solar experience, the Fafco Solar Team is committed to reducing your use of fossil fuel to zero. Customers of Fafco Solar can benefit from a 30% tax credit. To find out more, call Fafco Solar at (239) 574-1500 or visit them online at Fafco Solar Energy.
Servicing Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Bonita Springs, and all of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades Counties in Florida
While offshore oil and gas drilling is the slowest, dirtiest, most hazardous and expensive way to produce energy - investing in clean energy would create four times as many jobs as investing the same amount of money in oil.
We need energy efficiency coupled with new, advanced, sophisticated, clean renewable energy technologies such as solar energy.
What we can do is thank Florida Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson for their continued strong opposition to drilling and spilling oil on America’s best beaches, drilling that would ruin our state’s number one economic resource: our beach sand.
People in other states can help by getting their Senators to take Florida drilling out of the Senate’s energy bill.
Renewable energy technology works extremely well in an iPad world!
As renewable and solar energy continue to gain global awareness one of the most common questions people have is:
"How Do I Power My Home From the Sun?"
The answer is with a Solar Electric Photovoltaic System.
Solar Electric Photovoltaic Systems, sometimes referred to as PV Systems, have many benefits:
- Reduce your electric bill.
- Take advantage of tax benefits and rebates.
- Help our country become less dependent on fossil fuels.
- And - Watch your meter spin backward (we never get tired of this!)
In this NBC news snippet, I talk about how solar energy growth isn't a fad and how Florida is not number #1 in terms of solar usage, YET, it is the Sunshine State!
We've been in the Solar Energy business for over 30 years, and we're definitely seeing a continued growth in our solar energy business.
Here's 9 ways you can conserve energy by switching to solar energy based solutions:
- Solar Pool Heater - save by using the sun to heat your pool!
- Solar Water Heater - save by using the power of the sun to heat your water!
- Solar Electric Photovoltaic System - save by powering your home with solar energy!
- Solar Lights - save by using natural light for your home!
- Solar Attic Fan - save by using the sun to pull heat from your home!
- Pool Automation - save by automating your chlorination, pump timing and heating!
If you have any questions about Solar Energy, or would like to learn more give us a call at (239) 574-1500.
We're very passionate about what we do, and would love to help you!
Have you ever thought about how much electricity you use, and possibly reducing your usage?
Think about this:
- The Wii Videogame System uses 18 Watts when in use, and 3 Watts when it's in sleep mode.
- A typical desktop computer with a 17" LCD (Flat-Panel) Monitor uses about 200 Watts.
- A 42" Plasma TV uses 270 Watts.
- A central air conditioner (2.5 tons) uses 3500 Watts.
- A clothes dryer uses 4400 Watts.
- Turning off, or putting your Desktop computer to sleep - rather than leaving it on all of the time, can save over $100/year.
- Switching from 100 Watt Light Bulbs to the equivalent fluorescents can save you over $200/year.
- Going solar can save hundreds per year as well! Be sure to check out all of our solar products.
If you're really interested in learning how much energy you use, you can measure it with this $20 device:
It's called the Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor, and it will not only calculate your electrical use, but empower you to save hundreds on your electric bills!
Here's to saving energy and enjoying life,
Nationwide, electricity rates have increased an average of 4.4% per year over the past 35 years, twice that rate in some parts of the country.
At the local level, Florida Power & Light (FPL) is asking for a $1.3 billion annual increase in base rates, which amounts to about $12.40 per month for the first 1,000-kilowatt hours used.
FPL dubiously notes that declining fuel costs will more than offset that increase for its customers. Regulators will vote on the increase in the beginning of 2010. As you probably know, the Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) is not an energy producer and their goal is to buy all of their power from FPL within the next couple of years. This means rising prices at FPL will be passed onto LCEC and its customers.
One way to offset the inevitable rise in the cost of electricity is to become a small-scale energy producer at your home and/or business. Incorporating solar hot water and solar electricity (or PV) technologies into residential and commercial buildings can significantly offset the rising price of fossil fuels. As you move towards less reliance on nonrenewable energy from the large utility corporations, you´ll gain some independence from the utility companies, reduce your monthly bills, and minimize the impact our energy use has on the environment.
The first step is to apply the basic principles of conservation and efficiency to all of your energy choices. Then consider your energy appetite and needs, your site, and the resources available to you. A solar thermal system to heat hot water for the home, business, and/or pool can reduce about a third of your electric bill. Photovoltaics or solar electric will generate free electricity for decades and allow you to send power back to the grid. Think through your renewable energy choices carefully, speak with a solar professional, and evaluate how you can become a small-scale energy producer as there are numerous options.
You will immediately start saving money with solar technologies because the energy from the sun is free so rates will never increase!
I received this from the Rocky Mountain Institute, and it's pretty impressive, so I thought I'd share with you, and spread their word.
"Today, we do not need to convince the world that Reinventing Fire is necessary. Instead, we must work together to make it happen." – Amory B. Lovins
Since 1982, Rocky Mountain Institute has been hatching gamechanging innovations to help make the world richer, fairer, cooler, and safer. Among other things, RMI has made important contributions toward achieving tripled-efficiency cars, trucks, and airplanes; laid many conceptual and practical foundations for electric and water efficiency, widespread renewable energy, and community economic development; devised profitable approaches to solving climate change, oil dependence, global insecurity, nuclear nonproliferation, and critical-infrastructure vulnerability; and forged (with Paul Hawken) a natural version of capitalism. All this work has prepared us well for what comes now.
RMI’s Next Big Thing will bring together all of our 27 years of innovation and engage the world in our most ambitious and important work yet. Put simply, this effort is aimed at changing the way most people have been getting and using energy since the Industrial Revolution. We mean to speed the transformation from pervasive waste to elegant frugality, from causing scarcity by inattention to creating abundance by design, from liquidating energy capital to living better on energy income. In short, we are Reinventing Fire: driving the business-led transition from oil, coal, and ultimately gas to efficiency and renewables.
Reinventing Fire will require tapping, in particular, the two biggest motherlodes of energy, efficiency and the Sun. Efficient use is generally the largest, least expensive, most benign, most quickly deployable, least visible, least understood, and most neglected opportunity in the whole economy. Efficiency can save half of U.S. oil and gas at about a fifth of their current price, and probably three-fourths of U.S. electricity at about an eighth of its price. RMI is speeding the expansion and capture of this vast “efficiency resource” by showing, in our 10xE (Factor Ten Engineering) project, how whole-system design integration can often make very large (sometimes even tenfold) energy savings cost less than small or no savings.
Once we use energy in a way that saves money, supply becomes much easier, and important synergies emerge between efficient use and renewable supply. Every 70 minutes or so, the sun supplies the Earth with enough energy to run global civilization for a year. An average square meter of land receives each year as much energy from the sun as is in a barrel of oil, and it falls reliably, freely, and relatively evenly on rich and poor alike. The world’s electricity use could in theory be provided 20 times over just by modern 20-percent-efficient solar cells on the rooftops of buildings in the 1 percent of land area that dense cities already cover. Solar power is always in stock, never runs out (even at night when it’s shining elsewhere), is safe, and never threatens us with terrorist plots.
The sun also causes wind, which could cost-effectively provide over 35 times global electricity needs, particularly at night. Sun and wind are the fastest-growing global energy sources: windpower was the biggest addition to power generating capacity in the U.S. in 2008, and in Europe in 2007–08. Sun and wind in 2008 added, respectively, 6 and 27 of the 40 billion watts of new renewable power worldwide (excluding big hydro dams). Sun powers photosynthesis, which can produce the biofuels for efficient mobility without interfering with food and fiber production or destroying natural ecosystems. Solar warmth already does 98 percent of our space-heating: without it, the Earth’s surface temperature would average not 15˚C but nearer –269˚C. Reinventing Fire is about putting the sun’s benign warmth to efficient use in vehicles, homes, factories, neighborhoods, planes, electricity systems, ships, appliances, trucks, and cities, with all these devices, systems, and social orders sharing power and information to create mutual value.
But the Reinventing Fire story is not just about efficiency, the sun, wind, and other renewables. In the third of a century since my “soft energy path,” a powerful new force has begun to reshape society: modern information technology (IT). Putting IT to work can speed the leap from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. Thirty years ago, few utility managers thought about influencing a home’s or a factory’s power consumption. Now, many smart utility managers are doing just that, sniffing out places—swimming pools, water heaters, air conditioners, manufacturing equipment, commercial lights—where sharing information with consumers to inform smarter choices can retime use, cut costs, and curb emissions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has found up to 188 billion watts of such “demand response” potential in the United States; we suspect there may be even more.
Information technology has further transformed how renewables can mesh with each other and with the power grid. A prevalent myth holds that solar cells and windpower can’t do much because they don’t always work. (Neither does any other source of electricity: the various types of power plants differ only in the size, frequency, duration, predictability, and cause of their failures.) RMI’s analysts have developed a unique simulation tool to explore how to integrate these variable renewables into utility operations, backing out coal- and gas-burning stations whenever the wind blows or the sun shines. Our initial findings suggest that integrating even very large amounts of variable renewables into the grid—just as utilities now integrate intermittent big power plants and cope with fluctuating demand—requires not new technology but new attitudes and operating procedures that can deliver better service at lower cost and make more profit with less risk. To help our utility partners understand how to do this, as some in Europe already do, RMI is now synthesizing with them a practical vision of the shape, stability, economics, and transitional path of an efficient, diverse, dispersed, renewable, resilient, economical, and climate-safe electricity system.
Modern society is built from fossil fuels. They are the root source of our society’s wealth and power. But as their rising costs to our security, wallets, and habitat become ever more intolerable, we see one system dying and another struggling to be born. The inflection point at this moment in history is both evolutionary and revolutionary. The evolving tools to reinvent fire have at last caught up with the vision that has been hatching for decades. And it’s a revolutionary moment because we can at last move beyond just conceiving answers to actually getting off oil, coal, and gas by integrating, articulating, and applying what we know. Today we need not convince the world that Reinventing Fire is necessary. Instead, we must work together to make it happen.
Hence, Reinventing Fire is a “grand synthesis” that will systematically combine decades of intellectual capital, both ours and others’, into a practical map of the road beyond fossil fuels—then help the world head down that road with due deliberate speed. Integrating the latest developments that make getting off oil and coal even more attractive than we thought five years ago, Reinventing Fire weaves together a resilient, multi-layered web of connected, efficient, renewable replacements for fossil fuel, chiefly in the U.S. but in a global context.
The pieces of the most complex jigsaw puzzle in human history are falling into place. The world that we at RMI imagine, and that we strive daily to create, is starting to take shape. We need to form it even faster, because humanity, as Dana Meadows said, has “exactly enough time—starting now.” Please join us as we embark on one of the most important phases in the 27-year history of Rocky Mountain Institute.
Amory B. Lovins
Cofounder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist
Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Institute on their web site at: www.RMI.org.
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