Nancy and I had the great pleasure of meeting Scott and Julie Brusaw of Solar Roadways in Sandpoint, ID this last week while vacationing.
They graciously spent an hour showing us how they make their panels and answering all of our questions about how they work.
I was very excited to see their technology, first hand, and learn about their new applications for homes.
We were amazed to learn that every panel is installed by hand right now and to hear about how they plan to someday automate their installation process.
It is definitely something we plan to keep an eye on and we are proud to share the industry with such innovative people.
They have a brilliant concept here that could completely transform the future!
Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think!
Tesla's Powerwall is going to change the way you think about your power, forever.
It is being considered the key to personal energy independence.
It's a wall-mounted, lithium ion battery, that has inherited Tesla's already proven automotive battery technology which will power you home safely and economically.
It is completely automated, installs very easily, and requires little to no maintenance!
It has the capacity to store 6.4 kWh which is sufficient to power most homes at night using the energy generated from the solar panels during the day!
Better yet is that is comes with a 10 year warranty!
Right now the only way to purchase one is to either own a Tesla or be a customer of SolarCity, however we are anxiously awaiting our opportunity to become a distributor and installer of this product!
Stay tuned for our first Tesla Powerwall installation happening in 2016!
Here's a wonderful video showing the amazing growth of solar energy in America.
I think a lot of people will be surprised to learn how fast solar is really growing.
According to SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) over the last 10 years the deployment of solar energy in the United States grew at an unprecedented rate.
In 2004 there were 500 megawatts (MW) of solar energy installed nationwide.
By the end of 2014, there were 20,000 MW - enough to power more than 4 million homes. 97 percent of that capacity was added after passage of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
By the end of 2016, the solar industry is expected to double in size, offsetting more than 45 million metric tons of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off U.S. highways or shuttering 12 coal-fired power plants.
The capabilities of today's technology is absolutely amazing, and just keeps improving day after day. Google has recently launched it's newest non-searchable venture called Google Sunroof.
If you are a skeptic about solar power and it's benefits then this website is for you.
Right now it is only available in a few areas, but someday soon they could be analyzing the solar potential of every building in the country.
It works by taking an address and calculating the average amount of hours-per-year of sunlight for that particular rooftop.
It then gives you an analysis of how many solar panels you could fit in that location as well as the amount of money you could potentially save by installing them.
There is still a lot of skepticism and ignorance when it comes to solar energy.
People just don't appreciate the amount of money they could save over the long term or the volume of solar power that is currently bouncing off their roofs, unused.
This website aims to eliminate the skeptics and ignorance while showing them what they are missing out on!
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.”
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!)
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,
In the very near future, citizens of Florida will have an opportunity to show their opposition to oil drilling as close as 3 to 10 miles off the coast.
On February 13th, Hands Across the Sand, will be sponsoring this interesting event...
I’m not one who normally gets involved in these types of events, however, as a volleyball player, I am interested in the long-term quality of our beaches, and as a solar contractor, I am interested in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.
So, in this case, it makes sense to me to make a statement about two things about which I am so passionate.
If you're interested in joining me, please contact me, and I'll talk to you very soon!
In the fall of 1977, my father (read more about him here) went to a Pool and Spa Show in Orlando and had the good fortune of meeting Freeman A. Ford, the founder of FAFCO, Inc.
By the end of the year, we were FAFCO’s authorized exclusive dealer for SW Florida...
By 1983, I was so “in love” with FAFCO, that I changed our company name and starting operating as Fafco Solar.
Our “marriage”, as Freeman likes to refer to it, remains strong. This year marks FAFCO’s 40th year in business. Not a bad milestone for the solar industry. So, I’d like to raise my glass and say “Here’s to you, Freeman!"
Here's the official news from Fafco, Inc., about their 40th anniversary:
At Solar Power International 2009, FAFCO today celebrated its 40th anniversary in the solar energy industry. Founded in 1969 by Freeman A. Ford and Richard O. Rhodes, FAFCO is the oldest and largest solar water heating manufacturer in the United States.
"Congratulations to FAFCO for four decades of providing consumers with affordable, reliable solar water heating," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. "FAFCO has long been a leader in the solar thermal market, which has grown more than fivefold since 2000 and represents the largest segment for installed solar energy in the United States. Solar thermal is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to go solar. I'm sure we'll see FAFCO and the solar thermal market continue their strong growth as Americans look for ways to lower their bills and go green."
In 2008, Newsweek magazine published the “History of Solar”—a look back at the history of solar over the last 100 years. FAFCO Inc. is credited with developing the first lightweight set of solar panels that can reduce heating costs by up to 50% (or more in warmer climates). FAFCO is the only company in the world given this distinction in global technology history.
A World Solar Industry Leader
Since its inception in 1969, FAFCO has achieved many significant milestones. Over the last four decades it has manufactured more than 1.75 million solar collectors. The company has shipped 66 million square feet of pool heating collectors, or the electrical equivalent of 4.3 gigawatts. Finally, FAFCO owns more than 25 domestic and international patents on its technology.
"FAFCO was not only one of the earliest solar companies and longest running solar companies, but also one of the only U.S. companies to compete in a subsidized conventional energy market without subsidies for its products — a notable achievement that exemplifies its stature, quality and professionalism in the market today," said Scott Slar, president of The Stella Group, Ltd. and former executive director of the national Solar Energy Industries Association for 15 years.
From 1969 to early 2008, FAFCO was led by world-renowned solar thermal expert and 2006 Inductee to the International Solar Hall of Fame, Freeman A. Ford. The Solar Hall of Fame is an international award that was created by an Act of Congress during the 1976 Bicentennial of the United States. The Solar Hall of Fame distinction has been given to 45 men and women from various countries throughout the world. Ford joins such industry luminaries as Dr. Charles Abbot, Dr. Erich A. Farber, Dr. John Yellot and Dr. Harry E. Thomason.
Under Ford’s guidance, FAFCO pioneered the solar pool heating industry. When the company was launched, the solar pool heating industry was based on expensive, difficult-to-install copper collectors. Despite significant drawbacks, copper absorbers had dominated solar thermal heating for a century. FAFCO’s vision was to replace copper with inexpensive, easy-to-install polymer absorbers. It has since spawned an entire industry.
In 1985, Ford directed his company’s polymer expertise toward Thermal Energy Storage (TES). Today FAFCO TES systems allow customers to buy inexpensive off-peak electricity at night, store the energy and then use it to cool buildings in the day when electricity costs peak. In addition to saving customers money on HVAC costs, FAFCO TES systems enable utilities to reduce peak load thus saving the costs associated with building new capacity.
In 1996, Ford once again focused his company on developing ground-breaking solar energy products. In collaboration with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, FAFCO developed the world’s first lightweight, affordable, all-polymer, solar hot water system. The system, designed to reduce water heating bills by up to 50%, was launched in 2007. Ford’s vision was to not only provide cost-saving benefits to consumers worldwide but also to reduce the environmental impact associated with traditional energy sources.
In 2008, Ford was succeeded as president by Robert Leckinger, a 22-year veteran of renewable energy, aerospace and the automotive industry. Ford remains an integral part of the FAFCO team as Chairman of the Board.
FAFCO’s solar water heating systems have won numerous industry awards, including PCBC’s 2008 “Cool Products” for industry; Building Products’ MVP Award; 50 Most Innovative Products for 2008, Professional Remodeler; Top 100 Products: Residential Design & Build; and Top 10 Products: Readers’ Choice, Qualified Remodeler. FAFCO was also named one of the Top 100 Companies in California’s Central Valley
FAFCO’s headquarters are located in its own custom-built, state-of-the-art solar research, design and production facility, in Chico, California.
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