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Passive Capture of Solar Energy is a Design Priority

Posted by Dan Chiras, Guest Columnist

Sep 20, 2016 10:23:59 AM

Capturing Solar Energy for Home Heat

ONE OF THE KEY POINTS I drive home to students in my passive solar design classes at the Evergreen Institute is to design new homes and businesses around the Sun. Put another way, the passive capture of the solar energy for home heat should be the central organizing principle when designing a new home.

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The End of Fossil Fuel Use Will Involve a Complex Mix of Renewables

Posted by Dan Chiras, Guest Columnist

Sep 2, 2016 1:11:23 PM

Although many would like to see a 100 percent solar transition, a less "painful" path will likely involve biomass, wind and other renewable technologies for many years to come.

ALTHOUGH SOLAR ELECTRICITY and wind energy are growing by leaps and bounds, they only provide a tiny fraction of today’s electrical demand. As global supplies of fossil fuel resources decline and as concern over global climate change increases, however, solar electric systems could become a major source of electricity, along with wind and a host of other renewable energy technologies. But is there enough solar energy to produce enough electricity to meet our needs?

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Plagued by Plunging Profits, Shell Creates Renewable Energy Division

Posted by Sara Gutterman

May 26, 2016 11:16:45 AM

The end of the fossil fuel era is near.  Some industry stalwarts, like Exxon, are in outright denial.  Others, like coal king Peabody Energy, can’t help but feel acute pain as their once-impenetrable fortresses crumble.  Others, like Shell, are investing in the future.

Europe’s largest oil company, Shell, sees the writing on the wall.  The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate has determined that it is not going to rely only on dirty fossil fuels for its livelihood.  Rather, it’s going to catch a wave on the market tide and invest in the burgeoning clean energy revolution. 

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Warren Buffet’s Clinical View of Renewable Energy

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Mar 3, 2016 9:20:35 AM

Warren Buffet has been slammed by the media lately for waging an outrageous war on solar. But a recent shareholder letter reveals that his perspective on renewables is purely clinical and unflinchingly focused on the bottom line.

Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, has been the focus of an embroiled battle against solar in Nevada. One of its portfolio holdings, NV Energy, has been accused of colluding with the Public Utility Commission and Governor Sandoval to terminate net metering, effectively killing the residential solar rooftop industry in the State.

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3 Advantages to Solar Powering Your Home

Posted by RESNET

Aug 25, 2015 1:16:01 PM

Are there any real advantages to using solar to power your home?

WE'VE ALL GOTTEN USED to the sight of solar roof panels as more and more homeowners opt for using solar as an energy option for their homes. But are there any real advantages to using solar to power your home? The short answer is yes, and here are 3 of them:

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Solar's Day Has Come

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Apr 1, 2015 5:19:00 PM

It’s solar power’s shining moment—the renewable energy source is currently growing faster than any other segment in the energy industry.

LAST YEAR, a new solar system was installed in the U.S. every three minutes. Creative financing solutions and plummeting panel prices have made solar widely accessible for homeowners and businesses alike. And by next year, experts predict that solar will actually be the cheapest form of electricity in many U.S. states.

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Renewables More Attractive Than Ever

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Feb 5, 2015 1:11:12 PM

Since last summer, the price of a barrel of oil has decreased by more than 50%, from approximately $90 to $45. In the U.S., drivers are rejoicing, saving a total of $630 million per day, but oil producing states like Louisiana are panicked by slumping economies and an uncertain future.

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Germany: The Clean Energy Conundrum

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Sep 4, 2014 1:16:29 PM

GERMANY HAS BEEN LAUDED as the leader in distributed, clean energy, its renewable energy strategy touted as one of the most innovative and successful worldwide. The claim certainly has validity—Germany has increased the share of its total electricity production from renewables from 6% to 30% over the past decade; it has the highest per capita installed solar power capacity in the world; and its feed-in tariff (FIT) policy establishes long-term, fixed fee contracts for renewable energy producers, encouraging households, cooperatives, and communities alike to produce clean distributed energy.

However, when examining the country’s total energy portfolio, the facts belie Germany’s reputation as “the world’s first major renewable energy economy.” In glaring contrast to its image as a leader in sustainability, Germany is a heavy user of coal and the largest importer of Russian natural gas (over 40 billion cubic meters in 2013).

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Renewable Energy in Iran

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Aug 19, 2014 5:17:00 PM

MOST OF THE TIME WHEN we read about Iran in the news these days, at least in the U.S. media, the focus is on the international negotiations over the fate of the country’s nascent nuclear program. Apart from the nuclear issue and references to Iran’s enormous oil and gas reserves, we hear little else about the country’s energy plans. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Iran is stepping up its commitment to renewable energy, particularly wind and solar.

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Study: Biomass Plants May Pollute Worse Than Coal

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 15, 2014 1:10:21 PM

New scrutiny finds that large-scale biomass burners, often sold as a "clean" or "sustainable" source of renewable energy, are actually far more polluting than their claims.

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MIT May Have Solved the Vexing Problem of Shading on Solar Panels

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 14, 2014 11:47:00 AM

A team of researchers at MIT has arrived at a low-cost solution for the power loss associated with partly shaded solar panels: using the solar cell as an energy storage itself. The Unified Solar team won the MIT Clean Energy Prize this year for its clever, affordable solution to the fact that "shade happens."

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London Calling: The U.K.’s Distributed Energy Revolution

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Apr 7, 2014 12:51:35 PM

Last fall, at a Conservative Party conference in the United Kingdom, Greg Barker, a Conservative Member of Parliament and the country’s Energy & Climate Change Minister, called for a revolution. “I want to unleash a completely new model of competition and enterprise,” he said. “I want to encourage a vast new army of disruptive new energy players to challenge the Big Six [U.K. energy suppliers] …A decentralized power-to-the-people energy revolution—not just a few exemplars, but tens of thousands of them. The Big Six need to become the Big 60,000.”

What an invigorating call to action and inspiring vision of the future! Tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the U.K., each generating its own power and sharing excess with the grid. It’s a compelling idea, one made all the more remarkable by the fact that it’s not really new. In fact, one might call decentralized—or distributed—power the oldest idea in the energy business.

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Can Elon do it Again?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Apr 3, 2014 9:06:00 AM

Elon Musk is changing the world. The visionary South African-born entrepreneur has radically changed the transportation sector through his groundbreaking companies Tesla and SpaceEx. His solar leasing company, SolarCity, is delivering affordable solar solutions to homeowners across the country. Now, Musk is poised to deliver a sea change in the battery industry, opening the door to massive advancements in clean technology.

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