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Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

As a veteran reporter, Matt Power has covered virtually every aspect of design and construction. His award-winning articles often tackle tough environmental challenges in a way that makes them relevant to both professionals and end users. An expert on both building science and green building, he has a long history of asking hard questions--and adding depth and context as he unfolds complex issues. Matt is a founding member of the Tiny House Industry Association, and sits on the board of The Resilience Hub, an educational organization focused on permaculture and hands-on reskilling.


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Recent Posts

Remote Control Snow Melting for Rooftop Solar

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 31, 2018 8:22:23 PM

For shallow-pitch PV systems, a wifi-controlled system with camera monitor may be your last, best hope.


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Soon, All EVs in Europe Will Have to Make Noise

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 14, 2018 9:57:16 AM

Too silent for pedestrians, but what bell, whistle, hoot or groan should an EV make?

The problem, say transportation officials, is that human beings aren't programmed to look both ways for silent, fast moving wheeled projectiles.

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Solar Panels Make Carbon Sucking Machines Look Costly and Troubling

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 16, 2017 1:45:18 PM

A new carbon-removing machine in Iceland is set to remove 50 metric tons of C02 a year. But a few small PV arrays do the same thing—over time—at a fraction of the cost.

The first of a new kind of carbon sequestering plants opened in Iceland this week, as reported by Grist:

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Frozen Energy: New Systems Store Solar Power With Ice, Saving 30% on Cooling Costs

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Apr 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Ice Bear units, available for both commercial and residential applications, store excess energy by freezing water that is then used to cool during peak demand hours.

Too often, we tend to think of energy storage in very narrow terms, namely lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries. But several other sustainable technologies now exist, including salt water batteries and energy transfer systems, such as Ice Bear hybrid units. This self-contained "ice battery" system uses energy to freeze water. The resulting ice block then provides up to 6 hours of low energy cooling (energy costs reduced up to 95%) during peak cooling hours.

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What’s the Tipping Point for Home Battery Storage with Solar?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 30, 2017 11:25:31 AM

It turns out that the price of storage batteries themselves may be more influential than grid-supplied energy costs.

A press release about the expected rapid growth of battery storage in Australia caught my eye this week. Although the content comes from a battery producer with a vested interest in this trend, I thought it a trend worth exploring.

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Pros and Cons of Solar-Powered Air Conditioners

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 1, 2017 12:11:00 AM

High efficiency makes plug-and-play DC-powered mini-splits viable, but read the fine print.

A company called Greenpath Technologies, Inc. is selling a Chinese-made brand of SEER 35 mini-splits called LEZETi. They're not the only players in this new category (see chart below,) but let's focus on them for the purpose of discussion.

One unit they offer is a completely off-grid solar-connected DC version. The other, more flexible version they call a "solar hybrid air conditioner." I just wrotean article about how mini-splits and solar are a great combination for heating and cooling at minimal CO2 footprint, so it's a topic I'm covering aggressively.

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Smart plus Solar Products to Watch

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 21, 2017 11:05:37 AM

The universe of ‘smart’ products that enhance the performance of green energy keeps getting longer. Here are some of the brands leading in this new frontier.

Adara Residential Battery System

Adara, a manufacturer of commercial battery storage systems, just introduced a powerful option for solar PV homes. The company’s JuiceBox system is an 8.6-kWh lithium-ion energy storage, with a continuous power rating of 5 kW, and 172 amp hours of storage capacity. The battery can charge quickly up to 80 amps. To optimize battery lifespan, the system incorporates a smart charging system. It constantly monitors the state of the battery, the PV output and building load from the inverter. It then determines the mode of operation, based on customer bill rates and other priorities. This balances the rate of charge and discharge, operating temperature, depth of discharge and number of cycles.

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Anti-Solar Ruling Leaves Maine Sitting on the Bench for the Coming Solar Bonanza

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A unanimous ruling by the public utilities commission rolls back the incentives that are driving solar installations in the rest of New England.

Have you ever had a friend who seems determined to undermine his own success? Sometimes I feel like that about my own State of Maine. We’re a stubborn bunch. We don’t like to play by Washington’s rules, and we especially don’t like to do what people “from away” are doing, even if it works.

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Waste Material Use Boosts Wood Pellet Sustainability

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 15, 2016 10:07:08 AM

A new monthly reporting effort by the U.S. Energy Information Administration offers much needed overview of wood pellet use as fuel, but exports raise concerns.

The EIA's first monthly report offers some eye-opening statistics about how pellets are used, where they come from, and where they end up.

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Proper Charging & Maintenance Can Increase Solar Storage Battery Life

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Sep 3, 2016 11:11:37 AM

At the Resilient Living Campus in Pine River, MN, technicians have developed a system that optimizes lead-acid batteries used for solar energy storage.

Wiring Matters. At the Hunt Utilities Group Resilient Living Campus, batteries are arranged in various configurations, and tested for output, recharge and long-term performance. The goal is to "socialize" lead-acid batteries to optimize longevity.
“We’re interested in both home storage and RV systems,” notes Dan Pavek, the young technician studying battery dynamics at Hunt Utilities Group’s research center. We're standing in the "ManiShop," a passive solar warehouse-sized building with a living roof and more other green features than I can easily list here. “A large RV has about six big batteries in it," Pavek continues, "and we’re hearing from owners that they typically get only three years of solar storage before they have to replace them. We want to try to double that." Pavek knows this isn’t the end game for cleaning up the footprint of battery storage, but he sees it as an important upgrade that will bridge the gap to other, cleaner forms of batteries now in development—such as algae or silicon-based technology. The group's approach to lead-acid batteries is sophisticated. It's easiest to pull a little of their online explanation. Among the challenges they're trying to address in their solar-heated ManiShop research building: Read More