Bad Bathroom HabitsIt is the subject no one wants to bring up: bathroom habits. Not what you might think, we are talking about how you use energy and water in the bathroom! It turns out, what you do in the bathroom makes a huge difference not only on your water and energy consumption, but also on the size of your utility bills.

Power Lines Courtesy Of Hoyasmeg At FlickrFor years, low-cost solar-plus-battery systems were seen as a distant possibility at best, a fringe technology not likely to be a threat to mainstream electricity delivery any time soon. By far, the limiting factor has been battery costs. But thanks to a confluence of factors playing out across the energy industry, the reality is that affordable battery storage is coming much sooner than most people realize. That approaching day of cheaper battery storage, when combined with solar PV, has the potential to fundamentally alter the electricity landscape.

7072627257 064abd8f65 O Renewables are making headway in Europe and bringing a low-carbon electricity system to the forefront. Renewables were 69 percent of new capacity added in 2012 in Europe and 49 percent in the United States. Not surprisingly, this threatens utilities unwilling to let go of outmoded business models and fossil-fuel generation. Should old, long- and often still-subsidized oligopolies be bailed out or shielded from competition when they bet against innovation and lose?

Batteries to Bolster SolarDid you know? Solar-plus-storage has actually been around for decades. In fact, it was what kickstarted the solar industry in the early 1980s. A bunch of marijuana “farmers” in northern California who weren’t connected to the grid needed a way to get electric lights for their grow operations. A young hippie stumbled upon an ARCO solar panel at a consumer electronics show, and soon after founded AEE Solar and started powering off-grid homes with solar panels and car batteries, and his customers always paid in cash.

SolarAt the end of November, SolarCity issued the first publicly known solar asset-backed securitization (ABS), selling $54 million of bundled cash payments. It was a major milestone that many in the distributed solar industry have eagerly awaited. SolarCity’s ABS was a big deal, but there’s more to do

Wind Turbine Power CordOver the last five years, American inventors and investors have delivered significant progress in developing and deploying key clean energy technologies, supported by Administration policies. Electricity production from solar and wind has doubled. Our cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gasoline, saving families money at the pump. And in 2012, U.S. carbon pollution fell to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. The simple fact is that key clean energy technology costs are continuing to come down, and these technologies are producing more American energy than ever before.

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