Did 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.
The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is booming. More EVs have been sold in 2013 than were sold in calendar years 2010-2012 combined and more EV models and designs are coming to showroom floors than ever before. Despite all of this good news, however, EVs only make up less than 1% of the total vehicles on the road in the United States and the ever-present chorus of “EV-haters” continue to carol the futility of driving on electricity.
On this Independence Day, we at ClearlyEnergy are of course thinking of energy independence – not the national kind, with debates about fracking and oil prices – the consumer kind: independence from your electricity bill! In the heat of summer, solar power sure comes to mind as an abundant energy solution. Read on to find out if your roof and the sun can contribute to freedom from your utility.
With funding from the Energy Department, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is working to develop a new insulating window film that preserves the view while increasing occupants’ comfort and saving energy.
Millions of dollars and massive amounts of fossil fuels are spent cooling homes and buildings covered by conventional roofs that absorb sunlight, get as hot as 185 degrees and radiate that heat inside. Add to that the fact that sunlight-absorbing roofs contribute to the urban heat island effect, which increases air pollution, and it’s easy to see the need for something new. Luckily, there is promise for reducing this burden to the environment and economy — in cool roofs.
Competition from new players will drive innovation in the changing electric utility market.
The blogosphere is abuzz with plans to create a new electric utility business model, one that reduces energy costs and pollution. The power company of the future, many experts say, will feature new electricity rate structures that reward efficiency, finance and integrate local, on-site power generation (like rooftop solar), and put more smart meters in the system to help us better understand and control our energy use.
When you think about the severe drought that continues to affect more than half the country, the first things that come to mind are probably brown lawns and restrictions on your local water use. In the bigger picture, those thirsty cattle and failed corn or soybean crops they're showing on TV mean we’ll see higher food prices in the near future. But extreme heat and droughts also have big effects on energy and on power prices - electricity is related to weather in a major way, and in this case it's an expensive relationship...
One in three. That’s how many U.S. households are occupied by renters. It is a population of 94.5 million people living in 38.8 million homes in cities, suburbs, and small towns across the country.
This growing population is taking advantage of benefits like easier mobility, minimal maintenance responsibilities, and the financial flexibility offered by renting. But if renters want to save energy – and save money in the process – there aren’t many places to turn for advice and ideas tailored to their needs.
Over 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.
Pop quiz: which is the one appliance in your house that is on all day every day? Fitting with the chilly temps of the season, we investigate how to save $$ on keeping things cold...
Now that temperatures in much of the US are as cold as the inside of a fridge (34-37 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.7 to 3.3 degrees Celsius), I’ve started wondering how much it costs to keep my food that cold year-round – my fridge isn’t the newest model out there, but would buying a new one really knock so much off my power bill that it’s worth the switch?