What Everyone Needs To Know About Solar Energy

Do you know a lot about solar energy? Do you want to use it? If so,you need to know how to move forward and find out as much as possible. Read on to find out more about solar energy. More »

All Your Solar Energy Questions Answered In This Piece

Lately, solar energy has become extremely popular for homeowners and businesses alike. More »

Solar Energy Advice You Shouldn\'t Pass Up

You may be hearing a lot about solar energy these days. It\'s very popular, but using the sun as a source of energy has been around for hundreds of years. More »

Solar Energy: Using The Sun For Your Home Or Business

When it comes to going green, solar energy is among the fastest growing energy sources in the world. Many homes now incorporated solar energy as a means of getting their power. More »

The Best Places In The World To Use A Solar Energy System

How do you use the sun? Do you let it wake you in the morning? Or do you enjoy lying out in it on a summer\'s day? Do you use it to power your home or business? More »

 

Home Owners Are Furious With Their Power Companies!

Warning: Do not pay your next energy bill until you read this…

This is the 1 simple truth your power company doesn’t want you to know. There is a new policy in 2014 that qualifies home-owners who live in specific zip codes to be eligible for $1000’s of Government funding to install solar panels. Has your power company told you that?

When home-owners check whether they qualify at this website many are shocked that subsidies and rebates cover 99% of costs associated with installation so it literally costs $0 to have done.

With $0 down, you could be on your way to significantly reducing your electric bill in a matter of weeks.

Sarah Parker, the authority on everything related to Solar Energy replacement, set out to do some research and determine whether this new program lives up to its reputations. After several weeks Sarah was able to report back on her findings, with her most exciting of which being that she is now going to save $183.18 a month on her own energy bill, and there are many other people who have done the same and better.

bill

So, how does this program work? You no longer have to buy solar panels, the new policy let’s you lease solar panels for $0 down. Until now, solar panels cost $10′s of thousands of dollars to purchase and install and unless you were building a new home or had that much extra cash sitting around, the cost was more than the benefit. The solar panels had to be purchased. It was impossible for companies to offer rent or lease agreements because they would lose money.

Does this mean Sarah was being mislead by her power company? She would not say one way or the other, but the truth is pricing for solar panels has lowered drastically in the last 20 years, leaving solar panels affordable for consumers who could not afford to switch to solar power. Either way, one thing you can be sure of, however, is that your power company is not going to call you up to inform you of this new program.

NOTE: You are not locked into your power company policy If you’ve already paid your current policy, you can very easily cancel and the balance will be refunded.

With average savings of 70%, these online services are gaining massive popularity. One of the most trusted, secure and effective free online service that provides home owners the best local rates is this website Over 500,000 consumers have already trusted this website to get significant discounts. If you too would like to receive the benefits of using this free service you can click here or the button below. Then just enter your state information and click continue to determine if your eligible.

How Do I See If I Qualify

Step1. Click your state on the map to instantly check your zip code for free

Step 2: Once you go through a few questions, you will have the opportunity to compare the best quotes in your area.

usmap

survey-dollars

Transparent Photovoltaic Solar Cells: The Future of Solar?

Transparent_Solar

In the earlier days of solar energy, companies used silicon solar cells to convert the photons of sunlight into electricity. However, the use of silicon solar cells had several drawbacks. Today, high-quality solar energy panels are often made with the use of organic photovoltaic cells. These cells are a huge step in revolutionizing the solar power industry, and this is why.

Increased Visual Appeal

One reason that homeowners often overlook solar energy despite its many benefits is that they associate solar energy systems with bulky equipment and unattractive panels. With the use of transparent photovoltaic cells, however, this unattractive appearance of solar energy panels will become a thing of the past. It is expected that this new technology will make windows that generate energy as sun shines into your home a reality very soon.

Increased Efficiency

In 2013, the University of California in Los Angeles managed to create a new type of transparent solar film- one that uses two separate layers of transparent photovoltaic film. This will revolutionize the use of solar energy because it increases efficiency by an impressive 7.3%. These double-layer photovoltaic cells are also believed to provide twice the capacity for harvesting energy than the cells that were developed in the year 2012. While a single-layered cell can collect 40% of infrared light, this newer development collects 80%.

Decreased Costs

The conventional silicon solar technology is also much more costly than the new solar energy options that are becoming available as the result of photovoltaic cells. Organic photovoltaic solar cells are made from a combination of polymers, which are inexpensive plastic materials. This can be manufactured as a liquid form and then rolled, or sprayed onto solar panel material. The easier application and cheap manufacturing of these types of solar cells make it a much more affordable and practical solution, especially for residential customers.

Pricing Stability

A huge disadvantage of silicon-based solar panels is that the cost fluctuates with the cost of silicon in the current market. Silicon is a material that is purchased from an open market, meaning that prices can fluctuate constantly For example, China shut down one-third of its polysilicon facilities in 2012 because the price of silicon dropped by 60%. This was quickly followed by a jump in the price of silicon because of a lower supply. The materials used to create organic photovoltaic cells, however, has a price that is significantly more stable.

Improved Availability in Colder, Cloudier Environments

A huge disadvantage of the tradition silicon-based solar energy systems is the need for sun rays at a 90 degree angle or greater before the panels can effectively generate electricity. Photovoltaic cells, on the other hand, can be painted/sprayed cheaply across large areas, increasing its ability to collect the sun’s rays. It can also be used in 3D applications. This technology uses the science that even on cloudy days, some sun rays will hit the earth. They are just hitting the earth at a lesser angle than is required for silicon applications. Photovoltaic solar applications, on the other hand, are able to catch the rays when they come in at these lesser angles and convert it into solar energy. This makes solar energy a possibility for more cloudy, colder environments.

Greater Range of Applications

The transparency that is provided by solar film made of photovoltaic cells also allows for a greater range of applications that traditional solar energy systems. The same institute in California responsible for the development of double-layered transparent cells studied its effectiveness in several environments. It is proven effective for use on smartphones, sun panels, windows, and more, all while maintaining its transparency.

This article was composed by Kassie Berger.  Kassie is currently studying Electrical Engineering at University of Colorado in Denver.  When Kassie isn’t nose deep in her physics and math books, she enjoys researching new innovations in the green tech industry and contributing this information to Ablaze Energy LLC.

How Do Solar Cells Work?

Solar Cell Converting Sunlight_To_Electricity_How_It_Works

We are pretty well aware of the process that converts electrical current into light from which we can pierce darkness and find our way around a house, street or entire neighborhood. But what has taken a lot of time to master has been converting light (specifically, sunlight) back into electric current to power homes, calculators, satellites and many other items through the use of solar energy.

One of the tools used to make this solar-powered electricity has been the solar cell, also knowns as a photovoltaic, or PV cell. It takes many PV or solar cells to make a single solar panel that goes on top of a home, but it takes only a few to make the solar panel that runs a basic calculator.

The solar cell is where the magic happens in turning sunlight into usable energy. How do solar cells work to make this happen? Let’s take a deeper look into the construction and operation of a solar cell.

Sunlight as a Hammer

The first thing that has to be understood is the power of solar energy and what sunlight can do to contribute to electric power. In physics, there is a photoelectric effect, in that any material can eject electrons when sunlight shines on it. Sunlight is like a hammer on a rock; the photons in sunlight hit the atoms and molecules of a material (for solar cells, we use silicon) and breaks the bonds that hold electrons in the “orbit” of the atom, releasing the electrons.

There free electrons are what makes the electric current. The key is corralling all these free-wheeling electrons and getting them to move in an orderly fashion so as to create an electric current. This is where the solar cell does its work.

Solar Cells: The Silicon Corral

A solar cell is made of a semi-conducting material, such as silicon. When sunlight hits the silicon in the solar cell, some of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the silicon like a sponge, and that energy breaks loose some electrons from the silicon atoms and they become “free agents,” so to speak.

The silicon in the solar cell is actually two types thanks to “doping” with other elements – one is n-type, which has spare electrons, and p-type, which has gaps where electrons should be. These two types of silicon are right next to each other and they provide a sort of “channel” that gathers these “free agent” electrons, corrals them, and – thanks to metal contacts on either end of the broader solar panel – send them in an orderly fashion down the channel and toward the contacts to produce electric current.

Solar Cells: Why So Expensive?

This is an interesting question. It is well known that silicon is very abundant on the earth, and is the cheapest semi-conducting material on the planet. So if it’s so cheap, how come solar power is so expensive?

It’s a complex question, but from a scientific point of view the reason is this – silicon possesses a high electric resistance, which means there are a lot of electrons that are not able to achieve an electric current. This means the solar panels have to be much larger in order to generate the current needed to power the electricity of a home, water heater or parking garage. Plus, silicon absorbs a lot of energy, which means there is wasted sunlight in a sense that is unable to be converted into electricity.

One of the ways that solar power and solar cells could eventually be cheaper is to make them smaller. There is a semi-conducting material called gallium arsenide, which allows free electrons to flow up to five times faster on its surface than silicon, and it has properties that allow it to absorb less sunlight energy and convert more of it into electricity. It works well for satellites and some military applications, but it is very expensive to produce and very difficult to make in a large commercial scale for solar panels.

However, with further development and research, scientists are looking into a thin-layer gallium arsenide overlay on silicon solar cells (as well as silicon wafers for microchips) to at least bring some of the characteristics of gallium arsenide to a silicon solar cell, potentially degrading its resistance and absorption and increasing the efficiency of the cell to make it more powerful and thus, cheaper in the long run.

5 Ways More Luxury Hotels Are Going Green

luxury eco friendly hotel

One of the most common causes amongst the world today, with the exception of a few outliers, is conservation and going green. We know our planet has taken a beating from an environmental standpoint due to emissions from greenhouse gases. Each person can play a small role in determining the future outcome of our planet. However, a larger role can be played by big businesses.

Luckily, there are a number of industries getting on board with going green and the hospitality industry is one them. Even the ultra-luxury hotels are beginning to realize the pivotal role they play in reducing the harm their waste gives off to the environment. Among standard recycling and water conservation, luxury hotels are also making the change to green in some very big ways.

Solar Panels

One of the main ways that luxury hotels are beginning to go green is through solar paneling. These solar panels provide the energy needed to operate their hotel without the use of fossil fuels.

A big proponent of this movement is the large hotel chain, Starwood Hotels. This global hotel establishment has been making real steps towards implementing solar energy in all of its Starwood Brand hotels. They began with one of their most luxurious resorts, located on the Virgin Islands, by installing a 1.3-megawatt solar array. Furthermore, the hotel chain has goals to decrease overall energy consumption by 30 percent and water consumption by 20 percent. It has set itself a 2020 deadline for these goals.

With so much real estate, hotels are primed candidates for solar paneling. As much as every person loves a good rooftop pool, it is nice to see some hotels make rooftop solar panels a priority.

Wind Turbines

Another way luxury hotels are going green is through the use of wind energy. Wind energy is another clean and renewable source of energy that is ideal for hotels. The Hilton in Ft. Lauderdale is a role model for other luxury hotels due to its wind turbine technology. This sustainable energy source is provided from the six wind turbines located on top of the hotel. The large wind turbines don’t detract from the overall luxuriousness or customer experience at the hotel.

Geothermal Energy

Hotel chains have also began taking advantage of geothermal energy. This sounds a lot more complex than wind and solar energy but in reality, it is an exceptional way for large industrial businesses to implement sustainable energy sources. Geothermal energy comes from large water sources, either a geothermal lake or an aquifer. The Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada opted for a geothermal aquifer that is buried 4,400 feet under its casino. The water is kept at a modest 174 degrees Fahrenheit and is pumped to the resort. This water is the resort’s heating source. Overall this system saves the resort over $2 million per year in energy costs.

Drought Resistant Greenscaping

Not all luxury resorts are created equal and not all luxury resorts have large iconic brands to fund them. However, that doesn’t mean that the smaller luxury resorts can’t play their part in an effort to go green.

One way that luxury hotels are going green is through drought resistant greenscaping. One of the biggest wastes in a hotel is the water. A combination of staff and guests pour through enormous amounts of water each day whether it is through tap water waste, showers, laundry, and toilet flushing. However, another culprit behind some massive water waste is the greenscape around hotels.

It takes a lot of watering to keep much of the plantlife looking green and lively. Automated sprinkler systems or teams of landscapers come through to greenery almost daily at luxury hotels. However, hotels have been opting for drought resistant landscaping. Among the drought resistant plants growing in popularity are succulents. These plants need very little water to keep them colorful and lively. These incredible plants can be placed almost anywhere, including adding them to the interior design plans of a hotel.

Water Harvesting

Finally, luxury hotels have also been going green through simple and almost free measures. The old saying goes, “When it rains, it pours”. Well, the new saying should be “When it rains, catch it”. Water harvesting has become increasingly popular amongst not only in the residential sector but in the commercial sector as well.

Each rainfall provides a natural resource that hotels would otherwise have to pay for. Hotels can use this rain water for a number of things including watering those indoor plants to keep them green and lively. It may not seem like a glamorous or luxurious thing to do, but hotels that do this can save money and use it elsewhere. Like on chocolate pillow mints that somehow taste better than regular chocolate mints.

Top 5 Renewable Energy Sources

Here comes the sun

There is no way around it, our energy demands continue to grow at a frenetic pace as the nation and world populations increase. The traditional means for meeting these demands are outdated and will undoubtedly come up short in the not too distant future. In addition, the once relatively cheap non-renewable sourced have seen dramatic increases in price over the last 25 years and are subject to an extremely volatile market. What’s fortunate however, is that we are becoming increasingly more efficient at delivering power across the country through clean renewable energy. While the more popular renewable power sources are growing in utilization, collectively we should be pressing hard to make the switch to generate our power predominantly from the sources below.

Hydropower Energy

Energy from moving water is the largest source of renewable electricity in the United States.

Hydropower uses a fuel (water) that is not reduced or used up in the process. Turbines and generators convert the energy from flowing water into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid to be used in homes and businesses. Since the water cycle is endless, hydropower is considered a renewable energy. It’s important to note however that while water is a renewable resource, rivers themselves are not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Energy

 

Wind is a form of solar energy that is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth’s surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power to use in the grid. When harvested by wind turbines this energy source can be used to as a power supply for homes and businesses.

Solar Energy

One of the other major players in renewable energy and making huge gains in the sector is solar energy. Inexhaustible and cheaper than ever, solar energy now powers everything from portable radios to homes, stores and even entire neighborhoods. Photovoltaics has seen a drastic decrease in cost of production and as such, have become a popular choice among those looking for a renewable energy source. Photovoltaic (PV) devices generate electricity directly from sunlight by a process that occurs naturally in certain types of material, called semiconductors. Electrons in these are freed by solar energy and can be made to travel through an electrical circuit, powering electrical devices or sending electricity to the grid. In addition to being a clean and renewable power source, some states also allow for bill consolidations to account for the energy your system adds to the energy grid.

Biomass Energy

Plant materials, such as wood, corn, and soy, account for nearly half the renewable energy in America. While it’s widely used, it’s not always sustainable and doesn’t present near the potential of other renewable sources going forward. However, methane power plants installed in landfills do have a renewable aspect to them, as long as garbage keeps getting dumped there!

Geothermal Energy

On the other end of the spectrum, geothermal energy has immense potential going forward as a viable renewable power source. In geothermal power plants steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. In geothermal power plants steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. The used geothermal water is then returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated, to maintain pressure, and to sustain the reservoir.


This article was written by Brian Levesque.  Brian is an electrical engineer and advocate for sustainable power solutions.  Brian currently researches and provides content for Ablaze Energy – the premier solar solution provider for California and New York State.