Investing in Solar Electricity. What’s the Payback?

What is the energy payback for photovoltaics? Producing electricity with solar photovoltaics (PV) emits no pollution, produces no greenhouse gases, and uses no finite fossil-fuel resources. The environmental benefits of PV are great. But just as we say that it takes money to make money, it also takes energy to save energy. The term “energy […]

Geothermal Power Plants: from light to water

Part 3 of Geothermal Energy: Power from the Depths of the Earth. Flip a switch and light up a room—what could be easier? Push a button on the TV remote control and be entertained. It all seems so simple that we are often unaware of the true environmental and social cost of these conveniences—and who […]

Small Hydropower Systems: Permitting and Selling Excess Power

Part 4 of Small Hydropower Systems. Obtaining a Permit and Water Rights  If your hydropower system will have minimal impact on the environment, and you aren’t planning to sell power to a utility, there’s a good chance that the process you must go through to obtain a permit won’t be too complex. Locally, your first […]

Clean Choices for Heating, Cooling, and Lighting: RENEWABLE ENERGY AT HOME

Part 12 of Buying and Using Renewable Energy at Home. Heating and cooling uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 44% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What’s more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit more than a half-billion […]

Photovoltaics: What Else to Consider

No PV system is maintenance-free. Schedule regular inspections of your system to ensure that the wiring and contacts are free from corrosion, the modules are clear of debris, and the mounting equipment has tight fasteners. You should also monitor the power output of your PV modules, the state-of-charge and electrolyte level of your batteries, and […]