AC solar panels are an intriguing new idea on the PV market. The panels themselves still produce DC, but each panel would come with its own attached micro-inverter, which converts the DC to AC.
With new breakthroughs in solar electricity coming out every year, should you wait before investing in a solar electric system? Energy expert Dan Chiras discusses cost of PV modules in terms of cost per watt of installed capacity.
Chicago has decided to convert its entire garbage truck fleet to electric trucks from Motiv Power Systems, making it the first city in the U.S. to have a zero-emission fleet.
Leafy greens are among the most nutritious foods you can eat, but what if they contain systemic pesticides like imidacloprid? New pesticides that are taken up by plants mean there may be pesticides in food crops like collards and kale, not just on the surface.
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
Great tips for managing a septic system.
While it may seem like an easy fix or prevention method, septic system additives, generally used to kill bacteria, aren’t as effective — or safe — as you would hope.
Relish is a blog about celebrating delicious alternatives to America's industrial food system.
Is it possible that the sheer extra number of calories produced by our food system could be partly responsible for the extra number of inches being tacked on to our waistlines? Is it possible that, by directing subsidies to the production of commodity crops used to produce grains and oils, our current agricultural policy is contributing to the obesity epidemic.
How big is that wind turbine exactly? For a frame of reference on the different sizes, check out these photos and links.
Ever wondered which countries around the world are installing the most wind power?
How does the amount of electricity you use each month compare to the average American household?
Daniel Sheridan found a way to turn children's energy into electrical power with a see-saw that generates electricity. The see-saw should generate enough electricity to light a classroom for a whole evening after only five to 10 minutes of use.
Steve explains what he's learned over 20 years of using generators and monitoring advances in design.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.
The Army gets greener by switching 4,000 gas engine vehicles to electic vehicles starting Monday.
One of the realities of country life is having to get your septic tank pumped every few years.
A good idea that could work for wildfire mitigation.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ new bill would promote installation of 10 million new rooftop solar energy systems and 200,000 solar hot water heating systems in the United States in the next decade.
The energy a PV system will produce during its lifetime far exceeds the amount of energy it takes to produce the PV system
Otterbine Barebo Inc. expands their Air Flo 2 diffused air system product line by releasing 2-dome and 1-dome diffuser manifold options to the original 4-dome option.
If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.
This handy online tool helps calculate your solar energy potential based on your location.
Almost everyone uses a computer these days. But not everyone knows how much energy is consumed by that one device.Most appliances or electronics tell you the number of watts they use. An average CPU uses 120 watts, while the monitor uses 150 watts. That's 270 watts of power while in use, but there are several easy ways to reduce that amount.
Texas is already the U.S. leader in wind power, and that lead is about to get even bigger.
In the United States, renewable energy is growing, but we still don't get very much of our electricity from renewable sources. How can we speed things up?
This week, I've been using a Kill-a-Watt at home. It's a small meter that costs about $25, and you can use it to measure the electricity consumption of your appliances and home electronics.
Information and advice from the Small Wind Certification Council on creating wind power in your own backyard.
When you start measuring electricity use, you may be surprised by which appliances and electronics use the most energy.
Here are the basic options for buying your electricity from sustainable sources.
With the Smart ForTwo electric drive, Smart is underlining its pioneering role on the road to attractive individual mobility with no local emissions in cities and urban areas.
The stylish new Sanyo eneloop bike features a partially-self-charging electric motor and can travel up to 40 miles on a single charge.
Current Motor Company recently introduced a line of electric scooters that could take you where you need to go without using a single drop of gasoline. And with a potential $2,000 discount for new customers, the electric scooters could help your wallet while you help the environment.
One of the first steps to building our homestead in Texas was to get water and electricity on the property so we had the basics from which we could build. This blog discusses how we implemented the first phase of our utilities.
How prepared ahead of time for remote living and what was required.
At the Vetter Fuel Challenge in Ohio, vehicles powered by electricity, diesel and gasoline competed to see who would consume the least fuel in dollars and cents.
It's easy to find out what fuels your power comes from using this nifty tool from the EPA.
The community of Penobscot, Maine, has declared their local food sovereigny in a move to bypass restrictive state and federal regulations.
New Roots for Refugees, a program in the Kansas City area, helps fleeing refugees establish a new home and contributes to the local food system.
Guidance for aspiring micro dairy owners and managers when navigating regulations and permitting on the local and state levels.
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s upcoming annual conference on sustainable farming will focus on how to achieve sustainability in our food system, as well as the future of agriculture in general.
Zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Equivalent of 256 mpg. 220 mile range. Costs less than 2 cents per mile to drive. I'm in love. And you will be, too, after watching this video.
Life with an EV 12,000 miles later.
When you need tools for low-impact living, where do you go to find them?
Here's a 12-step process to green transportation bliss.
BioSafe Systems, LLC is the manufacturer of sustainable and environmentally responsible disease control solutions.
The Roots and Culture Tour is an incredible opportunity for all those interested in working towards a more sustainable and just food system to dive into the local food system in the small and amazing Talamanca Region of Costa Rica.
Selecting the location for the Bob-White Systems’ micro dairy barn.
Why we chose to build the Bob-White Systems barn we did.
Choosing cows for the Bob-White Systems micro dairy.
Steve shares an approach he installed at a friend's place for easing the burden of priming seasonal water systems
Here’s advice from a renewable energy expert about what you can expect to pay for a solar-electric system to power your home.
When you're ready to price or purchase a new solar system, findsolar.com has everything you need.
Bill Clinton has 10 recommendations for what the U.S. government should be doing to promote cleaner energy.
A new technology developed at MIT, solar concentrators, could dramatically reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) power.
Have you found helpful ways to cut your energy use at home? Whether it's turning down the thermostat or installing new light bulbs, tell us what you've done to conserve energy and how well it's worked.
How much electricity is your computer using right now? You might be surprised how easy it is to find out.
The Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid electric car won't be for everyone, given its high price tag. But this sleek and cutting-edge electric car could break the mold for green cars and raise the bar for electric car technology and production.
A new tool released by the U.S. Department of Energy allows drivers to compare fuel costs of electric cars with those of gas-powered vehicles.
A new bill will give drivers money to buy newer, more fuel-efficient cars when they scrap their older, less fuel-efficient ones.
I've never been more excited for 2010.
The automaker plans to add new DC quick-charging stations, capable of recharging to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, to dealerships across the country.
New EPA regulations require 35 percent reduced emissions from lawn-care equipment by 2011.
Our friend Pat Sweeney has built himself an Electric MAX - a DIY Locost with a DIY electric power plant.
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
The political system is not broken.
Cities, counties and states across the country have created food policy councils in response to their concerns about future food security in their communities. The councils work to coordinate local food efforts, such as farmers markets, to develop a sustainable food system.
Join the conversation about the best way to ensure a safe food supply.
A simple, practical and easy option for priming seasonal water systems.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has launched a new tool to help communities assess their readiness for plug-in electric vehicles.
As more manufacturers introduce new electric vehicles to the market, prices go down and electric car sales go way, way up.
Swiss manufacturer Stromer has announced a sweepstakes to give away a new electric bicycle in the U.S.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a list of the top 20 on-site renewable electtricity generators.
Check out the PV Watts calculator and find out how much solar-electric power you can generate in your part of the world.
Earlier this month a plan was drafted to remove all plasma screen televisions from California retail shelves.
Start cutting your electricity use today, and it will save you a bundle of cash on a renewable energy system when you're ready to buy one.
If we want more electricity from renewable sources, we need to think about upgrades to our electric grid.
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
Micro Dairy Industry Leader, Bob-White Systems, Launches E-Commerce Site.
This clever basement sump pump is designed to keep water out of your home during hurricanes and other severe storms.
Bike-share systems are popping up in cities across the Midwest as bike sharing becomes a more popular transportation option.
Permaculture is a holistic, integrative design for a sustainable future: registrations now open for D Acres' 2012 Permaculture Design Course!
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
In “The Root Development of Vegetable Crops” botanist John E. Weaver meticulously illustrates the complex layers of vegetable root growth.
If you need a new car — and want one that employs green vehicle technology or hybrid vehicle technology to save gas — there’s no major reason to wait.
Electric car battery range is worse in cold weather: A drop of just 10 degrees could theoretically sap up to 50 percent of a battery’s charge.
The sales history of the Toyota Prius illustrates an exciting phenomenon: When a new idea or a piece of technology ignites the human imagination, it can spread very rapidly.
What's the plural of Prius? Whatever it is, there are lots of them out there.
One of the top automotive journalists around agrees that the future is bright for plug-in hybrids, even more so than fuel-cell vehicles.
How I traveled 500 miles in 24 miles (twice) in an electric vehicle.
Celebrate the third annual National Plug In day on Sept. 29, 2013, and see what electric cars are all about.
Looking after your chickens in the winter and cutting with a solar-powered electric chainsaw.
Two electric cars, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, will be released this year. Which would you buy?
Been on the hunt for an electric or hybrid minivan? The options are currently limited in the United States, but a wider selection of green minivan options should be on the market soon.
Do you see yourself in an electric car? Dan Chiras lists the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, and predicts the benefits will increase as the technology becomes more sophisticated.
Electric car charging infrastructure will be launched in major urban areas nationwide. This is in part due to $15 million in stimulus money being set aside for the charging stations. Now we need to get the remaining $22 million in co-funding.
Triton College has installed electric car charging stations in an effort to promote greener lifestyles in the community.
Electric car batteries are at risk of warming up too quickly in high temperatures. Here’s how to help EV batteries beat the heat.
Is the electric car all it's cracked up to be? Let's find out!
I hate to say it — because electric cars may be the salvation of transportation someday — but much of the current hype around electric cars is smoke and mirrors.
Dan Chiras asks why GM hasn't brought the EV1 back yet.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
Heat Recovery innovator produces a safe hot water heating system kit for wood stoves.
On Monday, May 2, Adventure Cycling Association kicked off its second annual grassroots fundraising effort to raise $30,000 to support ongoing coordination efforts for the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS).
Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today announced that AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering has approved six new U.S. Bicycle Routes.
This week Adventure Cycling Association announced that our 2011 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign for the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) surpassed its $30,000 goal, raising over $31,000 for the project during National Bike Month!
When the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 passes (as expected) this summer, be prepared by learning what to expect when you buy a water heater, heating system, air-source air conditioner or heat pump.
Most Americans believe that cleaning products are required to list ingredients on labels. They're not. But Whole Foods is taking matters into its own hands with a color-coded rating system that holds manufacturers accountable for green claims.
Since the U.S. House of Represenatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the U.S. Senate started work on its own energy and clilmate change bill.
A brief announcement of a rare educational opportunity ... a wind turbine installation. We'll be installing a 2.5 kW Skystream wind turbine on a 127-foot tilt-up tower.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and ethnobotanist James Duke, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts in medicinal plants, places garlic among the best all-around plant medicines in the world. Learn about the host of ailments garlic can alleviate and prevent, and discover some of the added health perks of this flavorful, folklore-infused herb.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
Find out what different states are doing to promote power from renewable sources, including solar and wind energy.
Take this quiz from How Stuff Works and learn more about how solar panels produce electricity.
There are a growing number of small, solar-powered gadgets for sale including solar flashlights, radios, cell phone chargers, outdoor motion lights and more. Are you using any of these small solar products? Do you find them useful? Tell us what you think!
We’d like to hear more about your experiences with green power. Is it available where you live? How does the price compare to what you would otherwise pay for electricity? Why have you — or haven’t you — chosen this option?
Should we be building more garbage incinerators in the United States? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
Robert Zwald grew up in the 1900s, farming in Minnesota. This is part two of his stories from the past, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.
Henry Red Cloud has a lot to do with the wind energy education happening in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. Along with these tribes, the interest in wind energy is spreading across the nation, especially to Arizona, and outside organizations are lending a hand.
Human-powered generators cleverly derive electricity from something we already use in abundance — human movement — offering an easy way to tap renewable energy for anyone interested in a low-impact lifestyle. Two creative generators caught our attention: a merry-go-round that supplies light for poor Ghanaian schools and a revolving door that lights up a train station.
Al Gore is calling on Americans to support a rapid transition to renewable energy. Tell us what you think.
Let's take a trip back into the Mother Earth News archive to learn more about thin-film solar.
American carmaker Fisker Automotive has received a coveted Stevie Award for business innovation from The 2010 American Business Awards program.
Nissan LEAFs Will Be Available in Select Markets Next Year – Extending Enterprise’s Commitment to Support Clean, New Technologies
Recent reports have incorrectly stated that the 2012 RAV4 EV will only be marketed to fleet and car sharing programs. We’d like to set the record straight.
Nissan North America Inc. is expanding availability of the all-electric Nissan LEAF to U.S. consumers for the 2012 model year, with upgrades based on feedback thousands of Leaf owners.
Chevrolet dealers in all 50 states are now taking orders for the 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car.
Personal users can now buy welding and cutting products and accessories online from the comfort of their home.
Conversion kit install to convert a hybrid vehicle into a plug-in electric and improve your gas mileage by 25%.
What's it take to build your own SOLAR-POWERED Electric Car? How about starting small with some hardware store parts and an old child's ride-on toy? Read how a tinkerer Dad builds a Solar-Powered Power Wheels with just basic tools and skills.
These new vehicles may help the environment, but their soundless engines are a threat to the visually impaired, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Cam is back riding his solar-powered electric bike and he loves it!
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Managing Editor John Rockhold talks with Jonathan Holloway about the Mitsubishi i, an all-electric car on display at the 2011 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Washington. Mitsubishi is one of the FAIR's main sponsors.
In partnership with the Department of Energy, Chevrolet offers free home charging stations to 4,400 owners of its newest electric car, the Volt.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a new Wind Turbine project at the port of Milwaukee will produce more than enough electricity for the city building there. Blogger Ben Nelson checks it out for you with a report, photos, and video.
A mapping and assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute found that the U.S. hydrokinetic waterpower resources could provide 3 percent of the nation’s annual electricity use.
Canadian car manufacturers have developed an electric vehicle with a body made from hemp fiber.
A lot of people have been asking us what incentives are still in place for 2012. The answer: All of them. While there were a few changes in 2011, the majority of programs that will impact the average homeowner remain the same. Here is an overview...
Michael Paul Holmes of Paul and Sabrina's EV Stuff will present a workshop on electric vehicles at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Feels like I'm finally getting the ball rolling on my DIY Plug-In Hybrid Truck Project. I got a chance to visit Hot Rod Jim, talk about drive shafts, and even got the bed off the truck!
Share your opinion: Are you contemplating installing a solar-electric panel for your home?
The electric Tesla Model S was put to the test in a recent highway collision. Tesla's CEO offers his assessment of the resulting fire and the overall safety of his company's vehicle.
There's been a "shocking" increase in the number of EV charging stations across the United States, and in a remarkably short period of time.
30 states now working to establish official national bicycle routes, with more states interested — new online map and progress report document growing momentum
On Wednesday, Adventure Cycling Association announced that AASHTO is providing Adventure Cycling $5,000 to assist states with route selection and the technical aspects associated with the development of a U.S. Bicycle Route System.
There are small things that any city -- large, medium, or small -- can do to become more bike-travel friendly. Minneapolis is a great case study -- a place that many other communities can aspire to emulate.
An update to the refrigerator root cellar and how the Thermo Cube is keeping it from dipping below the freezing point and how we decided to start a terrace system to make more flat spots in a chicken pasture that's on a hillside that is steep.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
SANYO North America Corporation (SANYO) announces the availability of its most advanced HIT Power® solar module, the HIT Power 220A, offering improved efficiency and energy output -- and designed to energize integrators and installers with more power per square foot than ever before.
Homesteads are attempting to provide longer grazing times by dividing pasture into paddocks. The difficulty of getting water to each paddock can be solved by a windmill with underground pipes. No electric is needed--just wind!
World nuclear electricity-generating capacity has been essentially flat since 2007 and is likely to fall as plants retire faster than new ones are built.
Defying conventional wisdom about the limits of wind power, in 2012 both Iowa and South Dakota generated close to one quarter of their electricity from wind farms. Wind power accounted for at least 10 percent of electricity generation in seven other states. Across the United States, wind power continues to strengthen its case as a serious energy source.
As the world's demand for electricity continues to climb so will the need for new power plants. We need to decide what will be the fuel of the future for these plants. The choice boils down to conventional versus renewable sources.
Learning the basics about electricity will help you conserve energy.
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
It's surprisingly easy to figure out how many carbon dioxide emissions come from producing the electricity for your home, or burning a full tank of gas. Check out this carbon calculator, or find out how to do a quick ballpark estimate.
Comly Wilson, Associate with CleanEdison, a solar installation training provider, offers her tips to remedy 6 common mistakes solar PV installers make when setting up new photovoltaic systems.
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
I was gratified when, two weeks ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Chevy Volt was the best-loved car in the world among people who drive one – for the second year in a row. I have never loved a car like I love this one. And I have loved some cars.
Ford focus electric offers eco-friendly features throughout the vehicle.
Setting weld parameters is now easier than ever with the Miller Auto-Set elite feature.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras warns us that building nuclear power plants is not the solution to our current energy crisis.
Alternative transportation magazine, A To B, is chock-full of innovative bicycle tecnology reviews and test drives for everything from folding bikes to E-motorcycles and all the accessories in between.
Are EV's actually being marketed, or a ruse by traditional manufacturers?
A beginning farmer makes the most practical fencing choice available to her: electric nets. And gets tangled up, occasionally.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched its 2011 Change the World, Start with Energy Star Campaign. This campaign encourages and inspires Americans to commit to energy efficiency by highlighting grassroots efforts of individuals all over the United States.
Three nuclear reactors in Japan have been destroyed by a 9.0 earthquake. Radiation levels are on the rise. The world watches helplessly, wondering if escaping radiation will eventually find its way to them. Are we not witnessing in Japan the dark side of nuclear energy? It is not that hard to see this happening in United States, is it?
Can party technology teach you about energy savings and even the theory behind electric cars? It sure can if you follow this simple video tutorial on pulse width modulation.
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
A year-long study in Oklahoma found that consumers who used energy-tracking technology and pricing plans that let them analyze their usage can cut their consumption in half.
Alisa Shorey will present a workshop on beekeeping and Jack McCornack will present a workshop on 100-mpg cars at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
There are many different ways to bring solar power into your home. Here's a quick overview of the different ways people use solar energy, with links to related articles and plans.
For Bryan Welch, a prototype of Toyota's 2013 Prius Plug-In is a real life example of how gasoline electric hybrids have made major gains in efficiency over other conventional cars.
Ride the Future Tour, a 43-day cross-country trip in electric vehicles, will start July 4 in South Carolina. Event organizers hope to build awareness for green transportation and break a few records along the way.
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
The Evergreen Institute's application to provide continuing education for LEED accredited professionals has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council. A variety of workshops meeting required standards are now available for those interested in anything from solar electricity to straw bale construction.
Conventional generators require gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be expensive -- especially during emergencies. Also, the emissions from gas-powered generators contribute to air pollution. Solar generators are a smart alternative to consider.
Western civilization is totally dependent upon cheap and abundant energy. Three quarters of the petroleum we burn in our engines is imported. Could it be cut off suddenly? Without cheap and abundant energy, our way of life would collapse. If we value our freedom and independence, we should not be relying on foreign petroleum. We should be making our own energy.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 100 percent of the electric generating capacity added in January was renewable.
Building my own electric car seems to have caught the attention of the Media. As though getting on the front page of the County paper for a speeding ticket in my electric car wasn't notorious enough, now I'm getting calls from big-shot reporters!
Jessica Kellner, editor of Natural Home & Garden, is beginning research on electric in-floor radiant floor heating products as an efficient method of heating the new nursery.
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
Home energy management, electric cars and solar gadgets take starring roles at consumer electronics industry’s biggest trade show.
Visitors enjoyed hundreds of test drives of Ford hybrid and electric cars at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is proud to announce we have won a prestigious publishing award for our Guide to Green Cars.