solar power incentives
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 19, 2012, 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace.
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
Here's how you can find out what financial incentives are available for purchasing solar panels, or another renewable energy system for your home. Search these resources to find state and local incentives.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a way to double electricity from solar cells by using dyed glass.
The Solar Decathletes begin assembly on the National Mall at midnight, Oct. 1. But just getting the houses into D.C. is no simple task.
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
The solar-powered tractor was painted Terry’s favorite color—green—before the motor was strapped in. After the motor was installed a battery stand was welded over the top of the DC drive motor which is large enough to accommodate twelve 250-amp deep-cycle batteries. Once the performance controller was installed battery cables were run, linking the batteries together.
Make your own rotisserie spit that is solar powered.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
A new company has redesigned the typical shape of solar panels to be more three-dimensional.
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.
New York makes a plan to increase solar power as part of an aggressive energy policy.
Kingtec K25Z-4 will not only cut the spiralling out of control energy demand from the power-hungry air-conditioning unit of the world but it can also cut a struggling families electric bill significantly.
Cam is back riding his solar-powered electric bike and he loves it!
As the importance of solar architecture grew, the southern aspect took on great stature in Chinese life. Ancient wisdom associated the south with fire and warmth, while the north came to be synonymous with winter and somberness. The Emperor facing south therefore shuns darkness and embraces enlightenment to govern. The Chinese to this day prefer a southern orientation for housing.
Let It Shine by John Perlin highlights the context in which solar energy developments have occurred and the people who have made the solar revolution possible, revealing a whole new group of unknown technological pioneers, as well as people famous for other accomplishments never before known for their work as the solar advocates and technologists they were.
The following post summarizes Chapter 7 of the book "Let It Shine The 6000 Year Story of Solar Energy."
Going solar in developing countries, especially in communities that lack access to electricity, is a completely different experience. Here the 3 main reasons why solar is taking off abroad.
QSolar Limited today announced that it has introduced its' new Kristal and Kristal Rainbow range of semi-transparent and colour semi-transparent solar panels.
Team Germany takes first place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in second and Team California in third.
Yes, you can make your own solar panels, but it won’t necessarily save you much money compared with buying commercial solar panels.
The Solar Impulse has made history as the first solar-powered airplane to fly across the North American continent.
60 years ago scientists at Bell Laboratories developed the first solar cell capable of converting enough sunlight into electricity for practical uses. Their discovery is the greatest breakthrough in the 6000-year history of solar energy, and the sire to today's solar revolution. Let's celebrate!
The fastest-growing energy technology in the world is solar, and photovoltaic solar collectors capture solar energy in a supremely adaptable and portable form. Find out more about photovoltaics, how they work, and how they can change the way we make energy.
Blog post number 17: Jeff solves the problem of how to use higher-efficiency D/C power for long run-time loads, while using some A/C appliances as well.
Solar energy solutions can reshape the future. It can help sculpt the world we live in and can help solve some of the greatest environmental problems facing the world today including climate change and our reliance on fossil fuels.
Here’s how to find good background information on residential solar energy systems, including locating solar installers and finding advice on particular products.
Take this quiz from How Stuff Works and learn more about how solar panels produce electricity.
Without federal subsidies, the future of solar power looks grim. Fortunately, the Obama administration is giving solar a boost with four new large-scale solar projects.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.
There's lots of good information on renewable energy in this new NPR series on electricity in America.
Our power system begins to take shape.
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.
Check out this green gingerbread house built by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff: It includes cookie and candy versions of SIPs construction, a living roof, and a solar electric system.
For many people, going green seems like a daunting task, but in reality, a few simple lifestyle changes is all you need.
Utility companies and solar power companies are vying for customers' business. See how that affects you.
Check out the PV Watts calculator and find out how much solar-electric power you can generate in your part of the world.
When you only drink one cup of coffee a day, the mug you use is pretty important.
Let's take a trip back into the Mother Earth News archive to learn more about thin-film solar.
The sun provides us with enough clean energy that if ever effectively harnessed, we might never need any other form again. Sadly, we are only able to harness a fraction of it's potential. Fortunately, we are making great progress to get where we want to be.
Heating water with the sun is no longer an option on the Hawaiian islands. A bill was passed in Hawaii that requires all new homes to install a solar water heater in order to receive a building permit.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
National Solar Tour couldn't have more perfect timing.
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!
Rice University's ZEROW HOUSE takes first place for hot water and second for architecture and market viability at the Solar Decathlon 2009 in D.C.
Doug and Jennie Ostgaard designed and built a photovoltaic system for their home, a project they was completed in six months. DIY photovoltaic solar has many benefits, and they outline a few of them here.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Liza Fleischer was a suburbanite through and through when she met her husband, Ted, who she says was "born 100 years too late." Now they live in a solar- and hydro-powered hand-built home on 160 acres in Vermont--and she loves it.
Covering an area about the size of California with solar panels would provide enough power to handle the world's needs.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.
Never in the history of the world has there been such a high-ranking member of society to advocate passive solar design than Socrates. He felt so strongly for building with the sun in mind that he even set up a class to teach his acolytes how the finer points of putting up a passive solar house.
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.
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath, the new head of the American Solar Energy Society, has his work cut out for him.
Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.
1.3 billion people live without access to electricity. In the last five years, falling costs of solar technology have made solar economically viable without subsidies for off-grid communities. How can businesses keep up with this potential solar growth? Hint: it’s all about the customer.
But what happens if progress in poverty’s eradication far-outpaces green energy solutions? Two of the most important issues of our century — clean energy and poverty eradication - are potentially mutually exclusive, if development efforts do not factor in increased consumption that will occur.
A. O. Smith Water Products Company, the leading manufacturer and marketer of residential and commercial water heaters, has donated a 120-gallon solar storage tank to the Hurston family of Cocoa Beach, Fla., project of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Hodgson Mill Inc., a leading national producer of All-Natural and Organic, Whole-Grain foods, has added two wind turbines to successfully complete the second phase of a significant new green initiative.
At last, we construct the foundation.
We now have something to walk on other than dirt!
A roof is a wonderful thing to have!
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
Cam is handling this heatwave much better thanks to his solar-powered air conditioner!
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.
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Finally, we start to take shape.
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra Nevadas is an heirloom, handbuilt with reverence for the spectacle that surrounds it. He hopes it will inspire every visitor to preserve the paradise.
The Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, proposed on June 2, 2014, by the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan not only limits our carbon pollution but also injects life back into our domestic workforce.
Tell us what you think. If you installed a wind turbine or solar-electric panels, would you want to be tied to the electric grid, or would you rather have a grid-independent system?
A three-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.
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.
Chinese archaeologists have recently found the oldest solar device – a bronze concave mirror – capable of almost instantaneously making fire from sunlight.
More and more people are looking for jobs in the renewable energy field. If you're interested in this type of career, here's how you can get started.
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.
I have know Mark for years. Since I have known him (give or take a few years or so) Seiden asked me what were the best ways to go green and save energy at the same time. Then two years ago, we started with CFL bulbs. Now I'm trying to get him to go LED and get really green lighting in effect. In time. In time.
Will a degree increase your employment prospects? Absolutely. Here are some programs to look into.
When you're looking for a job, there's just no substitute for getting out and meeting the professionals in the industry.
February’s stimulus plan offers tax credits for eco-friendly home improvements, which could keep your money in your wallet this tax season.
The bad news? Coal-fired power plants are our biggest source of industrial pollution. The good news? Solar grew by 67 percent last year, making it our fastest-growing energy sector.
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.
TrikE, an electric-assisted human powered vehicle (HVP), provides weather protection and storage while maintaining all the benefits of a bicycle.
Solar lights replacing kerosene lamps in developing countries do more than solve energy poverty, they are also helping curb climate change by reducing black carbon emissions.
Going solar at home will save you both money and energy. See why it's the future for renewable energy in residential areas.
Is the electric car all it's cracked up to be? Let's find out!
Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.
Take a lesson from Southerners, who know a thing or two about keeping cool naturally. These homes take advantage of old-fashioned and cutting-edge passive cooling techniques to stay temperate even during hot Southern summers.
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.
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.
Propelling a vehicle with air or water is possible, but whether it’s practical is another story.
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.
Homeowners and renters who made five or more energy-efficient improvements found satisfying savings, a new study finds.
A recent trip to Vietnam presents an opportunity to study people-powered devices and transportation.
In 2010 former horse-powered produce grower Michael Hari launched Equicert, a business that provides services to horse powered farms.
Keeping the project going is my goal.
Most Americans use vehicles to travel less than three miles, a distance that can easily be walked. Choosing active transportation over vehicles can improve your health, decrease your spending and minimize all that time you spend at stop lights.
If you need a little horsepower for your homestead, a two-wheeled tractor may be a good choice.
Solar panels are strong enough to resist damage from most hail. But if you live in an area where large hail is common, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.
Student teams prepare to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy hosted, fourth biyearly Solar Decathlon, where they will be judged on the overall quality of their solar-powered homes.
The Appalachian State University team will be blogging about their progress on the solar home they are building for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.
The United States has one of the lowest rates of active transportation in the world, leading to poor cardiovascular health and other diseases.
A look back at how we’ve become addicted to electricity and its conveniences since the Great Depression.
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
A Danish study has found that concentration improves among students who bicycle or walk to school.
How a wood-fired hot tub allows us to live better on less energy.
People are traveling fewer miles in vehicles, suggesting more compact communities whose residents choose walking over driving.
Waves, tides and currents can all be used as sources of energy.
Check out these wind resource maps for a quick look at wind around the world.
Nokero International has been awarded the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s ‘Patents for Humanity’ award.
Admirals Alternatives make it easier to obtain renewable energy systems for your home.
Admirals Bank opens Renewable Energy Lending Business Development Center in San Francisco.
The GateMate, by Cartell, has the lowest current draw in standby than any other free exit system on the market.
On a wintry Sunday morning, I can’t think of much I’d rather do than settle in at the kitchen table with a cup of fresh coffee and read the big, fat Sunday New York Times.
Passive Houses use only 5 percent of heating energy compared to traditional houses.
Here are the pros and cons of using south facing windows for home heating, rather than solar collectors.
Here are the basic options for buying your electricity from sustainable sources.
The World Community Grid uses grid technology and idle computers to power environmental and humanitarian research projects.
Saying ‘Yes’ to a cross country bicycling trip
was easy. After I fully realized what my
mouth had done, my brain had second thoughts.
Walking School Buses make a big impact by improving health, building community and filling in where school budgets fall short.
Looking at all the wood powered cars
This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC
After a five month struggle, the San Francisco board of supervisors approved a program called GoSolarSF, making solar installations more affordable for its citizens.
As tough economic times hit the renewable energy industry, unsold solar panels are collecting dust in warehouses in many parts of the country. But in Gainesville, Florida, homes, buildings and schools are glittering with brand new panels, installed after the city passed a feed-in tariff law, requiring the power company to buy renewable energy from local producers.
Here are three of the season’s brightest and cleanest gifts for a greener holiday celebration.
Find out how to enter our Solar Giveaway.
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.
South Dakota and Alaska electric cooperatives received the award for 2012 Wind Cooperatives of the Year.
Husqvarna adds 3 all-wheel drive walk mower models to offer high quality options for any budget.
On the eve of Southern Company (NYSE: SO) holding its annual meeting of stockholders in Pine Mountain, GA., the nonprofit Green America released a report ranking the major U.S. power producer as “the United States’ most irresponsible utility.”
These 25 very different places all get some or all of their energy from wind power.
Check out this video on tapping wind power with kites.
DIY projects are great fun and can save money — unless you end up in the emergency room.
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
MIT researchers announced a breakthrough that could ultimately make it much cheaper and easier to store solar energy.
Here's another reason to love solar panels and wind turbines: They're great tools for providing power to people who wouldn't otherwise have electricity at home.
Try these DIY methods to help warm up a cold basement.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could produce all the energy we needed from local, renewable resources, such as solar and wind power?
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?
While photovoltaic panels are great for meeting small-scale energy needs (like those of individual homes or businesses), perhaps a more viable large-scale option is concentrated solar power (CSP) technology.
Check out this dramatic short movie.
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.
This simple, low-tech method of disinfecting water with solar energy can be a lifesaver when safe drinking water isn't available.
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.
This handy online tool helps calculate your solar energy potential based on your location.
Find the right type of insulation for a Solar Heat Grabber from MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.
Solar-powered jar lights are pretty but too pricey. You can easily make your own using easy-to-find items from the hardware store.
Mounting a wind turbine on your roof instead of on a tower might seem like a good idea, but here are some issues you should consider.
Many states are working quickly to develop their wind power resources knowing it will pay off big in the future.
Wind turbines kills birds, but not as many as are killed by tall buildings and other hazards.
Black and Decker.com provides project advice, community features and much more.
You can use your ATV to smooth your driveway with this new grader attachment.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a list of the top 20 on-site renewable electtricity generators.
Turn out the lights. Light the candles. Tomorrow night (March 28) from 8:30-9:30 (in your time zone) is Earth Hour.
Honda Power Equipment is raising the standard for portable generators, adding value and enhanced performance to three of its popular portable generator lines.
Landscapers, gardeners and DIYers have a fast and convenient solution that dethatches, bags, rakes, scalps, mulches and cuts lawns in a single tool.
Connect a bike to a grain grinder to discover a whole new world of pedal power possibility.
Third party study proves Yamaha’s longstanding claim of most durable CVT transmission.
The Environmental Protection Agency releases a list of the top green power purchasers in the United States.
Cam shares his enthusiasm for the sun and the wind at his off-grid home.
Growing Power believes that youth working in city farms will grow, bloom and thrive right alongside the crops they cultivate.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently released a report discussing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and its possibility as an energy solution.
One of the easiest ways to bask and rejoice in the gifts of nature is to make and use a solar wall heater.
If you've been wondering how to dehrydrate tomatoes, look no further! We've compiled step-by-step instructions on solar dehydrating tomatoes, complete with photos from our own experience drying veggies in the solar dryer at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS office.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
The North American Solar Stores (NASS) network announces their nationally recognized solar store brand to meet the solar energy demands of today's alternative energy-aware consumers.
Henry Red Cloud moved back to the Pine Ridge Reservation 12 years ago and started looking into renewable energy. Since then he has started a solar heating system company and a renewable energy training center to serve the Native American community.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
Solar Energy International is excited to announce the 2013 Online Solar Training schedule! On Jan. 14, we will kick off this year's online training schedule with some of the most rigorous solar training in the industry. Join thousands of people from all over the world in SEI's Online Campus!
Leasing solar panels may be a way for you to have a solar electric system on your home. See what our expert has to say on leasing solar panels, from an operating lease to a capital lease. Plus, learn about the federal tax incentives that come with solar electric systems.
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will place solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House roof by spring 2011.
Share your opinion: Are you contemplating installing a solar-electric panel for your home?
Despite utility opposition, key policy drives rapid expansion of rooftop solar.
Whether you choose renewable energy for ecological or financial reasons, this article will help you see how solar panels and a solar hot water heating system can be financed and get you closer to being a sustainable household.
You can use a solar hot-air collector to heat your home with renewable energy. Here’s more about how they work.
A do-it-yourself portable solar cart allows us to have solar power without removing trees from the yard. We can also take it away from the home site and move it indoors before storms.
With 67 percent growth in one year, the solar energy industry eclipses even the telecommunications industry, according to a new Solar Energy Industries Association report.
A new technology developed at MIT, solar concentrators, could dramatically reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) power.
The term "living off the grid" can be used in different ways, but it means something very specific when you start looking at producing electricity from renewable sources.
You can use the power of the sun to heat water for your home using manufactured solar hot water systems or one you build yourself.
Next spring, President Obama will install a solar panels on the roof of the White House. The photovoltaic system will provide hot water and some electricity for the White House living quarters.
Toyota installs a large solar panel system on a California facility, proving its green thumb extends farther than the road.
When you're ready to price or purchase a new solar system, findsolar.com has everything you need.
Today most new homes are sited without any reference to solar energy at all. A few builders are catching on, however, and making the simple adjustments necessary to turn new houses into solar collectors by adhering to the tenets of passive solar building. Learn more about how passive solar works and its benefits.
Here’s advice from a renewable energy expert about what you can expect to pay for a solar-electric system to power your home.
Colorado's once-thriving solar industry has ground to a halt following Xcel Energy's move to slash incentive rebates for homeowners.
Summer's here, but the solar panels that President Obama promised to install on the White House this spring aren't. Today the administration announced that it's still working out the details. We'll just have to wait.
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
When writing his great work On Architecture, Rome’s greatest solar architect Vitruvius emphasized proper solar orientation for buildings and bath houses.
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
A new smaller utility trailer for your all-purpose ATV.
Solar energy organization Show Me Solar comes highly recommended by renewable energy expert Dan Chiras for its 2010 list of workshops, webinars and other educational opportunities.
Tools and techniques for sustainable living.
The energy a PV system will produce during its lifetime far exceeds the amount of energy it takes to produce the PV system
Save thousands on a solar electric system by learning this simple secret.
If we want more electricity from renewable sources, we need to think about upgrades to our electric grid.
Find out what types of federal tax incentives are available for homeowners who install renewable energy.
Check out RenewableEnergyWorld.com for background information and breaking news on renewable technologies.
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
LEDs are all around us. Here are some of the ways these great green lightbulbs are being used, and a little more information about how they work.
If you’re thinking about getting a solar electric system to help the environment and save money, think about efficiency first.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Learn how to evaluate your own home for solar potential with four easy steps!
It's how solar energy is more affordable than we may realize.
The invention of clear window glass allowed the ancient Romans to trap solar energy to enhance their gardening techniques to grow vegetables out of season and exotic non-native plants in Rome. A thousand years later, empire builders in Europe rediscovered the trapping of solar heat with clear window glass so they as well could enjoy the foreign plants in their own back yard and grow native vegetables throughout the year.
Alternative energy has become a hot topic in recent years as we try and work towards more sustainable resources. Whether we'll get there or not remains to be seen.
To see how much solar heat could be trapped by glass, Horace de Saussure, in 1767 built a solar hot box that consisted of several glass sheets covering an insulated box. Solar heat accumulated in the solar hot box, reaching temperatures far above the boiling point of water
Passive House standards incorporate passive solar design principles, but the two labels don’t mean the same thing. Learn about the difference between passive solar design and Passive House certification.
The word is that nitrogen trifluoride is more of a problem than previously thought, and it's used to manufacture all kinds of high-tech equipment, including thin-film solar panels.
Cam describes how our solar electric system has evolved over time.
Michael Strizki proves that living off the grid doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort.
An introduction to Richard Hilderbrand’s new blog discussing climate change, plus the first installment. Learn how Earth utilizes greenhouse gases to ensure stable temperatures, or thermal equilibrium, as well as how fluctuations in solar activity relate to changes in global temperatures.
Getting solar panels in Seattle is becoming more affordable with state incentives and net metering but still doesn't quite compare to other states.
This bathhouse from CU user SolarLadyfromNorwood proudly uses the sun to power it through the day. Making good use of alternative energy, the bathhouse surrounded by lush grass looks like a great little escape. Adorned with a sign and additional artwork, this
Cleaning up an old water heater just requires two simple tools.
The Financial Times Climate Change Challenge winner is the Kyoto Box solar cooker, which uses no fuel other than the sun to cook food.
Cam has always enjoyed playing with water. Now he lets his solar-powered pump do some of the work!
Join the green collar economy by going through a green job training program. Learn the ins and outs of solar photovoltaics, wind power or biomass and save the planet while furthering your career.
Solar protection window treatments that never go out of season.
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.
Sustainable Solar LLC has recently rolled out a line of Light-Weight, Portable, Noiseless Solar Generators providing a convenient power supply in remote or off-the-grid areas.
Lundberg Family Farms announces the opening of a new warehouse that is powered by 100% solar energy. Lundberg Family Farms produces wholesome, healthful rice products while protecting and improving the environment for future generations.
University of Maine leads the United States in clean-energy technology, thanks to the development of a grid-connected wind turbine off the coast of Maine.
Steve explains what he's learned over 20 years of using generators and monitoring advances in design.
The generators we use for living off the grid and a multitude of other tasks.
If you’re considering buying a new log splitter, you may have begun to debate whether you want an electric log splitter or a gas-powered model. What’s the difference? DR Power Equipment has some useful insight for you.
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.
New Platform Revealed at Dealer Road Shows
Worksaver, Inc. introduces new clamp-on snow blades, ideal for compact tractors with non-quick attach buckets.
Skystream install program helps consumers take advantage of their wind resource.
Personal users can now buy welding and cutting products and accessories online from the comfort of their home.
Southwest Windpower is the world’s leading supplier of distributed wind generators. With history lasting more than two decades, the company is a global leader and pioneer in the design, manufacturing and distribution of small wind systems.
Company announces plans for expanded production with Menlo and launch of Innovation Center at NPCC property.
DR Power Equipment has threatened to make ordinary hydraulic log splitters obsolete with the brand new DR®RapidFire™ Log Splitter. DR technology has eliminated the big drawbacks of hydraulic log splitters.
The pros and cons of nuclear power have been discussed in news and politics for years. We want to know what you think. Is nuclear power a viable and safe option for cleaning up our air? Are the risks of nuclear energy worth the potential rewards? Are there other energy alternatives that deserve more of our attention?
Cam recently spoke to a Transition group about the challenges ahead and how to prepare for them.
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?
A report from economic analyst Mark Cooper shows that continuing nuclear power projects in the Southeast will only produce billions of dollars in excess costs.
Kubota partners with the Propane Education & Research Council to offer $1,000 purchase incentive on its ZP330, delivering ‘green’ performance and more ‘green’ in your pocket.
ECHO Bear Cat is pleased to introduce the 2” SC2170 Chipper/Shredder to its line of outdoor power equipment.
Rechargeable tool packages use the same battery to power multiple tools: saws, drills, drivers and flashlights. What are the benefits of these systems?
The difference between power and energy and how it relates to toast!
Sawing their own lumber enables home owners to fulfill their dreams.
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.
New burn barrel alternative provides safer, smarter home and garden burning for homeowners.
Investments in lawnmower fabrication processes save more than 310 tons of steel annually.
Blount, the world’s largest manufacturer of saw chain, announces the launch of the new OREGON PowerNow 40V MAX* Cordless Chainsaw.
T. Boone Pickens is the very embodiment of the Texas oil tycoon. He’s also, arguably, the world’s leading advocate for wind energy.
American and European renewable power sources made up more than half of the countries' new electrical capacity in 2009.
Joplin’s one-year, post-tornado milestone to be marked with neighborhood tree planting, community beautification led by national equipment manufacturers, Vermeer Corporation and Kubota Tractor Corporation
KIOTI Tractor is pleased to announce the expansion of their popular implement and attachment lines.
Husqvarna has issued the Ethanol Challenge in order to provide the tools for consumers to gain awareness about ethanol.
Choose smarter features for better results.
Two new models of pull behind cutters for use with tractors.
The new FSA 65 and FSA 85 grass trimmers, the latest products available for the 36-volt STIHL Lithium-Ion battery technology system, deliver fuel savings, time savings and environmental benefits for gasoline-free trimming applications.
One of the disadvantages of wind power is that the wind doesn't always blow. But in the future, new technology could make it easier to store wind energy.
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.
Wind turbines within two miles of residential areas can hurt the property values of homes.
Sun Light and Power, a solar installation co signed a deal with SolED to offer Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in the State of California. This will help public or government buildings get these deals and save tax monies.
K.C. Compton takes a glance at more than two dozen trends that are shaping our future, which are documented in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest publication, "Vital Signs, Volume 21."
Renewable energy's ugly duckling comes of age.
Healthy home advocates are concerned that wireless power and gas meters, which are being installed in homes across the country, could release dangerous radiation.
Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona celebrates national homesteading month with a display of solar ingenuity.
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
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.
Collegiate teams showcase affordable, energy-efficient houses in global competition.
Cam has had to learn lots of new skills living in his off-grid home!
The Solar Foundation found a 13 percent increase in U.S. solar industry jobs in 2012, which is promising for the overall job market, and shows stability in the solar energy job market.
Solar food drying is incredibly easy with a solar food dehydrator, which requires very little effort to make perfectly preserved produce.
MIT students have developed an outdoor rocking lounge chair that doubles as a solar charging station, recasting power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity.
Forty years ago a trombe wall worked to store and release heat in a passive solar house. Is it obsolete in the 21st century?
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
We’ve succeeded at drying herbs and greens in our SunWorks solar dehydrator, which promises to make future meals all the more flavorful and nutritious.
The Evergreen Institute lowers prices to encourage more participating in its January workshops in home energy efficiency, electricity and electrical wiring, and basic PVs: An Introduction to Solar Electricity.
Last October, President Obama filled us all with hope when he announced he would install solar panels on the White House by this spring. The panels haven't materialized, and the White House isn't talking. Call Obama and find out what's up.
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
Solar Energy International is offering a free online course as an introduction to renewable energy. You will not walk away an expert, but will have learned the basics of renewable energy and be able to decide which technologies are right for you.
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.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house - learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
On sunny days it delivers about a half a megawatt of electricity to the biodiesel plant, while providing strategic shade to plants below. Energy is produced above as farmers harvest below in a genuine double cropping scenario.
Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 for building the most energy-efficient, cost-effective and most attractive solar-powered house.
Watch this video to learn how to build tiny home for just $2,000.
Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!
It seems only common sense that you don’t depend on a single source alone for life-giving home heat in the winter.
Keep your greenhouse above freezing during short cold periods without paying for a heater.
Make your home more energy efficient with Indow Windows Shade Grade.
The ongoing debate between the merits and faults of Passive House design and passive solar design is important for those looking to build an energy-efficient home and for all enthusiasts of energy-efficient building. We've opened up the discussion to our online audience in this blog post. Please share your thoughts!
The embrace of environmentalism by professional sports provides us all with a new and large opportunity to educate people worldwide about the need to do something, however small it might seem, to protect our biosphere.
Looking for a better way to preserve all that garden produce without a hot kitchen canning project? A new solar food dryer promises to dry food fast and save energy and money using the sunshine in your back yard.
A solar-powered cooker made out of cardboard boxes, which aims to reduce carbon emissions, deforestation and the spread of water-borne diseases, took home the first prize at the Climate Change Challenge.
After spending several years drying food in an electric food dehydrator, I built a SunWorks solar food dehydrator to try and create truly sun-dried tomatoes.
Solar energy is the ultimate source of all life, and there's lots of it.
A typical winter morning chore - cleaning off the solar panels.
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...
Whether you're planning to install solar panels, or hoping to put up a backyard wind turbine some day, share your thoughts on the renewable energy projects that intrigue you most.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
Receives SRCC OG300 certification on 41 system configurations for residential solar water heating systems.
We heard from a variety of experts about the type and number of batteries to use in our DIY solar setup. Meanwhile, we checked in with the garden and bees.
Use this parabolic mirror as a handy pocket-sized firestarter.
There are many ways farmers can benefit from renewable energy, including wind energy, solar energy, energy efficiency and biofuels.
For the first time, investors put more money into alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
The Solar Energy Tour is coming to communities all over the U.S. the first weekend of October — learn how to attend an event, or create one yourself.
Weekly user photo of a simple solar homestead. Don't forget to submit your photos to our CU photo-sharing website. Maybe one of your favorite moments will pop up on the homepage for all the world to see!
For the first time ever, alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power received more investment money than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
Nuclear Armageddon due to solar flares or EMP, avoidable for teh cost of a single Stealth bomber
Are you looking for professional training as a solar installer or retailer? Check out this list of workshops available at the American Solar Energy Society's 2009 Conference.
Michael Morley will post regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here, he discusses options for installing a colored concrete floor, and considering whether to install a solar hot water system.
User of our CU photo-sharing website submits photo documents the building process on their new biomass and solar dome home.
Don't forget to submit your photos to our CU photo-sharing website. Your favorite moments could become famous on our homepage!
Learn about one couple's ongoing effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
Smooth out the temperature range in your greenhouse by adopting one of these strategies for heating greenhouses.
An index of posts related to energy, power, and climate, with a strong focus on solutions.
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.
Check out these high-quality workshops on solar electricity, home energy efficiency, and small wind energy systems. Geared to homeowners, aspiring professionals, students and teachers - anyone wishing to learn more about renewable energy systems
Once our bodies and our imaginations are engaged, the incremental change begins. Then it gets easier and easier to envision humanity occupying this planet–this beautiful, abundant planet–far into the future.
Conergy Projects Group has broken ground on a 725 kw photovoltaic system for T&P Farms out of Arbuckle, Calif.
A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows significant lapses in nuclear power plant safety.
In a recent study, researchers found that watching videos about wind farm-related illnesses made participants claim the same symptons.
It's easy to find out what fuels your power comes from using this nifty tool from the EPA.
Steve shares 11 years of his experience with the newest mainstay power tool in the world, and offers three free chances to win an impact driver.
Build your own wind generator for use with 12-Volt systems. Charge up batteries for lighting, fans, tools and more.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, guides an inquiring homeowner on how to find the right circular saw.
Grasshopper announces a new online tool designed to calculate fuel costs and impacts of commercial mowing equipment.
A wind energy expert discusses the durability of small-scale wind turbines.
Capable of moving a host of materials: snow, aggregate materials, livestock feed and silage.
Bobcat Company introduces 3-point tiller implements for the Toolcat 5610 utility work machine and the full line of compact tractors.
DR offers innovative ATV utility trailer with 1 year hands-on trial.
In this Wind Energy Blog, we talk with a representative from The Nature Conservancy to learn more about the environmental impacts of wind energy. Despite the many concerns about the impacts these wind farms can have on wildlife, there are no current regulations that wind farm developers must follow before building their wind farms.
Select Kubota models now available for rent at the Home Depot.
Put your riding mower to work!
A new study finds that generating electricity from coal costs taxpayers $345 billion each year, making renewable energy start to look like a bargain.
Luna Lodge, on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, relies on hydro power.
Cub Cadet is known for providing break-through innovations, a reputation supported by the Best Buy rating.
Some large electronics can use as much energy as a light bulb while in "stanby" mode, meaning you should unplug them when you leave the house or know you won’t use them for awhile. Having a large electronic setup plugged into a power strip makes it much easier to completely power it down, especially if it has a lot of plugs like a home theater system or computer.
When Joan King Salwen is invited to speak with Bill and Melinda Gates about The Power of Half, she learns how valuable homemade gifts can be.
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.
Think outside the box and consider outdoor power equipment for your Valentine this year.
Hud-Son Forest Equipment would like to introduce the all new 2012 HFE-21 Homesteader portable sawmill.
Setting weld parameters is now easier than ever with the Miller Auto-Set elite feature.
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.
Generate energy in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
With new powerful engine options, more safety features, enhanced technology and easy, comfortable handling, the 4500 will soon become a customer favorite in Ventrac’s lineup.
The nation's largest community-owned solar array in Rifle, Colorado, will provide clean energy for up to 350 residents, who don't even need a roof to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
Many criticize eliminating coal mining in West Virginia because of the amount of jobs the sector provides. A wind farm, however, would employ over 200 local residents during the two-year construction phase, and create 40-50 permanent maintenance jobs afterward. A wind farm would also allow the mountain to be used for other purposes, like sustainable forestry, mountain harvesting, and gathering of wild forest plants, creating additional jobs and the opportunity for stable income for locals.
To learn more about large wind energy degrees, Brittney Tyler-Milholland and Brenna Long talk with educators at Iowa Lakes Community College about the wind energy degree program in this Wind Energy blog. Iowa Lakes had the first wind energy program in Iowa.
A National Resources Defense Council analyst calls proposed standards “the most important actions to clean up air pollution from dirty coal-burning power plants since the Clean Air Act was last updated in 1990.”
Read about methods to utilize animal- and human- power for trimming the lawn and keeping back weeds, all free of fossil fuels.
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Architect Debra Rucker Coleman shares tips for converting your home to passive solar energy.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
Sun-Lite HP for greenhouse glazing provides excellent diffused light.
A homemade solar food dryer allows you to dry tomatoes and apples for delicious and nutritious winter snacks and addition to your meals.
Dan and Karen Cripes made a few big upfront investments--including solar panels and a geothermal system--when they built their home in Round Rock, Texas. Now they're reaping the rewards with nearly nonexistent utility bills and a home they love.
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
ASES released a report that says 37 million green jobs are possible by 2030. Check out the study here!
Grow calcium in your garden with collards, kale, and parsley. Suggestions are given for including these crops in your meals. Learn about companions to plant among your collards and kale to deter harmful insects.
Hold onto your hats, Congress is debating climate change. Right now the U.S. House is considering the Waxman-Markey climate bill. Here's where you can find more information about what is, and isn't, in the bill.
Solar drying experiences in 2012, including tomato varieties Principe Borghese and Long Tom.
So far this year extreme weather events has cost the US over 35 billion dollars. This posting discusses the potential for non-carbon-based renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.
Get a glimpse of some of the unique exhibitors at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
Solar Energy International (SEI), the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service all offer events to educate participants in varying pursuits. This blog provides links to activity calendars and workshop schedules.
Chris Larson's Asheville, North Carolina, home--already a superb example of smart, passive solar design--gets even better with the addition of solar hot water collectors.
Although winter is setting in, that doesn't mean an end to the garden season in desert climates! Get inspired by this beautiful rainwater-harvesting, food-producing desert landscape!
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
There are multiple philosophies that describe what characterizes a green home, but all have low energy loads in common.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to
expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Nov. 7, 2012, a lease for commercial wind energy development 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.
Describing how to look up tax maps, cutting carrots, and deleting problem tomato plants that only produce insipid fruit. The main attraction this week is our Power Plucker review and how awesome this new product is at saving time when plucking.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
Home energy management, electric cars and solar gadgets take starring roles at consumer electronics industry’s biggest trade show.
Cable set-top boxes in the United States consume 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—equivalent to the annual output of nine coal-fired power plants. Cable providers have a lot of energy-efficient improvements to make.
Launching Anna's new E book on cover crops in a no till garden and talking about the recent power failure that prompted us to do some Off Grid Homesteading which taught us a few lessons on using golf cart batteries for supplemental lighting.
An update on generating electricity with pedal power and which exercise bike we decided on and testing soil for nutrient ratios along with fixing a pair of leaky boots with adhesive and inner tube scrap patch.
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
Eating only homegrown foods on the Fridays in Lent.
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.
We will discuss how the Earth overcomes the increasing solar radiation from the Sun to maintain a stable temperature for life (Gaia Hypothesis). The role anthropogenic forces will also be discussed.
A BIG issue in everyone’s lives today is increasing fuel costs. The seriousness and scope of our energy problems calls for an all-out effort for sustainable solutions, starting as soon as possible.
Describes two effective alternatives to composting. Many factors can limit the ability to produce compost. These two products offer different but practical ways to organically recycle food scraps.
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.