Monday, May 17th, 2010
Germany, one of the more frequently discussed countries when it comes to investment in renewable energy projects through its highly touted feed-in-tariff, seeks to attract a new crop of young scientists to partner with German research institutions and corporations.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is sponsoring a competition called “Green Talents: International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development.” They are seeking 15 outstanding scientists, 35 years of age or younger, in the following fields:
Friday, May 14th, 2010
We’ve been hearing a lot about a drop in energy consumption as a result of the economic downturn. In fact, U.S. energy use per person declined last year to its lowest level since 1968.
Economic activity and energy use are directly linked. But lately, several reports have noted that the economic slowdown is not the only reason energy consumption is falling. Aggressive energy efficiency efforts also have impact.
That impact will be “major” in the years to come, according to the Energy Information Administration, the chief energy data collector for the U.S. government. The agency this week released its “Annual Energy Outlook 2010” with projections to 2035.
The federal report shows us decreasing energy use significantly if we employ best available efficiency technologies over the next 25 years – that is if we buy the most energy efficient appliances and build homes to the highest efficiency standards. Under this scenario, energy consumption could drop by as much as 27 percent. But if we stick to the status quo, homeowners will increase energy use by about 0.2 percent. (more…)
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
The market for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) should grow dramatically over the next decade, passing compact flourescent lightbulbs as the biggest emerging lighting product, according to a new report.
LEDs — a light source made from semiconductors — will account for 46 percent of the $4.6 million commercial and industrial lighting market by 2020, says the report by Colorado-based Pike Research. LEDs currently make up about 2 percent of the market.
A shift toward LEDs among commercial customers and municipalities, rather than homeowners, will drive this transformation, the report says, since businesses will be more likely to invest money upfront if they benefit from long-term cost-efficiencies. (more…)
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
There has been a ton of money floating out of Washington the past couple of years. Much is going toward propping up state governments with budget shortfalls, helping those who cannot find work by extending unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance coverage, and a ton of dough is going to the banks.
This leaves a lot of us wondering, where is my stimulus package?
As an avid reader of current events and a novice financial expert, my opinion is perhaps literally worth two cents. As a renewable energy professional who has spent the past two years learning about solar energy and energy efficiency through community college courses and technical schools, I can tell there is a lot of money going to the right places.
In addition to extending unemployment benefits, there is a good deal of money flowing into community colleges and renewable energy. For example, I was able to get reimbursed from my state, New York, for the classes I took on energy efficiency. (more…)
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
The U.S. Senate’s long-awaited energy bill, which will be officially unveiled Wednesday, would require utilities to begin paying for carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 and return two-thirds of the money to U.S. taxpayers to offset rising energy costs; it would also encourage the development of nuclear power with tax credits and other incentives and allow offshore drilling along new sections of the U.S. coast with certain restrictions and environmental safeguards.
The Senate bill, known as the “American Power Act,” limits entities that can trade directly in the carbon emissions permits to the utilities and, eventually, the factories that will be required to purchase the permits — a provision designed to avoid a speculative market in carbon trading. (more…)
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Suppose your CEO calls tomorrow and asks, “What are we doing about power consumption?” What will you say?
Reducing consumption by turning off computer monitors and equipment requires lifestyle changes to be adopted through the entire organization. These are easy choices to make but they are hard to implement and substantial return on investment is not assured.
Proven, existing efficiency technologies — in everything from lighting to climate control and voltage regulation — can unlock the untapped reserves of efficiency gains buried in many non-residential buildings. Plus government incentive programs remove the barriers to implementation by making the up-front costs and payback periods affordable.
Monday, May 10th, 2010
The belief that jobs in the solar industry are limited to working on the roof or chasing after sales leads is not really accurate today as other opportunities are available and increasing, according to solar career expert Liz Merry.
Merry, owner of Verve Solar Consulting in Davis, Calif., has been sharing insights and advice about the solar industry since 2001 through numerous courses, articles and blogs. Promising no hype and no panaceas, she offered solid advice for career seekers in the solar photovoltaics (PV) industry at a recent workshop at the California Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego, Calif.
Merry outlined four major steps every solar job seeker should follow to understand where he or she may fit into the industry: (more…)
Monday, May 10th, 2010
Taking a cue from of America’s most popular television shows, “The Biggest Loser,” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring a national energy contest entitled “Working off the Waste with Energy Star” among 14 commercial buildings across the country.
The 14 contestants will compete to demonstrate the largest percentage-based energy use reduction over a 12-month period from September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010. The winning building will be announced in October 2010 in a public ceremony featuring Bob Harper, one of the winners of “The Biggest Loser.” (more…)
Saturday, May 8th, 2010
In my inaugural post, I went over why solar makes sense from a financial perspective. It is a sound investment that will provide you at least a 10 percent return on your initial investment for the next 30 years. Now the question is, “Hey Chris, how do you make money on solar?”
The answer is that solar saves you money through a program called net metering.
To start off this explanation, it is good to review your utility bill. Your utility bill has in it many line items for supply and delivery broken out into many different costs per kilowatthour (kwh). Kilowatt-hours are measurements of power used by you over a period of time, usually the billing cycle. (more…)
Friday, May 7th, 2010
I’m in Georgia today to deliver the commencement address at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and I just finished a tour of the University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP).
With longstanding support from the Department of Energy, and under the direction of Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi , this Center at Georgia Tech has become a premier site for silicon photovoltaic (PV) research in the U.S. The company that evolved from this work –- Suniva –- is an American success story. (more…)