Category Archives: Environment and Clean Technology

Articles about environmental issues and clean technology products besides solar.

New Span Panel

Span’s new Smart Panel and goals for an electric future

Reading Time: 5 minutes

From cost savings, to grid resiliency, to reducing carbon footprint, the benefits of electrification are attracting more and more homeowners every day. If you’re a homeowner considering electrifying part–or all–of your home, you might be thinking about upgrading your current electrical panel. Span is a company looking to provide you with a modernized electrical panel that includes smart controls and monitoring of your electricity usage. Their new Smart Panel offers upgrades and cost savings compared to their previous model, and could be a good investment for you, whether you’re looking to install solar, storage, or fully electrify your home!

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LG & Sense

Breaking down the LG Solar and Sense partnership

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In May 2021, LG Solar and Sense announced their new partnership with the goal of empowering homeowners to make smarter energy decisions. LG has long been a household name due to their high-quality electronics and their subsidiary, LG Solar, has been no different. LG Solar is a leading manufacturer of solar panels with two residential series: the NeON 2 and the NeON R. 

Sense entered the energy space in 2016 with the launch of their Home Energy Monitor. Their energy monitoring system provides you with insights about your energy usage, allowing you to make informed decisions about what devices you’re powering and when you’re powering them. We sat down with LG Solar to learn a bit more about their new partnership, and its potential benefits. 

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generator vs. battery

Battery backup power vs. generators: which is right for you?

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If you live in an area with frequent power outages, you already know the benefits of having backup power installed at your home. Propane, diesel, and natural gas-powered generators have long been the system of choice for homeowners and businesses that want to ensure that the lights stay on when the power goes out in the neighborhood. Now, an increasing number of people are considering newer, cleaner battery options like the Tesla Powerwall.

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solar panel recycling

Recycling solar panels: environmental effects and your recycling options

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Solar panels have a lifetime of about 30 years. With the increasing number of solar panels being sold and installed in the United States each year, it’s only a matter of time before high volumes of silicon solar panels are at the end of their useful life and have to be disposed of. Solar panel recycling is still at a very early stage, but as the market continues to grow, it will have an important part to play in the solar industry.

More and more panels will reach the end of their life each year, and even now, old solar panels are beginning to become a problem as the majority of them find themselves in landfills where they are releasing toxins harmful to both natural and human health into our environment.

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california sgip

California home battery rebate: Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) explained

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(Update: California’s Governor Brown signed SB 700. This adds approximately $800 million in additional funding for SGIP and extends the program through 2025.)

California’s SGIP rebate is one of the best incentives in the country for homeowners who want to install a home battery with their solar panels. The Golden State already leads the country in solar energy – it has more solar capacity than any other state in the U.S., and nearly six times more solar than number-two state Arizona. Now, California is becoming a leader in energy storage. Thanks to the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) you can get a rebate for most or all of your solar battery installation in California, and it’s about to become a lot easier for homeowners to access. Here’s everything you need to know about the SGIP rebate.

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Solar Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity: why it’s important for your solar panel system

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In May 2021, the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline made headlines across the country. After Colonial shut down their pipelines, gasoline shortages rapidly drove up the price of gasoline and spurred panic buying at fuel stations, particularly across hard-hit southern states. With cyberattacks on energy infrastructure increasing in frequency and severity, many are starting to wonder: what else could be at risk?

Unfortunately, the energy sector has already seen serious cyberattacks in the past–which could be an indicator of future risk. In 2015, Ukraine experienced the first known cyberattack on the power grid, which caused outages at 30 substations throughout the country and left about 230,000 people without electricity for up to six hours. People with solar-plus-storage systems would typically have the benefit of grid resiliency in such a situation and would be able to keep the power running–however, solar systems are not entirely immune to the risk of cyberattacks without proper protections.

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Drones

Flying high: how drones are revolutionizing the solar industry

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ten years ago, if you were installing a rooftop solar system, one of your installer’s first steps was to come to your house, climb up on your roof, and take a bunch of measurements and pictures to evaluate the project. However, this process is now starting to change with the rise of a new technology: drones. Drones in solar have a number of advantages that make them appealing to both homeowners and installers, including saving time and money for everyone involved. In this article, we’ll take a look at how drones are used in solar projects and explore some major companies on the cutting edge of this technology. 

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Lithium mining

Lithium mining in the United States: why is it so controversial?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Lithium, the lightest element of all the metals, is a crucial resource for the United States’ clean energy future: it’s key in the production of lithium ion rechargeable batteries, which are used to power electric vehicles and serve as home storage systems. While the U.S. is the largest consumer of lithium and will only increase its future consumption as it strives to meet the Biden Administration’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission targets, America’ domestic mining of lithium is limited to just one percent of annual global production.

Currently, only one lithium mine operates in the United States, the Silver Peak mine in Clayton Valley, Nevada; most of the global lithium supply is extracted in Chile and Australia. While some politicians are calling for increased domestic mining of the metal, at the end of May 2021, Reuters reported that the Biden Administration would supply the majority of lithium from ally countries, including Canada, Australia, and Brazil. Though this strategy may seem antithetical to the Administration’s clean energy jobs goals, it comes on the heels of many environmentalists’ concerns over two potential lithium mines in Nevada that could become operational in a few years. In this article, we’ll break down lithium mining and why these two mines are so controversial.   

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solar batteries

Bring your own battery programs: what you need to know in 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As solar batteries become more and more popular, individual utilities are beginning to offer rebate and incentive programs to make the economics of adding storage to your solar panel system more favorable. Given that solar batteries are a new product, utilities have begun experimenting with new program designs specific to solar batteries. One of the newest, increasingly common program types is a bring your own battery, or bring your own device, program.

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renewable energy sources

Renewable energy examples: five alternatives to fossil fuels

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Technologies like solar and wind power are becoming more common across the globe, and are both examples of renewable energy sources. There are several ways to generate power from renewable sources. These alternatives to fossil fuels will become an even more important part of our power generation mix in the years to come.

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