User login

A Community of Green Bloggers & Activists

Power Storage

How to Sell Your Excess Renewable Power Back to the Power Company

Thanks to developments in the energy industry, it has become possible for households to generate their own energy from renewable sources. Such methods most commonly include using solar powered panels, but can also include the use of a wind turbine in exceptional cases. If your household does not use all of the energy you produce from your renewable source, you can sell the excess back to the energy company that supplies you. In order to do this, you must have certain terms in place with them. These terms will vary according to the company you have a retail energy agreement with, as well as the area of Texas you live in. 

Selling Distributed Renewable Generation (DRG) Energy 

DRG has risen in popularity across Texas in recent years. DRG is natural resource reliant energy; this means it appeals to those who love to be sustainable, as well as those attracted by saving money in the long-term. The amount of energy you will use will depend on your household activities, and you may find that there are some months when you produce more than you use. ... read more

Solar Panel Cost and Finance Options

In theory, going solar is a no-brainer. The amount of gas saved and emissions reduced annually is tremendous. And the long term financial savings are also clear. However, the initial Solar cost can be more than most homeowners are able to afford (the average out-of-pocket cost after government rebates is about $15k). Paying for solar panels seems out of reach... But it's not! There are many options that include solar loans with low interest rates and solar leases with no money down.

In the past decade, local and national government policies have driven private companies and public policy to make solar panels more affordable for Average Joe. Enter: Solar Loans. Power Purchase Agreements, and Solar Leases.

Solar panel leases are offered through private companies such as Sungevity and Solar City. They allow homeowners to borrow solar systems. The homeowner is often not required to put any money down and then pays a set amount of money per month. This monthly rate is almost always equivalent to the current energy bill, so the homeowner does not see an increase in monthly cost-of-living expenses.... read more

California Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Credits

In 2007 the state of California enacted the California Solar Initiative (CSI; http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/) to create 3,000 megawatts of new solar power in the state by the end of 2017. Four years into the program information on the web is still pretty confusing. The General Market Program is the program that most people will apply for unless you are a low-income homeowner or solarizing a multifamily home. Here is what to know:... read more

How to Choose a Solar Installer

So you've decided to take the plunge and install solar panels on your home or business – congratulations!! The next step is choosing a professional installer to do the work.... read more

  1. Go with a professional electrician: It's not necessary to hire a contractor who is a licensed electrician, but often you will be required to hire someone who is licensed to do the final hook up. Save yourself the extra step by doing the whole project with the same person.
  2. Look for someone who has a North American Board of Certified Electrical Professionals (NABCEP) solar installation certificate. This means they have standardized special training in solar PV installation.
  3. Inquire as to how the professional was trained in solar installation. Many electricians are self-taught in solar because the field is so new. Others may have received formal training from the company that manufactures the solar panels they use. A handful will have formal education from a technical college or university.

More CleanTech/GreenTech events in Silicon Valley, CA - Early 2010

What are the areas for opportunity in Clean Tech in 2010?


To learn of the challenges the industry faces and enhance learnings, here are a few more events in Silicon Valley: Image from Silicon French websiteImage from Silicon French website... read more

The benefits of hybrid commuter vehicles: electric bikes and tricycles

Electric bikes and tricycles have become environmentally responsible hybrid commuter vehicles with excellent mileage and very low operating costs - 3 miles per penny!


Both ebikes and tricycles might transform urban mobility, as more and more people take to them. As a replacement for short car rides, they emit minimal carbon dioxide, compared to a car ride, and help residents reduce their total carbon footprint. Image from Schwinn.com


In addition to environmental benefits, ebike lovers indicate 5 more reasons to prefer electric bike or trike:


(Click here to read about electric bicycles environmental benefits)


1) Health benefits – Electric bikes enable people with temporary or long-term physical limitations to enjoy biking. Many ebike models offer simultaneous motor and pedal use for some degree of physical activity.2) Convenience – It’s always there for you and enables easy riding around town, running errands, and even shopping (it can fit a small load of grocery bags). Parking is never an issue. Some models fit child-seats or a trailer. For longer trips, most models are light and easily fit into an average car trunk.3) Money consideration - Cheaper than a car and you don’t need to pay for car insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs, even parking tickets. There are also considerations of rising gasoline prices.... read more

CleanTech Open Gala and Awards

CleanTech Open Gala and AwardsCleanTech Open Gala and AwardsIf you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and interested specifically in new green technology, then I suggest you check out the Cleantech Open Awards Gala coming up at the Masonic in San Francisco on Nov 17.   I'll be there and I am really excited to see first hand how the entrepreneurial spirit is one of the strongest weapons in protecting our environment and freeing us from our dependence on fossil fuels.&nbsp... read more

Smart-Grid solutions and sustainable software

A Smart-Grid is defined as an interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers. It can be referred to at a city level, county, state, or national level, or even throughout a continent. The grid supports electricity generation, electric power transmission and distribution.


Other terms for Smart-Grid are smart electric grid, power grid, intelligent grid, FutureGrid, microgrid, intergrid and intragrid.Original photo from FreeFoto.comOriginal photo from FreeFoto.com


Smart grids use digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency. Software is a critical component to successful Smart-Grid operations. Software standards, security and Open Source/Open Access methodologies have been gaining traction as the solution to Smart-Grid software applications: they are sustainable, cost effective and collaborative.


The Open Source initiative and Free Software methodology are two movements that focus on everyone’s right to use software.


products freely without paying the high costs required by the software companies. They also focus on the principle that the software source code must be available to everyone to modify, enhance, distribute or port to new environments.


Open Source is an architecturally driven approach that is not linked to a particular software company and can be applied at the strategic and enterprise levels as well as in tactical projects.


Using open source software enables the concept of FISDev, a Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development, which helps organizations move towards a software development approach focused on Sustainable Development.


Read more about Green software and sustainable software design.... read more

Clean energy challenges: the power grid and renewable energy infrastructure

The electrical power grid is an interconnected network of national, state and regional infrastructure for generating, transmitting, distributing and delivering electricity from suppliers to customers.Photo from  www.bible-light.comPhoto from www.bible-light.com

In recent years, we have all become familiar with power outages, which questions the reliability of the existing electricity grid. Blackouts are experienced in different regions, affecting residents, businesses, and daily life. Due to the storm on Tuesday, October 14, 2009, with heavy winds and rain, more than 35,000 customers were without power in the Bay Area.... read more

Syndicate content