Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bryan Cranston on SNL

The great actor Bryan Cranston, one of my solar customers, is hosting Saturday Night Live tonight! I know him to be an absolutely hilarious individual in person, not to mention his many great years on Malcolm In The Middle. Now, with several Emmy wins as best DRAMATIC actor in Breaking Bad, the chemistry and material to make this Saturday Night Live one of the best ever is in play. WATCH IT!!!

Solar Thermal vs. Solar Electric

There are a lot of new solar companies out there that ONLY do solar electricity (because it is relatively easy) that simply do not understand energy efficiency. I have a potential customer with 2 electric water heaters who has received many quotes on solar electricity. Not one of those companies told him he should install a solar water heating system to shrink his electric need because that would be MUCH more cost-effective than installing a bigger solar electric system.

The fact is that solar thermal (or solar hot water) is 4 times as efficient as solar electricity at producing energy savings per square foot of sunlight. Price wise, solar hot water is about half the cost per unit of energy. And with today's thermal rebates and tax credits, it is a no-brainer all thermal needs such as hot water should be done with thermal solar, period. Only things that can only be done electrically should be left for the PV system.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Embedded energy of solar electric modules

A client of mine had heard that it took as much energy to make a solar electric system as that system would produce in its life. I am happy to report that after considerable research of the available published studies on this question, solar modules have an "energy payback" of only 2 to 6 years. Since they last over 30 years, this means a minimum of 5 times the energy consumption in production...and up to 15 times perhaps.

It should also be noted that the alternative, consuming fossil fuels, has an infinite payback, and a negative result of increasing pollution and global warming (not to mention the occasional environmental disaster such as the Gulf mess).