5 Powerful Reasons To Invest Into Solar Panels and Save Money!

Save Money With Solar Panels

So 2008 is winding down and many things have happened this year. Recently the particle accelerator (Large Hadron Collider) was fired up and Barack Obama made young people everywhere have faith in politics.

But the real theme of 2008 has been gas prices. Many people everywhere are still wondering whether gas prices are going to get any cheaper. The reality is that, it will never get cheaper. That's right - never. Not only will gas never get cheaper, but everything we pay for that relies on petrochemicals for production - that is - everything you use - from your chair, computer, desk, plastics, vehicles - will never get cheaper.

Just think about that for a moment - everything that you rely on takes a source of energy that is quickly depleting. It takes many different refined sources of oil (petrochemicals) to manufacture pretty much all the goods and technology we enjoy in abundance. Some argue we have 20 years left, some argue we have 50 - the bottom line is there is a time line within most of our lifetimes.

Let's take a look at your home or apartment for a moment.

Depending on your location, your home is tied into a vast energy grid that is powered by things such as Hydroelectric dams to coal power plants. All of these take petrochemicals to maintain and construct as well.

My main point here is that, as a globe we need to begin changing our energy infrastructure while we have the oil to do it. Don't sweat though, the power is actually in your hands. So while we have this black gold available, we're still able to manufacture such things as solar panels to empower people to get off the grid.

Solar panels are pretty new, but have been around in theory for many many years. If you're a home owner, or even live in a small apartment - a solar panel can help you save money in the long run. But why should you invest besides reasons such as a lack of oil resources?

Here's 5 reasons why you should:

Reason #1 - Durability & Longevity

On average, a solar panel can last up to 30 years or more. With just a few arrays set up, you can be powering your home with your own renewable energy. Not only that, but solar panels are designed to withstand harsh climates. One common misconception is that you need the sun shining to convert to electricity. Solar panels can still convert from solar energy to electrical or thermal power even on a cloudy day (although not at the same capacity).

Reason #2 - Unlimited Power!

While everyone else is crying and whining about gas prices and high energy costs - you will have an unlimited supply of solar power. Unless the sun blows up and destroys our entire solar system - you won't really need to worry about never having power.

Reason #3 - Tax Incentives

Once you invest into solar, you are eligible for Federal, State, Provincial And Utility Tax incentives and rebates. These aren't the '$30 off' from your coffee maker rebates - they add up big time! For example, in Australia, if you spend $16,000 on a solar set up, they will rebate you up to $8000 back. This doesn't include other rebates you can get either. You'll need to check your own country's government policies - but, in the next 5-10 years - all countries will be jumping on the solar bandwagon.

Reason #4 - Not Just A 'One Time' Set Up + Easy Installation

With solar, you don't need to invest into a bunch of costly arrays right away. You're able to set up one panel at a time, and add additional panels whenever you feel the time is right. Furthermore, installing a solar panel is actually quite a lot easier than people think. You can do it yourself, or have an installer come and have it set up for you the same day.

Reason #5 - Add A 'Capacitor' And You Are Laughing + No More 'Blackouts'

A capacitor is a device that lets you store unused energy. So if you're over producing solar energy - usually two things happen. You can either give that energy back into the system grid (that is, pooling your energy into the grid for other people in your community to use) or you can store it in a capacitor. If you were ever to run out of energy, or you are seeing 'under production' - a capacitor lets you have energy that you stored previously. This means you will always have a back up of energy in a time of crisis.

What this also means (and having solar in general) is that when the system grid goes over its maximum energy potential (that is, too much energy is being used in the city which causes a blackout) - you will still be powered up! Your neighbors will be looking in jealousy at the one shiny house in the block.

So there you have it. If you're still not convinced - check out http://solar.envirohub.net for more information.

Top 5 countries to invest in renewable energy

According to the Ernst & Young 'Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index', the 5 most attractive countries for investment are

  1. Spain
  2. USA
  3. Germany
  4. UK
  5. India

in that order. The index provides an overall score for renewable technologies that are currently entering the market on a large scale, i.e. wind, solar and biomass. Wind as the most important renewable from a business perspective today, is weighted 85%, solar and biomass respectively 5% and 10%.

For each technology, an index is constructed based on a mixture of infrastructure and technology factors:

  • Infrastructure (35%): Market risk, Planning & grid connection issues, Access to finance
  • Technology (65%): Power offtake attractiveness, Tax climate, Grant/soft loan availability, Market growth potential, Current installed base, Resource quality, Project size

Financial aspects, i.e. access to finance, power offtake attractiveness, tax climate and grants/soft loans, often regarded as the critical factor of success for renewable energy sources, are weighted together 35.5%. They're a very necessary, but far from sufficient condition for development.

Top 5 renewable energy technology in UK

Renewable energy may make up only a small proportion of the UK’s overall electricity supply, but it is growing. According to the government’s own figures, renewable energy made up 4.55 per cent of all electricity generated in the UK in 2006, which is 0.32 per cent higher than in 2005, and nearly a whole percentage point ahead of the 2004 figure.

That 4.55 per cent makes up 18,133 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity generated, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to 2005. It may sound like a lot, but greater London alone consumed around 41,436GWh of electricity in 2005. And the big guns are still coal (which produces 33 per cent of the UK’s electricity), nuclear (20 per cent) and gas (a whopping 40 per cent).

Renewable energy is measured in megawatt-electrical (MWe), the amount of electrical power a plant has the capacity to produce. For renewables, of course, power capacity doesn’t always equate to how much power is actually produced — wind turbines, for example, only produce power when there is wind. Nevertheless, the UK’s current renewables capacity is 5,659MWe. The UK’s entire electricity power capacity — including coal, gas and nuclear power stations — is 83,045MWe.

The UK still lags well behind other countries in renewable energy generation. In Spain over a weekend in March, according to the AEE (Spanish Wind Energy Association), wind power accounted for an average of 28 per cent of Spain’s entire power demand. But renewables are growing and will continue to do so, as necessity dictates. To shed some light on the use of renewable technologies for electricity production, we’ve looked at the UK’s top five renewables — in no particular order — in terms of total installed capacity and future potential.

Photovoltaic solar panels
The final major renewable energy technology in the UK is photovoltaics solar panels (PV), which currently contribute 12MWe of the UK total electricity capacity. Many installations are on schools and office buildings, but some are being offered directly to consumers by house builders, as with the in Reading. Photovoltaics are growing rapidly, with 2.4MWe of this capacity having become operational since January 2007. Much of that growth was driven by a government funding programme that is now complete, which offered grants for small, medium and large-scale implementations. Whether this growth will continue is a moot point as the government’s successor programme has been criticised by Friends of the Earth for failing to offer consumers enough funding.

Wind power has massive potential in the UK with offshore wind farms alone apparently able to meet all of the UK’s current electricity needs, according to the government’s figures. Onshore facilities, however, are easier to build and 327 wind farms currently make up 1,842MWe of the UK’s electrical power capacity, according to statistics from the RESTATS database. Wind turbines are more difficult and expensive to install at sea and such make up a more modest 394MWe, but offshore wind farms have fewer planning issues and 90MWe of new capacity has become operational since January 2007. There are currently seven operational offshore wind farms in the UK with a further five under construction.

These plants can be divided into large (producing over 5MWe) and small (below 5MWe) hydroelectric plants. Most of the large plants are concentrated in Scotland and Wales and draw their water from high-level reservoirs with their own natural catchment areas, and make up 1,369MWe of energy capacity. Opportunities to grow large hydro capacity are very limited as most of the potential sites are already in use. Smaller-scale plants are growing in popularity and are typically used for domestic or small business purposes and make up 156MWe.

There are many different kinds of biofuels in use for electricity generation, such as the oats-powered plant used by Quaker Oats. Landfill gas is one of the fastest-growing areas — it is the methane-rich biogas formed by the decomposition of organic matter in landfill and can be used to fuel electricity turbines or directly in boilers. RESTAT estimates that this makes up some 875MWe of electricity capacity. Another growing area is sewage sludge digestion, which uses the gas produced to maintain the temperature necessary for the process. This makes up 122MWe with the excess energy being sold off onto the grid. The final growth area is municipal solid waste, which is produced in incinerators and makes up 327MWe of energy capacity. At the end of 2006, there were 24 such plants in operation burning municipal solid waste (MSW), refuse derived fuel (RDF) and general industrial waste (GIW). Other biomass generation projects include Lockerbie’s plant powered mainly by forestry waste, and a straw-fired power station near Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Wave and tidal stream
Being an island at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean makes the UK well-suited for wave and tidal power, but the difficulty in harnessing this means that it so far contributes just 0.5MWe of total energy capacity. The Limpet oscillating water column is the only wave device in the UK. It is located off the isle of Islay in Scotland and is operated by Wavegen. Tidal energy is estimated to have the potential to produce up to 22,000GWh per year, but current deployments are still only prototypes. The government has launched a couple of schemes to encourage wave and tidal plants, but these are not expected to amount to more than around 25MWe of capacity in total, the majority of which will come on stream after 2010.

Original Source: The Smart Planet

Poor nations rich in renewable energy potential

Developing nations have the potential to generate large amounts of energy from renewable sources, according to a US$10 million assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP hopes to attract support to enable developing countries to transform the assessment's findings into effective energy policies.

The initial results of the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA), which looked at 13 developing countries, were announced last week (14 April).

They show how developing countries could harness thousands of megawatts of electricity from solar and wind energy.

"In developing countries all over the world we have removed some of the uncertainty about the size and intensity of the solar and wind resource," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of UNEP last week.

"These countries need greatly expanded energy services to help in the fight against poverty and to power sustainable development. SWERA offers them the technical and policy assistance to capture the potential that renewable energy can offer."

The SWERA project used satellites and ground-based instruments to assess the potential for wind and solar-powered renewable energy.

Its findings have generated a range of tools to promote the implementation of policies that promote use of renewable energy sources. These tools include maps of wind and solar resources.

The researchers created the 'geospatial toolkit' to overlay wind and solar maps with electricity distribution grids.

Already, the project has influenced policy in several countries, including Nicaragua and Guatemala.

In Nicaragua, the SWERA assessment showed that there was much more potential for wind energy production than was previously thought.

As a result, the Nicaraguan National Assembly passed a decree in 2004 giving wind energy priority over other forms of energy when feeding into the electricity grid.

In Guatemala, estimates that renewable energies could yield 7,000 megawatts of electricity prompted the Ministry of Energy to create the Centre for Renewable Energy and Investment. The centre will identify sites for wind energy development.

According to previous UNEP estimates, the African continent needs 40,000 megawatts of electricity to power its industrialisation. An initial SWERA assessment in Ghana suggests that the nation has the potential to generate more than 2,000 megawatts from wind energy.

It takes about 1,000 megawatts to power a US city the size of Seattle, whose population is 560,000.

Tom Hamlin, project manager for SWERA, said last week that the project will be seeking support to meet requests from renewable energy development programmes in other developing countries.

The 13 developing nations involved in SWERA are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka.

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Top Ten Cost-effective Renewable Energy Systems

  1. A solar thermal system to heat your hot water pays for itself in two to three years depending on your location.
  2. A solar water heating system for your pool or hot tub also pays for itself in two to three years.
  3. Solar photovoltaics to power your home or business, using government incentives, will reduce your monthly electricity costs significantly, in some areas. In some countries, such as Japan, solar is a viable alternative to fossil fuels. In North America, fossil fuels will continue to rise in cost and solar will continue to decline.

  4. A portable solar system for an RV will cost less than a thousand dollars and provide you with power for many years.

  5. Solar panels for remote electricity (electric fence, lights, monitoring station, etc.) are much cheaper than hooking up to the grid.
 6. A solar photovoltaic system for your cottage or remote location can cost much less than connection to the grid.
  7. A geothermal system will pay for itself in five years or less and provide you with heat energy for the lifetime of your home or business.
  8. A backup power system to cover your essential electricity needs, when a power outage strikes.
  9. A wind energy system to power your farm, home or cottage could make your farm energy self-sufficient, in some geographical areas.
  10. A micro hydro power station can provide you with limitless energy, if you have running water on your property.

Top Ten Important Solar Energy Power Tips

1. Whatever solar power system or product you plan to utilize, always ensure that the solar panel faces in the direction of the sun. In the Northern hemisphere the panel must face south and at an angle to the horizontal equal to your latitude plus 15ยบ.

2. Before meeting a consultant regarding the installation of a solar power system, always have on hand a list of all your electrical appliances together with their wattage and the hours of use. Any dealer worth his salt will need to know this information.

3. Before committing to a specific power system always check to find out exactly what the local, state and federal incentives are in your town. All this information can be found at the DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy) database at http://www.dsireusa.org/

4. Always have a local licensed installer put in your system (but make sure he has experience with Grid connected systems) - they know all the local regulations and will be able to give you valuable information regarding these rules.

5. Keep solar panels clean - even if it means getting up onto your roof once a month. A thin layer of dust or dirt on the glass cover will effectively block off some solar power and the system will operate below its maximum efficiency.

6. When calculating the number of panels you need, do so using winter sunshine hours rather than summer hours - there are roughly twice as many hours sunshine in summer and the wrong calculation could leave you needing to use backup power in winter more often than you would like.

7. In any solar system keep your panels as close as you can to the batteries to avoid losing power in the cable. Always make sure that your panels are not shaded.

8. When planning a solar heating system, always consider the use of solar shades or smart glass to augment your system - their use can save you a lot of energy that might otherwise escape from the house.

9. Many states organize tours of homes that are fully converted to solar. Try to get yourself on one of these tours so that you can see a solar home in its working state.

10.Before installing a solar system try to make your home as energy efficient as possible - install double glazing, add new insulation where possible, replace incandescent light globes with fluorescent etc. By reducing your needs you can reduce the size and cost of the system you're installing. 

Benefits of Going Solar

Why have over 1.5 million Americans invested in solar? Surveys taken over the last ten years confirm that the vast majority of owners (94% or more) consider that investment a wise decision. Consumer investment and satisfaction have spawned a small but growing solar hot water (SHW) industry here in the U. S. that is providing even broader benefits to our nation and has the potential to contribute much more.

Clean and Safe Solar hot water systems in use today produce approximately 1000 megawatts of energy annually. That is the equivalent of two medium-sized coal plants. The life-cycle costs of SHW systems are about the same as gas and far better than electric water heating systems.

Solar energy is pollution-free, an important benefit when the cost of removing pollutants from the environment is considered. For example, a typical SWH system will, over its lifetime, displace 10.5tons of CO2 if replacing a natural gas system, or 71.5 tons if replacing an electric system.

Readily Available Resource The U. S. Department of Energy estimates that Americans consume approximately 2.5 quads of end-use energy annually to produce hot water at a cost of over $20 billion dollars. Solar energy currently provides only a tiny fraction of that demand, but huge portions of our country possess sufficient insolation to produce much greater quantities of energy.

Enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each yearto produce approximately 1000 times the same amount of energy produced by burning all fossil fuels mined and extracted during the same period. Sunlight does not have to be explored, mined, extracted, transported, combusted, transmitted — or imported.

Quality, Reliability, Durability

Solar water heating technology, pioneered in the U. S., is the oldest and most developed of all renewable energy systems. Modern solar water heating systems can provide a large portion (40 - 80%) of household hot water demand depending on local climate conditions and the size and type of system. Most systems pay for themselves in four to sevenyears and continue to provide hot water for many years thereafter.

Much of the United States receives abundant sunshine, making solar hot watersystems a very economical investment. This map shows the average daily solar radiation available on a south-facing surface measured in megajoules per square meter each day.

Solar pool heating often provides an even better investment. Payback can be as low as two years and the solar system can extend the swimming season by several weeks without additional cost. Many homeowners have regretted the purchase of a conventional pool heating system after receiving their first utility bill.

Another cost-efficient application for solar energy is preheating ventilation air for commercial and industrial facilities.

The vast majority of U. S. manufacturers of solar equip ment voluntarily comply with national consensus standards devel oped by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC). The SRCC tests and certifies collectors as well as complete systems for performance, reliability and durability. In addition, manufacturers and installers comply with the SRCC’s strict requirements for proper installation, labeling and homeowner information regarding operation and maintenance. Assurances of performance and quality are backed by warranties that in many cases exceed the guarantees of other household appliances.

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China Plans for 30% Renewable Energy by 2050

In the June 2007 issue of the China Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Report from Lou Schwartz, recent developments in renewable energies in China offer insight into that country's burgeoning challenges between population, energy and the environment.

"Between 2005 and 2030, China will account for 23% of the world's investment in power, spending $1.2 trillion U.S.D. in that period."

-- China Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Report, June 2007

The report cites that the "Persistent rural poverty in China and periodic power shortages all have impressed upon Beijing that renewable energy must be a large part of China's economy if China is to both complete its economic transformation and achieve energy security."

"Between 2005 and 2030, China will account for 23% of the world's investment in power, spending $1.2 trillion U.S.D. in that period," Schwartz notes. "China's ambitious growth target for renewable energy production will require an investment of approximately 800 billion Yuan (~$100 billion U.S.D.) by 2020. In the long term China has set an objective of having 30% or more of its total energy requirements satisfied by renewable sources by 2050."

Current business opportunities, foreign participation, relevant conferences, and production and consumption are also discussed in this month's China Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Report.

The in-depth report examines developments across China's renewable energy industry, as seen in these excerpts:

- Solar: "The Chinese government has recently announced that large new buildings will all utilize photovoltaic power generating technology."

- Wind: "Researchers at the Jiangsu Province Macroeconomic Research Institute have advocated that large-scale wind power should be directly used to provide electric power to industries, which are large consumers of power."

- Hydropower: "In 2007 there will be another 500 MW of small to medium sized hydroelectric power generating capacity constructed in Guangxi Province."

- Biomass, Biofuels: "China hasn't yet standardized its macro-economic policies with respect to the bio-diesel industry, but it is now formulating and will soon..."

- Laws and Policies: "These sets of issues include the fact that there are more than 10 million Chinese who do not have access to electric power and the often-spotty access to power among tens of millions of other rural Chinese."

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Renewable energy alone can save India

Dr Prodipto Ghosh, former secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, currently a special energy adviser with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), believes the future lies in developing renewable forms of energy.

Dr Ghosh, who played a key role in penning the recently released PMO report on climate change, believes: "Renewable forms of energy, including solar, wind and tidal, must be mainstreamed in order that they can substantially displace oil, gas and coal. Many renewable forms are already being used in niche applications such as street signalling, remote area power supply and village homes."

This turnaround can be best illustrated by the example of wind power. Thirty-five years ago, when the world began to look at wind power, it needed a great deal of government support. In the late 90s, when the global capacity of wind energy was increased to 65,000 megawatts, it became competitive with coal.

Since India receives a great deal of sunshine, the key question is how to make solar energy commercially viable, especially since only one per cent of India’s landmass would be required by solar PVs to meet our electricity needs. Dr Ghosh agrees but states, "A great deal of R&D is required to bring solar energy costs down. A strong government commitment to R&D, matched by an increasing scale of technology, will help kickstart this change."

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Dell Headquarters Uses 100% Renewable Energy

As of April 2, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell is powering 100 percent of its 2.1 million square-foot global headquarters campus with 100 percent green power.

"It's time for our industry to take a lead role in creating a clean energy future," said Paul Bell, president, Dell Americas. "We are challenging every technology company to work with their suppliers and partners in integrating green power and energy-efficient strategies into their operations."

Dell is using all of the power generated from Waste Management's Austin Community Landfill gas-to-energy plant, meeting 40 percent of Dell headquarters’ campus power needs. The remaining 60 percent comes from existing wind farms and is provided by TXU Energy.

The computer company also announced it is increasing green power use for its Austin Parmer Campus, provided by Austin Energy, from 8 percent to 17 percent. Dell also is powering its Twin Falls, Idaho, facility with 100 percent green power, 97 percent of which is wind power and 3 percent solar.

In September 2007, Dell announced it would make company owned and leased facilities "carbon neutral" in 2008 through a strategy of improving energy-efficiency in its operations and maximizing the purchase of renewable power. This commitment is part of the company's climate strategy which also seeks to minimize carbon impact of supplier operations and customer product use.

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Top 10 US Cities for Renewable Energy

Top Ten US City Use of Renewable Energy

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1.Oakland, CA(17%)
2.Sacramento/SF/San Jose, CA (12%)*
3.Portland, OR(10%)
5.San Diego, CA(8%)
6.Austin, TX(6%)
7.Los Angeles, CA(5%)
8.Minneapolis, MN(4.5%)
9.Seattle, WA(3.5%)
10. Chicago, IL(2.5%)

Which of the largest 50 US cities provide citizens with the highest percentage of power produced from renewable energy? SustainLane Government (www.sustainlane.us) determined the percentage of each city’s electricity that comes from renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal, and small-scale hydro energy.

Renewable energy sources produce electricity with no global climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions or regional air pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Renewable energy technologies also produce regional jobs while limiting the importation of energy from other nations.

Just over 33 percent of greenhouse gases produced in the United States came from electricity production in 2004, making it the leading category of such emissions over other areas such as transportation (27.9 percent), industry (19.6 percent) and agriculture (7 percent).

The leading cities in renewable energy could have an advantage in any upcoming federal or state regulations aimed at regulating or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions or developing renewable energy standards. If the greenhouse gases that cause climate change get priced, cities with strong renewable energy programs could save a lot of money in the long run and their economies could gain a tax advantage.

Oakland, California led the nation with 17 percent of its electricity being produced by energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. Oakland gets some of its wind energy power from one of the largest wind power generating facilities in the nation at nearby Altamont Pass.

San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose tied for second with 12 percent of their electricity coming from renewable energy sources.

California cities rank high in general because of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which set minimal requirements in 2002 for utility purchases of renewable energy for the state’s electric grid. That standard requires a 20 percent renewable energy total for the state’s utilities by 2020.

Some U.S. cities have also set goals for increasing renewable energy ranging from Chicago’s 20 percent goal by 2010, to Portland, Oregon’s goal of obtaining 100 percent renewable energy by 2010.

Renewable energy made from waste

A company in Swindon has developed technology which it claims turns household rubbish into clean renewable energy.

Gas plasma plant

A company in Wiltshire has claimed it is one of the first in the UK to turn household rubbish into clean renewable energy using "gas plasma technology".

Advanced Plasma Power (APP) said its small-scale plant in Swindon sends less than 1% of waste back to landfill.

The process uses a beam of electrified gas at temperatures approaching 10,000C to destroy waste turning it into a flammable gas generating electricity.

It hopes to create jobs around the new technology developed in Swindon.

'Electricity generated'

Andrew Hamilton, of APP, said: "We see great potential to develop and exploit the technology for the benefit of not only us but we hope it will create substantial jobs in the area."

Dr Tim Johnson, of APP, said: "The reality is, that if waste is not turned into a fuel like this then it would have to go to landfill, so we're diverting material from landfill to make fuel."

The process is called "plasma gasification" - all recyclable materials such as glass and metals are removed and the remaining waste is then transformed into a hydrogen-rich gas. When the gas is then burned in the reactor electricity is generated.

APP claims that a full-scale plant could process 50,000 tonnes of waste annually.

Storage Boosts the Power of Renewable Energy

how to integrate large amounts of renewable energy into the grid was the topic at the recently held Electricity Storage Association's Annual Meeting in California. At the meeting, leading companies, manufacturers, utilities and policy developers gathered under the motto "Electricity Storage: Predictable Power in a Cleantech World."

During the conference experts showed how energy storage can play a variety of roles in firming up renewables at different time scales, i.e. from moment to moment, daily, weekly and seasonally. The presentations showed how storage options are essential for expanding renewable energy sources, stabilizing the grid, ensuring a continuity of supply, increasing energy autonomy and mediating against intermittent power production.

As storage technology advances, decision makers are starting to create a more favorable policy environment for innovators. For example, the U.S. Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007 recognizes the crucial roles that storage can play.

"This bill is the first official recognition of the importance of energy storage by Congress," said Imre Gyuk, Manager of Energy Storage Systems Research with the Department of Energy. "It is only an authorization bill and thus carries no appropriated funding, but it is a wonderful platform for future requests for storage research, demonstrations and development."

The act establishes an Advisory Committee (the Energy Storage Advisory Council), and authorizes funds for a basic and an applied research program of US $50 million and $80 million, respectively, for each fiscal year from 2009 to 2014. It also provides US $100 million each year for up to four energy storage research centers; US $30 million a year for energy storage demonstration projects and vehicle energy storage demonstration; and US $5 million a year for 10 years for secondary applications of electric drive vehicles.

Reaction to the act has been positive and the storage industry is beginning to take off.

"Grid-scale storage is here now," said Ed Cazalet of MegaWatt Storage Farms. "Storage should be deployed now at the gigawatt (GW) scale...where capacity, ancillary services and energy time-shifting are clearly needed."

Storage projects can be sourced close to loads, on the grid or at the generating facility. In his presentation, Cazalet emphasized that the demand-pull from large-scale commercial deployment will encourage manufacturing investment, lower costs through volume production (economies of scale) and lead to the commercialization of advanced technologies.

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Solar Energy Facts

Our sun is a huge energy generator that provides us with a tremendous quantity of power that mostly goes unused. Solar panels can convert the energy from the sun's rays directly into useable electrical energy. Although the actual method of converting solar radiation into electricity involves a complicated formula that requires an in depth knowledge of physics to understand, just knowing that the solar energy our planet receives can be changed into electricity should be sufficient knowledge to meet most of our needs.

Something that keeps a lot of people from deciding to take the plunge into solar energy is the mistaken idea that solar energy is in some manner a lower quality energy than electricity produced from fossil fuels. In actuality, solar energy's emissions free conversion to electricity makes it an even more beneficial energy source as far as the environment is concerned.

Do you know which country utilizes solar energy to the highest degree? Despite its Northern location far from the equator and its comparatively small population, Germany presently employs more solar energy than any other country. This should dispel any of the misconceptions about solar energy not being a credible energy solution in northern climates.


Global Warming Skeptics - Skeptics of global warming think that global warming is not an ecological trouble.

Global Warming Facts - 8 Facts about Global Warming

Causes of Global Warming - The Green house gases are the main culprits of the global warming. The green house gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are playing hazards in the present times.

Green House Gasses are the ingredients of the atmosphere that add to the greenhouse effect.

Al Gore Global Warming Initiative - Gore has written a book that archives his advice that Earth is dashing toward an immensely warmer future.

Global warming is caused by green house gases, which trap in the sun’s infrared rays in the earth’s atmosphere, which in turn heat up the earth’s atmosphere. These green house effect warming is called as global warming. The effects of green house effect are visible more prominently in the recent years, with number of natural calamities on the rise in the whole world.

The global warming has happened in the past few years and is evident from the rise in mean temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. The main causes for the global warming are attributed to release of green house gases by human activities. The main gases contributing to green house effect are carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and nitrous oxide. The largest producers of these gases are the thermal power plants, which burn the fossil fuels and produce these gases in large quantities. The second biggest sources of these green house gases are the road vehicles and industries.

The global warming has led to increase in mean earth surface temperature and thus melting of polar ice. There are frequent melt down of glaciers that result in floods and other natural calamities. The melting of ice at the poles had led the mean sea level. And further increase in temperature may further melt the ice and lead to further increase in mean sea level, which will engulf low lying countries.

The effect of global warming is very evident on the animal kingdom also. Some animals have become extinct due to loss of their natural habitat or their inability to evolve to the rapid changes in the climate. Also there is a change in their life style because of the changes in the seasons. The migrating birds have changed their time of travel and also their place of migration.

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Bill Gates Invests $84M on Corn Power

Bill Gates' investment firm, Cascade Investment, agreed last month to buy 5.25 million preferred shares in Pacific Ethanol, a producer of the corn-based fuel hailed by environmentalists as an answer to the earth's dwindling supply of petroleum. The financing, in which the preferred shares will be converted into common stock, is expected to close in January and will net the Fresno, California-based company $84 million. In an interview at Reuters' Times Square offices, Koehler said Gates' investment was a sign that ethanol can be a viable alternative to oil at a time of see-sawing gasoline prices and concerns about global warming and climate change. Gates' money will help Pacific Ethanol proceed with its plan to initially build five plants on the West Coast to process Midwestern corn into ethanol, he said.

For the full story, use the following link.

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