Posted on: March 23rd, 2012 by Nikki Fotheringham
DEGERenergy tracking units allow solar panels to track the sun’s trajectory across the sky and can improve the solar output of your system by 20-45%. The DEGERenergy system rotates the panels to maximize energy yields and efficiency. This improves your ROI and puts more Sun Money in your pocket. The OPA’s FIT and microFIT tariff programs pay a premium for solar power generated by individuals or businesses. Installing a solar panel system on your home, business, school or church will enable you to create energy you can be proud of and a make whole bundle of Sun Money to boot.
New Feed-in tariff rates
As the OPA readies itself to announce its new rates next week, solar installers are raring to go. Solar installations have ground to halt since the OPA announced its intention to change its rates in October of last year. The plethora of solar power installation companies that have sprung up since the FIT and microFIT programs were put into effect are under strain as their installations have been brought to a standstill. Now, with the program slated to bust into action this spring, home and business owners are looking at which option offer the best returns.
Best idea ever
One of this year’s hottest sellers is the DEGERenergy tracking unit. This amazingly clever device is installed on ground-mounted or roof-mounted panels to maximize your solar output. You can have one of these puppies in your back yard or on an unobstructed area of your business premises, school yard, church grounds, parking lot or sports field. The DEGERenergy tracking unit adjusts the panels throughout the day so that they are oriented in the position that ensures maximum solar energy yields. Two sensor cells in the DEGERenergy tracker monitor solar energy and adjust the panel orientation accordingly. A third sensor cell resets the panels every morning. Adverse weather? No problem as the DEGERenergy unit orients the panels to make the most of radiation in inclement weather.
Make more money, faster
DEGERenergy tracker systems offer several benefits over static solar panel arrays:
- Increases solar output by 20-45% which increases your feed-in tariff payments
- Comes with a standard five-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Maintenance free
- Improves ROI
- Flexible; suitable for all current modules and inverter types
- 99.9% recyclable
The patented DEGERenergy tracker system is especially designed to withstand strong winds and is storm-resistant in any position. Advanced German engineering is coupled with Canadian and US manufacturing expertise to create a truly remarkable product.
The DEGERenergy tracking unit does not add much to your solar panel installation bill, but it does reduce your payoff period. The increased efficiency that DEGERenergy trackers give your solar panel installation increases your feed-in tariff income and helps you get a return on your investment in no time at all.
Choose a certified contractor
Not all solar panel installation companies are created equally. Many small businesses have sprung up around the solar industry and you must practice caution when shopping for a solar panel installation company that has your best interests at heart. DEGERenergy tracking systems can only be installed by certified installers in order to validate the five-year warranty. Ask your dealer if they have certification and check that they have installed a DEGERenergy tracking system before.
Fly into any city and you will see a patchwork of rooftops that remain mostly unused. When you consider the fact that these sites receive more sunshine than the streets below, you realize that you are looking at the most ideal urban solar real estate money could buy. So why isn’t everyone rushing to install solar panels on their rooftops? Despite the dramatic drop in solar panel prices of late, the installation of solar PV systems remains beyond the means of many building owners. Now rooftop solar leasing offers you another option.
What is FIT and microFIT?
The FIT and microFIT programs are an initiative by the Ontario government to encourage home and business owners to install solar systems and sell their power to the grid. This means that building owners pay the same rates they always have, but sell their solar power to their local power company at a premium. To date, 2 500 medium to large FIT installations, and over 11 000 microFIT solar panel systems have been installed, supplying enough energy to the grid to power about 12 million homes. The microFIT and FIT programs will have created about 50 000 local jobs by the end of 2012.
A microFIT installation is a 10kWh solar system that is installed on your roof while FIT installations are bigger and can be free-standing. The power from the system is converted from DC power to AC power and then sent to the grid. The systems are safe and maintenance and installation of the system is handled by your solar panel installer.
Put Sun Money in your pocket
Whether you have a home, business or public institution, your roof may be in a prime spot for a solar installation. If you don’t have the capital or don’t wish to invest in a solar system yourself, you can rent your valuable roof space to a solar installation company. You can put ‘Sun Money’ in your pocket without lifting a finger or paying a cent.
Contact your local solar installation company if you are interested in leasing your roof. Solarline Power is a Toronto-based solar installation company. They are able to ascertain whether your home or business is suitable for a solar panel installation using satellite imaging.
How it works
If your roof is not shaded by other buildings and trees, is in good condition and is suitably oriented for a solar panel installation, the solar leasing company will start the process of applying to the Ontario government to receive a provisional license that will enable your solar panel installer to set up the system on your roof. Once a provisional acceptance notice has been received, the solar installer will set up the PV system on your roof. After inspections, the system will be hooked up to the local power supplier and your home or business will be supplying the grid with power.
The process of application is quite lengthy and complex, but if you are leasing your roof and have a good solar panel installer, they should take care of the paperwork for you. Once your system has been installed, you can begin to make Sun Money.
There are a number of contract options available to the prospective roof leaser. Contracts generally last for 20 years and add value to the property. The options available depend largely on your solar panel installer, but generally they include a monthly percentage of the income your roof generates, a large upfront once-off payment or a partnership where both you and the solar installer cover installation fees. Whatever you decide, making energy you can be proud of while adding significantly to your coffers with relatively little input on your behalf is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you would be remiss not to take advantage of.
Fossil fuel companies have got it good. Our reliance on the energy that these industries produce has led to an ” unholy alliance with government based not just on the money that they contribute to political campaigns and spend on lobbying but on their ability to hypnotize us with false prices,” according to Dylan Rattigan’s new expose aptly titled Greedy Bastards. For decades, the fossil fuel industry has enjoyed subsidies, tax breaks, military assistance in volatile areas and help cleaning up environmental disasters while bragging about keeping the cost of fuel down.
The true cost of fossil fuels is not just environmental, but fiscal too. The industry receives an annual bailout of $10 – $40 billion and, according to an Environmental Law Institute study, oil companies alone received $72 billion in handouts between 2002 and 2008. When disasters occur, the fossil fuel industry relies on government to help clean up the mess, utilizing tax payer’s money to do so.
The coal industry is also heavily subsidized. A 2009 report from the National Research Council investigated the massive toll that air pollution, resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, takes on public health. They estimated that over $120 billion is spent annually on diseases resulting from air pollution. A Harvard study on the health costs of coal was even more dire; “Between the land disturbance, the mountaintop removal, the processing … and the combustion, we estimate that this is costing the American public somewhere between a third to half a trillion dollars in health costs and deaths,” said Dr. Paul Epstein, lead researcher of the Harvard study. The study found the true cost of coal was about 26.86 cents more per kWh than we currently pay. The American Economics Review crunched the numbers and discovered that the electricity generated by coal actually cost more than it was worth.
If the true costs of fossil fuel energy were represented in the price, the move to renewables would be expedited. The problem is that no one wants to pay the true price of fossil fuels and they are reticent to make the investment that switching to renewables would entail. The solution? Fee and dividend schemes have been suggested by several leading thinkers in the industry. Under this model, the fossil fuel companies would be charged a small annual fee which would then be distributed to the public. NASA’s Dr. James Hansen is a proponent of the scheme: “The price of fossil fuel energy will rise, but with today’s fossil fuel uses, over 60 percent of the people will get more in their dividend than they pay in increased energy prices. People who have several houses or fly around the world all the time will have costs that increase more than their dividend. People will tend to make consumer and lifestyle choices that minimize their carbon emissions—this will happen naturally via the prices that they see.”
The Obama administration calls for the end to fossil fuel subsidies every year; a call that garners much bi-partisan support. However, election campaign handouts serve to secure the fossil fuel industry subsidies. Some European countries have thrown off the shackles of fossil fuel subsidies. Although gas costs two to three times what we pay for it, the rush to build more fuel efficient homes and vehicles means that soon they will have weaned themselves from their reliance on fossil fuel and will, ultimately, be paying less for their energy. Less money spent on energy, and also on healthcare and military support for the fossil fuel industries overseas will increase their savings exponentially.
Posted on: February 11th, 2012 by Nikki Fotheringham
Super Bowl Sunday, resplendent with fast food, beer, pyrotechnics and aging rock starts, is one of the sport’s calendars most extravagant events. In recent years, however, the Super Bowl has been making an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and Super Bowl XLVI was the greenest to date. The Super Bowl host committee worked hard to reduce emissions and green the surrounding communities in an effort to reduce its monumental environmental impact.
If this sounds like a tall order for an event that has to light up an enormous stadium with a rollback roof, provide food and drink and sports paraphernalia that fans can wave around before throwing in the bin, then you are right. To offset emissions from the enormous amount of electricity the stadium utilizes, 15 000 megawatt hours of renewable energy certificates were provided by Green Mountain Energy Company, a nearby wind farm and one of the nation’s oldest green energy providers. This is enough energy to power 25 million flat screen TVs for the duration of the game or allow 53.3 million households to microwave themselves a bowl of Queso cheese dip in preparation for the big game. The energy certificates will save 29 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.
Not only will green energy power everything in the stadium from the lights to the scoreboard, but carbon offset measures will be taken to mitigate the emissions created by flying and driving the teams and support staff out to the event. The Green Mountain Energy Company is doing its bit too by donating a solar array to a local household in the Near East Side Legacy Project which aims to uplift this central city neighbourhood. “Green Mountain Energy Company has helped us reduce the overall environmental impact of Super Bowl activities,” said NFL Environmental Program Director Jack Groh. “Together, we have been able to expand the way we address greenhouse gas emissions and leave a permanent benefit to the host community.”
Ongoing efforts will see the planting of 1, 700 trees in urban areas in and around Indianapolis. This will help to reduce air pollution in the cities. Pepsi Cola is providing specially designed recycling bins at the venue to help recycle as much of the waste generated by the event as possible. Food recovery company, Second Helpings, will work to recover tens of thousands of pounds of leftover food from Super Bowl venues. The food is then re-prepared and distributed to over 60 social service organizations that use it to feed the hungry.
Tom Szaky of Treehugger calls the move to green the Super Bowl a “pleasant surprise”. He goes on to say: “I am an eco-skeptic, but I couldn’t help thinking to myself that this is something the NFL probably isn’t doing to gain new viewers. I suspect they’re doing it out of a larger sense of corporate responsibility.” Szaky also mentions the upcoming elections and the environmental impact these ‘ Super Bowl ‘ events have, making a call for all who have large events to follow the exemplary lead that Super Bowl XVLI has set.
The US military improves its carbon footprint
The military is America’s largest consumer of fuel, spending over $15 billion last year alone. It has an enormous carbon footprint and its reliance on fossil fuels encumbers progress and renders it vulnerable to attack. All that is about to change as the military adopts new energy policies that will save lives, money and the environment too.
Recent congressional directives and presidential orders are forcing the military to clean up their act. In an effort to reduce costs and improve safety, the Pentagon has ordered the military to develop weapons which are more environmentally friendly, utilize renewable energy sources, and encourage more energy-efficient behaviour from their troops.
One of the greatest motivations for the move is the growing cost of fossil fuels. In WW2, each soldier required only 1 gallon of fuel per day to function efficiently. Modern military operations utilize a staggering 22 gallons per soldier per day. The cost of providing this fuel is overwhelming. Supplying fuel for the 300,000 service men and women in Iraq in 2007 required 1,000 trucks a day and 35, 400 troops who often took weeks to drive fuel to distant outposts. The cost of each gallon could spiral to hundreds of dollars (over $400 dollars in some cases) as it had to be trucked or flown to remote areas over rugged terrain. One in eight casualties was sustained in the transport or protection of fuel convoys.
A leaner, greener military will see a reduction in costs and the carbon footprint of operations. If troops in the field are able to rely on renewable energy sources like solar, they will be more mobile and efficient.
Small portable solar arrays, which can be rolled up and easily transported, provide troops in the field with a power source for their electronic equipment. Larger solar panels are used to supply power to bases for air conditioning, lighting and electronic equipment.
The major source of consumption is vehicular and the military have been experimenting for some time with biofuels. The Navy is developing “the great green fleet” which comprises an aircraft carrier and F-18 fighter jets and helicopters that run on bio-fuels. The fleet will be deployed by 2016. By 2020, the military hopes that at least 50% of its energy will come from renewable sources.
Bases also consume massive amounts of energy, especially in areas of inclement weather. Although new buildings are already expected to attain LEED certification, the military hopes that all bases will be net zero by 2020. The military uses a two-prong approach to achieve these lofty energy efficiency targets; a reliance on the strength and insulating powers of ICFs coupled with renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and wind energy to power operations.
General Martin E. Dempsey puts it like this: “Saving energy saves lives… Whatever and whenever our forces go into harm’s way, they must have the best tools available. Improving our energy security can help us do that, and we don’t have time to waste”