With a number of similar terms in the world of renewables, many are wondering what is clean energy and what are the sources associated with it? Understanding the line between dirty energy and clean energy can be more complicated than one might think and our research shows that one of the roadblocks that discourages people from purchasing clean energy systems is the combination of too many options and too little information. To help clear the way forward for everyone, we’ve created the following simple, top-line primer to lay the foundation for learning more about clean energy options that are available to you.
Convincing environmentalists or eco activists to adopt clean energy is on par with selling ice water in the desert. It isn’t a hard sell. They put a high value on reducing greenhouse gases and an extremely large percentage are willing to do whatever it takes to install solar panels, wind power or geothermal systems at their homes or businesses. They’ll do it simply because they believe that it’s “the right thing to do.” In fact, most of them have already done it. But as we work to expand the pool of solar, wind and geothermal energy users, is “doing the right thing” the only acceptable motivation? Continue reading
Most of us are completely unaware of how the electricity we use is generated. We just put the plug in the outlet and forget about it. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where ignorance is definitely not bliss! Understanding where your power originates is crucial in an energy efficiency standpoint.
For anyone wondering where their energy comes from, the chart above displays the sources of our power usage nationwide and can offer insight about output sources. No surprise: the decisions that determine this mix are made by your utility company with their best interests in mind. Sources are chosen on the basis of factors such as cost, availability, and reliability of supply. That’s how coal came to fuel almost half of the U.S.’s electrical needs. It’s cheap, it’s plentiful and it’s relatively easy to mine. What didn’t factor into the utility’s decision were things like the environmental impact of their choices–costs not borne by them but by you, me, and the communities in which we live. Nonetheless, the recent ITC extension and Paris Agreement are two reasons pointing to an approaching overthrowal of fossil fuels by the renewable industry. Continue reading
There’s nothing as immutable as the basic laws of supply and demand. Right? Well, a recent CNN blog post is saying not so fast. With worldwide demand for oil low, CNN’s blogger asks, “so why is oil trading high at $113 a barrel, more than twice the price it was trading at five years ago when the global economy was booming? What in the world is going on?” Continue reading
There are a lot of things that motivate people to switch to clean energy systems. Energy independence doesn’t usually top the list, although it’s usually included in the mix. Lately, though, it looks like Energy Independence may start to mount a strong challenge to other motivators such as cost savings and environmental benefits for the top spot. Continue reading
This recent blog post “For Retirement Savings, Solar Power Is a Better Bet Than the Stock Market” from thedailygreen.com shows how one octogenarian couple is using renewable energy to stretch their savings and contain costs in retirement. While this post focuses on solar photovoltaics, any clean energy system—solar, wind, geothermal or biomass—can produce the same benefits. Continue reading
The personal economics of clean energy systems such as solar energy panels, wind and geothermal power are phenomenal. Property owners with installed clean energy systems are generating returns on investment anywhere from 6% to 30% over the 25-30 year life span of the systems. But what about the macro economics? Is there a good story to tell there? We’re happy to report that there is. The clean energy sector is responsible for significant job growth. Here are a few interesting findings from a recent Brookings study, Sizing the Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment. Continue reading
Deciding whether or not to install a solar, small wind, or geothermal system at your home or business doesn’t need to be a lonely pursuit. Consider this: If you’re looking for a hot new restaurant to try, where do you look? You could check the yellow pages or maybe look through local newspaper ads, but you probably won’t. A far more likely scenario is that you will ask your friends or neighbors for a recommendation. Why? Because, aside from a sincere desire to see you happy, your friends and neighbors don’t have any vested interest in which restaurant you choose. As people who know you and know what you are looking for, they serve as a credible source of information. They are people who are willing to share their own thoughts, experiences and expertise to help you to make your own decision.
This kind of friendly help and advice is particularly invaluable when deciding which clean energy system is right for you—a decidedly bigger decision than where to go out to eat. Continue reading
We all know that perception is everything. There’s a huge difference in how people view a $10,000 investment versus a $10,000 expense. So could solar power systems be suffering from a perception problem? EnergySage set out to find out just that.
In a survey of 150 consumers interested in solar energy and other clean energy systems (like solar hot water, small wind turbines and geothermal) for their home or businesses, EnergySage found that 50% of respondents thought of solar panel systems as an investment, 30% considered it an expense, and 20% did not know enough to tell the difference between the two. Continue reading
Save the environment or save money? Most people see this question as an either / or proposition, but in fact, you can do both. Solar power and other clean energy systems allow home and business owners to reduce their environmental impact and save on their energy bills. Today, clean energy technologies – like solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, small wind, geothermal and combined heat and power – have matured to the point where almost any building –residential or commercial – can install a system and reap financial savings and, in some cases, even generate income. So, if these are the facts, why aren’t more people rushing out to install clean energy systems? The major stumbling block is that people just aren’t aware of the financial benefits these systems can provide.