Author Archives: Spencer Fields

About Spencer Fields

Spencer is the Content & Research Manager at EnergySage, where he writes about all things energy. Prior to joining EnergySage, he spent five years at Synapse Energy Economics, providing environmental, economic and policy analysis for public interest groups. Spencer has degrees in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies from Brown University, meaning when he's not in the office you can find him outside or traveling somewhere to work on his Spanish.

demand_response

Demand response programs explained

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A large portion of the cost of electricity comes from a very small portion of hours out of the year. As a result, utilities, electricity grid operators and private companies alike are finding innovative solutions to these infrequent but substantial electricity costs. One product in particular that has already proven to be successful throughout the country is demand response.

Continue reading

Highlights from the eighth EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report™

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Earlier this month, EnergySage published our eighth Solar Marketplace Intel Report™. The publicly available report provides data on the state of the solar market nationwide and at the state level, the breakdown of equipment packages quoted by solar installation companies, and additional energy interests from solar shoppers. Our key takeaways are outlined below. We welcome your analysis of this data as well!

Continue reading

solar thermal energy

Solar thermal: what you need to know

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are two key methods for harnessing the power of the sun: either by generating electricity directly using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or generating heat through solar thermal technologies. While the two types of solar energy are similar, they differ in their costs, benefits, and applications.

Continue reading

distributed generation

Solar panels are the new iPhone: imagining a distributed energy future

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 1994, only 10% of Americans had a cell phone. And yet, in 15 short years, more Americans had cell phones than landlines. While the rapid adoption of mobile phones can’t be attributed to a single factor, there is one major parallel between the transition from landlines to smart phones and what’s actively happening today in the electricity industry: the transition from a centralized system to a distributed (or decentralized) network.

Continue reading

how much energy does a tv use

How many solar panels do you need to binge your favorite TV shows?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With Game of Thrones about to return for its eighth and final season, we at EnergySage began to wonder how much energy it takes to binge watch the entirety of the series. Naturally, our next question was: how many solar panels would it take to watch all of Game of Thrones? And how does this series compare to some of the other long-running series on TV in terms of solar energy required to power a complete-series watch-a-thon?

Continue reading

map of renewable portfolio standards

Renewable portfolio standards explained

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Following the 2018 elections, there has been a flurry of state-level action on climate change and clean energy to begin the new year. Outside of proposals at the federal level for a Green New Deal, many states are proposing and passing a suite of climate-related legislation, from emission reduction goals to clean energy procurement targets. Perhaps the most common policy instrument for growing clean energy at the state level is the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

Continue reading

irec vision summit energysage

Looking into the future: highlights from the 2019 IREC Vision Summit

Reading Time: 3 minutes

On March 6, 2019, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) hosted their inaugural Vision Summit, a conference designed to bring industry thought leaders and policy analysts together to discuss what a clean energy future might look like and what it would take to achieve that vision. EnergySage joined these industry leaders down in Washington, DC to participate in the Summit and to engage with the question of how solar will contribute to the renewable energy transition. Here are our key takeaways from the event.

Continue reading

deep cycle batteries

Understanding deep cycle batteries

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As a property owner, you are probably already familiar with a range of batteries–from the AAAs in your TV remote to the larger battery under the hood of your car that you hopefully rarely think about. Just as different types of batteries are most useful for different types of applications in your home, there is one type of battery that is ideal for being paired with solar energy systems: deep cycle batteries.

Continue reading

solar vs nuclear

Solar vs. nuclear: battle for the best carbon-free power

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Over the last few years, solar capacity in the United States has truly taken off. Over 58 gigawatts (or million kilowatts) of solar capacity are currently installed across nearly 2 million projects, and at least 3.7 gigawatts more are in the pipeline as of late 2018. At the same time, the fate of nuclear power in the country is at a crossroads. Only one single nuclear unit has been completed in the U.S. since the 1990s, and the two most recent projects are experiencing delays, cost overruns, and ultimately cancellations.

Continue reading

black start and solar

Black start: why it matters

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The electrical grid is designed with redundancy in mind. In order to avoid any consumers losing power, and especially any prolonged drops in power, utilities and the grid operators have designed backup plans and backups to those backups. Although very rarely, if ever, necessary, the last of those backup plans is perhaps the most important of all: black start resources.

Continue reading