In this week’s Solar News roundup, renewable energy is set to outproduce coal for the first time in April and May, and Tesla begins offering solar panel installations below market averages.
If you’re considering whether going solar is a worthwhile financial move for your home, there are essentially two factors that you should look at: 1) the costs associated with solar power, and 2) the rates you pay for electricity from your utility. Going solar makes economic sense when solar electricity costs less than grid electricity.
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
Continued from Part 1
10:30 AM – the doorbell rings on Martin Luther King day. It’s 12 degrees out and the guy at the door – in blue coveralls with the NStar logo – is from the electric utility company. Carmine – that’s his name – is here to install two “net-meters” to prep for our upcoming Photovoltaic installation. He explains that normal electric meters go only one direction, but net-meters go forwards and backwards as well. Continue reading