Real World Solar Economics with Tom Beach

Real World Solar Economics with Tom Beach

Great solar policy is just as important as great solar technology. Obviously we need the technologies for these products — but we also need the policies so that solar products can be cost-effectively installed. And I’m not just talking about incentives…policies related to net metering, interconnection and permitting are just as important. (more…)

There is a New Utility in Town – Silicon Valley Clean Energy

There is a New Utility in Town – Silicon Valley Clean Energy

The electric utility industry is undergoing rapid change. There used to be two types of utilities: investor owned utilities (IOUs, such as Pacific Gas and Electric and ConEd) and municipally owned utilities (MOUs, such as LADWP and Silicon Valley Power). Now there is a third hybrid type, called a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) utility. (more…)

Ten Electric Utility Company Myths

Ten Electric Utility Company Myths

Electric utilities got their start in the U.S. in the 1880s. Thomas Edison began transmitting DC power as he literally illuminated the world. Then George Westinghouse (with help from Nikolai Tesla) deployed a better way of delivering electricity with AC power. Both Edison and Westinghouse went on to build tremendously successful companies, aptly named General Electric and Westinghouse Electric respectively. Although dominant in the 20th century, both companies have struggled in the 21st century. (more…)

Battery Storage System Safety

Battery Storage System Safety

This week we’re talking about battery storage system safety. But first, a brief digression. As a contractor, the biggest safety concern that I have for all rooftop solar and battery systems is not necessarily with the solar panels or the batteries, but with fall protection. It’s an OSHA regulation that all workers must be secured with roof anchors and proper harnesses when working on rooftops. So make sure your solar contractor installs roof anchors during your installation so the people working on your roof are safe. Back to battery safety… (more…)

Ten Energy Saving Myths

Ten Energy Saving Myths

The economics of energy have changed drastically over the past dozen years. We have new affordable energy generation technologies (wind and solar), new energy efficiency products (LED lighting and heat pumps), a revolution in transportation (EVs) and affordable energy storage (thanks to cheaper lithium ion batteries). The combination of these new technologies has turned our conventional attitudes towards energy on their heads. Here are Ten Energy Saving Myths – designed to get you thinking about your personal and business consumption of energy. So here they are, in no particular order: (more…)

21st Century Home Energy Efficiency

21st Century Home Energy Efficiency

Home energy efficiency has steadily improved over the millenia. Luckily we no longer have to sleep on the ground in a smoke-filled cave – cold, wet and hungry (unless we want to go camping…that’s the way my wife looks at it). Buildings, appliances and HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) systems have improved incredibly — even over the last 25 years. (more…)