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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit 2014

Posted by SEPCO

9/25/14 9:30 AM

peoples climate march 2014

Last Sunday was one of the largest climate rallies ever, the People’s Climate March in New York City. Climate changes have been on the mind of people since the 60’s and 70’s, but realizing that we need to do something now is pushing people even harder, as we have already damaged the climate permanently and there is worse to come.  Many big names were out there in the crowd along with everyday citizens to demand action in the UN Climate Summit in New York on Sept 23.

Leonardo DiCaprio made one of the best speeches I’ve heard in a long time, see here:

I think my other favorite video this week was Jon Stewart’s video Burn Noticed:

So now what? Well some great ideas were put up and set to be put in action. The Green Climate Fund, which was established in 2009, was set into place to help developing countries move away from fossil fuels; however, it has not been kept up with and is not meeting the goals set forth. Pledges were taken at this year’s Climate Summit to push this program further ahead; however, most of the wealthier countries, including the US, needs to get on the boat and make their pledge.

Carbon emissions were of course one of the largest topics. Countries including Ireland and Chile are working towards reducing their carbon emissions; however, we need large industrial countries such as China and India to jump on board to make a real impact. So are they doing this? 2014 Was the lowest coal consumption year in the past decade for China and they are working to lower their consumption even more. As for India, no one knows as they didn’t show up to discuss their input, but we will see in time what they do.

Food security was another hot topic on the list along with deforestation. Deforestation is on a track to be cut in half by 2020 and finally ended in 2030. Will there be forests or even trees left by 2030? I guess we will see. One of the worst deforestation is due to the Palm Oil industry; however, large companies are finally getting involved and making zero-deforestation pledges and deforestation-free sourcing of palm oil.

As for the future, The UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants leaders to strike a deal in Paris. He states “We must agree to a global deal in Paris next year, we simply cannot afford to put it off any longer.” Maybe this is a good idea, a yearly meeting instead of every 5 years; help keep everyone accountable of their actions and on track for a global change.

All in all, the rally helped raise awareness and showed the people’s support  for action as well as showing  the UN how much everyone (well most everyone) wants change to happen immediately. We all want a green and clean world for our children for generations to come, but we need to start somewhere. Every drop in the bucket towards making the world better is a step in the right direction.

For more information, check out: UN Climate Change Summit, Vice News, The Guardian, Mashable

Img Source: Grist

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Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Alternative Energy

Amazing Changes Happening Now for Sustainable Living: Renewable Energy

Posted by SEPCO

7/31/14 9:30 AM


Renewable energy has been booming, especially in the last couple years. Renewable energy resources have been around for a long time; however, their popularity has increased with the ongoing movement towards trying to slow down global warming. There are many forms of renewable energy that have been used, developed and installed even as I write this. Here are the largest forms of renewable energy and a little bit about their usage today.

Solar Energy

We are a solar company so of course solar is our favorite. Solar panels provide energy during the day, from practically sun up to sun down. There is so much solar energy to be harvested, that like many statistics and memes say, so much solar energy hits the earth that if we could power the needs of the world for 25 years or more in a single day of sun. The only problem with that is creating enough solar panels to harvest all that energy and then storing the power so it can be accessed after the sun goes down; however, there are people working on energy storage as we speak. Solar energy can also be used for other applications such as water heating or heating a building / home.

Wind Energy

Wind energy can provide a ton of energy day and night as long as the wind is moving. Today’s wind power is generated by a windmill turning a turbine that generates power to feed electricity to power lines; however, wind power has been used in the past for grinding grain and pumping water. Wind farms can be installed in a large open area or offshore and provide a lot of power to nearby areas. Storage of this power is still being developed, just like solar power; however, seems to be a more popular approach to large scale power generation. New developments in wind power are being made to harness wind power when there is little wind and windmills that protect wildlife from harm.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal power extracts steam from underground and uses that to power turbines to generate power. The water is extracted during this process and fed back under the Earth’s surface to generate more steam. The main drawback to this form of power generation is the steam can carry a mixture of gases that contribute to global warming, bad smells and acid rain. These gases need to be contained and not put into the atmosphere.

Hydropower & Tidal Energy

Both hydropower and tidal energy uses the natural flow of water to turn turbines to generate power. Dams have been set up on rivers and underwater windmill looking devices have been setup on shores to harness this power. Since tides are more predictable than the winds or sun, tidal power is growing in popularity as a great way to harness power; however, there is still controversy in changing the natural flow of water and disturbing natural habitats.

Every form of renewable energy has its pros and cons; however, by combining forces and utilizing each form to its capacity, we will one day be able to move towards a more sustainable world. Here in sunny south Florida, solar will always be my favorite source of energy. What is your favorite and why?
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Topics: Green Ideas, Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy

What is Included in a Remote Solar Power System Package

Posted by SEPCO

5/8/14 4:35 PM


Remote solar power systems provide power to areas where power doesn’t already exist or is difficult to bring out the grid. These types of systems can operate anything from a small light to large scale applications. Every system should be built to specification of the device they are operating and provide enough backup power for times of bad weather.

When purchasing your remote solar power system package, make sure to understand exactly what is included and what you should expect to receive. Different manufacturers may include different brand of components, but the standard complete system should be comprised of the same type of parts.

Solar Panels – The first and biggest component of a remote solar power system is the solar panels. Each panel is able to produce a certain amount of power, so make sure to get specifications on the panel to find out exactly what you should expect. A solar panel is comprised of silicon cells placed on a grid and protected by glass and framing. Additional panel protection is useful in areas where there are high chances of vandalism or wind-blown debris. The protection can be in the form of Lexan on the top of the solar or aluminum riveted to the back of the solar.

Battery Assembly – The next component to pay close attention to is the battery assembly. Making sure there is enough power in the battery to handle the load can make or break the system. You never want the battery to completely deplete down to zero, especially not every day, due to cycling of the battery. Batteries only hold a number of cycles, and if you deplete your battery to nothing every day, your battery system will only last a short amount of time. This also does not provide backup for times of little sun due to inclement weather. A minimum of five days autonomy is best for most applications, more for areas with a lot of snow or bad weather.

Charge Controller – The charge controller tells the system when to charge the battery and when to utilize the power. Your charge controller should always have a LVD Low Voltage Disconnect so that if the batteries get below a certain point, they will no longer pull the power and wait for the batteries to be recharged by the solar. The charge controller also tells the battery when night has come and to turn on the system when you have dusk to dawn system. Additional control options can be used to provide different operating requirements.

Making sure all components of your remote solar power system’s package are high grade and can meet the specifications of the load will ensure your system will run reliably for years. Remember, solar panels last 25 or more years, batteries should be replaced every five to seven years and your charge controller varies, but should be good for about 10 years or more. Researching companies and getting the specifications and warranty information of each component will help you choose the best system for your application.

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Topics: Solar Power, Off Grid Solar PV, Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy

The Green Solution to Powering Your Home: Understanding Solar Panels

Posted by SEPCO

2/6/14 9:30 AM

Solar_Panels_on_RoofSolar power has been widely available for many years now, but there's no better time to make the change than now. Did you know that at least 10% of residences in Australia are now powered by sunlight? Solar technologies have vastly improved since the early days, and the Sun's rays have proven to be an unlimited, reliable, eco-friendly, and free source of energy. Jumping on the solar energy bandwagon, however, requires buying and installing solar panels on your property - and that can be a daunting task if you're new to the game. Here are some things to know about solar panels before you spend a small fortune on them.

How Many Panels do I Need?

If you're considering making the switch to solar, wondering about how many solar panels for your house are necessary is completely valid. That number would mainly depend on the lifestyles of the occupants. A family that typically uses many electronic devices on a daily basis will likely require more solar panels than a family that only uses power for necessities like light and heat. Then again, the number of panels required would depend on how much energy each one can produce given ideal conditions. Solar panels are not all made the same, and they all have different efficiency ratings. A better way to look at things is to ask how much energy you require to maintain your living standard and whether a specific solar panel system is large enough to meet those needs.

Think Overall System Size, Not Numbers

Instead of concentrating on how many solar panels you'll need, focus on the total system size measured in kilowatts. Today, most photovoltaic panels vary anywhere from 190W to 327W. As you can see, the number of panels you'll need depends on what type of wattage your panels have. If you utilize solar panels on the lower end of the scale, you'll need to buy more to meet your energy needs. If you use panels with higher wattage, you'll require less of them. If you choose to use a mix of panel types, you would have to sit down to do the math if you want to make sure that they can produce enough energy for your purposes.

Generally speaking, a 5kW solar panel system should be sufficient for a family of four living in a larger home. This type of system should be able to power most types of lights, a refrigerator, multiple standby appliances, multiple computers and TVs, washer and dryer, a dishwasher, and a central air system. Two or three friends living under the same roof could probably get by on a 3kW system capable of powering a fridge, large LCD TV, multiple standby appliances, energy-efficient lighting, a computer or two, washer and dryer, and a small air conditioning unit or space heater. A couple or individual should have no trouble going with a 1.5kW solar panel system. This size of system should adequately power efficient lighting, fridge, single TV and computer, one or two standby appliances, and washer and dryer with limited use.

Solar Panel Efficiency

The average Australian home consumed 7,070kWh electricity in 2009. Nearly 40% of that was used for cooling and heating, 25% for heating water, and 21% for powering appliances. That's a lot of energy use, so you'll really benefit from more efficient solar panels. You might hear people speaking about high-efficiency panels being better, but what does it really mean for a solar panel to be efficient? Efficiency refers to how well something can do its intended task. More specifically, solar panel efficiency refers to how much electricity that particular panel can produce compared to the amount of sunlight it must receive. Efficiency is displayed as a percentage, and most solar panels have ratings of 15% to 20%. The percentage identifies how much of the sunlight hitting the panel actually gets transformed into usable electricity.

What Affects These Ratings?

There are a number of different factors that can influence how well your panel converts sunlight into electricity. The first is build quality. A poorly-designed panel made of cheap materials will not function correctly or last very long. Always buy renowned brands. Secondly, the placement of the panels makes a huge difference in how much energy they can generate. Experts say that south-facing panels generate the most electricity, so make sure that there is room for installation on south-facing exterior surfaces. Thirdly, the tilt of the panel also affects its efficiency. More energy is produced from direct sunlight exposure. Next, extreme temperatures can hamper solar panel performance. Finally, shade is the largest obstacle for solar panel efficiency. If you live in heavily-wooded areas, going solar might not be the best idea.

Choose Quality over Quantity

When it comes down to making a decision, you'll almost always do better to go with more resourceful solar panel - if you can afford them. If you can help it, buy panels that have ratings of 250W or higher. In addition to being able to convert more sunlight into electricity, running higher wattage panels can save you a ton of space since you'll need less of them. People who own smaller homes definitely need to take efficiency into consideration since they don't have much roof and exterior space to work with. The most trustworthy suppliers of quality panels are reputable manufacturers and dealers that have been in the business for many years.

What to Ask Your Providers

Before buying solar panels or getting a system installed, make sure to ask about: the brands of components used in the system, whether or not upgrading the system at a later time is an option, how much energy you can expect to get from the system, how much the initial deposit will cost, how long the installation will take, whether or not the installers are certified, and whether or not there are any promotional deals currently available.

About the Author: Jayde Ferguson writes for who writes for Gold Coast solar power company, Infinite Energy. Why not catch Jayde on .

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Topics: Solar Power, Alternative Energy

What if the US followed Germany’s Renewable Energy Policies in 2014

Posted by SEPCO

1/9/14 9:30 AM

SolarGermany.jpgGermany is leading the renewable energy industry for the last couple years, far in front of most of the rest of the world. What do you think would happen if the US followed suit and put in place the same or similar policies? Would we be able to catch up? Would we finally have some energy independence?

First off, the US doesn’t have an overall renewable energy policy. Each state is left to do what it feels like with no overall governing force. Subsidies are still going to oil and other dirty forms of energy. Some money is being pushed into renewable energy; however, it is still a fraction of the amount being spent every year. Developing clean energy policies is a necessity to get us on track and money needs to be spent on these forms of energy.

Germany has clear set goals and the government is funding the projects to make it happen. They have already reached over 20% energy produced by renewable energy and are quickly moving towards their goal of 35% by 2020. Honestly, I think they will make it there before. I’ve even had the firsthand experience seeing a nuclear plant in Germany completely surrounded by wind power stations and the nuclear plant was off. That was an amazing sight (I wish I grabbed a picture though).

Best of all, corporations don’t own the majority of the renewable energy in Germany. Actual citizens own the power. Here in Florida for example, FPL owns some renewable energy plants and gives money to homeowners who want to put solar on their house. Sounds great, right? Not really, as FPL only gives a tiny amount of money, all of which is gone within minutes of the funds being released. If you don’t have a good solar company fighting for you, you will miss out on getting it. And what about the extra power you feed into the grid? FPL won’t pay you for that. They’ll give you a credit towards your bill if you ever use more than you produce, but after a year, the credits are reset back to zero. A win for FPL, but a loss for homeowners wanting to use solar and use the credits to help pay for the change.

WindGermany.jpgWell that’s Florida and people dealing with FPL. Other states have other policies and there are power companies that will actually pay you for your excess power. But what about states like Arizona. They are now charging their customers who use solar energy a fee. The fee is small, but what is it going to do to solar installations in Arizona. Especially since the sun is great in Arizona, making solar a great option for homeowners and businesses alike.

Instead of fighting this renewable energy changeover, the government needs to get on board and push good policies to get us finally in the right direction. Instead of dropping pennies out there to help homeowners make the change, put policies in place that stops the feed of subsidies going to oil, coal and other dirty forms of energy and get the money where it will have a better ROI. Instead of literally burning the money away, let’s let it shine for many years to come by implementing better renewable energy policies in the US. The US is moving towards renewable energy, but putting country wide policies into place will ensure our energy independence faster and more efficiently in the new year.

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Topics: Clean Energy, Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy

This Article Will Change the Way You Think About Solar Energy

Posted by SEPCO

12/19/13 9:30 AM

Most people by now will have heard of solar energy and will have a good idea of what it is, but that doesn't mean that they necessarily know everything there is to know about it. Indeed scientists don't know everything there is to know about solar energy, which is partly what makes it so fascinating. So even if you think you have a good grasp on what solar energy is and how it works, you probably don't know everything there is to know about it - nor just how amazing it really is. Read on and I'll show you…

The Basics:

Let's start with the basics. The first thing you may not realise is that the sun provides us with two types of energy which can both be considered 'solar' energy. One is heat (solar thermal), and the other is light (solar voltaic). It's light energy from the sun that most of us are interested in and that most solar panels use as it is a more efficient source of power.

Solar voltaic power works by using electrons that have been arranged into a particular pattern. This arrangement is such that when those electrons are hit by light, they will then be 'excited' and will start to move as a current. This is the current we then harness and transform in order to power lights, computers and more.

The Power of the Sun:

The important role of the sun is something that we shouldn't underestimate and it's not just light and heat that it provides us with. Of course the sun is what holds the Earth in orbit, but it's also what provided us with the basic elements necessary for life. Well - actually it wasn't our sun that provided us with most of those elements. Our sun produces a lot of helium, but it actually requires a star to die and collapse for there to be enough energy to create elements like, say, carbon. Which means that your actual body was original created in the heart of a dying star and then travelled through space to Earth. Which is amazing…


Also amazing is to think that actually most forms of energy on Earth came from the sun originally - the only difference is the degrees of separation. Fossil fuels for instance simply contain energy that was created by photosynthesis from the sun, geothermal energy comes from where the ground has been heated by the sun, wind energy is possible thanks to air pressure changes caused by the sun and the geothermal energy… only tidal energy is really any different which is formed by the moon's gravity.

The sun provides us with all our energy, and the stars gave us the elements that make up our planet. So of course it makes sense to go directly to the source for our most efficient energy solutions.

The Nature of Light:

What's also amazing though is the nature of light itself. Famously, light behaves as both a wave and a particle which is what gave us the basis for quantum physics and is something we still don't entirely understand. Furthermore, light can travel indefinitely with no medium to travel 'through' which is what allows it to reach Earth from the sun and the stars. And if nothing gets in the way of the light's path then it will travel endlessly out into space - eventually spreading out into single photons that may well travel for the entire lifespan of the universe itself.


About the Author: This post is contributed by Gemma Hastings. She is a solar power expert and works with She promotes her opinions and ideas on living an eco-friendly lifestyle through her writings.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Power, Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy

Energy Deregulation and Your Small Business

Posted by SEPCO

12/17/13 9:30 AM

Energy deregulation is all about having the ability to choose your own electricity provider, rather than being forced to accept the rates of one local provider. As an individual, your primary benefit lies in the amount of money you can save, choosing the provider with the best offer. However, if you are the owner of a small business, energy deregulation can have an even greater impact on your business, affecting it a number of different ways.

To begin with, energy deregulation can help you and your small business save thousands of dollars on bills. Depending on the type of business you own or manage, your energy needs and required consumption may actually be above average, especially if it requires running large machinery and/or extended service hours. You may also be able to take advantage of green energy initiatives in your area. Paying less for electricity allows small businesses, which make up the backbone of the American economy, to remain active and continue providing their valuable goods and services. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 small businesses end up filing for bankruptcy, unable to cope with mounting operating expenses (including bills), on their own. Reduced rates on electricity can allow them to remain in business longer, keeping their budgets balanced and freeing up money that might be useful for expansion.


Moreover, energy deregulation can also mean cheaper prices on the goods and services small businesses have to offer. When companies price a product, all costs involved in its production have to be taken into account, in order to strike a proper balance between affordability and actually turning a profit. If the price of energy is included in the final price of the product, lower energy costs could potentially bring these prices down. Ultimately, it's up to each business to decide whether or not they can afford to lower their prices and pass this savings down to the consumer or keep prices the way they are, to expand their profits. Lowering prices would naturally make them more competitive with other businesses that provide the same goods or services, attracting more customers. Another potential benefit to members of the local community is that they have two opportunities to save money. The first occurs when paying their own energy bills to a deregulated provider of their choice. The second opportunity comes when they purchase items or services from a small business that has reduced their own prices, in response to lower energy rates.

As it stands right now, the only problem with energy deregulation seems to be that not all states have adopted it. Currently, less than half of the states provide their residents with the opportunity to choose their own electricity provider. The situation is even worse with gas, which is fully deregulated in 19 states and only partially deregulated in 5 others. This means that customers in some states can take advantage of the various opportunities deregulation can provide, while others have to stick to the same regulations and consequently, pay more for their energy.


All in all, energy deregulation is a great opportunity, which itself offers additional opportunities to both individual customers and small businesses. In an age where jobs and economic stability often stand on shaky ground, it's essential for every state in the land of opportunity to take a better look at the benefits of energy deregulation. The advantages of allowing their residents to freely choose where they get their own energy extend not only to each individual, but also to the small businesses upon which the American economy depends.

Yogesh Mankani is a small business consultant. He loves to share unusual and informative tips on small business blogs.

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Topics: Alternative Energy

Improving Your Home and Saving Energy: A UK Perspective

Posted by SEPCO

9/19/13 9:30 AM

Improving Your Home and Saving Energy: A UK PerspectiveWhen examining energy policy on a broad basis, it’s clear that European governments are committed to making significant reductions in the levels of greenhouse gas emissions. By the year 2020, all EU governments are aiming to reduce emissions to some 20% below levels that were seen in 1990.

Within that wider objective, however, there’s scope for a number of different approaches to be taken. The UK strategy has involved examining a range of areas, including nationwide energy generation, transport, home energy use, commercial energy requirements and commitments to reduce energy usage levels. Residential property improvements For members of the public, there is often the question of how to go about making improvements within the home.

Given the aims of policy-makers, there is often an expectation that there will be a considerable amount of assistance available, both in terms of advice and financial incentives. Unfortunately, residential energy users are often left frustrated, when they discover that such advice is not readily available. In part, this undoubtedly stems from the changing focus of consecutive governments. As environmental and energy issues are often given different priorities, depending upon the political party that dominates a government at any point in time, it’s natural that policies might change. The end result, as seen in the UK, is a set of regulations and incentives that can appear to be incredibly confusing.

The Green Deal, for instance, was introduced to encourage home owners to make changes that would have clear environmental benefits. Relatively cheap loans would be offered in order to finance structural alterations and bring about improvements in the UK’s housing stock. It appears, however, that many have simply been confused by what has been proposed. As a result, take-up of the scheme has been disappointing and there are real doubts about whether it can make a meaningful contribution to meeting future emissions targets. So how can you go about making changes that will save on energy and also be cost-effective for your family There are a number of alterations that can be made to your property, which will have clear benefits.

Insulating your home

Although it may be tempting to think on a grand scale, the truth is that seemingly minor modifications can often have a dramatic impact on the home. Improving insulation may not seem to be particularly exciting, but it’s one of the most cost-effective approaches available in many cases. You’re already paying to heat your home, so it seems like a real shame to think of that heat escaping via windows, walls, doors and roofs.

It’s a situation that is easy to remedy and there’s even scope to make improvements yourself in some areas. Ensuring that the amount of insulation within your loft meets current Building Regulations is something that’s easy to achieve and relatively inexpensive. Unless your home was built within the last 10 years, or has previously been updated, there’s a strong chance that it won’t meet the existing regulations, simply because they are updated at regular intervals. By adding the extra insulation that’s required, you’ll be able to start feeling the benefits immediately.

Cavity wall insulation will require assistance from experts, but can also be expected to have a relatively short payback period. The impact will depend on the type of property that you have, with effectiveness being greatest in the case of large, detached properties.As well as national schemes, there are often incentives offered on a local level within the UK. Approach your local council and see whether they are prepared to contribute to the cost of improving insulation within your home.

Changing windows and doors

You may also be tempted by the idea of investing in double glazed windows, which can reduce heat loss and will also provide better noise insulation. These represent a popular choice for those living close by busy roads. The biggest problem with installing double glazing is that the initial cost can be relatively high. Although you might expect to get that money back over time, the value of the investment will need to be judged on the basis of how long you are intending to stay at the property and whether such an improvement might also add value to your home, in the eyes of future buyers.

Examining energy generation

One of the key advantages associated with improving insulation within your home is that it means that you can ensure that you aren’t wasting so much energy and money. Why would you wish to pay to use more electricity, gas or oil than you really need to? This is an issue that can also be tackled by thinking carefully about how you heat, light and power your home.

The reality is that there are numerous ways of achieving this aim and that you have a multitude of options available to you. There’s a real chance for you to reduce your reliance on the national electricity supply, for instance. Unfortunately, getting information on what is suitable for your home is not always as straightforward a task as it should be. It’s mainly been left to regional suppliers of renewables to provide bespoke advice to home owners.

The commercial nature of such businesses rightly leaves consumers with doubts about the advice that they are being given. In particular, you may be left wondering whether you really will be able to generate the desired levels of energy, in order to make a system cost-effective. This is certainly a concern that has, until recently, seemed to limit the rollout of solar PV systems within the UK.

There was initial scepticism about the chances of receiving enough sunlight, in order to produce the electricity levels that had been predicted. As more and more properties have been fitted with solar systems, it’s clear that such reservations are reducing.

Heat pumps

The increasing number of heat pump installations that are being carried would appear to suggest individuals are prepared to look beyond the systems that have become increasingly main-stream. In effect, if a solution can help to reduce your heating costs, then it’s certainly worth investigating further.

It may also be tempting to think about making use of renewables within a domestic setting as part of a move towards lifestyle change. There’s absolutely no doubt that being good to the environment has often been associated with an alternative form of living, but it does seem that thoughts here are changing.

Modern solutions with a traditional feel

Many families are coming to realise that there’s a beauty associated with having a real feeling for our surroundings. Although some energy systems make use of cutting edge technology, they may also hint at a return to a way of life that seems so much simpler. A classic example of this is the use of biomass heating which can provide a real focal point within the home.

For those who don’t like the idea of imagining the constant need to add more wood pellets to the fire, in order to provide warmth within the home, it can come as a relief to discover that modern, automated boilers reduce the amount of feeding that’s required. This is a good example of how new technologies are driving a switch to something that, on the face of it, appears to be quite traditional.

Using less energy

In this post, I’ve focused on improvements that can ensure that heat is maintained within the home and that power is generated using sustainable means. There is a third element that simply cannot be ignored: making sure that you don’t thoughtlessly waste energy. There may not be much glory associated with turning off the lights when you leave a room, or ensuring that you don’t over-fill a kettle, but these small changes can make a massive difference. If you can encourage all members of your household to take such simple steps, then you’ll find that you’ll be able to save a surprising amount of energy. 

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas, Alternative Energy

How Superior is Solar Power to Coal-burning Methods?

Posted by SEPCO

8/20/13 9:30 AM

How Superior is Solar Power to Coal burning MethodsAs with all technology, innovation and development coincide with popular interest. As more consumers and corporations look towards renewable energy methods, providers are working diligently to develop improved efficiency. As solar is getting a boost in technology, where does that leave coal? Supporters for coal go to great lengths to discredit solar use as being "premature" and "not cost effective." However, those arguments are seeing less traction than they did in the mid 2000s.

Although it's true that developing a solar array is more expensive to build than a coal-firing plant in the short term, what about maintaining power levels over time? What many skeptics fail to include is the operational costs of each compared to the other. How do they compare when stacked side-by-side over a span of a decade?

1. Continued Functionality - In order for coal-firing plants to maintain power levels for the community, thousands and thousands of tons of coal is consumed yearly by the United States alone. According to, a single light bulb that is on 24 hours per day could consume up to five pounds of coal over the span of a year. That is a single bulb in a single residence.

Solar energy requires no other additional consumable resource in order to power that same light bulb. Although deep-cycle batteries will vary on maintaining power levels during night-time and other situations, that same light bulb could be illuminated almost indefinitely. Skeptics may try to point out that the sunlight is a consumable resource as it will eventually end. This argument is moot when considering if the sun were to stop providing light, we'd have more pressing problems on Earth than arguing over efficiency.

2. The Downline - A great deal of fuel and other expenses are wrapped up in producing coal to keep our power plants creating electricity using pressurized steam and a turbine. Train loads and semi-trucks that burn diesel fuels for nothing more than transporting coal could be used for other practical purposes. Insurance premiums for coal miners and the life expectancy alone could be cause for alarm for companies.

Solar power is virtually self-sustaining. Sure, there are workers and maintenance staff on hand to make sure that the plant continues working. A panel could malfunction and have to be repaired. However, there are no shipments of fuels to worry about or life insurance policies to be paid for those who have a reduced lifespan.

3. Power Production - Currently, solar arrays are coming close to being comparable to coal-firing power plants. In fact, materials and methods are being developed in order to vastly decrease the cost and improve efficiency panels can pull energy from sunlight. Some arrays are being developed that produce more power than some of the coal-firing counterparts across the United States, and future developments are expected to do so as well.

Setting aside the fact that there are no emissions produced from the actual usage of a solar array compared to coal-firing burners, these are just a few ways that make solar arrays superior to the alternative. As costs to develop solar arrays continue to drop, the days of coal and oil burning plants are growing short. Popularity has driven the continued success of innovation and solar has grown to be more than the "fad" that skeptics assumed it would be in the early 2000s. If this kind of growth continues, coal-firing plants may be all but extinct by 2030.

Author Bio: This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @

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Topics: Guest Post, Solar Power, Alternative Energy

5 Amazing Renewable Energy Videos

Posted by SEPCO

8/1/13 9:30 AM

Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy

Take a look at a great video from a recent conference that goes over a great innovation to energy storage. This video features a way to “invent our way out” of the energy storage crisis to be able to harness renewable energy at all times, store the power, and use that stored power to feed the grid to keep up with the energy demands at all times.


Renewable Energy and the Energy Transition

Here is a great video showing why moving towards renewable energy is needed and how Germany is actually able to do this. Definitely shows how one country is doing it and how the rest of the world should follow in their footsteps.



The Future of Renewable Energy: Quayle Hodek at TEDxMaui 2013

Yes, another TED talk, but there is a ton of great information from TED. Quayle talks about how he is working to convince companies to use renewable energy. He also explains on why renewable is at its tipping point and will eventually win overall for power.


The Artificial Leaf - Renewable Energy - Horizons

Harvard professor Daniel Nocera created a device that is working towards storing solar energy when the sun is down. Using water to split the hydrogen cells from oxygen cells and using the hydrogen at night to power devices. This could change how we do energy storage with solar energy.


The future of energy?

Cambridge University talks about how the demand of energy continues to skyrocket and ways to either improve our use of energy or find carbon neutral ways of producing energy. They cover wind energy and the pros and cons of this form. They also talk about ccs research and ideas for moving forward. They also go over ways to use less energy and improve efficiency of using the materials we already have.

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Topics: Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy

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