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Renewable Energy Rundown: Solar Energy

This is the first part in a new SaveOnEnergy series discussing the ins and outs of different forms of renewable energy. Solar energy has grown in popularity across the country, from massive solar farms to single panels powering residential homes. This is especially true in Texas – which is fifth...

Standards and Requirements for Solar Systems

If you are considering the installation of a solar system (by yourself or by a solar company), there are several codes and regulations that need to be adhered to. These include the National Electrical Code (NEC), local permits, building codes, fire codes, and grounding systems. In addition, every component in a...

Why Fuel Cells Lead The Road to Long-Term Sustainability for Vehicles

Fuel cells have now been under development for several decades. Since I first became interested in fuel cells in the 1990’s, I have seen waves of excitement and investment followed by periods of skepticism and disillusionment. Only a few companies have stayed in the game, with Ballard in Canada and the large automakers such as Toyota being a critical and essential part for...

Become a Renewable Energy Expert

Many years ago, there was a great guy that used to sit next to me at work. We used to laugh a lot when people called themselves “experts.” When it was really true -- we didn’t laugh; however, it often was not true. Our fast-paced culture breeds this mentality because many individuals think that if they do something...

Determining the Best Location for a PV System

This post will help you to determine the best location for a photovoltaic (PV) system. After you have sized your PV system based upon the calculated the power requirements, you will have to select a location that has maximum sun exposure and limited shading throughout the year. PV arrays can be...

Battery Energy Storage for the PV System

Batteries store and produce energy as needed. In PV systems, they capture surplus energy generated by your PV system to allow you to store energy for use later in the day. Like technologies such as fuel cells, a battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Rechargeable batteries also...

Photovoltaic System Sizing

This post will help you to determine how to size a photovoltaic (PV) system. By calculating the power, current, and voltage output required, the size and the number of photovoltaic panels can be estimated. Also, the voltage and current requirements will determine how the solar panels in...

Components of a Photovoltaic System

Photovoltaic (PV) panels are comprised of individual cells known as solar cells. Each solar cell generates a small amount of electricity. When you connect many solar cells together, a solar panel is created that creates a substantial amount of electricity. PV systems vary in...

Introduction to Solar: Part 2

When a PV cell is exposed to sunlight, the photons of the absorbed sunlight dislodge the electrons from the atoms of the cell. The free electrons then move through the cell, creating and filling in holes. It is this movement of electrons and holes that generate electricity. The process of converting...

Introduction to Solar: Part 1

Most of us are familiar with solar cells because we encounter them every day – in calculators, street lamps, and traffic road signs. If these devices have enough light, they can theoretically work forever. Solar or photovoltaic (PV) cells are made up of many individuals cell stacked together. The cell material is a...

Energy Harnessed from the Wind: Part 2

Wind power generates electricity by transferring energy from wind to mechanical energy. The principle behind wind turbines is very simple: the energy in the wind turns two or three blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity. Wind turbines are mounted on...

Energy Harnessed from the Wind: Part I

Imagine that something that you cannot see can have enough movement to harness energy! From a scientific perspective, air is like any other fluid -- if it can be moved forcefully, the motion provides kinetic energy. In a wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades capture the kinetic energy of the...