California’s Bright Future: The Solar Mandate

On May 9th, the Sunshine State became the first to require a solar installation on new housing. This historic development is that latest sign that solar energy is gaining traction around the U.S., hopefully setting precedent for many states to come.

The California Energy Commission unanimously passed the 2019 Energy Efficiency Standards, mandating all new housing developments up to 3 stories to include some solar energy installation in the home. This is apart of California’s goal to have 50% of their electricity to come from non carbon sources by 2030 and cutting down greenhouse emissions by 40%. Under this mandate, builders must either include individual solar panels on homes or attach groups of home to a shared power system. Homeowners will either pay for this new power source inclusively in the initial housing price or in a monthly fee.

According the the Commission, this plan is estimated to use 53% less energy than under the 2016 standards, majorly progressing towards their 2030 goal. In addition, greenhouse gases are expected to decrease by 700,000 metric tons due to this mandate.

Solar panels are roughly suppose to provide about 60-70% of quality energy for the average home. In the winter, solar panels will still produce energy on cloud-filled days and actually increase output in colder temperatures. To provide even more insurance, the mandate dictates that houses would still be attached to a power grid to ensure a constant supply of energy among all weather conditions.

For those concerned about the the price of this mandate, the costs associated with this plan are negligible as the savings outweighs the costs overtime. While the initial cost of construction is estimated to increase about $10,000, environmental economists predict solar efficiency will save homeowners around $19,000 on electric bills over 30 years, averaging at $80 per month.

The California mandate made a giant step towards sustainable consumption and paves the future for solar energy. From solar houses to solar street lights to even solar powered cars, the market for solar is growing and demands attention. California and its’ energy-friendly policies are raising the bar to encourage other states to take the steps towards sustainable living and prove that investing in solar is worth it.

Solar Powered States

Solar power is on the rise in America and the International Energy Agency predicts that solar power will make 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050.

That’s quite a lot of energy and it got us thinking, what would it actually take to make 100% of the world’s electricity via solar power? Could America actually power the world with solar panels? And what could each state power if we filled them with solar panels? We crunched the numbers and came up with some interesting results.

solar power by state

No surprises but the largest states of Alaska, Texas, and California can house the most solar panels and also produce the most power with Alaska being able to generate a whopping 1 trillion kilowatts of energy, Texas 450 billion kilowatts, and California 274 billion kilowatts from just 4 hours of sunlight in a day.

solar powering countries

Feeling neighborly? From Argentina to the United Arab Emirates, each individual state can meet a wide range of countries energy needs for an entire year from just four hours of sunlight! Alaska can power Russia for an entire year, Texas could power France, New York Rwanda, and California Saudi Arabia to name but a few.

solar powering the world

When it comes to powering the world, if America was one giant solar panel it would take just 16 hours of sunlight to power the entire world for 1 year. In 1 year it could power 105 years of energy use in the world.

And just for fun, from time travel to powering televisions showing the super bowl, here’s some fun things states can power:

solar power super bowl

solar power new york city

solar power delorean

solar power magic kingdom

solar power tesla

solar power las vegas

solar power iphones

solar power dallas cowboys

So there you have it, America could power the world for a whopping 105 years, Texas can happily watch the Dallas Cowboys till the end of time, and if California can reach 88 mph, they can time travel over 200,000 times all thanks to solar energy.

Solar in Europe - Solar Outdoor Lighting

European Solar Projects

The EU has been making great strides towards solar power in the recent years. Recently, EU ambassadors met together to revise the renewable energy directive, setting a goal to reach 32% renewable energy from the EU by 2030.

In fact, the EU bank has invested $11.75 million in solar energy in Zambia, Africa, proving their overall commitment to solar energy. Over the past few years, the EU has become a leader in renewable energy sources, building more wind and solar without any subsidies provided. Yet, they are in a solar race with China who currently holds the top spot for producing the most solar energy in the world. Therefore, Europe has upped the ante. Heavy investments in solar followed by large directives are large strides in the right direction, but more action is needed to follow China’s lead. Still, Europe stands as the prime example to the US and other western nations of the benefits of solar investments.

Different entities in the EU have increased their output of solar production at different rates. Germany is one of the leaders of solar energy. Around 40 percent of the EU’s entire photovoltaic production comes from Germany. In fact, Germany thought that the 32% goal from the renewable energy directive was “unambitious,” raising the bar for the amount of renewable energy harnessed in Europe.

Other countries are impressive in other ways. The next 20% of Europe’s total comes from Italy, who is ranked 5th in the world just behind the US. In 2017, Turkey led Europe in solar capacity growth with a 1.79 GW, accounting for almost a quarter of Europe’s overall growth.  Denmark set a plan to reach 200 MW of photovoltaic capacity by 2020, but almost doubled their goal in the following year. Their ultimate goal is 100% renewable energy use by 2050.

 

Some countries are more successful at this transition into renewable energies than others. There are various factors which determine the status of solar energy in a country, ranging from climate and sun exposure to political will and financial status.

 

Lighting Solutions for Rails with Trails

train - solar trail lightsTrails run along many active rail lines to provide transportation, access to transit, and recreational opportunities for thousands of Americans. There is also a growing number of former rail lines being converted into multi-purpose public paths.

Safety should always be the primary concern when developing a rail-with-trail. Illuminating rails is one of the ways to make the trail safe and more convenient to use at night. Let’s look at each player, the benefits/costs of each, and the overall quality of each type of lighting solution.

Continue reading “Lighting Solutions for Rails with Trails”

Solar Energy in Schools: Alternative Way of Powering Education Institutions

Schools install solar streetlight

All businesses require efficient electric energy to run their operations. Any inconsistency in the supply can paralyze normal operations, which can lead to substantial losses. Due to the disadvantages of the traditional sources of electricity, many startups are resorting to alternative energy. Solar energy has proven itself to be among the most reliable sources of energy that can be embraced by both the home owners and business executives.

First off, most start-ups aim at reducing the cost of running their business. However, the reduction should not affect the daily activities of the firm or lead to a decrease in the revenue.

Commercial solar lighting has proven itself capable of helping businesses cut down on the energy expenses. The overall reduction of expenses will also boost the overall performance of the business. It’s important also to note that the cost of a single unit of solar energy is comparatively lower than that of the traditional sources of power.

The government has encouraging measures for entrepreneurs who are embracing the use of alternative sources of energy. Several tax incentives have been designed to support energy-conscious businesses. The government offers such incentives with the hope that more businesses will be able to use environment-friendly sources of energy.

Additionally, commercial solar lighting requires minimal or no maintenance costs at all. Most of the crucial tasks are executed during the installation phase. Once done, you will be able to enjoy the energy for many years without incurring any extra costs. Solar lighting systems are also built to withstand harsh conditions and the vagaries of nature. They carry 20-year warranties, meaning that they durable and long-lasting.

The Green Label is another motivating factor for start-ups to expand their audience base. Everyone is now trying to save the world from the effects of global warming. Different companies dealing with various products have jumped on this bandwagon. Use of solar lighting instead of the traditional energy sources reduces the amount of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. Installing a commercial solar lighting system also improves the overall image of the company. The Green Label is not just any recognition; it is a secret marketing tool that you can use to improve the visibility and credibility of your startup.

The benefits of embracing renewable sources of energy have motivated many start-ups to install commercial solar lighting.