Monday, September 26, 2016

The Best Solar Panels 2016 set out to find the best solar panels.

Investing in solar energy is an excellent solution, but between hardware, installation, and the electronic components, the up-front price tag is enough of a deterrent for many. Factor in the notion that you may feel uncertain when it comes to choosing the most powerful and efficient product, and going solar doesn’t feel like a viable option. That’s why the team at took to researching 188 of the top solar panel manufacturers on the market to determine which ones are worth the investment.

How Found the Best Panels:
  • They cut any company that hasn’t been around long enough to establish a good reputation — and with most warranties lasting between 10 and 25 years, they omitted any company that hasn’t been around for at least 10 years
  • They required at least 230 watts of power, to allow for fewer panel purchases with more efficiency
  • They looked for the right efficiency ratio by calculating energy output from a panel compared to the input from the sun
  • They evaluated customer service, website user-friendliness, and service warranties

To see's top picks for the best solar panel manufacturers, as well as tips for finding a great installer, read their full review:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

DAR Historic Building in Washington, D.C. Uses Solar Power

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall photovoltaic system helps the DAR to stabilize and reduce electric energy costs for its complex of historic buildings in Washington, D. C., just a few hundred yards from the White House. The rooftop 59kW solar panel array installation was completed in June 2014 and produces about 100,786 kWh of energy per year to help offset the energy demand of DAR Headquarters. Designed to house the annual DAR convention, Constitution Hall (as of August 2015) was designated a National Historic Landmark Building in 1985 and is Washington D.C.’s largest Concert Hall, with more than half a million patrons each year. DAR has had a conservation committee dedicated to environmental issues for more than 105 years.

DAR Historic Hall Uses Solar Power

Solar Energy Dwarfs All Other Energy Sources

Solar energy potential DWARFS the potential from every other energy resource on the planet. The chart below was produced in 2009 by Perez & Perez and provides the estimates of finite and renewable planetary energy reserves in Terawatt-years -- showing that the energy potential for renewables is ANNUAL energy potential, whereas the energy potential from non-renewables is for TOTAL known reserves. Go sun!
Solaripedia Online Green Architecture Resources

2016 Summer Olympics Stadium in Rio Sports Solar Power

Maracana Stadium in Rio, site of the 2016 Summer Olympics, is ringed by more than 1,552 rooftop solar panels from China. Since the 2014 World Cup, the 390 kW solar power system has been providing free, unlimited clean energy to the stadium, reducing 2,560 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Brazil uses mostly hydropower but the country has one of the highest solar incidences in the world – every square meter exposed to the sun in Rio receives enough energy to run the average Brazilian shower for more than an hour per day. Sustainability Plan for 2016 Olympics:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Ecological Resort in Costa Rica Celebrates Sustainability

By Francesca Lyman, Freelance Journalist and Managing Editor, Solaripedia
Finca Rosa Blanca is an ecological coffee plantation resort in Costa Rica where the proprietors use the power of the sun, natural wastewater treatment, sustainable materials, local food, native plantings, and organic coffee growing methods to wed natural beauty and luxury with long-term sustainability.
The resort sits almost 4,000 feet above sea level, on nine acres overlooking the capital city of San Jose in the valley far below. Finca Rosa Blanca rests in the shadow of Barva Volcano - directly above the resort - the largest in land mass of the many volcanoes in Costa Rica. Visitors also discover wild rivers and cascading waterfalls, big cats, quetzals, tapirs and eagles. Roughly a quarter of Costa Rica's area is made up of National Parks. Finca Rosa Blanca also offers lessons in creating a “green” bedroom in your own home, as well as lessons in sustainability on a broader level.

Solar-Powered Greenhouse Fosters New Growth in Old Pittsburgh Neighborhood

In the economically distressed Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh sits a greenhouse that is mere feet from city utilities infrastructure, but there are no city utility connections in this building. Powered exclusively by energy from the sun through a revolutionary DC micro grid, the Homewood greenhouse requires no supplementary heat, energy, or water. Inside the greenhouse, Oasis Farms and Fishery is perfecting the revolutionary agricultural technology called aquaponics, where plants are combined with aquatic life to create a sustainable, diverse system of food growth and cultivation. It is a revolutionary urban farming initiative that provides a model for agricultural, economic, and sustainable development for even the most remote and under-privileged locations. Designed to increase food productivity and density, especially in urban areas, this experimental greenhouse not only grows food, but acts as a global model for developing nations.

The greenhouse includes:
  • Aquaponics systems to grow plants and fish
  • A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education classroom under a solar canopy
  • A rainwater collection and purification system, with both 1,200 and 500-gallon cisterns, that uses a series of ultraviolet light, filters, and pumps to make the water safe for the aquatic living environment
  • Maintenance-free materials and design
  • Zero operating cost