It’s a perfect storm for expansion in the solar leasing business which has led the smallest of the big three solar lease providers to march eastward. Sungevity credits high energy costs, especially in some of the Northeastern states, with new found interest. We’re moving beyond ethical principles and onto economics. Sungevity is showing consumers that they can cool down on the cheap by pushing popsicles in a biodiesel solar powered ice pop truck, while at the same time reminding them that solar power is no longer out of their financial reach.
Aptly named the “Rooftop Revolution,” Sungevity’s solar powered popsicle truck will be hitting up farmers’ markets, festivals, and other public events in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Delaware, hoping to seize up business that’s moved far beyond their humble start in Oakland, Calif. Sungevity has made their mark by offering customers a low budget way into the solar market with zero money down solar leases. Sungevity also offers online quotes so that customers know immediately how much they can save through installation. In fact, their ice pop truck is equipped with iPads so that iQuotes can be done at no charge onsite.
Photo: Mat McDermott
“Sungevity’s ‘Rooftop Revolution’ is a true first in the solar industry and drives directly to what we believe – that going solar is a lifestyle choice that makes dollars and sense,” said Patrick Crane, Chief Marketing Officer at Sungevity.
Solar Poised for Expansion
According to Huffington Post, solar power lease agreements are growing in popularity because the solar company assumes much of the upfront costs of installation and ownership making it a more realistic endeavor for a host of customers that once found it too pricey. While some of their business does come from full solar installations, the boom is born out of their solar lease programs. USA Today reports that high electricity bills across the board are motivating those who have never before thought solar to jump right in.
“We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the price of solar power over the past year,” said the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Tom Kimbis to USA Today. “That has helped residential and commercial use of solar.”
According to a Sungevity press release, a Harris Interactive poll found that 71 percent of U.S. adults are “overwhelmed” by rising energy costs and an “estimated 9.4 million expected to consider solar power in the next five years.”
State Solar Incentives
Incentives for solar are increasing as well. It’s no coincidence that Sungevity chose expansion where they did. According to Clean Technica, Maryland has started to increase solar rebates and so has New Jersey and Massachusetts. In fact, Massachusetts will offset $68 million for the cost of PV systems, especially in schools and government buildings.
Even in a struggling economy there’s a clear opening for a less expensive solar market and Sungevity isn’t the first to make the move. Big competitors SunRun and SolarCity have also begun eastward expansion. But Sungevity hopes to make a dent in the market with the help of its delicious strawberry, mango and hibiscus mint popsicles on a hot summer day. It’s cool treat with a host of incentives.
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More on Solar Leasing
Lowe’s Buys Into Sungevity, Will Offer Solar Quotes in Stores
No Money Down Solar Lease Program Announced in Connecticut
Solar City Offering No Money Down, Residential Solar Panel Leases In California
What will they think of next? Two students from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London have come up with biodegradable eyeglasses made from human hair. That’s right, they’re using your lovely locks as the main ingredient in eyeglass frames.
Studio Swine is using human hair as the main ingredient in their chic eyeglasses instead of petroleum-based, energy-intensive wire and plastic frames.
According to Eccouterre:
Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves’ aptly named “hair glasses,” however, tap into a readily available and renewable resource: the millions of pounds of hair cuttings that salons across the United Kingdom throw away each year.
The glasses contain hair and bioresin and are 100 percent biodegradable at the end of their life. The glasses are currently on exhibit at RCA in London.
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Pro Surfer Kyle Thiermann, Jack Johnson, and Others on ‘Toxic Tumbleweeds’ and More Single-Use Plastics
Plastic has most certainly been demonized over the past decade and with good reason. But even still, we spend roughly $100 billion every year on bottled water. And that’s just plastic water bottles. Single-use plastics have caused devastating repercussions to our planet to put it mildly. But what may surprise you is that our own Hawaiian Islands, especially the east side of Oahu, have become a filter in the Pacific Ocean for plastic waste from the mainland.
t’s time to see just how green the grass can be on your side of the fence. That’s right, AQMD is sponsoring a lawn mower exchange program throughout California, checkout the availability in your area. So you are used to that old gas mower, and are afraid of missing it, but why? Is it the smell of the gas you spilled on your clothes or hands? Maybe it’s way you are partially deaf for the hour following each use. No? Well maybe it’s the ‘tug, tug, choke, tug’ it takes to get the mower going. Whatever your reason is, here is what it isn’t:
“Based in reality.”
With the deal that the AQMD has negotiated you can get a $300-$600 electric mower for as little as $40! That is, unless you are like me and go for the BIG one, the 36v Black&Decker battery powered, that’s right friends no tangled extension cords, for a price of only $170 with the exchange of your old noisy gas mower. So what are just a few of the benefits?
* Quiet no more loud motor
* Green/Environmentally Safe
* HUGE Discount
* No need to buy gas
* Most people will spend about $5.00 a year on electricity to mow their yards!
* and much more!
So you are sold on the idea now and want to know how to get yours. It’s actually quite simple just visit this website for more information:
Make sure to check the site now so you can get registered for the event in your area.
Bloom Energy, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California has developed an incredible technology that traces its roots to NASA’s Mars program. This technology is one of the few available that saves you money and helps you to go green at the same time. Not many people are willing to pay to take there home, company, or organization to the ‘green side’, but what if you can be more environmentally cautious and save money in the process.
If you are thinking this sounds like a great opportunity then you are in good company. There are a number of companies already taking advantage of this technology such as: Google, eBay, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and FedEX to name a few. So you might be wondered, what exactly is this technology all about? Well let me start by saying, as an electrician, what they have developed is truly incredible.
Bloom’s Energy Servers are truly revolutionary in the way they help you to lower your energy costs and improve your energy reliability all while helping to save the environment at the same time. Their Bloom Electron Service offers you the ability to start small and pay as you go. You have the opportunity to eliminate up front costs and simply pay for the electricity that you use. For those looking to maximize the return on their investment they have the opportunity to purchase the equipment outright eliminating the need to pay for consumption.
Due to the fact they have a simple modular, building block system it is easy to install, maintain, and upgrade. Visit http://www.bloomenergy.com/ to find out more information today.
Fun Fact: With this technology a box the size a snow globe can power a European home, two boxes the same size can power an American home.
From Wal-Mart’s controversial sustainability efforts to Marks & Spencer’s aggressive Plan A program, there have been some major top-down green strategies revealed in the business world. But one chain of supermarkets, banks, pharmacies and more is setting out on an incredible effort to embrace green business. From cutting carbon emissions 35% by 2017, through tackling poverty, to purchasing 90% of its developing-world primary commodities from Fair Trade suppliers, this is big, big news.
According to the Guardian, the UK-based Co-operative Group—which is a member-owned mega cooperative running supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, car dealerships, travel agencies and more—is setting out on a corporate journey that it hopes will provide a “benchmark for corporate responsibility”. As Tom Bawden explains, the idea is to tackle every possible angle of greener, fairer business:
“The group, which employs 120,000 staff, also plans to increase its membership from 6 million to 20 million and double its support for green energy to £1bn. In addition, it will increase its involvement with schools and create 2,000 apprenticeships in the next few years, as well as invest £5m a year to tackle poverty around its stores and branches.”
As a democratically controlled, member owned cooperative, The Coop has always had a strong ethical angle to everything it does. But this is clearly a move intended to regain the “ethical” momentum from other high street retailers and I for one am all for it. Competition, as we know, is a great motivator—and what better thing to compete over than who can do the least damage and the most good at the same time.
So who’s next?
From solar transforming school performance in East Africa to creating hundreds of solar entrepreneurs in developing countries, the work of Solar Aid tackles development, clean energy and climate change at the same time. They are also getting pretty innovative in their fund raising efforts too. Their latest effort sees them recruiting real live superheroes who can fly bikes, meditate underwater, throw offgrid parties, and even make it rain in England. It’s impressive stuff.
Ecotricity has long been known for building urban wind turbines on brownfield sites. Perhaps their most famous turbine sits just outside London on the M4 motorway (highway) at Green Park industrial complex in Reading. But while the Green Park turbine may have made our slideshow of stunning urban wind turbines, and it gets many people excited to see renewable energy generation that doesn’t have to spoil the view, others are claiming that this landmark is “the most useless” turbine in the country.
Wind Turbine inefficient and Expensive?
According to Britain’s tabloid Daily Mail, the Green Park turbine is producing woefully inefficient electricity. It has, says the Mail, been working at “15 per cent of its capacity” last year, producing GB£100,000 worth of electricity, but using up GB£130,000 worth of Government subsidies to do so.
Is Wind Power “Efficiency” Relevant?
Unsurprisingly, the turbine owners Ecotricity say that this is a load of anti-wind-power, anti-green spin (pun intended). They claim the estimates of revenue generated are wrong (although they do not give a figure for the right amount), but more importantly when it comes to the wider wind-power debate, they claim that the incessant focus from wind critics on load factors, and efficiency measured by percentage of actual output versus maximum output, is a deceptive and pointless statistical trick.
This from Dale Vince’s response to The Daily Mail:
“Opponents of wind energy often refer to their load factor or the % of their maximum output that they produce in a year. It’s a statistical nonsense to use this figure as a measure of the value or merit of any device or machine. Take the average car – it runs at less than 1% of it’s maximum capacity in any given year. A mobile phone, even a heavy user will struggle to rack up more than low single figure percentages. Are these devices inefficient or worthless….?”
Yes, this is the same Dale Vince making headlines by banning red meat from an entire soccer stadium. Outspoken, no?
More on Wind Power and Opposition to Wind
Ecotricity: 20 More Urban Wind Projects Planned
Stunning Urban Wind Turbines Circumvent NIMBYs
Residents Demand More Wind Turbines
NIMBYs in Minority? Many Residents Welcome Wind Turbines
Cape Wind Faces Spiritual Opposition from Native Americans
Earth First! in Anti Wind-Power Protests
Rocket Stove Science
NPR has a great piece covering both the principles and the politics of the rocket stove. The article is a useful starting point for anyone wondering why rocket stoves are quite so efficient:
“The stove is made from a steel 55-gallon drum, but that belies the precision engineering of what’s inside. A well-insulated combustion chamber made out of a special steel alloy concentrates the fire of just a few sticks of wood. The combustion is more complete than what you’d get in an open fire, burning the particles that usually become smoke. The hot gases are directed around the cookpot. As the water boils, the stove’s metal skin and stovepipe barely get warm, an indication of how little heat is wasted.”
Rocket Stove Politics
Besides the mechanics of the stove though, there is also a philosophical debate underway. On the one hand we find traditionalist NGOs like Aprovecho which have championed open-source, locally-built cook stoves, with the idea that by seeding micro-entrepreneurs around the Globe you can both hone the efficiency of stoves, and also create economic development in the process.
On the other hand, however, are people who argue that the need is too urgent, and progress too slow, not to opt for a more commercial solution:
“There have been thousands of stoves programs; I’m familiar with hundreds of them,” says Bryan Willson, a professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University. “And it’s hard to identify programs that have been successful.” Willson says it’s time to bring 21st century capitalism to bear. “There’s a global need for 500 or 600 million cookstoves,” he says. “And nobody is willing to write a big enough check to donate our way to that solution. So we really need to be able to develop products that people will want to buy.”
Willson and his team started a company called Envirofit which manufactures clean-burning cookstoves for the developing world—and even Aprovecho has developed a stove-manufacturing arm.
Ultimately, as with so many things, it seems to be a false choice between the open-source, grass-roots approach of teaching people to build their own stove, versus the centralized, commercial yet efficient approach. Most likely both will serve their purpose in different communities, and with over half the world still cooking with solid fuels, the main thing is to get moving.
More on Efficient Cook Stoves
Envirofit & Shell Create Efficient Cook Stoves for India
Rocket Stoives: Build Your Own Ultra-Efficient Cook Stove (Video)
Rocket Stoves Aid Relief Effort in Haiti
The New Yorker on Efforts to Hone Efficient Cook Stove Design
Brian Merchant already reported on WikiLeaks revelations about Saudi Oil reserves being overstated by 40%, a claim that could mean that Peak Oil would be upon us as early as 2012. Now Jeremy Leggett over at The Guardian is also raising the alarm, arguing that we are asleep at the wheel when it comes to peak oil, and unless we address this issue now, we could be facing a threat much worse than any credit crunch. “Peak oil is not a theory.” says Leggett. “Because oil is a finite resource, it is an inevitability.” Hear, hear [spelling corrected thanks to comments...].