Energy storage and meeting our future energy needs

Submitted by Greg on Fri, 06/23/2017 - 16:51

Storage of electricity is expensive, because batteries are expensive, and lose power over time. Batteries are getting less expensive all the time, though, and are easy to add to existing systems. Batteries are a good way to shift excess power from peak generation time to peak load. This was never something anyone had to even consider doing in the past, because it has only been recently that peak generation has out-produced demand during the daytime. So, traditionally, people only think of long-term storage needs, which batteries are not good for.


Upcycled mini-Trombe wall

Submitted by Barbara on Sat, 01/21/2012 - 19:48

I hate to see anything go to waste.  I also hate to see my life cluttered up with useless crap.  After we had the exterior of our house redone in Certainteed Fiber Cement board, there was lots left over.  Lots and lots.  We found several small projects, but the most interesting was the mini-Trombe wall.


CO2 payback of solar panels and an electric car

Submitted by Greg on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 19:03

There have been a lot of studies and comparisons on the savings of CO2 emissions when pv solar panels are used in place of electricity from a utility company; however, since different solar panel manufacturers use different manufacturing techniques, and different kinds of power plants produce differing amounts of CO2, the results of these comparisons can vary widely.

California approves molten-salt solar plant for construction

Submitted by Greg on Thu, 12/16/2010 - 23:16

We blogged about molten-salt plants a few months ago here on, and now we have some good news to go along with that. California has approved a molten-salt solar plant, and construction is expected to begin sometime late in 2011. Hopefully the cost and efficiency will play out as expected, and more of these plants will be built in the future.

Solar trackers

Submitted by Greg on Tue, 10/13/2009 - 16:33

According to conventional wisdom, tracking the sun with solar panels took more energy than was gained by optimizing the angle to the sun -- or so I thought.  Meca Solar is selling solar trackers that they claim offer a 35% increase in yield over fixed installations.


     - Greg


Nuclear vs. renewable energy

Submitted by Greg on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 05:23

Lately there seems to be a lot of talk about using nuclear energy to reduce our petrolium and coal consumption.  The arguement usually involves a comparison of the volume of nuclear waste per unit of energy produced compared to coal, coupled with an assertion that neither solar nor wind can provide baseline power.


There are flaws in the arguement, though.  One thing that is often overlooked is that currently, nuclear energy is not viable without subsidies.  A 2005 article from EarthTrack describes the dependancy nuclear energy has on government funds: