Efficient of solar panels continues to increase and the costs of installing them keep going down, meaning that there’s never been a better time than now to install solar panels. One of the great things about solar is how scalable it is, you can install a small system on a townhouse to a massive system on fields of land. It all comes down to budget. If you’re in Canada you can make use of the Canada Greener Homes program to get up to $5,000 towards the cost of your solar panels. The faster people move to renewable energy sources the better the chance we have at averting climate catastrophe.
What solar capacity do you need, or can you afford?
The average home in Ontario uses 8,250 kWh of electricity annually (this average will increase over time as buildings are electrified); roughly 10 kW of solar energy capacity would be required to meet that demand. Most homes will be able to fit somewhere between 5 kW and 10 kW so you’ll need to assess your own roof. SolarShare’s Operations & Maintenance Coordinator, Bob Ross, estimates that when accounting for building permits, fees and solar panels, a 5 kW system will cost approximately $18,000, and 10 kW around $28,000. Check outthis calculatorto estimate your potential savings from installing solar panels.
One of the worst ways to generate electricity is to burn coal to heat water to spin turbines, the only reason this power generation exists is due to the cheap cost of coal. OF course, when coal is brunt it releases radiation and carbon into the atmosphere worsening local areas and the planet. Thankfully the use of coal is decreasing in totality around the world. This past year the USA produced more power from renewable sources than coal, which is a step in the right direction. Ideally the nation will ge their coal use to zero.
According to the Energy Information Administration, a federal statistical agency, combined wind and solar generation increased from 12 percent of national power production in 2021 to 14 percent in 2022. Hydropower, biomass, and geothermal added another 7 percent — for a total share of 21 percent renewables last year. The figure narrowly exceeded coal’s 20 percent share of electricity generation, which fell from 23 percent in 2021.
The growth in renewable electricity was largely driven by a surge in added wind and solar capacity, the agency said. Texas was the top wind-generating state last year, producing more than a quarter of all U.S. wind generation. It was also the leading state for natural gas and coal power. Iowa and Oklahoma landed at second and third in wind generation, accounting for 10 percent and 9 percent of national wind power respectively.
Wars fought over oil and wars funded by oil sales are both problems we’ve seen in the 21st century. Fighting over a depleting planet-destroying energy source may soon be a thing of the past as we increase the use of renewable energy the world over. Expect the use of wind power to continue to grow in the coming years, already the rate of installation of these efficient systems has increased. Some countries that didn’t embrace wind before due to a lack of land are now building offshore installations which allow for bigger, better turbines.
Help bring peace to the world by cutting back gas use while increasing renewable energy sources.
The potential to deploy both onshore and offshore wind capacity depends on a country’s geography.
Among the leading offshore wind locations, Britain has plentiful coastlines, Germany can take advantage of its location between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and China uses its expansive coastal regions to good effect.
But when offshore and onshore wind capacity are combined, a different picture emerges.
Global onshore and offshore wind generation totalled 732 gigawatts by the end of 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
When it comes to emissions we often think of cars and factories, but we can’t ignore the impact we can make at home. In much of the northern hemisphere houses are built with infrastructure supporting the burning of non-renewable fuels which destroy the planet. The decisions made by people who are now retired will cost us, but the faster we change houses to renewable the greater the savings for the planet and homeowners. But how can we make the change from subsidized gas to market rate renewables?
Over at the National Observer Seth Klein records how he switched his house from natural gas to all electric. He outlines the process and how one can save money and the planet at home by changing their energy source.
A couple of years ago, my family’s home — a 12-year-old, 1,400-square-foot, well-insulated duplex in East Vancouver — was heated with a high-efficiency gas boiler. The boiler produced hot water for both our direct water needs and for pipes that provided lovely radiant heated floors in the winter. We also had a gas fireplace in the living room we rarely used, and we cooked on a gas stove.
No doubt this conversion has also increased the value of our home, as future owners will not face the inevitable need to fuel swap down the road once robust climate policies are in place, and they will benefit from the upfront capital costs we assumed for the solar panels and heat pump.
Canada’s Maritime provinces are blustery, cold, and powered by coal. The weather is fine for most people (and lovely in the summer), but they know they need to transition to renewable energy quickly or risk losing more land to the seas and worsening storms due to climate change. The work to get the power grid to be a green one is underway.
Researchers and policy makers are looking into ways to make their power grid more robust by incorporating modern battery technology. The technology varies from smart water heaters to store heat to phase-change energy storage which is gaining popularity around the world.
Several companies in the Maritimes are investigating the possibility of integrating phase-change materials into heat sources to allow more integration of renewables.
One is Fredericton-based Stash Energy. Dan Curwin, director of business development, said they’ve developed heat pumps with phase-change material storage built in, to store energy from renewable sources like hydro when it’s plentiful, such as overnight, and discharge it in the morning when demand is high, to be stored up again from renewables like solar during the day.
This can help with the integration of renewables and with greater adoption of electric heat pumps, which are the most efficient heating option but risk overburdening the grid.
Curwin said the company has partnerships with efficiency agencies across Atlantic Canada and New England, as well as housing authorities such as Housing Nova Scotia that recognize the particular burden posed by heating costs.