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Is Solar Right for Me?

Solar Panels

Deciding to install PV solar panels on your home is no small decision. If you're reading this article you're probably beginning to do some research on solar for your home or business. There is a lot of information out there on the the web about solar which can be quite confusing – here are a few things to think about:

How much rooftop do you have? A standard 1 kilowatt solar panel system measures about 100 square feet. While rooftop panels can be designed big or small, it often does not make sense if you have less than 100 square feet of space. A 1 kilowatt solar panel generally produces 1,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (take a look t your recent energy bills to see how much you usually use). Some solar installers won't install unless you have at least 400 square feet of roof space.

Which direction does sunlight hit your house? Sun from the south is best, sun from the north is worst. Sun from the west and east will do the job, just less efficiently than south.... read more

What is Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)?

 

What is Concentrated Solar Power?

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is a type of solar thermal energy used to create electricity on a large scale. This is not the type of solar energy you see collecting through panels on your neighbor's rooftop. CSP is an important solar technology for homeowners to be aware of because it has the potential to provide significant amounts of clean, renewable energy that could be provided to you by your utility.... read more

How to Choose a Solar Installer

So you've decided to take the plunge and install solar panels on your home or business – congratulations!! The next step is choosing a professional installer to do the work.... read more

  1. Go with a professional electrician: It's not necessary to hire a contractor who is a licensed electrician, but often you will be required to hire someone who is licensed to do the final hook up. Save yourself the extra step by doing the whole project with the same person.
  2. Look for someone who has a North American Board of Certified Electrical Professionals (NABCEP) solar installation certificate. This means they have standardized special training in solar PV installation.
  3. Inquire as to how the professional was trained in solar installation. Many electricians are self-taught in solar because the field is so new. Others may have received formal training from the company that manufactures the solar panels they use. A handful will have formal education from a technical college or university.

What is a Certified NABCEP Solar Installer?

NABCEP

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP, is a professional organization with the most highly recognized PV solar and solar thermal installer certification program. The goal of the organization is to raise consumer standards and promote consumer confidence in the field of solar energy. The mission of NABCEP is also to create a level of quality control for the solar industry.... read more

Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power

When talking about Solar Electricity, we are usually talking about Photolvoltaic (or PV) Solar Power. Photovoltaic Solar Power is solar energy which is converted into electricity using pholtovoltaic solar cells. This is done through the use of specialized machinery.

The ability to capture Photovoltaic energy was first discovered in the mid 1800's, but it was not until 1954 that a team of researchers at Bell Labs found a way to create enough electricity for PV energy to be of any use. This was done (and still is done) through the use of silicon semiconductors. Semiconductors only conduct electricity when exposed to light or heat (as opposed to conductors, which always conduct electricity and insulators which never conduct electricity). The captured light moves along a circuit from Positive-type semiconductors to Negative-type semiconductors in order to create electric voltage.... read more

What is Solar Energy?

 

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy has been used by mankind since... well, forever (ever fry an egg on the sidewalk?)! Solar energy takes advantage of the sun's rays to generate heat or electricity. It is an infinitely renewable resource and unique for its ability to generate energy in a quiet, clean, and consistent manner.

There are two types of solar energy – passive and active. Essentially this means how it converted into useful energy.... read more

Colleges Go Green: Mills College Leads in Sustainable Practice

Mills Green

Why is it important for colleges to go green? “That’s an easy questions!” replied Mills College Sustainability and Recycling Coordinator Britta Bullard.  Over the course of our hour-long interview, Britta explained the importance of teaching leadership and accountability, preparing students for the world in which they live, and modeling community activism for change.


Mills College is located in the beautiful rolling foothills of Oakland, California.  Mills has been recognized for its excellence in Sustainability in Princeton Review “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” and as one of Sierra Magazine’s “100 Coolest Green Schools.” In addition to housing 2 LEED certified buildings (one platinum and one gold) and a leading Environmental Sciences degree, Mills students and faculty and staff play an active role in initiatives that link them directly to the local and global green communities. Here are a few of my favorite ways:... read more

Argosy University Green MBA Review

Argosy University is one of several online universities offering a "green" MBA.  Graduates of this program earn an MBA degree with a concentration in "Sustainable Management" which highlights the importance of measuring business success in terms of economic, environmental, and societal impact.  Argosy designed this program for "individuals who seek to be the go-to problem solvers for modern businesses” and promises "real-world insights into the leadership qualities, actions, and solutions tha... read more

Green MBA Programs in the United States

I've been doing a lot of research lately on various "green" (aka "sustainable") MBA programs around the United States.  I have several posts describing programs in specific geographic locations, but thought a comprehensive list of all green MBA and graduate certificate programs int the US would be helpful.  Here is what I've found.  Let me know if I've left anything out.... read more

Can I Afford a Green MBA?

Green MBA Programs are the perfect way to catapult your career forward in the new, sustainable economy. But graduate education can be quite expensive, and you may be asking yourself "can I afford a green MBA??" 

Can I Afford a Green MBA?

The answer to this question is different for each person.  The cost of Green MBA Programs varies widely from around $4,000 at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture to around $90,000 at the University of Pennsylvania. Most programs fall right around $50,000 (Presidio Graduate School, approximately $49,000; Green Mountain College, approximately $29,000).  ... read more

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