Author Archives: Charia Underwood

ABCO Solar Blog

We won the “Most Innovative Product” award from SAHBA Home Show 2017

ABCO Solar Inc. of Tucson, Arizona won “The Most Innovative Product” award at the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association home show in mid October.

ABCO Solar (ABCO) was selected from 12 applicants as presenting “The Most Innovative Product” award for their presentation of the Perfectly Green Corporation’s SMART FROG 23 SEER Solar Air Conditioning unit.

The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA) biannual home show features businesses involved in all aspects of home building, design and accessories and attended by 20,000 community members. The home show judges were all home building industry participants and “The Most Innovative Product” award is the most prestigious of the awards presented.

Designed For Reliable On or Off Grid (FROG) applications, the Smart Frog A/C operates on 4 kilowatts of Direct Current electricity generated by solar panels. The 3 or 5 ton units can be operated using grid power, solar power or power from an integrated 7 kilowatt propane or natural gas generator. The electricity sources can be combined for power mixing which can be useful for peak time of use period “peak shaving”, powering the air conditioner in times of grid failure as well as household power needs in the absence of grid power.

The integrated solar inverter and gas generator may be purchased separately as component parts if desired. The Smart Frog may use solar that is already in place on the residence. Commercial grade solar Air Conditioners will be available soon.

ABCO Solar Blog

Ten Tips For 25 Years Of Trouble Free Solar Power

Almost all solar panels sold in the U.S. carry a 25 year warranty, most inverters are guaranteed for 10 to 25 years, and as long as you get occasional heavy rain your panels do not need regular cleaning. So if you are thinking about solar for your home, the most important considerations – besides price – are the quality and reliability of the installation itself. With these factors in mind, here are my top ten tips for 25 years of trouble free solar power:

  1. Find an installer who has been in business for 5+ years and uses their own installation crews (not subcontractors).
  2. You get what you pay for – so be careful about selecting an installer based on the lowest price.
  3. Prices for battery storage systems are coming down fast, storage incentives in many states will be available soon, control software is being developed, and the reliability of this new technology is improving rapidly. My advice is to get a battery-storage ready system, while waiting for these improvements to settle down in the market over the next few years.
  4. Panels from the major manufacturers are all very reliable; the biggest difference is simply that higher efficiency panels cost more. In most cases it does not make sense to pay extra for highest efficiency panels if you have enough roof space for slightly lower efficiency panels.
  5. The most common customer service issue relates to inverter monitoring. A distant second is a problem with the inverter itself.
  6. Squirrels and rats like to nest under rooftop panels and chew wires. Pigeons prefer barrel tile roofs. If you have any of these pests on your roof, talk to your installer about installing screening around the perimeter of your panels.
  7. Make sure your installer uses the proper flashing and sealing techniques on your roof mounts. Flashings are mandatory on all composition shingle roofs.
  8. Heavy rain does a great job of cleaning off debris from rooftop panels. NEVER hose off your panels – mineral deposits from tap water can permanently damage the glass.
  9. Wiring should be securely tucked-up beneath the panels and racking. Contact your installer if there are any wires hanging down on the roof surface.
  10. To make sure your system is operating properly, keep an eye on your inverter display (or online display), as well as your monthly electric bill. Even if your installer is monitoring your system they might not always notify you if there is a problem – especially if there is a problem with your monitoring.

From Barry Cinnamon, Cinnamon Solar

ABCO Solar Blog

The Benefits of Choosing Solar Energy

Home improvement trends come and go. What’s popular among today’s homeowners may feel dated to prospective buyers a decade from now. But solar energy is one home improvement trend that does not figure to go the way of sunken living rooms or popcorn ceilings.

According to the Solar Energies Industry Association®, solar energy experienced a compound annual growth rate of more than 60 percent between 2006 and 2016. Solar energy has also done wonders to improve the employment rate.

According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, in the United States there were more than 260,000 solar workers in 2016, an increase of 25 percent from the previous year. Things are equally rosy in Canada, where the Government of Canada reports installed capacity for solar thermal power has experienced a compound growth rate of nearly 14 percent since 2004.

The search for a renewable energy source has led many people to embrace solar energy, but there are many more reasons for homeowners to embrace going solar.

  • Return on investment: Many people considering solar energy for the first time may experience some sticker shock when they learn the cost of installing solar panels on their homes. But data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace indicated that, in the first half of 2015, solar shoppers who compared their options achieved payback on their solar investments in 7.5 years. So in addition to the monthly savings on their utility bills, homeowners can expect to recoup their solar energy investments in a relatively short period of time.
  • Property value: Whether they plan to do so in the near or distant future, homeowners with an eye on selling their homes may be interested to learn that a recent study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that solar panels can significantly increase property value. The study analyzed the sales of more than 20,000 homes in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania, suggesting the desire for solar energy among prospective buyers is not exclusive to a particular region of the country.
  • Energy independence: According to the U.S. Energy Administration, most of the energy consumed in the United States comes from fossil fuels like petroleum. The EIA also notes that, in 2016, the United States imported about 10.1 million barrels of petroleum per day. By embracing solar energy, Americans and citizens of any country that relies heavily on foreign oil imports, can take a big step toward increasing their energy independence.

The use of solar energy is on the rise, and there are many reasons for homeowners to embrace this increasingly popular energy source.

“Explore the Benefits of Choosing Solar Energy.” Dcourier. The Daily Courier and Western News & Info®, Inc., 21 July 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.

ABCO Solar Blog

Unstoppable: Why The Next Decade Belongs To Renewable Energy

The greatest challenge for mankind in the 21st century is powering the planet, while at the same time drastically reducing carbon emissions and continuing to lower the cost of energy. One year ago, GE published a Ecomagination report that examined the incredible acceleration of renewable energy development across the globe. We called upon businesses, investors and governments to further accelerate renewable energy innovation, build new solutions and create a truly sustainable energy ecosystem for the planet, its people and the world economy. Over the course of the year we learned that our optimism was well-grounded.

Some striking facts and figures — In 2016, wind and solar beat investment in fossil fuels by 2-to-1. Global capacity additions increased again in 2016; in the United States, renewable energy accounted for 60 percent of these additions. In 2016, Portugal powered the country with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days, clean power supplied Germany’s power demand for a full day, and Denmark could produce enough wind power to meet its domestic electricity demand and have enough to export power to Norway, Germany and Sweden. The U.K. generated more electricity by wind than coal – the first-time wind has outperformed coal for an entire year. In 2016, Hydro became visible as a storage solution and as an integrator of wind and solar. Small Hydro solutions grow as a source of electricity production close to the users. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy published a report stating that U.S. hydropower could grow from 101 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to nearly 150 GW by 2050.

We believe the business case for renewable energy remains strong today for several reasons:

First, the demand for new energy supplies around the world keeps growing at a significant pace. During the first half of 2016, clean energy investments reached $116.4 billion, and approximately $2 trillion is invested in the global energy sector per year.

Second, in many countries renewables can meet or even beat the cost of generation from conventional options. For example, in the United States onshore wind power is competitive with new natural gas-fired generation. Moving forward, GE’s research partner, the Joint Institute of Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) has estimated that by 2025, innovation will enable wind costs to fall by another 29 percent and solar PV costs to fall by up to 44 percent. Worldwide, Hydro is among the most competitive.

renewable energy ge reports

Image credit: GE Reports

Third, the renewable energy industry is a global jobs growth engine. Global renewable energy employment has reached 9.5 million and is increasing at a rate of 5 percent annually, which means that nearly 500 million new jobs are created every year. The greatest number of jobs are being created in the United States, China, Brazil, India, Japan and Germany.

There is scope for even more optimism. Technology innovation and policy commitments could lead to a world where wind energy accounts for one-third of electricity generation by the middle of the century. These are not “pie in the sky” estimates. Rather, they represent the range of what’s feasible given the current pace of innovation across the industry. Scientists at GE’s Global Research Center have developed innovations that place wind power on a pathway to produce power at 3 cents/kWh. Innovation is not confined to wind and solar power– innovations in hydropower promise to increase efficiencies in hydropower plants across the globe.

Innovations in hydropower efficiency are benefiting from the digital revolution. For example, GE’s Digital Hydro Plant is a unique blend of hydropower software and hardware, well-grounded in data analytics, and improving the performance of hydro plants across the globe. Data analytics provide greater accuracy about the performance of hydropower turbines, plants and equipment, which is helping control expenses and energy production.

The rapid pace of change in renewable energy is an exhilarating journey. We are seeing the evolution of new business models and power players. There are new investment opportunities – we can combine wind, solar and hydropower to change traditional energy models. Innovation in wind, solar, hydro, storage, hybrid technology, energy efficiency and digitization enable us to run the biggest economies and reach the most remote communities.

Just over 100 years ago, in a Scientific American advertisement, GE imagined a world where humankind could successfully harness the power of the sun, the wind and the sea. That vision, along with our relentless investment in technology innovation, has helped shape the renewable energy world that we live in today – imagine what the next 10 years will bring!

Debora Frodl is Global Executive Director at GE Ecomagination.

Yves Rannou is President and CEO for GE Renewable Energy, Hydro.

Original article by Yves Rannou & Debra Frodl via Manufacturing.net   www.manufacturing.net/blog/2017/03/unstoppable-why-next-decade-belongs-renewable-energy