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August 18, 2017

DOE Study: Solar and Wind Save $22 Billion; 12,700 Lives Saved

When it comes to clean, renewable energy, it’s not just what you save yourself – it’s also what you save everyone.


One example of this philosophy is evident in a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy that shows big ecological and public health benefits from the change-over from coal and fossil fuels to wind and solar power.


The numbers are astounding: over the past decade, officials say, solar and wind power have saved a whopping $22 billion just in terms of “climate and health benefits.”


The study also cited an estimated 12,700 lives saved.


Where does this number come from? A major part of the equation is the harmful particulate emissions caused by traditional fossil fuel energy generation. Researchers take into account the health savings from lower amounts of carbon and particle pollution, and apply them to a model to get an idea of how much these energy changes have done for the general population.


Cleaner air and water is like preventative medical care – it saves lives, but is also decreases medical costs. That’s another element of these savings.


Overall, researchers have attached a value to the “social cost of carbon:” a cost of $7 per metric ton of CO2. However, many experts say the real cost of carbon emissions is much higher, citing other “soft costs” and effects on our environment that might not be reflected in the official number.

How about in terms of kilowatt hours?


Researchers cite a savings of 7.3 c/kWh for wind power, and 4.0cents/kWh for solar power. You can see that’s a significant amount compared to what consumers pay for solar right now.


New studies like these are good reasons to consider new solar projects – but in reality, there are other forces pushing business and property owners to get on board. Simply put, solar makes sense. It’s becoming profoundly affordable, and giving traditional energy options a run for their money. Economies of scale are making solar more attractive – and some states and local communities even grant tax exemptions or offer other incentives for property owners to “go green.”


If you are interested in getting involved in the solar revolution, talk to Sun Day Solar about practical ways to outfit your property. We have helped many clients around Charlottesville and the Albemarle County area to get outfitted for renewable energy generation and benefit from natural energy from the sun. Become one of many who realize the individual and collective benefits of finding new ways to support ourselves and our planet.

August 16, 2017

New Nanotechnology Research Adds Color to Solar Technology

What if your solar panels could be any color you wanted?


To a lot of people, there is nothing wrong with the classic black and blue panels. They’re not loud colors, and they’re not intrusive in a property design or layout. But as with so many other things, consumers want choice.


Now new nanotechnologies may be giving us a way to offer solar panels in more colorful designs.


Brand-new reports from the American Institute of Physics in Science News show how scientists have been able to use a process called “soft imprint lithography” to create new hues in solar panels — making a renewable energy source literally: green.


The basic way to explain this is that tiny nanocylinders on a microscopic scale throw a green light, to change how the panel surface appears to the eye. Scientists refer to it as an ‘optical rubber stamp’ — there is also an electromagnetic element to this technology. Essentially, manufacturers would populate the panel with these nanoparticles to change the wavelength of the resulting light.

One of the things that’s strange and controversial about this project is the trade-off — changing the color of the solar panels in this way would actually reduce their efficiency by about 2%.


However, advocates argue that the 2% in performance is pretty negligible.


“Some people say ‘why would you make solar cells less efficient?’ But we can make solar cells beautiful without losing too much efficiency,” Verena Neder, an author of a paper on the subject, told Science Daily. “The new method to change the color of the panels is not only easy to apply, but also attractive as an architectural design element, and has the potential to widen their use.”


So how soon will we have designer solar panels?


The AIP reports that groups are already progressing on red solar panels and contemplating the eventual development of white ones. What’s next — fractal graphics on solar panels?


Well, as they say, if everybody liked Chevrolets, they would make Fords.


Creating choice is just another piece of the solar puzzle. It’s another sign that solar energy has really come to fruition, and that it’s become a realistic and practical way to run your property or small business on the power of the sun.


Solar is popping up everywhere for a reason. It’s not just mega-companies like Amazon or utilities like Dominion – residents all over Virginia and much of the rest of the country are getting their own smaller solar projects in place, to enjoy sourcing their energy from a renewable, natural place.


Ask Sun Day Solar about your options for getting affordable green energy solutions on-site. We can help with roof-mounted or ground-mounted systems and other different kinds of solar installations that can help save you money and promote a good ecological future. Let us help you to make your solar dreams into reality!

August 10, 2017

Scientists Working Hard on Solarization Models

Researchers around the world are finding that solar energy is approaching new break-even cost  evaluations, and quickly becoming much more affordable and feasible for property owners.


However, they’re also finding that this new potential raises questions about solar energy use. There is a certain amount of intermittent supply and demand that is one of the biggest remaining obstacles to really focusing on developing more of our energy from renewables, and less from fossil fuels.

Current publications in Science Daily such as a report from the American Institute of Physics shows that one promising area of research is demand response or DR. Demand response can help create the right balance for solar energy, and make it efficient to take in power with photovoltaic systems, store it in batteries and use it accordingly.


A co-author of a paper on current solar use says solar energy use models will need to shift from a model of “generation to follow” to a new model of “demand to follow generation.”


For instance, new technologies would manually dial down power use during peak demand times. By automating the direction of energy resources in this way, systems can ensure supply.

Using these types of systems might not be what energy users are used to. It might mean changing your daily schedule, such as when you shower or do laundry or use power tools. However, with just a little bit of flexibility, demand response can greatly improve how solar contributes to our lives.


In other words, nothing good comes without effort. There is the effort of getting solar installations on site and making them work. But there is also an effort using this energy in responsible ways. In some cases, solar use might not be like yesterday’s energy plans. It’s not what we’re accustomed to if we usually just suck power from coal or nuclear plants, or some other unseen, faraway place.


What it does, though, is model a new way of living life that’s more considerate of our neighbors, our planet and our communities. By making some small sacrifices, solar users see big savings and some really rewarding benefits that don’t come in the form of comfort and convenience features.


Let Sun Day Solar help you to micromanage your energy plan in order to get what you need out of renewable residential solar systems. We are experienced in helping our customers to evaluate their properties and see what makes sense on a given lot, for a given household or business. We can also provide advice about the most affordable ways to go about getting solar in place. Ask about how we can deliver roof-mounted solar and other designs, to start getting your energy from a better place.


August 4, 2017

Favorable Solar Conditions in Virginia

The state of Virginia may not be leading the country in solar, but it is a place where solar is growing in a major way.


There is a lot in the news about large VA energy companies diversifying into solar — for example, Dominion Energy purchasing solar farms all around Virginia and North Carolina. However, small residential and business solar is on the rise, too.


Here are some of the favorable conditions that business leaders and homeowners can take advantage of in the state of Virginia.


Net Metering


With net metering, surplus generation of energy gets credited to the owner of the solar installation on a utility bill. Those who buy solar energy generating systems can take a cumulative surplus and carry it over, or sell electricity back to a utility at a certain point in time.


Net metering is one of the biggest draws for Virginia residents wanting to install new solar systems on their properties.




Virginia’s grid also makes it somewhat easy to connect solar to the system. Outside auditors have given the state a top grade in its interconnection infrastructure, and with the big utilities exploring solar even more, it’s not going to be long before the entire state grid is very conducive to renewable energy generation. That’s another reason why it might make sense to get involved in a solar project right now.


Property Tax Exemptions


Here’s another interesting way that Virginia residents benefit from solar installations.


Usually, any value that you add to your home or business gets taxed in addition to the property’s original value, but Virginia lawmakers have carved out an exemption for solar systems. State officials will take a certain valuation and apply it to property’s solar systems to exempt certain amounts from property tax collection. This can be a big deal if you live in a community with relatively high real estate or “school” taxes.


These are just some of the reasons why Virginia residents are picking up on the pros of switching to a solar home or small business energy system. Let Sun Day Solar help you to evaluate your property in Charlottesville, Virginia or in the Albemarle County area. We know how to help clients find the most affordable and efficient way forward with getting a plan in place to collect green energy from the sun!


August 4, 2017

Big Solar Park in Gloucester Rivals Amazon U.S. East Project in Potential Size

If you’ve been reading about Virginia’s solar growth, you know that regional utilities are investing in solar in a big way — with companies like Dominion Energy purchasing large solar installations in multiple counties. You know that schools like UVA have dedicated portions of their budgets to green energy. But sometimes it seems like the solar boom is happening so fast, it’s like it’s happening everywhere at once.


For example, those familiar with large solar farms run by Amazon, such as an 80-megawatt installation in Accomack County, might be surprised to know that some other solar plants are slated to be even larger than the Amazon U.S. East solar installation.


Just a few weeks ago, breaking reports in local newspapers showed plans of a new project called Farin & Pearfield Solar in Gloucester County. Pictures of the project show some 375,000 panels, ground mounted with swiveling hardware allowing them to catch the sun’s rays at particular angles.


Charlottesville Daily Press coverage shows the CEO of Hexagon Energy, the company behind the project, talking about how there’s a lot of potential in Gloucester County, which is relatively less developed than some other parts of Virginia.


“Gloucester is an area of the state where there is open, undeveloped land and land not adjacent to large metropolitan areas. These projects can be harmonious with other agriculture and timber uses in the county,” Hexagon CEO Matt Hantzmon said.


What does all of this mean?

It means that more businesses and consumers will have access to renewable energy supplies. It means that more of Virginia’s electrical grid power is going to come from the sun. Solar is truly taking over at an amazing pace. At the same time, small businesses and individual property owners are looking to also benefit from solar installations. With net metering agreements, it’s possible to harvest the sun’s energy and collect energy credits from your utility provider.


Anyone with questions about these smaller types of projects can get effective assistance from Sun Day Solar, a major solar service company in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. Ask us about what’s happening in your community and how you can get on board. Let us help you evaluate your plot of land and what’s possible in order to make your operations greener and lower your carbon footprint for a brighter future.