Musings from the Solar Pioneer Party

Musings from the Solar Pioneer Party

Last weekend I attended the very fun and rewarding three-day Solar Pioneer Party in Grass Valley, California. This was the 2nd annual gathering of us “Solar Pioneers,” loosely defined as those of us who have been promoting and selling solar PV since the late 1970s. It was inspiring to say the least to get most of us in the same room at the same time (less those of us who had passed away). Who Are the Solar Pioneers? Jim Cullen...

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Creating an Uninterruptible Power Supply From Your Solar PV System

Creating an Uninterruptible Power Supply From Your Solar PV System

“I have solar on my roof but when the power goes out, I’m out of luck!” Until recently, grid-tie inverters have been designed to perform only one function: to convert varying DC power from a solar array into an AC current source solely for the purpose of feeding into the grid to reduce your overall power bill. Since your power system will not be able to power up the whole grid, it must shut down when the grid is out – a...

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Power Factor and Power Factor Correction

Power Factor and Power Factor Correction

Power factor (PF) is a topic that has been understood since the advent of electrical distribution, due in no small part to Faraday’s experiments and Maxwell’s subsequent mathematical expressions. It is defined as the ratio of real power flowing to the load to the apparent power in the circuit. When you hit the brakes in your car, you get a linear slowing effect. Operating at low power factor is a little like having the brakes...

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In Response to John Schaeffer’s Tesla…

In Response to John Schaeffer’s Tesla…

By Stephen Morris John, I’m glad that you are happy with your new Tesla and hope your example will inspire others to apply principles of sustainability and green living to their travel habits. Too often our good intentions in managing carbon footprints go flying out the window (pun intended) when it comes to travel, especially air travel. For some reason, the same folks who pride themselves in singing the praises of conservation,...

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The Tesla S-90 Tops My List of Electric Vehicles

The Tesla S-90 Tops My List of Electric Vehicles

I’ve always tried to do the right thing towards minimizing my carbon footprint via my transportation choices, but I’ve finally found a way to eliminate that footprint altogether! First a brief history of my car experiences and early (and sometimes misguided) efforts: In the mid-1970s, when I was starting Real Goods, I commuted from my commune (called Rainbow, what else?) to our first store in Willits in a VW bug that got about 35...

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How Does Solar Affect Your Appraisal Value?

How Does Solar Affect Your Appraisal Value?

By Uma Campbell Having checked the usual blog and social media traffic on home improvements, you’ve been informed that a new kitchen, bathroom, or roof are good ways to increase the value of your home. But what role does solar play? Interestingly, the steady rise in public interest hasn’t caused the good news to be splattered all over every home improvement blog. Simply put, solar has arrived and can have a significant impact on the...

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