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Energy Independence With Solar Energy

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It’s Independence Day,  so it’s a great time to bring up energy independence! The term energy independence has several meanings. From whom (or what) are we declaring independence. The Utility Companies The most obvious entity that has us locked down in chains is our own utility company. We are beholden to the monopoly that is charged with providing us with …

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Florida Public Service Commission Requests Comments on Solar Energy

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The Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) staff is gathering information regarding enhancing development of solar technologies in Florida. Florida Solar Design Group responded to the April 23rd Memorandum as follows, answering the FPSC’s questions in an email:   Dear Lee Eng Tan (FPSC Senior Attorney, Office of the General Counsel), In response to the subject Memorandum, I offer the following response …

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Solar Air Conditioning in Florida

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The phrase Solar Air Conditioning has been used very loosely in recent years. From the consumer’s perspective, you probably want to know if solar power can be used to run your air conditioner. Several products are on the market that are advertised as using the power of the sun to cool your Florida home. They are usually called solar air …

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Buy Solar Pool Heating Panels Online

In Education, Opinion 1 Comment

You can buy solar pool heating panels online, but not here. Nonetheless, if you are looking to buy solar panels online, keep reading. Note: I’m not really going to try to talk you out of buying solar panels online. I listened to a great podcast today from Nora Young called Spark.  One segment was on the growing phenomenon of what’s …

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FPL Historical Energy Mix in Florida | Electricity Generation

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Florida has become much more reliant on natural gas recently. This dependence puts us at risk of price fluctuations in the Natural Gas market. The infographic below shows the change in energy source for electricity delivered by FPL, the state’s largest electricity generator. As a state, we have done little to hedge against fuel price fluctuations by diversifying our energy …

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Solar Energy is Amazing

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Sometimes I lose perspective on how amazing solar energy really is. We go about our day, forgetting that the solar panels we have cumulatively sold offset huge amounts of energy. Unlike selling a gallon of fuel or a pound of gas that burn up quickly to provide short spurts of energy, solar panels provide a long-term, lasting energy source for …

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Top 5 Energy Using Appliances in Your Home

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If you are an FPL customer, you may have received an email recently that answered the question, “what are the top 5 energy users in my home?” FPL’s energy expert accurately explained how five things are the major drivers of the average utility customer’s electric bill. Those five things are: Air Conditioning Pool Pump Water Heater Lighting Clothes Dryer Well …

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Two-speed Pool Pumps vs. Variable Speed Pool Pumps

In Education, Opinion 8 Comments

Right before I published this article I was contacted by a nice lady in Georgia who felt her pool service company was steering her wrong with a decision to replace her ailing single-speed pump. There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding two-speed pool pump and variable speed pumps, and many dealers are not up to speed (no pun …

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Solar Panels for Pool Lifestyle

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With the thousands of solar panel layouts and designs I have done, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that solar pool heating is about pool lifestyle. I was getting a bit bored with the stale old solar panel renderings that I crank out on a daily basis, and decided to explore the idea again of adding pool screened …

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Invest in Solar Power to Hedge Against Inflation

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In addition to providing a solid return on investment relative to other investments of similar term and risk, solar electric power is a great hedge against inflation for homeowners and businesses. If you expect continued inflation (most people do), a solar electric system can lock in your price for electricity for a long time. Most people in Florida buy solar energy …

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What is a Microinverter?

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For many years, the workhorse of the solar energy industry was the “big box on the wall,” as new clients often call it. The big box is an inverter, or in a battery backup situation, an inverter/charger. These beastly eyesore in garages or on exterior walls were both the engines that converted DC electricity to AC and the brains of …

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Photovoltaic (Solar Electric) Systems With Battery Backup

In Education, Opinion 1 Comment

Most solar energy systems installed today are “grid-interactive,” meaning that they work in tandem with the utility grid to supply energy to your home. If you want your solar energy system to work when there is no utility grid power available, you need batteries.* Batteries allow you to store energy and use it when grid connections fail, like after storms …

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LED Pool Lights Cut Energy Use

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LED swimming pool lights are a great innovation. The provide clean, white light (or colors) and the same or more brightness at a fraction of the energy use. I replaced my two incandescent pool lights a year ago, and I am extremely happy that I did. I previously had my pool lights on a timer running three hours a night. …

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Florida’s Energy Mix is a Concern for the Future

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Florida is heavily dependent on natural gas for electricity production. In fact, Florida’s largest utility points out that over 70% of electricity generated in Florida comes from natural gas. While new plants based on this fuel have made electricity cheap today and relatively clean (compared to coal plants being replaced), the risk for Florida is the natural gas prices do …

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Valuation of Homes with Solar Panels

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Note that this article on valuation of homes applies to solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) systems, not solar pool heating or solar water heating systems. The solar energy industry’s marketing gurus have ample rule-of-thumb estimates for how much value solar panels add to homes, but that’s all just speculation unless someone is actually willing to pay more for your home …

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How Long Does a Solar Pool Heating Panel System Last?

In Education, Maintenance, Opinion 2 Comments

With warranties exceeding a decade in most cases, manufacturers are obviously very confident in their solar pool heating panels. Once the warranty enters the discussion, usually that is the end of the conversation. But the question still remains: “How Long Does a Solar Pool Heating Panel System Last?” Solar pool heating systems are generally trouble-free, especially with proper care and …