Three simple sustainable options for small businesses

sustainable optionsIt is always advisable to conduct a comprehensive audit to understand what sustainable options that would have high impact for your triple-bottom-line, however sometimes you just want to get started to enjoy the benefits of implementing sustainable options. To start with, you can consider doing projects that have a high probability of success or focus your efforts on projects that make good business sense i.e. good for the sustainability and profits of the company. This blog attempts to capture a few low hanging fruit sustainable options, especially for small & medium-size businesses that may be interested in implementing low-cost sustainable options to save money or time and material resources such as energy:

  1. Plan an energy efficiency project. Small businesses may not have the finances to conduct a comprehensive energy audit that requires capital intensive modifications but could start with a walk-through audit to visually inspect each of the energy-using systems. Ideally, a walk-through energy-audit will perform a preliminary analysis of energy use or consumption to obtain the energy trends and patterns while benchmarking with other similar facilities. Small businesses can also consider performing a benchmarking audit which is faster because of the use of online tools such as the EPA ENERGY STAR portfolio manager. This online tool which is created by the EPA is a great tool that can be used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. This tool is free to use and it is recommended for users to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings in a secure onlineenvironment. It is easy to use and it can be used to manage the energy use of any building.
  2. Implement solar photovoltaics (PV) project: Most solar projects especially commercial solar projects can be capital intensive, but in most cases, companies don’t have to own the PV system using flexible financing mechanisms such as the power purchase agreement (PPAs) and leasing financing models that allow companies to buy solar power at slightly lower rates compared to utility rates. EnergySage which is an online solar marketplace is a great starting point that online users can be used to estimate their solar potential, savings and get financing for their solar energy projects. At EnergySageyou will also have access to multiple solar quotes from your local solar installers.
  3. Consider using recycled paper for your office:Buying recycled paper may not have a direct impact on your bottom-line, but the indirect benefit this practice has on sustainability can be considered a high impact. Green America has made estimates for the sustainability impact of how recycled paper can have on environment and climate. According to Green America, recycled paper use saves resources and reduces the paper industry’s impact on the planet. For instance, using 100 % recycled copy paper instead of 100% virgin fiber paper saves: 100% of the trees, 31% of the energy, 53% of the water, and produces 39% less solid waste. In case, you consider, recycled paper, Amazon sells several brands of recycled paper. For instance, this example of 100% post-consumer recycled printer and copier paper for everyday use is made in the USA from recycled food and beverage containers and other paper-based printed materials.

These are just a few examples of low hanging fruit sustainable options that can be implemented by small or medium-sized businesses. Learn more about greening your business here for more details. To learn more for instance about energy audits and the concept of sustainable business or sustainability, check out the following books on Amazon.

  • Handbook of Energy Audits 9th Editionto learn more about energy auditing in buildings and industry. Topics include energy assessment and computer software, etc.
  • A circular economy handbook to learn more how engaged businesses are now increasingly re-thinking product design, material choices, business models and supply chains, and adopting the principles of the circular economy.

Steps to install renewable energy systems for your facility

renewable energyUnlike non-renewable forms of energy such as fossil fuels, renewable energy systems utilize unlimited resources that are replenished time after time. Most countries are endowed with renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro, etc. Depending on what renewable energy resources are available in your location, it is important to determine their technical and economic potential before tapping the resource to produce energy such as heat, or electrical energy. This blog attempts to capture the steps to renewable energy for your home or business facility.

Steps to renewable energy systems

  1. Determine your renewable energy potential
  2. Assess the different renewable energy resources available to you based on location and site-specific parameters. For instance, biogas production is best suited for farms that regularly collect liquid, slurry, or semi-solid manure with little or no bedding.

    Any site with water drops and flows; natural waterfalls, small weirs/dams, and industrial flows can be potential sites for small hydropower that can be obtained from the flowing water on your site. To get the renewable energy potential for small hydro, you can start by determining the head (the vertical distance the waterfalls) and the flow rate i.e. the quantity of water falling. To do this you can consult a small hydro specialist in your local area. We have captured below details on how to obtain a list of these renewable energy installers whether biogas or any other renewable energy installer.

    When it comes to solar power, determining the potential to install solar panels is much easier than for bioenergy or small hydro because of the easy access to online solar calculators that make it much faster to calculate your site-specific solar potential. EnergySage has a platform where online users can just plug in the address of their home or business in the USA to obtain their solar potential instantly. To learn more about how you can obtain your solar potential despite your location, check this article. Also, you can get in touch with a local solar professional to schedule a solar assessment.

    2. Energy efficiency first before installing renewable energy options Most countries have a good solar energy potential and hence solar power can be harnessed in almost every location on earth unlike wind, small-hydro or geothermal which are largely site-specific. However, before considering adopting a renewable energy system, it is advisable to perform an energy assessment of your home or business facility to understand your energy consumption profile. An energy audit will help to identify energy efficiency measures that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate any energy wastage. For instance, lighting system upgrades & controls (including LEDs) and buying or upgrading your home appliances to Energy Star appliances can result in huge significant savings for your home or business. Learn more here about energy efficiency.

    3. Identify renewable energy installers, renewable energy rebates, and incentives for your local area USA residents interested in going solar can consider the EnergySage to obtain multiple solar quotes from pre-screened solar installers. SunPower has some of the best solar panels in the world and has expanded operations to Europe, Asia, Asia Pacific, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East. Also, solar Business Hub provides a directory with a list of solar installers around the world.

    Renewable Energy Hub provides a platform for online users in the UK and USA for most renewable energy installers. For instance, Renewable Energy Hub USA enables people, communities, businesses, and institutions across America to connect with trusted, reliable advisers, and installers. Using this platform, you can learn all about current renewable energy technologies, energy-saving products, services, grants, federal and state incentives.

    Find out from relevant government authorities about renewable energy incentives or grants that you can benefit from to help reduce the cost of your renewable energy system even more. The initial capital investment required for your renewable energy install can often be perceived as somewhat daunting, there are various ways to reduce it using tax incentives and rebates. However, every renewable energy project is different, find more about how to reduce for instance the cost of your solar panels. Learn more here.

Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Earth Day 2020Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day although unfortunately, the world is facing global sustainability issues such as COVID 19, climate change, and other issues.
Achieving sustainability is a work in progress and calls for a constant evolution of technologies, ideas, and concepts to develop solutions that are practical and effective. Sustainability solutions will be resilient and focused on overcoming technical and policy barriers that prevent the uptake of sustainability in different sectors of society.

As of today, the world is experiencing some of the pressing global challenges that we probably have not experienced in our lifetimes. Clearly, technology will not or does not provide all the answers that we need today, however, it will help to speed up or assist in moving us towards a sustainable path. Technological solutions are just one part of the big picture as other solutions include policy, regulations, sustainable business as well as innovative financing options that are effective to promote sustainability from a systems’ perspective.

Technology can be broadly defined as the entities, both material and conceptual created by the application of mental and physical effort to achieve some value. Technological change, on the other hand, can refer to several yet compatible concepts involving an improvement in technology or technological progress. According to Rogers (2003), the idea of technological change underpins a social process involving adopters and others who are profoundly affected by its cultural setting, political institutions, and marketing strategies.

Sustainability calls for new concepts and ideas to reverse, for instance, the effects of climate change. Solar photovoltaics (PV) is just one of many of the new technologies to help in sustainability efforts. IRENA notes that renewables such as solar PV and energy efficiency offer a safe, reliable, and affordable way to achieve massive decarbonization in line with keeping the rise in global temperatures “well below 2°C”. IRENA’s analysis shows the combination of renewables, energy efficiency and increased electrification could achieve 90% of the reductions needed in energy-related emissions.

wind power
Renewables are also becoming cost-effective and with time we have seen for example solar power at grid parity. Grid parity is the point when the cost of alternative energy becomes equal to or less than electricity from conventional energy forms like fossil fuels. As such, renewable energy subsidies are now been phased out, and, in the USA for instance, the investment tax credit (ITC) to support consumers in switching to solar was reduced at the beginning of this year from 30% to 26%.

Now, the solar investment tax credit is available to homeowners in some form through 2021. In 2020 & 2021 owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26% or 22% of the cost of the system from their taxes respectively. The ITC will then be reduced to 10% available for only owners of new commercial solar energy systems while there will be no federal credit for residential solar energy systems’.

Furthermore, IRENA’s analysis of renewable energy shows that the cost of electricity from renewable energy technologies has fallen steadily and even dramatically in recent years, and since 2000, especially for solar and wind generation and are now seen as viable commercial options. Also, power generation from renewable sources and technologies has become competitive with fossil-based or nuclear power.

biogas technology

Food waste is another issue that has become a huge sustainability issue over the last decade. In particular, food waste is a major source of methane (CH4) which is one of the most potent gases that is causing climate change. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming. Hence, reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas.

With these sustainability challenges, it is clear that Earth Day 2020 presents us with an opportunity to contribute to efforts of fighting sustainability issues facing planet Earth and there so many solutions as we have captured above. Here at reneenergy.com, we want to thank you for your continued support and for subscribing to our blog posts. Thank you again. Please subscribe below if you haven’t to keep you posted about our blog posts.



Grid stabilization with increased renewable energy.

AI and solar PVWith the growing environmental concerns about climate change and the need for decarbonization, many private sector organizations, governments, and civil society have committed to a 100% renewable energy future.

As of late 2016, more than 300 cities, municipalities, and regions including Frankfurt, Vancouver, Sydney, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Oslo, Scotland, Kasese in Uganda, Indonesia’s Sumba island and the Spanish Island of El Hierro have demonstrated that transitioning to 100% RE is a viable political decision.

It is no doubt such ambitious targets to transition to 100% renewables will require new tools, concepts, and technologies to cope with the increased penetration of intermittent renewable energy into the grid. The good news is that technological developments, in the artificial intelligence and analytics space have already created tools and solutions needed to enable the decarbonization of the economy according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

As such, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has developed solutions in its recent report on the “Innovation Landscape for a Renewable Powered Future” which provides a toolbox of solutions for policymakers and guidance on how to apply them system-wide in a coherent and mutually-reinforcing way.

In particular, these solutions center around the application of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and analytics in increasing flexibility in the system for larger integration of renewable energy.

According to IRENA, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data, the Internet of Things and batteries are innovative solutions that will enable massive solar and wind use and amplify the transformation of the power sector based on renewables.

Why AI, Big-Data, and Analytics?

The increasing electrical loads such as electric cars, energy storage (batteries or pumped hydro) as well as decentralized renewable energy power such as rooftop solar PV systems, commercial solar, and wind power systems will need a more stable grid or a smart grid.

A smart grid is able to learn and adapt based on the load and amount of variable renewable energy put into the grid as a result of having lots of rooftops solar PV, other extra loads to the grid such as electric cars, energy storage (batteries and pumped hydro) and increasing decentralized intermittent renewable energy.

AI and Internet of Things

Without a smart system using artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics, grid operators will definitely not cope with the changing electrical loads and the increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid.

Also, at its core, AI is a series of systems that act intelligently, using complex algorithms to recognize patterns, draw inferences and support decision-making processes through their own cognitive judgment, the way people do.

How can AI support the large integration of renewable energy?

Since renewable energy is very intermittent in nature as we would expect because there is no constant wind or solar generation due to weather changes, renewables such as solar and wind can be unreliable and many utility companies utilize energy storage (batteries or pumped hydro) to deal with this issue.

Excess solar or wind power is stored during low demand times and used when energy demand goes high. As a result, AI can improve the reliability of solar and wind power by analyzing enormous amounts of meteorological data and using this information to make predictions and knowing when to gather, store and distribute wind or solar power.

smart grid AIOn the other hand, AI used in smart grids can be used to balance the grid especially when rooftop solar and other decentralized renewable energy are involved and put into the grid. AI systems utilizing neural networks or complex algorithms to recognize patterns associated with various loads (electric vehicles or energy storage) and increased rooftop solar or other forms of distributed energy (wind or solar) which can make the system to be unstable. The most efficient way to balance this variability in the system is through AI in analyzing grids before and after they absorb smaller units, and in working to reduce congestion.

The IRENA’s report Innovation Landscape for a Renewable Powered Future explains these new AI tools and digital technologies that will support the deployment of renewables as the power sector complexity continues to increase.

According to IRENA, most of the advances currently supported by AI have been in advanced weather and renewable power generation forecasting and in predictive maintenance. However, in the future, AI and big data will further enhance decision-making, planning and supply chain optimization while increasing the overall energy efficiency of the energy systems.

For the renewable energy sector, AI and analytics can support it in several ways such as better monitoring, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy.

Five(5) benefits of a solar phone charger

With the growing environmental concerns of climate change and the decreasing prices of solar PV, solar energy is trending in many sectors, including but not limited to power homes and businesses. Also, portable solar solutions including portable solar chargers or solar phone chargers are trending with increasing awareness about renewable energy. This article attempts to explain five(5) benefits of using a solar phone charger:solar phone charger

  1. A solar phone charger is portable and uses clean energy to help you charge your electronic devices. Once you have selected your solar cell phone charger, whose cost can be estimated to range anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the brand and features included, a solar phone charger is very portable as it can be carried anywhere to charge your cellphone. A solar-powered phone charger comes in handy, especially used during traveling or outdoor activities. Since it is portable during the day when there is sunshine you can use it in your picnics, hikes or when camping to use it to charge not only your cellphone but also your iPad, portable speaker, humidifier, etc.
  2. A lot of people especially in rural areas mostly in the developing world are not connected to the grid. As such, having solar chargers and other solar PV systems like solar panels and solar batteries are being used to produce power for both households and commercials helping to solve the energy access issue.
  3. A solar phone charger would probably be the main source of energy in off-grid areas to power cellphones. For instance, in Africa, around 640 million people don’t have access to a grid and where some people do have access to the electricity supply is unreliable and unstable. As a result, solar PV has become one of the main sources of energy to power homes and businesses using one of the most consistent and promising approaches to tackling this huge obstacle to energy access, that is, off-grid pay-as-you-go solar power model, now called PayGo.
  4. A solar phone charger uses solar energy – a renewable energy source. Even though energy from a solar charger might seem trivial or does not have an impact in terms of how much you can save when it comes to energy because cellphones or smartphones use a trivial amount of electricity. For instance, iPhone 5 uses 3.5KWh/year and costing about $0.41/year to charge them while Galaxy S III consumes 4.9 KWh/year at $0.5/year primarily because of the Galaxy’s larger battery. However, this might not impact you, but considering the aggregate impact (about 5 billion cellphones around the world) in terms of energy reduction from the grid and the increasing demand for mobile phones worldwide; your usage of the Sun’s energy to power your phone probably has an impact, if you look at it from a system’s perspective.
  5. A solar phone charger is one step to energy efficiency when you aggregate the number of cellphones from a system’s perspective. Currently, there are about 5 billion cellphones around the world according to GSM intelligence. Users for smartphones are expected to increase by 2023 to over 7 billion. Smartphones consume more energy depending on how many wireless data the device is using as well as the amount of power consumed in making those wireless connections. As a result, when not using energy from renewables, a solar phone charger can help in reducing your carbon footprint.

From a system’s perspective, electronic gadgets or even electric vehicles powered using solar power will have an impact in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced while increasing the energy efficiency consumed in the long-term.

Some of the best solar phone chargers have been reviewed on Amazon. When looking for some of the best solar phone chargers, it is important to evaluate the number of devices that can be charged, the time it takes to charge, and overall durability when selecting a model.

Five great products on the market have been evaluated through Amazon to help determine which solar charger best meets your needs. You can learn more at Amazon.

To understand your energy profile and GHGs that can be reduced while going solar using a solar panel calculator can help you figure out your sustainability benefits. Learn more about how you can check instantly whether solar is right for you.

Future of solar in a smart building.

smarthomeBecause of the volatility of global oil prices, the cost of energy will continue to increase proportionately and especially when our energy demand continues to depend on finite fossil fuels. Similarly, the cost of energy for an average building in the USA or globally will continue to increase proportionately when the main source is from fossil fuels because the price for energy continues to increase due to volatility of oil prices. Solar PV and increased connectivity is an option that seems very promising and could help to reduce or mitigate the issue of climate change and increasing energy prices.

The advent of AI in energy management

Artificial intelligence technologyThe advent of new technologies such as big data analytics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and blockchain allows for smart building energy management systems that can provide monitoring made possible through the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced data analytics and via wireless connections.

Looking in the future, solar is likely to be sold as a core part of the smart building concept that includes a building energy management system, energy storage, Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and smart appliances. This makes more sense because sourcing all the energy from solar will help to save more money and help to achieve sustainability. Also, EV and smart appliances can help to balance the grid for instance, electric vehicles can be used as temporary storage to connected appliances to reduce power usage when needed.

IoTAlso, in the energy management space, lighting and HVAC integration are the two most common systems integrated into the smart building strategy to reduce the energy footprint, but the IoT industry has opened the door to more sensors and hence increased intelligence through data collection. Some of the most common IoT sensors have applications for smart metering, occupancy sensors, water detection, humidity sensors, contact sensors, and carbon monoxide detection among many others.

Internet of Things

The whole idea of making your building smart is to allow you to make more informed decisions about the building based on the data it provides. Data is aggregated via IoT (Internet of Things) controls and sensors in a web-based platform that can be monitored, controlled and acted upon in real-time or perhaps using your cellphone. The main advantage of having a smart building is to help facility and property managers gain insight into the detailed workings of their locations and gather useful data to improve building performance and efficiency.

Advantages of integrating solar in a smart building:

  •  Smart buildings utilize machine learning algorithms and can be able to forecast your energy consumption and through demand response mechanisms solar consumption by the building can be increased in times of high solar generation and vice-versa. Through IoT smart appliances can be remotely controlled digitally to adopt on-site demand. For instance, heat pumps, heat storage batteries and air conditioning units can be optimized with solar generation and be a way of using excess solar electricity as heat.
  • Battery storage and smart electric vehicle charging when integrated with solar PV could significantly increase solar consumption for some households and businesses and especially when solar PV is combined with battery storage.
  • Deep machine learning and artificial intelligence when integrated with your smart appliances and solar can help to forecast and manage generation and consumption as well as voice activation technology to make systems more user-friendly.
  • Generally, smart buildings through optimization increase energy efficiency, comfort and safety and with solar PV, more energy is saved reducing your energy footprint.

This article explained how the smart building concept can help to reduce energy consumption and allow for the integration of solar PV, EV charging and IoT helping you reduce your energy footprint to achieve sustainability. However, a key question is whether these smart building technologies can currently pay for themselves? Do they currently increase or decrease the return on investment on installation when combined with solar?  EnergySage is a great starting point to help you figure out your energy savings when it comes to going solar.

AI and Sustainability.

 

sustainability

By 2020, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be characterized by many technological developments, including but not limited to advanced robotics, autonomous transport, AI, and Machine Learning, advanced materials, biotechnology, and genomics. On the other hand, despite these technological advancements, the world is also experiencing some of the most challenging sustainability issues ever experienced by planet earth such as climate change.

Smart technology combined with AI can help individuals and businesses manage their environmental impact. AI and smart technology can help to collect, analyze data using machine learning to help monitor and improve energy consumption, water consumption while increasing operational efficiency because of lowered of reducing costs and material waste. As such, it is worthwhile to learn how big data and AI can be applied in the industrial, energy, agricultural and water sectors to help monitor and reduce material, water, and energy wastage while increasing operational efficiency.

Below we capture some interesting case studies for how some start-up companies (C3, Falkonry, FogHorn, Sight Machine, SparkCognition, Uptake, Zymergen, Foris.io™, etc) in the industrial sector, as well as well-established companies such as ABB, GE, Siemens, IBM, Honeywell, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, are implementing interesting AI concepts in their respective sectors to help achieve sustainability. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a government research body that is also helping to shape AI and its implementation in the energy sector.

Application of AI in the Industrial Sector.

A combination of software and hardware technology with the use of AI and machine learning is beginning to enter the market and some businesses have adopted such technology to help them manage and improve their environmental performance while saving money.data science for sustainability

For instance, in the industrial sector in the US has experienced a high growth of the use of AI-enabled devices to help improve operational efficiency, reduce materials waste, predict interruptions, take advantage of predictive maintenance and optimize resource consumption. The use of AI technology in the industrial sector grows every year at a rate of nearly 65% through 2024.

In the energy sector, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprises have developed AI and machine learning technologies to automate and improve operational efficiency, including resiliency and energy usage for data centers. This concept helps to reduce energy consumption and lower operating costs through monitoring and predictive analytics in power and cooling systems for HP data centers.

Application of AI in the Energy Sector.

As such, historical data (about 16 terabytes of data) collected from sensors in NREL”s supercomputers are used to train models for anomaly detection to predict and prevent issues before they occur.

This collaboration will help to address future water and energy consumption as early results based on the models trained with historical data have successfully predicted or identified events that previously occurred and thus can be replicated in other data centers.

Also, AI coupled with smart sensors or devices can help to reduce building energy consumption by up to 30% using accurate sensing and predictive analytics according to Department of Energy (DOE) studies.

Furthermore, ABB has developed machine learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in power consumption and identify strategies to prevent them. According to ABB, its Energy Forecasting AI uses neural network methods to identify and learn patterns in a circuit or a building’s energy consumption, while also factoring weather data.

As such, using weather forecasts and historical data, ABB’s Energy forecasting is then able to predict power consumption(kW) for the next 24 hours, updating its forecast every 15 minutes with best-in-class accuracy. This ABB system through accurate power consumption prediction will enable facility managers to take full advantage of Time of Use (TOU) tariffs and to take timely action to reduce unplanned consumption.data science and renewable energy

With regard to renewable energy, the application of AI and machine learning can help to solve the intermittent nature of wind and solar power that may bring about grid stability issues. Currently, pumped hydro or batteries (energy storage) is employed to solve this intermittent nature of renewable energy.

However, the grid will be more stable when AI and machine learning algorithms are employed with renewable energy to predict or forecast when the amount of solar or wind power goes down so that the power stored can kick in. This can help to avoid expensive or use of fossil fuel-powered standby generators.

Application of AI in the Agricultural Sector.

Similarly, smart sensors and AI can be applied by farmers that have connectivity to save water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide usage. One great example of a company that is implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) to bring improvement in energy and sustainability is Foris.io powered with IBM Watson.

Working with IBM Watson™ and IBMCloud™, foris.io™ uses data from precision agriculture tools and grower records, cognitive computing, and analytics to enable holistic field management.

Using probes installed on the soil, smart devices are capable of measuring and transmitting data on moisture, PH level, salinity, temperature and other factors that are fed into IBM’s data storage, processing, and analytics cloud for analysis.

Using AI and machine learning, the data gained from the soil sensors are combined with a variety of other environmental factors, such as weather, geographic location, crop yield statistics, and other data to provide farmers with real-time feedback to inform about how much to water and fertilize according to Foris.io’s motto, “just enough • just in time”.data science and renewable energy

Application of AI in the Water sector

According to UN-Water, water scarcity already affects every continent and water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions.

In the US, nearly two trillion gallons of water are lost in the country before it even reaches an end-use due to leaks and pipeline faults according to ABB. To address this, ABB amongst many other companies are implementing flow and sound sensors into water infrastructure to pinpoint leaks and predict and proactively maintain the water supply using AI and machine learning.

Electric car chargers and charging systems

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Owning an electric vehicle (EV) is one thing, but there is always a question that most people will find themselves asking, how long will it take me to charge my car? Time is always one crucial component and when you misuse it, then you lose a lot. The answer to this kind of question is always one that always depends on various variables. At the start, you will have to choose an EV, now when it comes to charging, then it means you have to make a choice. So the charging time, as usual, will depend on your vehicle.

Another vital thing is the charging infrastructure. Yes, you have your care charge at home. But do you have enough electricity that will accomplish that? That means that at some point, you are prone to charging for a longer time, like when charging at home. How long can this car take you when it is fully charged? That leaves us with the best possible answers. The kind of infrastructure that you have and then the type of car you have.

The kind of car that you own

Not many countries have managed to migrate from fuel cars to EV cars, however, ever since the 2008 release of the Tesla Roadster — the first mass-produced highway-legal electric vehicle (EV) powered by a lithium-ion battery — automakers, from General Motors to Toyota, have been rushing to launch their own electric cars.

Let’s look at some of the cars that have taken the industry and what they can offer in terms of charging ability.

  • Nissan (Leaf). Now charging this vehicle when it is at zero to its full charge will require 24 hours charging. This will happen when you are using the power that is in your house. But if you can get a special 7kW charger, you will have managed to cut down that charging time to around 7.5hrs. If you get a rapid charger, then you will be able to recharge your battery that is at 20% to 80% in just an hour only.
  • Tesla (Model 3). Tesla recommends a wall connector with a NEMA 14-50 plug – as a home charging solution NEMA 14-50 with a 240V outlet on a 50 AMP circuit breaker that can charge a Tesla Model 3 at a rate of 30 miles per hour.
  • Jaguar (i-Pace SUV). For this brand, if using a special home charger, you can recharge your battery at the rate around 25 miles of range in an hour.
  • Hyundai (Kona electric). This is a brand that has been known to cruise to an 80% charge in just 9 hours and 35 minutes. That will have happened when you are using a home wall unit. when you go to a fast-charging station, you are sure to use at most 75 minutes of charging. When you plug the charger to the mains installation at home, you will need to have it at full charge at around 28 hours.

Electric car chargers and charging systems

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The type of charger that you will use to charge your EV also matters a lot. Most people have a notion that their vehicles can be charged from home, which is quite true, but it is one of the slowest charging systems that you can opt to use. when you want the best, you need to dig into your pocket and invest in a wall box for charging. You can get it from the manufacturer or an aftermarket provider. That way, you will have increased the flow of power to your car to around 7.5kW.

Tesla has been in the industry for along and when you use their products, you feel the difference. They have also come up with a charging station and wall box that has a power output of 19.2kW. that means that it can deliver up to 71km per hour when charging their models.

Power stations of charging are slowly being installed where you can go in, do a fast charging and move on with your journey instead of staying glued for a long time waiting for the vehicle to charge fully. Charging time has always been a discussion and whether it will be fast enough to win these electric vehicles. That should be a topic that we will engage in another time.

A quick summary

As we have seen, the time that it will take to charge an electric car will depend. It can start from just 30 minutes or too many hours that might even exceed 12 hours. This will come down to the size of the battery that your car has been designed with and also the speed of charging that you will get at charging points. I found out the following: –

  • That most drivers will have to top up the charge on their vehicles instead of having the vehicle charge to the maximum. This is because of the long waiting hours.
  • A typical standard car will just need around 8 hours to charge. But it should have a 7kW charging point.
  • If you are traveling, you can add up charge to your car that will push you for at least 100 miles before charging again for 35 minutes.
  • If your battery car is bigger, and the charging point is slower, then it will take a bit longer to accomplish your charging.

When you get to look at the batteries, because of their massive work, they will start to degrade right from the first time that you will charge them, slowly. The good news is that manufacturers can give you up to 8 years of warranty in case something wrong happens to the batteries.

Learn more about how going solar can help you reduce charging costs for your electric car.

Five ways to decrease energy costs

energy auditsCutting costs and saving money is essential to the health of any business. But too many small business owners focus on direct spending and not the indirect costs of intangibles such as energy costs. Every penny saved on conserving energy goes straight to the bottom line. Here are five strategies for cutting energy costs in your business.

Empower an Energy Manager

Put someone in charge of your energy savings and empower them to make decisions and cut costs. This person can be someone in accounting or a general office manager. It needs to be someone familiar enough with the day to day operations to understand where, when and how energy costs can be cut without impacting services. Give this person reasonable and attainable goals and hold them accountable for savings. You might even offer an incentive for meeting specific goals.

Get an Energy Audit

The new energy manager should first be required to perform an energy audit. They shouldn’t have to do this alone. Your power provider and other local groups can be called upon to help create energy audits, often at no or low cost. Identifying where energy can be saved is the first step to cutting power costs. Don’t forget to audit the energy consumption of all equipment as compared to newer energy-efficient models. Have the manager look at both short and long-term savings for purchasing new equipment and replacing old power hogs. Many replacements will pay for themselves in less time than you think.

Get Regular Maintenance of all HVAC Equipment

Keeping the equipment healthy that makes your environment comfortable is a significant step in energy savings. Replacing dirty filters and other minor changes can make huge boosts to your energy conservation. Take a look at your annual heating and cooling costs for general office systems. Now imagine cutting 30-40% of that cost annually. Also, have your HVAC maintenance company make recommendations on ideal settings for your thermostats and have all thermostats replaced with ones that can be set to timers or operated remotely.

Don’t Forget Your Computer Rooms

While saving on cooling costs, you can’t afford to risk your valuable data servers. But you don’t need to dump a fortune into keeping them cold either. First, have an expert make recommendations on optimal temperatures for your server rooms and computers. Next, find ways of maintaining these temperatures more efficiently. A low power electric fan can make a massive difference without impacting your cooling system budget. Install equipment and/or software that puts the computers in a low-energy standby mode when not in use.

Invest in Alternative Energy Sources

Depending on your location, alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power may be available. Solar energy can be installed for almost any business depending on the type of building and local zoning ordinances. Installation of solar panels is often tax-deductible, and even better, your solar farm may produce enough energy to sell some of it back to your power company.

Energy savings not only helps the environment but can drastically improve the bottom line of your company. Make decreasing energy costs a priority today and reap the benefits for years to come.

How much do solar panels cost?

how much do solar panels cost?One of the questions asked by many shoppers of solar panels is how much do solar panels cost? But the downside of it is that it does not have a straightforward answer that you can use or give. But according to categories and usage, we decided to do a compilation of their prices and come up with the price ranges.

Residential solar panels 

The price of solar panels has reduced by over 70% in the last decade. Also, the cost of solar panels has declined by 99% since 1977, when the price of a solar PV cell was $76.67/ watt. In the last decade, the solar cost rated at $8.50 per watt compared to today’s price of about $3 and $4 per watt.

For residential systems, the size of residential solar systems ranges from 3kW – 10 kW, and their cost will vary anywhere between $15,000 and $40,000 depending on system size and availability of incentives.

This cost is also dependent on solar PV parts, the labor, overhead, and permitting fees. In general, you will realize that the bigger the system is, the cost per watt is also low.

Different solar panels

It is not an easy thing to come up with the best kind of solar panel to use in your home because of the differences in performance, efficiency, price, and quality. Thousands of solar manufacturers now manufacture solar panels; thus, decision making is becoming even harder when choosing solar panels for your home or business.

LG energy solar panels

LG energy has been known to be a leader of top-selling solar panels in the world. Solar panels that come from LG have a range of quality, high performance, and are reliable. LG offer excellent warranties for their solar panels, up to a 25-year warranty. It comes with Neon 2 and Neon R modules that use quality grade N-type cells. Many customers have rated them highly not because of the impressive look that they had, but because of their quality construction of the highest standard.

Many manufacturers have found it useful to produce both the mono and also the poly-crystalline panels. But to LG, they manufacture mainly monocrystalline cells. These solar panel cells are efficient and have a lower degradation level. Other than that, LG also uses Lily technology, which is not used by different types of panels.solar panels

The panels have been designed with durable double-wall aluminum frames on all its modules and fitted with a 6000 pa rating and an impressive 5400 rating on the side of wind loading.

Panasonic solar panels

When you talk about Panasonic, you are already talking about a great brand known in the industry. Panasonic had invested about 40 years of research and innovation that has gone beyond to reflect the best quality of solar. You will find four types of solar panels and are all made of monocrystalline silicon, which will maximize efficiency and quality. You will also get a 25-year warranty to take care of you when you need it most.

When you look at the temperature coefficient of -0.258% / °C, what this means is that for every 1°C above 25°C, Panasonic solar panels decrease in efficiency by 0.258%.

Canadian Solar Panels

With this solar panel, you are going to find a wide range of solar panels, in fact, including six lines; that is Dymond, Ku modules, All-Black, standard, superpower, and also Maxpower. You will have the best types of panels that have stable control and even a stable financial position. Their warranty is a bit different when you compare it with others. At year one, you will get a 97.5% and their degradation rate of 0.5% for the subsequent years until year 25.

The panels are efficient when it comes to energy production. They are also readily available and affordable too. At least, when you compare it with others, you get a $2,80 per watt.

Sunpower solar panels

Sunpower is also one of the top solar manufacturers that exist in the market. They are known to have a higher price but their outstanding efficiency of between 19.5 – 21.5% with up to 25 years of warranty is what makes them one of the best in the solar industry. They produce up to 70% more energy compared to others in the same space.

Maxeon technology allows it to absorb more light. You don’t have to accommodate a lot of them in the roof. With just a few, you will have managed to provide more energy from them than others. That’s is why it is rated 60% greater when it comes to durability. The company has significantly invested in the panels to make them better and better each day that comes and goes. Although they have a price tag that is a bit higher, it is worth it because its service will last longer.

Solarworld solar panels

Solarworld is a Germany based company that is responsible for selling solar panels both locally and also internationally. They are unique because of their monocrystalline technology. This technology has both the mono and also the bifacial features. The product warranty that you will get is 20 years. That is even double what many solar manufacturers offer for their solar panels.

The efficiency of the panels always varies according to the type of modal that is manufactured. But generally, efficiency can range from 14.9% – 17.6%. That is why we always say that they are cost-effective when you compare them with the many others out there. Their performance is also one of the best as they are rated to have a low-temperature coefficient.

The EnergySage Solar Buyers guide

The market has thousands and thousands of solar panels. A question arises on how to know which one will suit you and your needs. In a nutshell, you need to consider the cost, efficiency, wattage, the warranty given, among others. These are essential aspects that you will have to look at before making that big decision.solar panel calculator

  • Efficiency

When a solar panel has higher efficiency, it is going to produce more energy using less space compared to those that have low solar panel efficiency. Check on the efficiency of your solar and make the comparison before you make a choice there.

  • Cost

The cost is not always constant because it will vary according to location, the type of property, and also the panels used. Solar panels that have a higher efficiency are rated to have a higher price than others but are better because they will give you long term savings.

  • Warranty

Warranty exists in two ways, and we have the equipment and also a performance warranty. The equipment part is used to cover the visible part of the solar panels. For instance, if you encounter manufacturing defects, if you encounter wear and tear problems and even those damages that are caused by the environment. The companies cover all this. The performance part of the warranties includes the real and actual electricity that comes from the panels. The performance of the solar panels degrades over time, and the warranty is vital as it protects you from excessive degradation rates.

If you carefully ensure that you look at these features, then you are sure that you are going to choose the best and right kind of solar panel for your use.

 Solar panel calculator

A solar panel calculator like the one from the EnergySage is essential in helping to figure out how much a solar panel cost or the amount of solar energy needed to go solar. The idea of a solar panel calculator is to help you make your solar decision.