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29 Likewise, the concept of energy resilience is making its way into the American lexicon today. The concepts are interrelated, referring to the ability of individuals and communities to adapt to unanticipated situations and rapidly changing conditions, using contingency plans and backup systems. Energy independence is critical today, for individuals and businesses, to ensure human safety and uninterrupted access to critical resources.
What are Energy Resilience and Energy Security?
There is little question that American homes and businesses require electricity to function and survive. Unless you adopt contingency plans to ensure an uninterrupted supply of power, however, your home, family or business remains vulnerable to the whims of nature, equipment failure or attack. Energy security means just that: the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will still have access to critical services (namely power and clean water) in times of crisis. For any individual, community or region to achieve true security, it means identifying and adopting contingency plans. Energy resilience, as defined by Solar Outreach, a government organization promoting solar adoption, represents a community’s ability to adapt to changing and unknown conditions and to recover successfully in the face of disaster. In short, both of these terms relate directly to energy independence.
Why These Concepts are Critical
You need only remember Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina or the New York City blackouts to understand the importance of energy independence. Movies and television shows love to explore the death and destruction that could occur if some or all of the U.S. power grid goes down, but this fictional concept could easily become a case of life imitating art. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a report last year that indicated that should only nine of our country’s 55,000 electrical substations go down on a hot day, the dated U.S power grid could be potentially disabled for months. The current electrical generating system is dependent on aged and poorly maintained infrastructure and tenuous technology. Any number of enemies, including computer hackers, could potentially plunge the country into chaos and darkness.
Ensuring Energy Independence for Your Home and Business
The most effective means of ensuring your own energy security, and helping provide energy resilience for your community, is the adoption of solar power generating systems. Although researchers are spending their time studying remote islands and economically unstable inner-city communities, the implications for all Americans are clear. The adoption of alternative energy generation systems helps lighten the burden on the already over-taxed municipal grid system while also ensuring your own well-being in the event of an unexpected event or emergency.
Intermountain Wind and Solar believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to ensure our own energy independence. Contact them today to learn more about installing a solar power generating system at your home or business, and be ready to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from your own energy security.
Talk of living off the grid is popular these days, but the term seems to mean something different to each person who uses it. In its most extreme sense, the term relates to dropping out of society and living off the land in a remote location. That option is neither realistic nor desirable for most people, and therefore won’t help end your financial dependence on municipal utility sources. For the purpose of this discussion, on-grid and off-grid relate to ending your reliance on public electricity providers through the use of a renewable, alternative energy generating system.
Ending Your Reliance on Public Utilities
Although using less municipally generated electricity is beneficial for many reasons, most people are concerned with rapidly rising costs and an increasing dependence on foreign oil to generate power. Consumers have begun to assert their desire to take control over their own energy use. To achieve that goal, most understand the need for generating their own renewable electricity. Using photovoltaic, solar thermal or wind power generating systems, many consumers are coming closer to realizing their goals for independence and reduced cost.
Are You Ready to Live Off the Grid?
Chances are, you’re not ready to give yourself over to nature anytime soon. But you may be ready to start loosening the hold that public utility companies have on your wallet. That objective is not only possible today, but simple and affordable. It’s better than affordable, really. With the continuous improvement in technology and the manufacturing process, renewable energy systems will pay for themselves in a matter of years, and continue to generate free power for decades longer. This can be achieved using either a grid-tied or off-grid system.
Off-Grid Solar Electricity is Achievable Today
Photovoltaic solar energy systems have come a long way since they first appeared more than 60 years ago. Although grid-tied systems are the most commonly used in the United States today, PV systems that operate independently of local utility providers are certainly achievable. Using some type of backup system, your solar panels can produce sufficient energy to power your entire home or business. A battery bank can store enough power for nights and cloudy days, or you can supplement with a generator. A monitoring system can provide all the information you need to keep track of production and consumption data.
Intermountain Wind and Solar can help customers in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada achieve their energy independence goals. If you’re ready to end your dependence on public power, contact Intermountain today for a consultation. Their experienced solar energy professionals can help you understand exactly what you need to take your electricity requirements off the grid.
Investment in solar technologies makes good business sense. What many savvy business people already knew has become even more apparent of late, as some of the biggest companies in the U.S. are investing in solar energy systems. As much as alternative energy investments benefit large companies, smaller local businesses can enjoy similar overhead reductions and tax advantages. Read on to see if investing in a solar energy system could benefit your business.
Who’s Investing in Solar Energy?
A recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) revealed several noteworthy trends. Not only are more major U.S. companies adopting solar technologies, they are sticking with it. Fossil fuel generation costs continue to increase sharply but the cost of solar has steadily declined. Costco, IKEA, Apple, Volkswagen (at their enormous manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee) and Kohl’s have all adopted solar technologies. Apple currently has two solar plants in North Carolina, which power their large data center. Even real estate investment trusts (REITs) are getting in on the action, using vacant land and commercial rooftops to generate solar energy. They pass these benefits on to their tenants as utility bill reductions, and increase profits by selling excess power back to utility companies.
Why Alternative Energy Investment Makes Good Business Sense
Commercial electric utility customers don’t enjoy many of the benefits and protections provided to residential customers. The commercial sector pays significantly more per kilowatt hour for electricity than individual users do, along with potentially steep demand charges that are based on regional consumption. The variable cost of commercial electricity makes financial planning difficult and strains cash flow whenever demand spikes. The tax advantages can be significant as well. U.S. tax code allows for a tax deduction for the recovery of tangible property costs over the useful life of the property and qualifying solar systems are eligible under these laws at an expedited (five year) rate. This not only reduces your company’s tax liability but helps you recover the cost of your investment very quickly.
How Solar Can Help Your Business Prosper
Many of America’s most successful businesses have invested in solar energy because it makes good financial sense. But this technology does not just benefit big business. Even small local or regional companies can derive significant benefit from a smaller scale investment. The SEIA report states that the price of commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems have dropped 45 percent in the past three years. Over that same period of time, the price of commercial electricity rose by more than 20 percent and that market continues to be highly inflationary. Installing a PV system can dramatically reduce your company’s operating cost and reduce its dependence on commercial power utilities. You owe it to yourself and your stakeholders to investigate the potential cost savings of solar energy.
Intermountain Wind & Solar knows that investing in alternative energy technology makes good financial sense for both commercial and residential customers. Contact them today and learn how your company can benefit from an investment in solar energy.
Hybrid solar energy generating systems are the key to having the resources you need in the event of an emergency. In the Mountain West region of the United States, storms and civil disasters can wipe out the power grid for hours, days or even longer. When conditions become dire, you need to be prepared with your own hybrid solar energy solution. A reliable power supply is critical for keeping your family safe and comfortable, no matter what happens out there.
Must-Haves in Time of Disaster
The basics for comfort and convenience when the power goes out are simple. Your family needs water, food, lights, sanitation and, depending on the time of year, you may need heat. Experts also recommend having first-aid supplies and some basic tools, as well as any medications. If you have pets, they will require supplies as well. Finally, if you have an infant in the household, you will require diapers and other baby supplies. Gather your supplies in an easily accessible location, and organize them so that they are easy to access and inventory. Share the location of your emergency supplies with your family too, so everyone knows where they are stored.
Why Emergency Power is Critical
Having a reliable source of backup power is critical to several of the items on your must-have list. A hybrid solar energy system will provide lights, heat and cooking capabilities. Eventually you will also require the ability to bathe and clean clothing, both of which are most easily achieved if you have power. If the water supply is deemed unsafe for consumption, having power provides the ability to boil your water. Many people own and count on gas-powered generators to meet these needs, but it can often become difficult or impossible to obtain fuel during a full-scale emergency.
Start Your Preparations on a Small Scale
Emergency preparedness experts recommend starting small, if you haven’t yet started. Begin by prepping for a brief seven-to-10-day outage, with the goal of working up to a year’s worth of supplies. If you can comfortably endure up to two weeks without municipal power and water, you will be better off than most people in the United States. Some other important considerations include a plan for communication, fresh batteries for any battery-powered devices and an emergency water purification system.
If you haven’t already begun to assemble your emergency supplies, make today the day. In Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho, contact Intermountain Wind and Solar for more information about PV solar energy systems with battery backup. It may not be easy or convenient, but your family will get through an emergency safely with your hybrid solar power system.
What’s hot in 2015? Wind. Wind power is the fastest-growing electricity sources in the world. According to the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research group that studies global environmental concerns, it has grown 150 percent since 1990. At the same time, nuclear energy growth has remained flat at around 1 percent. Coal is still the dominant energy source, but it isn’t growing.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of wind power’s growth is happening in Europe and China. The United States, slow to accept change around where its energy comes from, is lagging far behind its more progressive peers across the pond. Slow and steady wins the race, however, and this may indeed be the case with this renewable energy source. Extra challenges include a strong coal lobby and a less-than-welcoming attitude from local utility companies.
Spread the Word
The single most important factor likely to increase wind power’s proliferation in the United States might be marketing. Marketing can be expensive, and if wind power generated huge profits, it wouldn’t need marketing. It got some free press when The Onion, a satirical publication, reported in 2011 the coal lobby had claimed wind turbines are dangerous because they could cause the earth to blow away. More seriously, the energy source was brought to the forefront of the world’s consciousness by the 2010 book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, by William Kamkwamba, a native of Malawi who brought life-saving power to his village by constructing a windmill out of trash he found in a nearby dump.
Seeing is Believing
So wind power has been forced to rely somewhat on self-promotion. Seeing the big turbines spinning in the breeze brings home the idea that this power is a real, reliable, efficient energy source. (Some people don’t find the turbines as beautiful as others — the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy famously fought their installation on Cape Cod because he said it would mar the views from the Kennedy compound. He lost.) A lot of people don’t see the turbines at all. Often located in far-flung areas, the turbines and their ability to generate power can be out of sight, out of mind, so getting the word out continues to be a challenge.
Despite the widespread fears of oil and coal producers throughout the world, Worldwatch says wind power is unlikely to take over anytime soon as the major source of electricity — after all, it’s not windy everywhere — but it could potentially garner more than 20 percent of the market.
If you want to join this nascent, economical, clean, renewable energy movement, call Intermountain Wind & Solar. They can show you how wind power can slash energy costs at your home or business, or inform you on how investing in a wind farm can bring you profits without guilt.
Wind turbine farms are the way of the future. Once thought of as exotic or unreliable methods of harnessing energy, these farms have spread from their experimental stage in California to almost every state in the nation.
Wind turbines were common sights in the West and Midwest just before and after the turn of the 20th century, when Dust Bowl farmers desperately needed water for their crops and turned to wind power to draw it up from the ground. Useful but not magical, the turbines fell out of favor when they couldn’t save the millions of acres of farmlands from blowing away.
Making the Switch
As the years passed, the United States began its long and dirty love affair with oil, but the ecological fallout from and ballooning expense of fossil fuels inspired scientists to find another way, and they did. The nascent industry of wind turbine farms has become a reliable, clean energy source, and its heyday is about to arrive.
Wind farms have often been located on agricultural and livestock farms, as wind is a constant on the wide, flat expanses of land. The old windmills with fan blades featured in sepia-toned pictures of the Old West can’t hold a candle to today’s generators in terms of efficiency and reliability. Farmers and ranchers can benefit not just from the turbines’ ability to irrigate or provide water to cattle and other animals, but from the extra income they generate by producing energy to sell neighbors or back to the power company.
Turbine Farm Developers
Many farmers don’t have the time or the initial investment to become wind farmers, but they can still benefit and profit from leasing their land to turbine farm developers. These payments can be negotiated to be up front, monthly or in exchange for a share of future profits. Wind turbines take up little space and are safe, so the land around them can be used for grazing animals, growing crops or other uses. This way, the farmers can double-dip by putting their land to use twice — once to lease turbine space and again for their own farming needs.
Intermountain Wind & Solar sells and installs wind turbines for home and commercial use throughout Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming. They sell wind turbines of various brands and sizes tailored to suit the needs of customers. Call Intermountain Wind & Solar today to find out about developing a wind turbine farm — get in on the ground floor of this burgeoning business.
The solar carport silhouette is becoming ubiquitous throughout the Intermountain West. Construction of solar carports, also known as solar parking canopies, is one of the most popular ways to adopt alternative energy systems in the business environment. Today, solar canopies are also helping homeowners generate their own electricity, saving money and reducing their dependency on municipal utility companies.
The Evolution of Solar Parking Covers
You may have first noticed solar carports in use at the schools in your community. The educational community was one of the first to widely adopt energy-generating canopies, especially in the western United States. Due to budget constraints, many schools started with a single span, and they used the cost savings from to increase system capacity year after year. Rutgers University currently has a 32-acre solar carport system that produces enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes. This equates to an estimated $1.2 million of electricity generated each year the system is in place. Rutgers estimates that it will save $28 million in energy costs over 20 years. Today, you are likely to see these innovative structures being used by businesses of all types as well as in residential applications.
Residential Solar Carports
Although energy-producing parking structures have been used in commercial applications for years, they have only recently become available for residential use. Residential solar canopies aren’t limited to the carport, however. Creative homeowners are using them for backyard shade structures and shelters for boats, golf carts and other recreational vehicles. Because these structures are fully customized, they are appropriate for pool cabanas, kids’ play areas or outdoor and open-air kitchens. These structures make a perfect alternative for those homes that may not be ideal for solar installation. If your roof is shaded, for example, a free-standing solar canopy structure will allow you to enjoy the same substantial level of cost savings and energy independence.
Solar Parking Structures for Business
Steel-framed commercial parking structures are the ultimate multi-tasking solution for businesses of all sizes and types. Parking lots, both asphalt and concrete, are notorious for holding heat. Adding solar parking canopies keeps customers’ and employees’ vehicles cooler and more protected, but unlike traditional parking canopies, they generate valuable electricity at the same time. Using photovoltaic arrays on the top of carports can generate a significant level of power, especially in large lots. Many businesses have begun to incorporate electric vehicle charging stations as well. Companies that have installed solar parking structures report an unexpected bonus as well: Customers more frequently choose these businesses over their competitors because they appreciate the covered parking as well as the company’s commitment to renewable energy.
Intermountain Wind and Solar is committed to helping the residents and business owners of Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada save money and become energy independent. Contact them today to discuss your goals and explore the possibility of using a solar carport at your home or business.
Mobile solar generators are an excellent source of backup power, useful for individual homeowners, on-site construction projects and for use in natural disasters. Many people have solar cells on their roof or a windmill in a nearby field, and these are good sources of energy, but are not always reliable as a backup in the case of a power outage. Alternative energy sources hooked up to the grid go off when the grid goes out, leaving you in the dark.
But you can use a mobile solar generator even when the grid goes off. Solar panels constantly absorb energy from the sun and store it for use at a later time. These generators do not require gasoline — or any fuel — to run, because they are powered with rechargeable batteries. In a natural disaster such as a blizzard, flood or tornado, it may be difficult to obtain fuel to run a generator, but with a battery-powered model, this is no longer a concern. This feature also means a much quieter operation. The size and style of these types of generators allows you to use electricity from the grid to keep it fully charged at all times, so that it’s ready to go when you are.
If you want to use a mobile solar generator as a backup power source for your home in the case of outages, you can have a transfer switch installed for a seamless automatic shift with no effort on your part. This can be set up to automatically transfer when you are not even home, ensuring the safety of your property by keeping critical systems running, such as heat and security.
Tools and Construction
Mobile generators are often a necessity at a construction site. The type of tools you are using determines the size and load of the generator you select. Larger sites don’t necessarily require larger generators — it depends on the work to be done. Circular saws, drills and air compressors all require different wattage, and if you are going to be using them at the same time, you must select a higher-wattage generator.
Intermountain Wind & Solar provides mobile solar generators for a variety of uses. The smaller variety, B.O.B. (Bug-Out Box) has a 1,000-watt inverter and provides 2,400 watt hours of power. The larger, H.F.T.H. (Head for the Hills), has an 1,800-watt inverter and provides for 4,800 watt hours. Each comes with a 50-foot extension cord and a 25-foot charging cord, and both are GFCI protected. Call Intermountain Wind & Solar today to find out what size mobile solar generator is right for your needs.
Hybrid power systems are an ingenious method of collecting and returning power to the grid while also being available for backup power when needed. Many renewable energy gathering systems such as solar or wind power allow you to supply most or all of the power to your own home, and in some cases selling excess back to the local power company. It’s a great resource, but you can’t use it when the grid goes down. So despite having your own power supply right in your own yard, you may be left scrambling in an outage.
Convenience and Security
The solution is a hybrid system. Hybrid systems use solar panels or wind turbines to draw power from the sun and wind, but they also store some of the power in a battery for later use. Taking hot showers, blow drying hair and watching television are priorities for many, but you remember what the important things really are when an emergency strikes. Being without heat in a snowstorm or the losing power to critical medical equipment such as an oxygen tank can eventually mean the difference between life and death. Loss of refrigeration in the summer can cause hundreds of dollars’ worth of food to spoil, and downed computers can cost your business big bucks.
Determine Your Requirements
Hybrid systems come in different sizes for different needs. Running only necessary appliances and electronics for a day or two requires a fairly small system, but if you want to make sure your whole house or your business stays up and running throughout an outage, you will need more cells and a larger battery. It’s best to talk to a technician and plan ahead for what types of appliances you will want to power, how much wattage they require and for how many hours per day you want to run them so that you select the right system for you and your family or business. Some hybrid systems can be powered by solar cells, some by wind turbines and some by both. Wind is more of an integral part of many natural disasters than sunshine, so selecting this method may allow you to reap and store power even as you are using it, if you are in the right location.
Intermountain Wind & Solar provides alternative energy sources to customers all over Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming. They manufacture and sell a variety of portable generators and hybrid power systems to meet the needs of single individuals, larger families and even businesses. Call them today to find out what type of hybrid power system is right for you.