Category Archives: Environment and Clean Technology

Articles about environmental issues and clean technology products besides solar.

Drones

Flying high: how drones are revolutionizing the solar industry

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ten years ago, if you were installing a rooftop solar system, one of your installer’s first steps was to come to your house, climb up on your roof, and take a bunch of measurements and pictures to evaluate the project. However, this process is now starting to change with the rise of a new technology: drones. Drones in solar have a number of advantages that make them appealing to both homeowners and installers, including saving time and money for everyone involved. In this article, we’ll take a look at how drones are used in solar projects and explore some major companies on the cutting edge of this technology. 

Continue reading
Lithium mining

Lithium mining in the United States: why is it so controversial?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Lithium, the lightest element of all the metals, is a crucial resource for the United States’ clean energy future: it’s key in the production of lithium ion rechargeable batteries, which are used to power electric vehicles and serve as home storage systems. While the U.S. is the largest consumer of lithium and will only increase its future consumption as it strives to meet the Biden Administration’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission targets, America’ domestic mining of lithium is limited to just one percent of annual global production.

Currently, only one lithium mine operates in the United States, the Silver Peak mine in Clayton Valley, Nevada; most of the global lithium supply is extracted in Chile and Australia. While some politicians are calling for increased domestic mining of the metal, at the end of May 2021, Reuters reported that the Biden Administration would supply the majority of lithium from ally countries, including Canada, Australia, and Brazil. Though this strategy may seem antithetical to the Administration’s clean energy jobs goals, it comes on the heels of many environmentalists’ concerns over two potential lithium mines in Nevada that could become operational in a few years. In this article, we’ll break down lithium mining and why these two mines are so controversial.   

Continue reading

How does cryptocurrency contribute to fossil fuel emissions?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In February 2021, Tesla announced that it had purchased $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and planned to accept the cryptocurrency as payment, causing the price of Bitcoin to soar to record high numbers. However, three months later, Elon Musk disrupted the cryptocurrency market when he tweeted, “Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin,” citing concerns about “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.” Overnight, the Bitcoin market dropped by almost 10 percent–so how founded are these environmental concerns in cryptocurrency mining, and could cryptocurrency have a clean energy future?

Continue reading
agrivoltaics

Agrivoltaics: what is it and can it benefit your farm?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The farming industry has been hit hard by the impacts of climate change. From increasing temperatures to severe droughts, farms are facing new challenges that will likely increase with intensity as climate change progresses. Fortunately, a new solution is arising that can both benefit farmers and help reduce emissions: agrivoltaics (also known as dual-use solar). 

Continue reading
trends in solar in 2021

Solar trends to watch in 2021

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Over the past year, in the face of constant and unprecedented headwinds, ranging from COVID-19 to an unfriendly presidential administration, the solar industry has proved incredibly resilient, with home solar installations growing 7 percent in 2020. But what does 2021 have in store for solar? Will this growth continue? In this article, we look at the three areas that will determine the industry’s fortunes in the coming year: business trends, technology, and government policy. 

Continue reading
building integrated photovoltaics (bipv)

Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV): what you need to know

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When you think of solar, rooftops or open fields with panels generating renewable electricity probably come to mind. However, solar products have evolved – and now, there are many options available under the umbrella of “building-integrated photovoltaics”, or BIPV. BIPV products merges solar tech with the structural elements of buildings, leading to many creative and innovative ways to generate solar electricity.

Continue reading
electrification overview

What is electrification?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As more and more homeowners make the switch to both solar panels and electric vehicles in the US, the clean energy transition is now about more than just increasing clean energy. Increasingly, an important piece of the clean energy transition is electrification. Electrification is a vital piece of any carbon reduction plan, and could have some big implications for the appliances in your home–and your garage!  

Continue reading
generator vs. battery

Battery backup power vs. generators: which is right for you?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you live in an area with frequent power outages, you already know the benefits of having backup power installed at your home. Propane, diesel, and natural gas-powered generators have long been the system of choice for homeowners and businesses that want to ensure that the lights stay on when the power goes out in the neighborhood. Now, an increasing number of people are considering newer, cleaner battery options like the Tesla Powerwall.

Continue reading
tesla battery day

Tesla Battery Day: what you need to know

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s rare that very technical demonstrations of technology and supply chain advancements manage to jump beyond industry and into the public consciousness. But as with all things Tesla, the announcement of the company’s Battery Day was met with significant hype beyond just the storage and electric vehicle industries, and with good reason: teasers in anticipation of the event seemed to indicate that Tesla had discovered a breakthrough in energy storage manufacturing that would reduce the price of batteries to the point that they could begin to produce and commercialize a truly affordable electric vehicle. 

Continue reading