Boots Classes Now Feature SolarBridge Pantheon Microinverter



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New ‘Artificial Leaf’ is a Real Gamechanger

Green solar technology that’s shaped to imitate nature has been a somewhat common thing over the last few years. However, instead of constructing a set of buildings meant to blend in and look like trees, as people did at the start of the nature building trend. Now scientists are beginning to look at natural, highly beneficial processes – in this case photosynthesis – and attempting to replicate nature’s solar successes.

Substantial progress has been made in this area. Recently researchers at MIT announced that due to a major breakthrough this year they have finally made the solar ‘artificial leaf’ a reality. The leaf is able to split apart the oxygen and hydrogen that make up water. It does this by opposing catalytic bonds on different sides of the leaf to draw the elements apart. It all sounds very complicated; mostly because it is, but it is an astonishing breakthrough whether its one we can fully understand the science behind or not. Once the two elements have been separated they can then be used as a source of energy.

The successful creation of the artificial leaf has reignited people’s imaginations. What we can do using technology grows with each new day. A worldwide group of scientists have looked at the groundbreaking artificial leaf and speculated that the technology can be used to create even more effective photosynthesis like reactions generating even more solar power. A leaf in nature can separate and efficiently process a large amount of different types of energy. The artificial leaf is the first major step to taking advantage of all the different types of energy the sun has to offer and replicating the already safe and clean solar reactions in nature.

This ‘artificial leaf’ development lead one professor, James Barber, who is unconnected with the project to comment, “there is no doubt that their achievement is a major breakthrough which will have a significant impact on the work of others dedicated to constructing light-driven catalytic systems to produce hydrogen and other solar fuels from water.”

It’s pretty much unanimous that the artificial leaf represents a major development and one that has even more amazing potential for growth and innovation. Stay tuned for more groundbreaking developments in solar power potential because they are everywhere.

New ‘Artificial Leaf’ is a Real Gamechanger is a post from: Boots On The Roof

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300 megawatts of roof-top, commercial PV installations to be installed in North America in just this quarter!

The good people at Solarbuzz report that  Q4’11 installations will be about 800 Mega Watts  of PV capacity in North America.

Solarzuzz also reports:

In Q4’11, ground-mount installations are forecast to have 38% of the market, followed by building-mount, non-residential systems (>100 kW), which will have 37% of the market. The ground-mount segment benefited from demand from Ontario and from large-scale installations in California and Arizona geared toward meeting the state RPS requirements.

If our solar-powered calculator is correct – that means about 300 megawatts of roof-top, commercial PV installations in just this quarter!

Boots on the Roof is running not one, but THREE new courses to support the growing volume of commercial projects:

If you are planning to expand into Commercial Rooftop Solar in 2012, we’d like to talk with you about how our new courses may support your plans.

GE Makes Major Investments in Solar Power!

GE is jumping into to the solar power game in a major way. The energy giant has recently invested a staggering $600 million into the solar side of its business. This money will go towards building a massive ‘thin film’ solar panel manufacturing plant based out of Aurora, Colorado. The facility will have the ability to produce enough panels each year to power 80,000 homes.

Just like GE’s big march into the wind energy market earlier this year their participation in the solar market will create jobs – approximately 355 in Colorado to be exact plus others throughout the country – and the boost in competition will bring down solar prices across the board.  Solar prices have already been on a steady decline as new less expensive ways are found to create solar panels, with added competition this will only help matters. The market leader in thin film solar, against which GE’s involvement will be measured, is First Solar. However, there are many other thin film solar companies that will be forced to compete with the energy giant as well – such as Abound Solar.

GE has stated that the plant will be finished in early 2012, with the first panels being made very shortly after it is opened. These panels will begin to come available in quarter one 2013, once a sufficient supply has been built up to meet the potential demand of the market. GE has also stated that it plans to beat the competition through making their panels both larger and lighter. By doing this they will be able to continue to be competitive in utility-scale projects, but they will also be able to break into the commercial solar market. GE also points to their ability to develop technologies faster and more efficiently due to their investments in research on a much broader scale than solar only firms – they have already shown this by implementing advancements in the medical field into the creation of their panels.

A major company’s involvement in the solar market will lead to a continued effort to constantly lower solar prices by all parties involved. With prices already dropping this can be taken as a sign of solar power’s continued sustainability.

GE Makes Major Investments in Solar Power! is a post from: Boots On The Roof

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Spanish Island to be Powered by Renewable Energy

A large-ish scale project in renewable energy is underway just off the coast of Spain on El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands. The island which is 104 Square miles in size will switch to a new energy plan later this year which will be fully reliant on renewable forms of energy – mostly wind energy.

The new energy plan will cost the island somewhere around $87 million dollars. However, once the plan is in place El Hierro will be self reliant and energy costs will be paid to the island – where they can then be used for other projects aimed at sustainability.

The new plan emphasizes wind power as its primary source. This will replace the old diesel generators that currently power the island, which require the importation of diesel fuel from the mainland to generate power. The main wind farm on the island, which will be finished later this year, will produce 11.5 megawatts of energy which will provide the 11,000 residents of the island with the vast majority of their power.

A second portion of the plan aims at answering the question often posed to wind and solar advocates: what happens when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing? For El Hierro, the answer is a hydroelectric storage facility. When there is excess energy produced on the wind farm it will be used to pump water up to the top of an extinct volcano, where it will stay as a source of reserve energy. Should the island need more energy, they can open the hydroelectric plant and use the stored water to power the island on a windless day. The reservoir at the top of the old volcano can hold enough water for seven days worth of energy if it is needed.

Although the island will still keep its diesel generators for backup, and although this is not solar related exactly, the ramifications this will have on the renewable energy market as a whole will be huge! When El Hierro switches over to its new energy plan later this year it will be proof, to the many who criticize wind and solar energy enthusiasts, that a renewable energy economy can work on a much larger scale than many had presumed.

Just as places like Denver airport are trying to slowly switch to a more renewable energy plan – one that for them relies heavily on solar – it is good to see substantial changes in other areas of the globe as well. If El Hierro can power itself completely with renewable energy how long until other small – and large – islands begin to realize they can, and should, do the same?

Roof Materials For Your Log Home

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Roof Materials For Your Log Home
By Mercedes Hayes

Your roof is a great opportunity to make a
dramatic statement to the world. This
colorful creation is going to sit atop a
unique, custom home, and no matter what
material you choose it’s going to look
awesome. There are more choices on the market
today than ever before, and an extra
investment will probably make a bigger impact
here than elsewhere in your home. Even
asphalt shingles have taken on a new
personality. Here are some varieties modern
technology has made available to us (my cost
estimates are very broad, and only meant for
comparison’s sake).

ASPHALT (or Composition) SHINGLES:
(also known as three-tab shingles) The most
commonly used shingles, these are made from a
mixture of asphalt and fiberglass. The
ceramic granules protect the asphalt from the
sun’s UV rays. We tend to buy them according
to life expectancy, which starts at 15 years
for the thinnest shingles, 25-30 years for
the next level. Their lifetime depends on the
environment and how well the roof is vented.
This roof will cost around 150 per 100
square feet.

called architectural or dimensional shingles,
this shingle is still made from a mixture of
asphalt and fiberglass, but is built much
thicker, giving it a more three-dimensional
look. Architectural shingles make the roof
look more textured, are larger than a
standard shingle, and come in an amazing
variety of shapes. They are usually
guaranteed for 40 years and could easily cost
twice as much as standard asphalt shingles.

METAL ROOF: Metal is one of the more
sought-after roofing materials for log homes.
Usually made of steel, aluminum or copper,
the most commonly discussed metal roof is the
standing seam – sometimes called vertical
panel – roof. You can also get metal shingles
that resemble cedar shakes, slate, or tile.
There are several advantages to using a metal
roof, not the least of which is its fire
resistance. These roofs are also remarkably
lightweight, and stand up to hurricane-force
winds. This roof will generally cost about
600 per 100 square feet (very big range
of materials and composition). Life
expectancy is anywhere from 30-50 years up to
100 years.

difference between a Cedar Shake and a
Shingle is that, generally, the shingle is
sawn on both sides and the shake is
hand-split on one (or both) sides. The shake
tends to be thicker. Cedar looks
picture-perfect when installed, and will age
to a beautiful gray, given the right
environmental conditions. However, it is
prone to moss and mildew, and the shingles
have been known to curl. To combat their
inherent vulnerabilities, many brands are
treated to prevent mildew, and others are
treated for fire retardancy. The average life
expectancy is about 25-30 years and could
cost $400-500 per 100 square feet.

CONCRETE TILES: You’ll find a lot of
concrete roofs in Europe. Needless to say,
they are incredibly durable and
fire-resistant, and because concrete takes
stain so well, you can find it in up to 50
colors. Of course, this is a hefty solution
for a hefty home: figure out about 1000
pounds per 100 square feet. Concrete roof
tiles come in several profiles, and have a
life expectancy of about 80 years and can
cost around $200-400 per 100 square feet.
There will be extra expense for beefing up
the rafter system to support the weight.

CLAY TILES: When you mention clay
tiles, most of us think of the half-round
shapes on Spanish Mission buildings. Think no
more! Clay tiles are flat, interlocking,
rectangular, slabs… and of course
barrel-shaped. You can get them in solid
colors or blends, textured or smooth. Figure
about 1000 pounds per 100 square feet. They
have a life expectancy of about 50 years, and
can cost 500 per 100 square feet.

SLATE: Complex, durable, and
beautiful, slate has a life expectancy of 60
-125 years, and more. Your standard slate is
about 1/4″ thick. The slates are overlapped
so that the bottom edge of the slate is
actually covering two additional layers, and
less than half of the slate is exposed. This
standard thickness will weigh about 750
pounds per 100 square feet. Modern variations
of slate roofs are: Rubber Slate
(post-industrial waste) and Engineered Slate
(marble dust and polyester resins). A real
slate roof can cost up to $1000 per 100
square feet installed.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years
is that lighter colored asphalt shingles have
a tendency to streak as rainwater washes down
the roof. Even my dark green roof is
streaking in one spot, although the green
masks the darker stain. Before you decide on
a color, do yourself a favor and drive around
the neighborhood; look for other houses with
similar shades. Then you can make a decision
as to what’s more important: how your roof
will reflect or absorb the heat, or which one
looks better over the years.

About the Author:
Mercedes Hayes is a Hiawatha Log Home dealer
and also a Realtor in New Jersey and
Pennsylvania. She designed her own log home
which was featured in the 2004 Floor Plan
Guide of Log Home Living magazine. You can
learn more about log homes by visiting

Read more: Roof Materials For Your Log Home

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HomeServe Gas Safety Check and Boiler Service Reintroduced at Wallet Warming Prices

London (PRWEB) March 5, 2011

All UK landlords are legally required to conduct a gas safety check (CP12) every 12 months on rental properties which can prove to be an added cost. To ensure you are making the most out of your property in difficult economic times, HomeServe is offering a gas safety check with additional boiler service for just