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How Solar Hot Water Works [Video]

On average, about 18% of home energy consumption is for water heating, the second largest consumer behind space heating.  The primary technology used to do this is the tank-type water heater (both gas- and electric-powered), but solar water heating can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water. 

Solar hot water systems vary, and one system we’ve mentioned previously is a passive-pump system by Virginia-based Sunnovations.  This video explains it.

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How Much Solar Do You Need [Graphic]

One Block Off the Grid took a stab at answering the question: “How big a backyard do you need to live off of the land?”  It turns out, plants like corn, wheat, fruits, grains, and vegetables take a lot of space.  Also, to offset the electricity required to power the average home in the U.S., which consumes about 11,040 kWh per year, one needs about 375 square feet of solar PV, or 25 average efficiency solar panels getting seven hours of sun.  Check out the full infographic:

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Building Integrated Solar Hot Water by GLE

Michigan-based Great Lakes Electric has a solar hot water product with evacuated tubes that allows for creative building-integrated solar hot water.  By releasing the restriction of roof mounting, as with typical solar hot water products, GLE’s unit allows for more innovative placement and ends the worries of roof penetrations and units looking like large black rooftop tarps.

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Solar-Powered EV to Drive Green for Life

EV owners benefit from an efficient engine and a domestic energy source; however, the energy source will likely be electricity derived from coal and natural gas and maybe a little bit from nuclear and renewable sources like hydro, solar, and wind.  To improve this, Ford and SunPower Corp. today announced a new initiative called “Drive Green for Life” to offer solar power to purchasers of Focus Electric and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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Solar Increases Home Property Values

Research suggests that homeowners with solar PV will recoup the cost of their solar investment upon sale of the home. Homes with PV systems sell for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems, according to a study of home sales in California from 2000-2009 by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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20 Solar Decathlon Designs for 2011

The biennial Solar Decathlon is fast approaching as teams across the world prepare their solar-powered home for West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C.  The competition is a showcase of modern, efficient homes from 20 teams held September 23 – October 2, 2011.  We’re going to start our coverage this year with a look at the models as displayed at IBS 2011 in Orlando a few months back.  Which do you want to see in real life?

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