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Monday, October 26, 2009

Oil Prices Continue To Rise........Is Now The Time To Convert To Gas Heat?

After hearing brilliant remarks by Dr. Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, at the NJ Clean Energy Conference, we are convinced now more than ever that it is time for NJ residents with oil heat to consider converting to natural gas.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009: 1:16pm EDT WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The rising cost of oil could damage the world economy just as it begins to rebound, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Tuesday. Wide swings in oil prices are difficult for industries to manage and the U.S. government is concerned about another price spike, Chu said. “Even $80 dollars is making me nervous”.

Crude oil prices hit a one year high above $80 a barrel on Tuesday before slipping to around $78 in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

(Editing by Andrew Hay)

Read more

$44 Million in Stimulus for New Jersey

We've recently attended the NJ Clean Energy Conference.
Read this encouraging article to learn more about funding for New Jersey Solar projects.

Federal energy official praises New Jersey at solar conference
By Martin C. Daks

Read this article to learn more about the Clean Energy Conference.

New Jersey is 2nd in the US for Solar Installations.
Help us help you become 'Green'. For more information contact us at 800.287.6651

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 24th is '350 Day' Save Our Planet

What is 350 Day? Saturday, October 24th, 2009 is The International Day of Climate Action. There will be more than 4,000 events in 170 countries throughout the world in which active and passionate consumers call upon world leaders to reduce carbon levelsd in the atmosphere to a safe level of 350 parts per million and to raise consciousness urging all humans to act environmentally conservative. It is the largest collective display of action to flight climate change the world has ever seen. Our current atmospheric CO2 level is presently 390 parts per million.

In December world leaders will gather in Copenhagen where a global treaty reducing carbon emissions will be drafted. We must do our part!

Here are some local activities this weekend in New Jersey:

Caldwell "CAI Walk for Israel to Support Environmental Education"

Livingston: "350 Climate Rally"

Newark: "Eco Green Shabbat", "International Day of Climate Action"

Englewood "350 Bells from First Plymouth Church"

West Orange “Recycle Swap and Shop”

Springfield: Bike 350!: Biking into Clean Energy

According to 350.0rg.......

What does the number 350 mean?

350 is the most important number in the world--it's what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Two years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.

Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.

Is 350 scientifically possible?

Right now, mostly because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of co2 is 390 ppm—that’s way too high, and it’s why ice is melting, drought is spreading, forests are dying. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That means a very fast transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels.

Is 350 politically possible?

It’s very hard. It means switching off fossil fuel much more quickly than governments and corporations have been planning. Our best chance to speed up that process will come in December in Copenhagen, when the world’s nations meet to agree on a new climate treaty. Right now, they’re not planning to do enough. But we can change that--if we mobilize the world to swift and bold climate action, which is what we're planning to do on October 24th.

What can we do?

Reduce your carbon footprint by utilizing compact fluorescent light bulbs, turn off lights when they are not in use, use energy efficient home appliances, upgrade your heating and air conditioning equipment to higher efficiency systems, consider installing solar in your home or business to generate renewable energy.......and there's more......

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Solar Electricity in NJ/NY - Never Been Cheaper

The AP is reporting on the effect incentive programs are having, particularly in NJ and the Tri-State area. Alongside decreasing equipment prices overall, solar has never been cheaper. A Co-op owner in Queens, who was going to replace a roof anyway, saved a bundle on a new system:

Lung, the co-op president, stumbled into solar subsidy programs last year as she priced out roof repairs. City, state and federal incentives covered nearly three-quarters of the tab for a $394,514 solar system.

The building flipped the switch on in July and already cut last month's electric bill in half.

"This was just icing on the cake," Lung said. "We had to change the roof anyway."

Solar power has been getting cheaper for years. Panel prices declined 31 percent from 1998 to 2008 because of lower manufacturing and installation costs and state and local subsidies, according to a study released Wednesday by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. But it still took a ramp up in federal incentives this year to bring the cost within many people's reach.

More than half the states in the U.S. and Washington D.C. offer enough incentives to cut the costs by 40 percent or more, according to Amy Heinemann, a policy analyst at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Energy Savings and New Jersey's Clean Energy Program

We hunger for more information and ways to bring advice to New Jersey homeowners and business owners. Still, the best suggestion for most of us in our quest for saving the planet, saving money and saving NJ's position as a leader in "Green Solutions" still remains the evaluation of your electrical usage, the operating inefficiency and cost of your heating and cooling systems impacted by the age of this equipment (older inefficient systems= more costly to operate) resulting in a large impact on your carbon footprint. Overwhelmingly, the consensus of opinion remains the same. Here's the opinion of the folks at New Jersey's Clean Energy Program.

Technologies - Whether it's compact fluorescent light bulbs or Solar Panels for your home or business, New Jersey's Clean has the resources and information you need to save money on your energy costs and improve the safety, comfort and durability of your home for many years to come. We show you how to use state-of-the-art technologies effectively, and at the same time we provide financial incentives to help your home improvements. Our goal is to save you money, energy and the environment by encouraging the wise use of energy and supporting the installation of clean, renewable sources of energy.

Heating - As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Through utility company WARMAdvantage Program, consumers are provided rebates when they purchase high efficiency "Energy Star" qualified natural gas home heating systems and/or water heaters. As part of the program, you are eligible to receive rebates for the purchase of furnaces, furnaces with electronic commutated motor (ECM) or equivalent, boilers, and/or water heaters. By purchasing high efficiency heating systems you will also save on energy costs and improve comfort in your home.

- Furnaces are the most commonly used heating system in the United States, running more often on gas and sometimes oil, and delivers heat through a ducted system. One in four furnaces in the USA is older than 20 years of age. ENERGY STAR equipment uses advance technologies to deliver higher efficiency than standard furnaces today.

- A boiler heats your home by burning gas or fuel oil to heat water or steam that circulates through either radiators or baseboard, or radiant floor systems. Boilers that have earned the ENERGY STAR have higher efficiency Annual Fuel Utilization (AFUE) ratings which is a measure of heating equipment efficiency.

Domestic Water Heaters - New Jersey's Clean Energy Program also provides incentives for the purchase of high efficiency water heaters.
New Jersey Residents, contact us for more information on high efficiency heating systems and applicable rebates, incentives, tax credits and savings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NJ SRECs Key to Solar Success, But "Green" Jobs Still Few

While New Jersey now generates over 100MW of solar electricity, the rapid growth in installations has not been matched by a proliferation of "green" jobs. The New York Times details the factors at play in the success of solar power generation in the Garden State, as well as the reasons why the prospect of more jobs remains elusive.

But New Jersey also stands out among solar states for its absence of solar-equipment manufacturing. With no major photovoltaic factories, the state must import most equipment from abroad or from other states. And while "green jobs" are being created in New Jersey, the numbers are not what is expected from the nation's No. 2 solar state.

"New Jersey practically has a nonexistent industry," said Shihab Kuran, CEO of Petra Solar of South Plainfield, N.J.

Kuran's company recently landed a $200 million contract to supply New Jersey's largest electric utility with some 200,000 pole-mounted solar units over the next three and a half years. His work force has almost tripled since March, but he still has fewer than 60 employees, as Petra Solar uses utility PSE&G's line workers to do most installations.

While Kuran says his business model shows him adding more employees, as is expected from other manufacturers in the state, Advanced Solar Products Inc., Aten Solar and Sun Farm Ventures.

But with costs for real estate and labor among the highest in the nation, New Jersey is quickly finding that there are limits to how many green jobs it can create.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Furnace Efficiency and How It Effects Your Bottom Line!

Winter is fast approaching….the temperatures are dropping, and it’s now time to change over our closets to accommodate heavier clothing and warm coats. It’s also time to consider the good ol’ heating unit in our basement that provides the warmth we take for granted. As part of the Federal Stimulus package our government has instituted Rebates whereby homeowners can take advantage of a tax credit of 30% or up to $1,500 dollars when they upgrade to high efficiency heating equipment. (NOTE: Federal Tax Credit information for furnaces requires an AFUE greater than 95.30%) Besides this generous rebate, local utility companies here in New Jersey are offering an additional $400 rebate as well. Add to that the chart below, showing the difference in efficiency which directly impacts on the operating cost, and you can see yourself that you would indeed realize savings on a monthly basis, year over year, by upgrading your equipment. Since heating equipment lasts a very long time, some very old furnaces or boilers with very low efficiencies as compared to the newest high efficiency systems that would likely qualify for rebates and tax credits (along with a reduction of monthly energy costs) make the savings obvious! Depending on what your current system is your savings could be as much as 50% on energy costs. Consider upgrading your system today. NJ residents, contact us for more information at 800.287.6651 or conveniently through our website.

This information, provided by the US Department of Energy, will give you an insight as to the efficiency of your heating equipment.

Old, low-efficiency heating systems:

  • Natural draft that creates a flow of combustion gases
  • Continuous pilot light
  • Heavy heat exchanger
  • 68%–72% AFUE

Mid-efficiency heating systems:

  • Exhaust fan controls the flow of combustion air and combustion gases more precisely
  • Electronic ignition (no pilot light)
  • Compact size and lighter weight to reduce cycling losses
  • Small-diameter flue pipe
  • 80%–83% AFUE

High-efficiency heating systems:

  • Condensing flue gases in a second heat exchanger for extra efficiency
  • Sealed combustion
  • 90%–97% AFUE

Maintaining Your NJ Steam Boiler

We've moved this blog post to our new blog. You can read it here!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going Solar in New Jersey

We've moved.....Want to read this blog post and learn more about Solar in New Jersey?
You'll find us here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Jersey Utility Launches Distributed Solar Energy Program

Nate Lew of 'Cooler Planet' reports in his article of October 13, 2009
Business owners and others in New Jersey and elsewhere may be able to profit from a solar energy plan recently unveiled by regional utility company PSE&G.

Earlier this year, the Solar 4 All program was approved by New Jersey utility officials, allowing PSE&G to develop 80 megawatts of solar resources at a cost of about $515 million in the next several years.

Under the plan, solar arrays can be placed on any public or private site, from homes to businesses, with the utility paying rent to property owners. According to PSE&G, it will own the arrays and their energy output, and property owners will not be charged for their participation.

People interested in the program will need as much as 50,000 square feet of unobstructed roof space to hold a 500 kilowatt solar array. A single facility will be allowed to generate as much as 2 megawatts of electricity.

Generally, projects such as this one use the distributed solar energy model, which creates a large amount of electricity by placing panels on a variety of things, including rooftops and telephone poles. This contrasts with utility scale solar energy projects where a large amount is generated in one place and which can sometimes be more difficult when it comes to factors like permitting.

New Jersey Announces Big Solar Power Gains

In an article written by Danny Vo of 'Cooler Planet' (October 12, 2009) Governor Jon Corzine comments on New Jersey's success as a national leader in solar power installation.
The governor stated recently that solar installations in New Jersey have increased ten-fold since 2006 to a total of 100 megawatts of installed energy. This is said to be enough to power about 15,000 homes statewide.

"Energy infrastructure projects such as these will enhance our economy, generate 'green' jobs, Blockquoteand create a more secure energy future for our state and our citizens," said Corzine, noting that the federal stimulus bill has also played a significant role in his state's progress on clean energy.

According to the announcement, about 18,000 homes in New Jersey are now Energy Star certified, while 110,000 homes and 6,000 businesses have received energy efficiency improvements.

The progress made by New Jersey can also help illustrate how solar power investments can work in a wide variety of regions and climates instead of just those that are known for hot weather and considerable sunlight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Jersey Now #1 in Solar Per Square Mile is reporting that New Jersey has now surpassed California in density of solar installations. Governor Corzine cited several "green" reasons why NJ residents should be proud:
  • Reaching 4000 solar installations this past summer, making New Jersey second only to California in number of installations and capacity, but first it terms of the amount of solar installed per square mile.
  • Building New Jersey's solar generating capacity, which recently crossed the 100 megawatt threshold for the state's Clean Energy Program.
  • Completion of the geophysical work and substantial progress on the geotechnical and ecological research required as a prelude to construction of three proposed offshore wind farms.
  • Crossing the 50,000 threshold of customers in the state's Comfort Partners program, a collaboration with the state's utilities to bring energy efficiency to limited-income households.