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Energy Efficiency... Renewable Energy Including Solar
 
Solar PV Solar Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight to electricity.  Basically, these are the best form of renewable energy generation.  There are no moving parts, solar panels are typically guaranteed for 20 years or more, and ongoing maintenance is minimal.  Degradation that does occur within the solar panel is nominal, basically about a 1% per year.  Therefore, after 20 years, the solar panels are still working at 80% of their original capability.
Solar Thermal Hot Water

Solar thermal hot water is one of the oldest forms of energy capture from the sun.  The ability to create hot water from the sun is very viable, even in a country such as Canada.  Today’s technologies have improved the performance of solar thermal hot water heating.  If fact, water temperatures higher than 80 degress Celsius are being produced, in Toronto, in February!

Solar Thermal Air Heaters  This technology is not new, just changed.  We heat our homes and offices from the sun entering the building through windows.  Solar Air Heaters follow the basic principle, warm space.  These systems are mounted to the exterior of a building on the south facing side.  The sun warms the air space within the “wall”.  The air inside the wall is exchanged with the air inside a building.  This system complements existing heating systems and during shoulder months or season changes, this system could be the sole heat source on sunny days.

Wind  Wind Energy can be broken into two basic categories; small and large.  Wind is not the most effective energy generation opportunity.  Many believe that if it is windy, it is good for wind energy production.  However, higher wind speeds will shut down most wind turbines, specifically large wind turbines.  The braking systems are critical to prevent overrunning the generators/motors within these large wind mills.

Wind energy generation is very unpredictable.  The sun is guaranteed to rise every day.  Wind generally occurs when the sun is not shining, such as during the night or on cloudy days.

Small Wind Generally, wind turbines rated at 300kW or lower is considered small wind.  These turbines are at best auxiliary energy.  Typical homes require about 10kW of electricity demand, or the amount of electricity required operating the home at the highest peak of energy use.  For example, clothes dryer, stove, oven, TV and lights, all on simultaneously would be in the 10kW range.  A 300kW wind turbine will produce up to 300kW but generally will run in the middle range of 150kW, when it is windy.  A large amount of batteries would be required to be off-grid in order to maintain equal electricity for demand.

Large Wind Generally, wind turbines exceeding 300kW would be considered large wind.  We see these wind mills generally installed as “wind farms”, or many turbines over a large parcel of land.

Geo Geothermal energy capture is using the earth.  Year round, the earth maintains a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  This can be taken advantage of for cooling and heating a building using the constant temperature of the earth.  The earth becomes a heat exchanger.  The payback period for Geothermal is generally 10 years or greater, simply due to the scope of the project.  New heating units and significant infrastructure changes are a result of projects of this scope.  It is recommended that Geothermal be installed when the building is being built.  

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