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King tides hit Monterey Bay

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The winter’s first exceptionally high tides, or king tides, are striking Monterey Bay this week. Rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as ongoing El Niño conditions, may exaggerate the high water in the Santa Cruz area.

Source: California Water News feed

Source: Water Industry News

Blog: Great Lakes states take halting steps toward water protections

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After years of watching their state do little to address stormwater runoff, polluted wells, and noxious algae blooms in once clear waters, 16 Wisconsin citizens last month decided enough was enough. They filed a petition with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to force Wisconsin to correct failures in its clean water program or else take away Wisconsin’s authority to administer permits under the Clean Water Act.

Source: California Water News feed

Source: Water Industry News

Extreme weather tied to over 600,000 deaths over 2 decades

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According to the report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United States has had the highest number of weather-related disasters in the past two decades, but China and India have been the most severely affected, enduring floods that had an effect on billions of people.

Source: California Water News feed

Source: Water Industry News

5 Myths (and Facts) About Solar Energy

5 Myths (and Facts) About Solar Energy

5 Myths about Solar Energy

The U.S solar industry continues to break records, posting 70 percent growth year-over-year in the residential sector, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

In the second quarter of 2015, 1,393 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) were installed, enough to power 4.6 million average American homes. Yet myths about solar energy still persist.

We separate fact from fiction below…

Myth #1: Solar Panels Don’t Work When It’s Cloudy or Snowy

It’s true that solar panels work most efficiently when they receive direct sunlight. However, they still produce power on cloudy, rainy and overcast days. Research suggests that on a cloudy day, the amount of power produced can drop by around 75 percent, depending on the thickness of the clouds and type of panel. 

Solar panels will not produce power if they’re covered by snow, but since panels are angled, snow easily slides off, so this is unlikely to be a problem most of the time. Solar panels are also positioned to draw the most sun, so after heavy snowfalls, any snow covering your panels will melt quickly so you can start producing power again.

While clouds and snow can hamper solar panels’ power-generating potential, they don’t need to stop their operation completely. You should also remember that cloudy and snowy days come and go, so their overall impact on your solar panels’ performance is likely to be small. 

Myth #2: Getting Solar Panels is Very Expensive

Installing solar panels on your home is probably more affordable than you think. A few years ago, solar panels cost five times as much as they do today. Installation costs are also cheaper, as new methods have slashed installation time from a couple of days to just four hours.

Many solar energy companies will install your solar panels without any upfront costs at all. A new report from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center has found that paying off a fully-financed solar PV system is more affordable than paying traditional energy bills in 42 of America’s 50 largest cities.

Generous federal and state incentives make installing solar even more affordable.

Myth #3: Switching to Solar Energy is Complicated

Switching to solar energy is actually a very simple process. After you request a quote on solar energy, most solar companies will give you a free in-person consultation. During this no-obligation chat you’ll learn more about the solar panels, the installation process, and financing options. The solar consultant will also happily answer any questions about solar energy you might have.

Your solar company won’t just take care of the installation; they’ll also usually manage the permits, inspections, and any other paperwork you need. Once your utility company gives its approval, you only need to flip the switch to begin generating your own clean, green solar energy.

Myth #4: Solar Panels Will Make it Harder to Resell My Home

Numerous reports show the opposite is true. The most recent, a 2015 study from Berkeley Lab, found that buyers across America will pay an average of $15,000 more for the average home with solar power. In California, a home with a new 5-kilowatt system can expect to fetch almost $40,000 more than a comparable home without solar power. The Department of Energy has also found that homes with solar panels sell faster, at twice the rate of conventional homes. Clearly, energy-efficient measures are on the minds of property purchasers, and solar panels can make your home more attractive to them, not less.

Myth #5: Solar Energy is a Fad

While solar energy is fairly new to the residential market, key organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States military, and leading telecommunications and oil firms have relied on solar power for decades. These important groups use solar because it’s so dependable and inexpensive in the long term. While American homeowners have been slow to understand solar energy’s potential, rapid long-term growth in the residential sector means it’s unlikely to be a short-term craze.  

Myths about solar energy abound, but when you do your research you’ll see that installing solar power is an excellent option for any home in the United States.


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