Solar News & Climate Blog
Solaflect Solar Trackers Stand Up to Growing Weather Extremes
Coming on the heels of the warmest October on record, New England has already seen its first big Nor’Easter of the upcoming 2021-22 winter season.  This powerful storm left its mark across the nation, bringing wildfire-ending rains to California, and late-season tornadoes to the Midwest, before “bombing out” with gale-force winds and drenching rains as...
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Are We Veering Off Course in Meeting Our Climate Goals?
What’s going on with the world’s energy supply?  Higher oil prices are pushing gasoline prices up to their highest levels in seven years.  Demand for coal is surging to record levels across the globe.   And, in Europe, natural gas prices are up 500 percent, as growing wind and solar production can’t keep pace with early...
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Our New Weather ‘Normal’ Is Bordering on the Extreme
For many in Jamaica, Vermont, flood damage in August 2021 brought back memories of Tropical Storm Irene from 10 years earlier.  As we close out another summer under the growing influence of climate change, our ‘New Normal’ weather feels more like it’s bordering on the extreme.  Inside New England: It was Massachusetts’ hottest and wettest...
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Solar Will Provide Nearly Half of U.S. Power Needs by 2050, Energy Department Says
The future belongs to solar – and its massive growth begins now.  That’s the upbeat forecast from the U.S. Department of Energy, issued in a new report on decarbonizing the nation’s power supply by 2050.  Here’s the roadmap: 2020, the U.S. added a record 15 gigawatts (GW) of solar, raising the nation’s total installed solar...
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Only a Few Weeks Left to Lock In the Best Solar Rates in Vermont
August 31st. That’s the last day you can lock in the best financial incentives to go solar in Vermont.  With net metering rates set to drop by 1₵/kWh on Sept. 1, the lost savings will add up to anywhere from $750 to $2,250 over 10 years. But your household doesn’t have to lose out.  All...
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Heat Waves and Heat Pumps
With More Heat Waves, Home Air Conditioning Is Becoming a Must-Have Appliance The dog days of summer have arrived – and so have the heat waves!  Here in northern New England, we’ve already endured two long stretches of hot, muggy weather in June, with “feel-like” temperatures topping 100° F in some places. Yet our weather...
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Are ‘Climate Refugees’ Coming to New England? 2020 Data Sure Seems to Say So
It’s official.  In Vermont, out-of-staters piled into the state to snap up homes at near-record rates in 2020, and no doubt New Hampshire and western Massachusetts saw a similar influx.  But data collected by the Vermont Department of Taxes – and analyzed by the Vermont Center for Geographic Information — makes Vermont’s property sales trends...
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Oil Majors Pressed on Three Fronts to Get Serious about Climate Change – and Renewables
The oil and gas industry was dealt three heavy blows in recent days – from the courts, government agencies and investors.  In each instance, the message is clear:  To survive in the age of global warming, further fossil-fuel exploration should end now, with money used instead for renewable energy development.  Together, these recent actions may...
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NOAA Online Tools Help You Chart Global Warming in Your Area
Each decade, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updates its analysis of U.S. weather patterns by comparing temperature, precipitation and other meteorological trends over the past 30 years against longer-term records dating back more than a century.  In a newly released update — comparing temperature increases in 1990 – 2020 against 30-year time...
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Colonial Pipeline Hack Is Latest Example of Fossil Fuel Frailties
The vulnerability of the nation’s fossil energy supply system was on full display again last week.  Hackers penetrated the computer systems of Colonial Pipeline, causing a shutdown of the 5,500-mile network that delivers nearly half of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel consumed on the East Coast.  While New England drivers were spared the worst...
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Five Reasons to Install Solar this Summer
Springtime feels extra special this year.  Not only are we shaking off a long winter, but we’re slowly, steadily escaping the clutches of a year+ of isolation and social distancing.  Now that we’re finally starting to reconnect and take on long overdue projects, here are five reasons to give solar energy serious thought: Tis the...
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What Are the Benefits of Charging Your EV at Home vs. Public Charging Stations?
One of the biggest questions owners of electric vehicles face is how to keep their EV batteries charged.  As a (conservative) rule of thumb, each mile of EV driving consumes about 1/3rd of a kilowatt-hour of battery power.  That means you need about 3,333 kWh of EV battery charging for each 10,000 miles you drive. ...
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Electric Vehicle Fast Charging and New England’s Highways – A Shot in the Arm from the Feds!
Last week, President Biden laid out a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that puts transportation upgrades at the top of a long national project list.  The $174 billion earmarked for electric vehicles and electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment actually exceeds the $115 billion budgeted for repairs to roads, bridges and highways. For those who own an...
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Spring Equinox at the 45th Parallel: Halfway to the Center of It All
At Solaflect Energy, today’s Equinox has us thinking warm thoughts about the long, sunny days ahead. For those who like living with a “sense of place,” northern New England has something really special to offer: a spot on the North American continent where the days start getting longer than the nights right as the vernal...
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A Year Later: Pandemic lessons revisited, and security in a climate calamity
One year into the coronavirus, what have we learned? It’s been a year since COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. With the end of the pandemic in sight, we’re looking back at how the coronavirus has changed us and updating three lessons we learned early on in the crisis: security starts at home; safe investments...
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Renewables Are Coming to Utilities’ Rescue, But the Grid Needs a Serious Upgrade
This week’s Barron’s, the Dow Jones investment weekly, features a bullish cover story on “The Coming Green Boom for Utilities.” In sharp contrast to how renewables were made out as scapegoats for the massive power outage in Texas last week, this piece sees green energy as riding to the rescue of an industry that’s in...
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Super Bowl Ads, Climate Change, and Vermont’s Lagging Regulators
The following commentary by Solaflect President Bill Bender was published by VT Digger, the Brattleboro Reformer and the Mountain Times in February, 2021 following the Superbowl. It is time for the Scott administration and Vermont electric utility regulators (the Public Service Department, the Public Utility Commission and the Agency of Natural Resources) to watch the...
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Pop Quiz: 10 Things You Should Know About the Recent Power Outage in Texas
The record-smashing, cold-weather outbreak that plunged Texas into darkness last week presents an ongoing human tragedy.  While dozens of Texans lost their lives in the powerful storm and its immediate aftermath, tens of thousands more remain without access to reliable heat or safe drinking water.  It may take months or even years to repair all...
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Is Norway Really ‘Out-EVing’ America, Like GM’s Super Bowl Ad Says?
That’s what comedian Will Ferrell, an unlikely GM spokesman, told 100 million Super Bowl viewers last Sunday.  And he’s right on the facts: only a quarter of 2020 light vehicle sales in Norway were old fashioned ICE (internal combustion engine) cars. Fully 54.3% were 100% EVs (electric vehicles), and the rest were hybrid EVs. What...
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2020 Was a Bad Year for the Climate
But Will It Mark a Turning Point? 2020 was a challenging year by lots of measures – and climate change was no exception.  While U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell to their lowest level in three decades, local and global temperatures continued to rise.  If the economic freefall caused by the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t halt the...
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Now Is the Time to Sign Your Own Solar Executive Order
On Day One in the White House, President Joe Biden signed an executive order recommitting our nation to fight global warming under the Paris climate accord.  Now it’s your turn to step up to the plate with your own pledge to combat climate change by installing clean, solar power, the sooner the better! If you...
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Vermont Cutting Solar Net-Metering Again January 31st, 2021
For Homeowners Considering Solar, Congress Giveth and Vermont Taketh Away Homeowners looking to install solar power received welcome news from Congress over the Christmas holidays.  As part of an omnibus spending bill, Congress extended the federal Investment Tax Credit for solar energy by two years.  The 26% credit for residential installations now will remain in...
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VTDigger: Vermont Regulators Cut Incentives to Switch to Solar Energy
A new report says solar energy has saved Vermonters $79 million and New Englanders $1.1 billion in just six years.  That narrative runs counter to the long-running contention from utilities that solar development is driving up retail electricity prices for ratepayers. The study by Synapse Energy Economics, an environmental research and consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts,...
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Save Solar – Make your voice heard!
“Let the sun shine!”  That’s the refrain some of us have been singing for 50 years now.” Will 2021 Finally Be the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius? At long last, it seems like the Age of Aquarius (for those of you old enough to remember) may finally be upon us.  We have a President-elect...
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