Report From SEIA: Walmart Generates The Most Solar. IKEA Leads By Percent Of Stores Using Solar Power.

SEIA's Top 20 Companies by Solar CapacityAccording to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Walmart is tops in commercial solar power production. Rooftop solar panels on an IKEA store.As a percentage of retail locations, IKEA leads the pack by installing solar panels on 79% of their stores. What does this mean? If you consider yourself a friend of all things green, you should buy all of your food & clothing at Walmart and your furniture & household items at IKEA. You should also ignore the post before this one that kind of makes fun of Walmart. [SEIA via GigaOM]


Solar-Powered Recumbent Trike-Bike?

Awesome! Spinner Guy – with this video, a trade show booth and some slick marketing brochures, my gut tells me you could get millions (CDN) from investors looking for the next big green product. [Boing Boing]


Sunrun’s Advertisement: Going Solar To Save $’s First And Then Maybe The Environment

Sometimes green is a byproduct of saving money and that is what’s so great about Sunrun’s ad. Created by Heat, a San Francisco based ad agency, the advertisement is one of three that all hit the same spot with saving money as the primary motivation for going solar.

Sunrun’s solar lease model is similar to SolarCity’s. Basically, they’ll install solar panels on your property at no charge and you pay them instead of your utility for the electricity you consume. Sunrun’s ads are important because they will expand the market by encouraging homeowners who may be motivated by a different kind of green to switch to solar.

Jubbling’s take: we don’t care how you get to solar – just get there if you can. [FastCo.Exist]


Damned If You Don’t (Go Solar), Damned If You Do (Net Metering)

Net Metering GraphicThere’s a post on Greentech Media about a debate between Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development Founder, Travis Bradford, and Westinghouse Solar CEO, Barry Cinnamon, on the effect of net metering. Net metering allows homeowners who generate their own renewable power to sell excess electricity back to utility companies. Based on where Bradford and Cinnamon work, you’d think they would be in agreement on this issue but they’re not.

Mr. Bradford is an advocate for distributed generation of renewable power; keep it local if possible as opposed to a central power generator that transmit and wastes electricity by sending it long distances. He believes un-capped net metering will aid the process of producing and keeping electricity local.

Mr. Cinnamon (Reservoir Dogs? No, they were colors.) believes there should be caps on net metering. He points out that utility companies are unable to recoup their per-customer fixed costs due to un-capped net metering. He also notes that if utilities raise their rates to account for lost income due to net metering, more people will move toward renewable energy putting utility companies in a “death spiral.” Surprisingly, this is coming from a person that works at Westinghouse solar. Sounds like he’s almost saying – “don’t buy too much of my product.”

If you get a chance, read the article and decide for yourself. [Greentech Media]


The Emission Footprint of Electric Vehicles Depends On How You Get Your Power

State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States

Click on the image for larger view.

We’ve been hearing about this for a while but the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCC) have put it to paper (kind of) with their “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States.” Their research suggests that depending on how electricity is generated (coal, hydro, solar etc.) where you live in the United States, electric vehicles (EV) are responsible for producing more or less emissions relative to gas powered vehicles. In parts of the country that derive most of their electricity from non-renewable resources (ie coal, natural gas), the areas in dark blue on the map above, EVs have an equivalent fuel economy above 30 mpgs when compared to a gas powered auto. In areas in light blue, EV’s have a fuel efficiency equivalent greater than 50 mpgs.

Here are the main points from the UCC report:

  1. Nearly half of Americans (45%) live in the “best” regions where EVs produce lower global warming emissions than even the most fuel-efficient gasoline hybrids on the market today (greater than 50 mpg).
  2. Another third (37%) live in “better” areas where EVs produce emissions comparable to the best gasoline hybrid vehicles (41 – 50 mpg).
  3. A minority (18%) reside in “good” regions where emissions from EVs are comparable to the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline vehicles (31 – 40 mpg).

The UCC study has been well received and initial cost aside, going with an Electric Vehicle sounds like a good, cost-saving decision just about any place you live. [UCC]

Related information: Lifetime gasoline and fuel cost comparison for EV, Hybrids and Gas-Powered Vehicles


The Giraffe Street Lamp Lets You Swing For Your Lighting

The Giraffe Street LampWell, the Giraffe Street Lamp looks cool even though it may be impractical. It’s a playground inspired idea that captures the energy of swinging and solar to power an LED light. The backyard and park setting photos of the Giraffe Street Lamp in use are good – put it in the bedroom and I think they might have a winner. [Yanko Design via Dvice]