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October 03, 2007



This would seem to be an example where the Public Relations benefit (of Solar power) is considered to be a sufficientlt large subsidy for a company to do the right thing. This is one way that green energy can gain a niche market. Hopefully the sector can soon outgrow this phase by generating truly cost competitive products.

Kit P

What a pack of scumbags!!! It is 2007 and anyone who had this much potential for conservation should have it done years ago.

I also went to the SunPower web site. I invite their attorneys to contact me and I will explain ethics and truth telling to them. Assuming SunPower's promotional material was passed through their legal department, there is nothing I can teach SunPower about obfuscation.

It a company is going to make claims such as 'high-efficiency' is it too much to expect that claim is supported with actual real world data?

Benjamin Cole

This is why we will not have an energy "crisis." If anything, we are moving to a world in which we can decrease our consumption of BTUs every year, while improving living standards.
Sure, all of this should have been done long ago. Look for huge improvements in lighting. Lighting takes 20 percent of energy consumption. And we can reduce our lighting bills by two-thirds with new technologies.

Kit P

BC, the reason California has a energy crisis is because of focus on pixie dust solutions for an ostentatious life styles. Macy's putting solar putting solar panels on the roof of the Goodwill Thrift Store would be an interesting story.

I learned from my grandparents more than a half century about a marvelous device. It is called an on/off switch. Solar panels where the owners do not care if they work and PHEV for commuting long distances on the freeway have become the status symbol of the rich and wasteful. What ever happened to neighborhoods with big trees, compost piles, and clotheslines?


Hi there, greetings from across the pond...

It seems like they should indeed have done this years ago. Better late than never though.

In my country, there's policy being implemented to reduce total electricity consumption by about 2% per year, mainly by energy efficiency measures.

If they can achieve such levels of demand side efficiency improvements over the next few decades, then that might just keep the increase in demand at bay. For example, 2% reduction per year over 20 years, that would be about 0.98^20 = 1/3 reduction, allowing 50% more useful demand without actually increasing the total kWh's.

Of course there's the negative feedback of an increase in demand due to lower electricity costs, but that's not nearly a 100% negation of the effect, so at least in theory they should be able to get some nice reductions. And even if the gain turns out to be small, there still is the economic benefit of more efficient production.

Perhaps governments and private companies could cooperate more often, and on a larger scale, to commercialize efficiency improvements. Not just making them cheaper, but also making them easier to scale and bringing them to larger markets.


I think it's great that businesses like Macy's are starting to go efficient. I hope it helps to catch peoples attention to energy matters. While they are at it, if they havent already, considered a couple of things to save energy.

Intelligent sky lights. Has anybody come up with an instantaneous automatic shutter like an industrial grade (if you could call it that)LCD. Or compensation LED'S to keep the lighting even when a cloud goes by. That way they could almost eliminate electric lighting during the day.

Another is cold storage in large tanks or underground and use the air conditioning compressors to dissipate heat at night to cooler air.


Greg wrote: I think it's great that businesses like Macy's are starting to go efficient.

...Because it increases everyone else's electricity bills?

Greg wrote: Has anybody come up with [...] compensation LED'S to keep the lighting even when a cloud goes by.

That is a standard lighting-feature at box stores that have skylights.


How do you figure it raises everybody elses bill?
And thanks for enlightening me about LED's in stores. Which ones and what percentage of the total candle power (aprox).


Good for Costco too.
Another apliance that bugs me is the electric hot air hand dryer in bathrooms, specially fast food places. On one side they are trying to expell heat from their refrigerators and A/C, and the they waste electricity for hand dryers. They could kill two birds whith one stone.



Compensation-lighting is standard. LED's are not used, because LED's are less efficient than fluorescents, arc lamps and gas-discharge lamps and cost on the order of 100-times as much.


Greg wrote: How do you figure it raises everybody elses bill?

Economy of scale. The greater the rate of production, the cheaper the cost per unit produced -- and vice versa. It is a commonly-noted phenomenon across America that when community usage rates go down, utility rates in those communities go up.


So the best is to use more energy so we pay less? Or have somebody else waste energy to lower our bill? Everybody is talking here that we need more energy supply, how do you figure that by NOT saving we solve the problem?
What is the point of this blog?


LED'S are very efficient. Equal or better than fluorescents. I wonder why they havent mass produced them yet? maybe because they last forever? They have the advantage that you can turn them on and off instantly without damage many times. You can't say that about fluorescents.


Greg wrote: LED'S are very efficient. Equal or better than fluorescents.

What makes you think that? Please provide details. It is well-known that LED's have small fractions of the efficiencies of fluorescents and -- unlike the latter -- degrade quickly from initial efficiency levels.

Greg wrote: LED'S [...] last forever?

LED's do not last forever. Contrarily, they quickly degrade in lumen-output and in luminous efficiency.

Greg wrote: LED's [...] have the advantage that you can turn them on and off instantly without damage many times.

Programmed-start ballasts minimize start-up damage to fluorescents.


Greg wrote: So the best is to use more energy so we pay less?

Burning the earth's energy stocks at a greater rate is less-risky than burning the earth's energy stocks at a lesser rate.

Conserving energy increases your neighbor's power bill, as well as increases society's general risk-level.


WoW. That makes sense!


It doesn't make sense to me.

If the total reduction because of energy efficiency (not conservation) is 1/3, then prices will have to rise more than 50% for Nucbuddy's argument to hold true. That seems highly unplausible.

I'd like to see some data supporting your assertions here.

What is likely to be more relevant though, is how much the efficiency upgrades themselves cost. If they're too expensive, they won't penetrate to a large enough market to make sense on the scale that is required.

Made in China

Made in China

Solar panels maryland

An extra benefit to adding a solar system to your home apart from the considerable reduction in fuel bills, is it also improves the efficiency of your existing boiler and extends it's life too.

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