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Author Archives: Cary Weiner

Keeping Cool in Colorado

As temperatures rise, paying attention to the little things can help you stay cool in your home.  Following tips such as opening windows during cool periods of the day, closing windows during hot periods of the day, closing window treatments to prevent solar heat buildup, and planting trees to provide shade are those “little things”. […]

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Where Solar Pays

CSU Extension recently unveiled our interactive 2018 Solar Payback map of home solar arrays in Colorado rural electric association service territories, and there is a lot of data there to analyze. Perhaps the most meaningful map layer is called “Payback with 3% Electric Rate Inflation”. This shows how quickly a household could get its money […]

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Battery Storage Bill

The Governor recently signed Senate Bill 009, which limits the ability of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to put up barriers to customer-sited battery storage systems. With the cost of battery backup coming down significantly in recent years, this bill could facilitate a broader movement to pair on-site renewables with batteries. The bill directs Colorado’s Public Utilities […]

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Solar Tax Credits 101

The federal tax credit for solar energy is generous. The credit for 30% of the installed cost runs through the end of 2019, in 2020 it decreases to 26%, and in 2021 it decreases again to 22% before ending completely in 2022. Of course there are a couple of caveats. The first is that utility […]

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Green Power Purchasing

As utilities continue their march toward clean and renewable energy, it may be time to rethink the value of green power purchasing programs. These programs, such as Xcel’s WindSource program, can be hard to understand. At a basic level, a utility customer can choose to pay a premium on one’s own energy consumption to support […]

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Conservation in the Kitchen

For those of us with big gardens, August and September are the heart of canning and preserving season. My wife puts up dozens and dozens of jars of raspberry jam, pickles, pickled beets, and other assorted vegetables. We also freeze lots of veggies to enjoy the bounty of our garden during the frozen days of […]

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A Plethora of Solar Options 3

In Part One of this series, we explored some basic reasons for choosing between solar leasing, owning, and gardening. In Part Two, we dove deeper into the financial reasons behind this decision. In this Part Three, we’ll summarize the comparison in order to help you and your network make informed decisions around home solar. Although […]

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A Plethora of Solar Options 1

Note: This post is Part One of a series on solar options. Here we compare the basics of solar leasing, purchasing, and gardening. Part Two keys in on the financial aspects of the options. Part Three summarizes the lessons learned from the first two posts. What makes something a ‘plethora’? I hope many of you […]

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Efficiency Isn’t the Enemy

Since the time of Thomas Edison, electric utilities have collected revenues and generated profits by selling electricity. That’s what they do. Recently, however, some utilities have recognized that their customers are more interested in saving energy than in buying it. So in order to keep the peace and continue making ends meet, these innovators have […]

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Keep Your Cool

About this time of year, I always start to wonder if my house will be comfortable enough to get my family through the heart of summer. We still haven’t made the leap to an active cooling system and we’ve been fine without one. In part that’s because we’re cheap. But it’s also due to our […]

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Two Sides to a Tariff

President Trump has indicated interest in placing tariffs on foreign imports in order to boost domestic manufacturing. For the solar industry, however, the issue of tariffs gets complicated fast. For context, it’s important to understand that solar panels are made up of solar cells that actually generate the electricity. American solar cell manufacturing has been […]

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Trees, Energy, & People

What if someone told you that something beautiful, organic, and potentially stately could cut your cooling bills in half and also reduce your heating bills? What if that thing could also provide a home for birds, something to climb, and a source of oxygen for the planet? Yep – trees can cut your energy bills […]

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Weatherstrip Your Furnace

Weatherstrip your furnace. Caulk your solar panels. Drive an electric hot water heater. With so much energy information being thrown about, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. So here’s our attempt to break down some simple and straightforward energy advice that goes a bit beyond the norm. Get an audit. If you’re serious about […]

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Solar Calculator

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO OUR SOLAR CALCULATOR. With solar installations and solar financing options continuing to grow in the state, Colorado State University Extension has developed an online calculator that provides costs and benefits for those considering taking the leap. The calculator goes beyond existing estimators by allowing for rooftop or ground mount […]

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To Flare or Not to Flare?

There’s been a lot of talk in the energy world recently about a BLM rule finalized in the waning days of the Obama administration that would limit methane emissions on public lands. Among other things, the rule requires the flaring of methane on federal and Indian lands to be cut in half over time. The […]

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