To start off, let’s get something straight. Power and energy are not the same thing. I am asked all the time, “How much solar power does my home need to eliminate my electric bill?” The right answer is usually how much energy the home needs. Power is a rate of consumption. Energy is a quantity of consumption. Power over time equals energy! Pull out your electric bill. you will not find how many kilowatts your home consumed last month. Kilowatts is a measure of power – how much electricity you are using at any given time. What you will find is Kilowatt-hours, abbreviated kWh orRead More →

My father-in-law who is a Professional Engineer made a very astute comment to me one day. He said that it is impossible to manage something without an accounting system. As a guy with a degree in Finance, I agreed wholeheartedly . But, he was actually applying this concept to energy. How can you manage your energy use if you don’t know what appliances and devices are consuming?! In a previous entry I promised to discuss the power and energy needs of a hairdryer vs. a 60 watt light bulb. If you need a primer on the difference between power and energy, please read this postRead More →

For owners of solar electric systems with Enphase microinverters, the company has just updated its Enlighten system monitoring portal. The new design is great. The site uses intuitive tabs. All of the same great charts and reports are available. You can now upload photos of your system to the site to show in a gallery. There is also a handy download button to download charts as an image file or PDF like shown below. The site leads you into time-lapse views of your energy production over time more intuitively. Now I’m waiting for the ability to download a video of the time-lapse views. These wouldRead More →

A variable speed pump lets you change the motor speed in revolutions per minute (RPM) to “dial in” an optimal speed for your pool. Using a flow meter, you can produce a flow rate to turn over your pool water the desired number of times per day to adequately filter your pool. The advantage of a variable speed pump is that it costs less to run than a single speed pump. You want to run your pool pump at the slowest speed possible to achieve the required results. Why? The amount of energy required versus the flow rate is not linear. Consider the energy usageRead More →