In a previous post, I mentioned how Tesla is going to be announcing the release of an energy storage product for the home. What I didn’t highlight is that they aren’t just going to stop at the home. Tesla is also making a move into the commercial market. There are already installations of Tesla’s energy storage at companies, like Walmart.
Being able to create energy storage at the commercial scale to power a store like Walmart, has fantastic implications for the residential market. The energy storage is manufactured by Panasonic, through a partnership with Tesla, but Tesla has spent a lot of time promoting and highlighting the strategic benefits to Tesla and to associated companies like SolarCity.
With the growth of solar power, the need to store that power has become a critical function. Tesla is looking to announce products to address this need during their April event. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise though seeing that Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, is also the chairman of SolarCity. I look forward to these advancements as it will set the bar higher and encourage additional development in the space.
Apple has been investing more in renewable energy to power their operations including a newly announce solar power farm in China. The best way to sum up their efforts is this quote for their site: “…it’s our responsibility to make sure that while creating beautiful products, we’re also caring for our beautiful planet.”
In honor of Earth Day (April 22), we’ve released a new feature on WattDoesItUse that allows you to see the estimated CO2 output for your device, based upon the electricity that is generated for its use.
This new feature is part of the power consumption calculator and it automatically updates based on how much you use your device. Spoiler alert, if you have solar power offsetting all of your electricity usage, then you aren’t outputting any CO2. If you aren’t using solar power and would be interested in learning more about it, look at our new Solar Power Resource section.
You don’t have to install solar power to celebrate Earth Day. Just being in nature and conserving energy is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. All of us at WattDoesItUse wish you a fantastic Earth Day!
The common misconception of solar is that you have to install the solar panels on your house in order to get the benefit. This is not true. There is a growing market, known as community-shared solar, community-owned solar, community solar or solar gardens, which allow you to get all of the benefits of solar without having solar panels installed on your property. This provides Solar Power as a Service (SPaaS) where all of the details are taken care of and the customer gets all of the benefits.
I had the opportunity to chat with Todd Davidson, Director of Marketing at Clean Energy Collective, about the growth of community solar and the benefits it brings to their customers.
Todd explained that there are a lot of common misconceptions in the market around solar, specifically that you have to lease the install, or that you have to be able to install it on your roof. The model of Clean Energy Collective is to install the community shared solar array at a remote location that is in the same service area as your utility. Clean Energy Collective takes care of the maintenance and management of your solar panels. Depending on where you are located you either purchase the panels, or in Massachusetts, through the SolarPerks program, utility customers are allocated a portion of the community solar array with no upfront costs, and then receive net metering credits on their electric bills for the power produced.
If you were to move out of your house/apartment, you would be able to transfer your solar panel output to your new residence, as long as it was in the same utility service area. This makes solar power accessible to a larger market of people that didn’t have the ability to install on their roofs, either because of structural/location limitations or because they are renting and not able to make modifications to the property.
If you are interested in learning more about Clean Energy Collective, click on the following link and fill in the form. They are currently offering service in the following states:
April 22nd is Earth Day and a great time to appreciate all of the good things that the Earth has to offer. It is also a great day to show your appreciation for the environment. Here are a few Earth Day activities that you’ll enjoy and will also help the environment:
Ride a bike/walk/take public transportation instead of driving
Go for a nature hike and enjoy Earth’s beauty
Turn off all of your lights and enjoy the night sky instead of watching television
However you end up spending your day, make sure you take some time to consciously appreciate the good. At the same time, recognize the areas that can be improved upon and make those actions apart of your daily routine.
WattDoesItUse was created to make it easy for you to find the power consumption for electronic devices in your home.
Belkin’s WeMo division has tools that can help with this effort. I talked with Leah Polk, Senior Global Public Relations Manager at WeMo, about the products they currently have available and what is coming down the line.
Leah talked about the benefits of the WeMo Insight tool, which allows you to see the power consumption of your device in real time from your smartphone. The WeMo line is Belkin’s focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), and WeMo Insight is definitely in alignment. Besides the ability to see the power consumption of the device, you can use rules in the WeMo smartphone app to control when a device shuts off in order to conserve energy. You can also link it up to IFTTT and trigger additional actions.
WeMo isn’t stopping there though; they want to make it easier for people to measure the power consumption for every device in your home without having to have an adapter on each plug. This is where WeMo Power comes in. Leah highlighted that it is still in development, but the goal of the product is to identify the signal of electric devices so that their individual power consumption can be distinguishable at the electrical panel of your residence/place of business. This will bring about a higher level of visibility around the power consumption of the devices in your home and, leveraging WattDoesItUse, will allow you to find products that are more energy efficient.
We’ve added a new category of products on WattDoesItUse: Dishwashers!
You can now find the power consumption for your dishwasher. I have to say, I was surprised—and I think you will be too—about how much energy dishwashers consume, especially when using the heated dry setting.
On average, a dishwasher will consume 1,250 Watts per load. There are multiple factors that come into play that can impact this, but using the heated dry option will definitely increase the power consumption of your dishwasher. So, the next time you wash your dishes, make sure you conserve energy and don’t select heated dry.
Microwaves cost more than you might think! With that in mind, we’ve added a new category: Microwaves. An interesting fact about microwaves is that the heating power isn’t the same as the power consumption. When you buy a microwave, it will reference the cooking watts (i.e. 1,000 cooking watts). However, the actual power that is consumed can be significantly more than the cooking watts. Some of the 1,000 watt cooking microwaves actually consume 1,600 watt-hour of power.
Although microwaves are intended for short periods of running, it is still good to be aware of their power consumption as it relates to other devices in your household.
We aren’t slowing down at WattDoesItUse. Today we’ve added a new category: Streaming Media Players. You can now find the power consumption and standby cost of your streaming media player. If you can’t find your streaming media player in our list, please feel free to fill out the Request Device Watt Usage form and we’ll find it for you.
If there are categories that you’d like to see on WattDoesItUse, please feel free to contact us.