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Inventions: Sustainable and Pollution-Free Transportation

New and creative ideas are coming out as innovations, as design and manufacturing is growing. One that stands out is a project at UMass Lowell. A group of electrical engineering and computer science students have designed, built, and tested a prototype quadricycle, or “taxi”, that can transport up to four people. This taxi is Electric/Solar power-based, which makes it the first of its kind as it emits no pollution, and runs solely on a solar energy powered battery. This taxi can maintain speeds up to 25 miles per hour, while not consuming a single drop of gasoline.

Energy efficiency is something that the electric cars have been pushing for a while now, yet they need an electrical source. The normal electric car typically uses electrical power from a commercial power grid, which in turn burns fossil fuels. So is it really all that efficient? The typical electric car attains 300 watt-hours per mile, versus a mere 45 watt-hours per mile on the taxi, which means that it uses less than 6x’s the amount of power to charge for the same distance. But if the taxi charges solely based with its 150-watt solar panel, it uses NO secondary electrical power source. Commercialization of the “taxi” may become more popular and gain some backing throughout UMass Lowery’s campus over the next few years.

It’s about progress, and building something new.

Solar Device Chargers

Worried about charging devices when away from an electrical outlet? Or wanting to lessen electrical usage while still charging laptops, cameras, phones and more? Invest in a solar charger. They have solar panels that convert energy from direct sunlight.

If the solar charger is just for small devices, it is best to choose one with an internal battery. The energy gets stored on the device, which means it can be used to charge devices even if it is cloudy. However, the internal battery might need replaced after a couple of years.

For those outdoor adventurers who spend a lot of time in the sun, there is a solar charger that plugs directly into a device. This type of solar charger is more reliable than the one with the internal battery, but only works when there is sunlight to draw energy from.

These lightweight, portable solar charging devices are great for outdoor adventure. Many people like to document their camping and hiking adventures with a camera or phone camera. It could be a problem if they get outside and realize their battery has died. That’s where these chargers come in handy.

Or homeowners who are looking to cut down on their energy use, for financial and environmental reasons, could use these to charge their electronics instead of plugging them into the wall socket. Especially during summer when energy consumption skyrockets from air conditioner use, this could be a good way to use a little less electricity.

How Solar Power is Saving Everyone Money

There are of couple main arguments for switching to solar power energy. Two of the most common are the environmental benefits, and the money savings. These arguments are very true, but there’s a new argument for switching to solar power. This new argument states that the rise in use of solar energy is making electricity cheaper for everyone. How is this possible?
This year alone solar power has seen tremendous growth. According to GTM research “in the first half of 2014, 53% of all new electricity generating capacity built in this country was solar”. Solar power installation also is expected to continue to rise through the rest of the year. With so many people making the switch to solar power what is happening to the electrical grid people are currently using?
A study in California showed that due to the increase of solar power usage, electricity prices were falling by 2.5% on the west coast. The increase in solar power usage isn’t the only reason electricity prices are falling, there’s more to it. But solar energy does play a huge part in the price decrease.
Use of solar power is making electricity costs cheaper because electricity from the sun displaces mid-day peaking electricity plants. The easiest way to explain it is solar installations in residential areas reduce the demand being place on the power grid. With the demand being lowered, prices are then lowered for everyone during these peak times.
As the use of solar power continues to grow the pressure on electrical grids all over the country will diminish. This effect will help save American’s more money. A rise in solar power is good for the economy as well. Installing solar energy alternatives is creating jobs and the IRS is offering tax breaks for those who help support the switch to solar energy.
Overall, solar energy benefits everyone and the environment too! If you’re ready to make the switch to solar energy call EcoElectric today! Our staff is knowledgeable and trained on solar energy or any other house hold electrical issue that may arise.

Have a Sustainable 4th of July

In our opinion, the right way to celebrate the 4th of July is to spend the day outdoors with friends and family while celebrating our national independence. This may include barbecues, swimming, attending local fireworks, and even setting off some of your own legal fireworks. Because of this, the 4th of July doesn’t have a whole lot to do with electricity. It is the one day of the year when most of us would prefer to be outside. Despite the nature of the holiday as an outdoor affair, we at Eco Electric want to talk about sustainability. Solar panels may not provide much entertainment to your celebrations but there are still a lot of environmentally friendly ways to celebrate the holiday. These methods, while saving the planet, can also help you get more bang for your buck!

1)    Reusable party ware: Ditch the disposable plates, cups, and silverware and go with washable dishware. If you are having a party, you might even consider a “bring your own plate” theme with competitions for ugliest, and most unique plates. Additionally, you can turn the event into a dish swap, where party-goers exchange dishes with one another. Benefits: less landfill, fewer dishes to wash afterword, new tradition

2)    Reuse decorations: Decorations for the 4th of July remain the same every year. You have probably noticed this at some point in your life. This year, instead of throwing out your decorations and sending them to the local landfill, consider saving the decorations for next year. Benefits: less landfill, time and money savings next year

3)    The more the merrier: Larger groups use less energy than individuals (or smaller groups). Think of inviting additional people to your party. You might even consider a potluck-style party to cut down on food costs. Benefits: lower electricity use than individual celebrations, more people to celebrate with, increased variety of food

4)    Attend a public fireworks show: Public firework shows tend to be much more thrilling than the individuals ones. Part of this is due to the fact that they can use fireworks that are illegal for the general public to buy, but it also involves atmosphere, choreographed shows, music, and getting out of the house to celebrate. Benefits: less pollution from personal fireworks, sense of community, increased safety, firework purchase savings

5)    Make your own popsicles: The 4th of July is generally hot. Popsicles can, however, make the heat more tolerable. Consider making your own popsicles. You can google a recipe and then use a popsicle mold to get the right shape. Benefits: healthier, reusable, fun family activity, decreased waste from popsicle wrappers and sticks

However you choose to celebrate, the staff at Eco Electric wishes you a fun and safe 4th of July!