Tag: Green living


2017 might be the year that solar power becomes cheaper than coal

2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.

This could be the biggest turning point in Green energy history!

In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.

“In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.

While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records.  These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.

This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices.  Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.

Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy.  In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.

“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”

The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.
The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.

Change is coming

While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017.  Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.

But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.

Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.

2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.

You can equip your home or business with solar technology from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have a selection of solar systems including solar panels suitable for a variety of building structures. Contact us or browse our website to find out more about how you can Go Green.


Should you buy a real Christmas tree or a fake one?

When the time comes to start decorating the home for Christmas, the tree is always the center of attention.  However, when you are committed to a Green lifestyle, it can be difficult to choose between buying a real Christmas tree or a fake. The dilemma of cutting down a tree can be just as difficult as choosing a faux plastic one that also might not be 100% great for the environment.

What is best for the planet?

Not all Christmas trees are festively environmentally friendly, and because Christmas is such a joyous time of the year, you want to be sure that the fun is not spoiled by having a tree that is not good for the planet.

If you prefer to have a real tree in your home, (and you are certainly not the only one who chooses a real tree), there are other factors that will come into play.  These factors include how far you will have to travel to get your tree as well as how you choose to dispose of it once it begins to wither and die.

When it comes to having a fake tree, then there is a whole new range of factors to consider, such as the quality of the tree and how long you will be using it.

Choosing your Christmas tree

As mentioned before, there are so many things to consider. Here are some of the factors that you need to think about:

  1. Your fake fur tree is going to have a longer lifespan.

You won’t have to worry about getting a new tree every year. If you buy a quality tree, you are going to get many years of use out of it. Because your tree can be used for many years, the fake Christmas tree can be a great option for when you are being environmentally conscious. These trees can last from between 5 to 10 years but depending on the quality. But there is also a downside. According to research, in order for the fake tree to be fully climate friendly, it will have to last for around 20 years.

Research done by a French Canadian consulting firm Ellipsos, fake Christmas trees have a far more damaging impact on the environment.

  1. Many fake Christmas trees are made from non-recyclable materials

This is one of the biggest factors against having a fake tree. Once the tree is no longer looking good, it will need to be disposed of. The problem comes in at this stage as the tree cannot be recycled, due to the toxic materials that are used to make the tree.

The upside is that advancements have been made towards making Christmas trees more environmentally friendly, which means that in future, these trees are more than likely going to be environmentally safe when it comes to breaking them down.

  1. Buy a “home grown” tree

To reduce the carbon impact of your fake Christmas tree, try to buy one that is locally produced, rather than buying one that is made overseas. They might be harder to track down, but because they are locally made they won’t have had to be imported. This contributes greatly to the impact that the tree will have on the environment as its carbon footprint will be minimal.

  1. The real deal are grown for a purpose

When buying a real Christmas tree, it is grown for the purpose of being a decoration. Not many places in South Africa offer the option of buying a real tree, but those who do are usually growing the tree for that purpose. Shop around, and do some online research, to find the right tree provider. You could also consider buying a potted Christmas tree that you tend to all year round and then bring into the home during the festive season. Finally, you can also consider having an indigenous tree as your Christmas tree.

  1. A real tree can be recycled

Biodegradable and not at all detrimental to the environment, when your real tree dies, you won’t have to worry about it damaging the environment.

The choice is yours, but if you are fully committed to Green Living, you might want to consider buying a real tree this Christmas. Although cutting down a tree might seem like the unlikely option, it is actually the best choice you can make!

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is the contracting company supplying reliable solar solutions, water management systems and air conditioning in Pretoria and Johannesburg along with the rest of the Gauteng province.




What to know before you buy solar lighting

Solar lights are one of the recent and perhaps less known developments in the Green industry, as well as in lighting industry, and follow on from the already popular solar technology that is currently being used by people all over the world. Solar lighting is great for outdoor areas at home and for public settings alike, providing stable light without the hassle of connecting wires. With this lighting, you will not be left in the dark with power outages. And this is just one reason why it is worth changing the way that you light your garden, the outside of your home or for your parking areas.

What are solar lights?

As with all of the other solar powered appliances and devices, solar lights are rechargeable products which are powered by the sun. Solar lights are powered by a photovoltaic system which includes a solar panel to catch solar light during the day.

This light energy is then stored until it is needed after the sun sets later in the day.

The most common areas in which this lighting is used is outdoors, where the light can charge for an entire day. Outdoor garden lights can be placed anywhere in the garden, unlike conventional lighting which will require wiring and therefore a little more consideration as to where the lighting will be placed. These outdoor lights are a fantastic option if you are looking for cost effective security lighting or if you are simply looking for an effective way to light your path at night. This form of lighting can also be decorated in certain ways, adding a certain aesthetic appeal to your landscape.

Solar street lights and lighting for parking areas are also an option to look at when you want an environmentally friendly and affordable way to provide enough lighting to darkened areas. Solar lights have also been used to light billboards at night.

As solar lights are known to be used as decorative features, this form of lighting comes in all kinds of designs and colours. This is what makes these lights great for parties and other get-togethers.

The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.
The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.

How do solar lights work?

With the PV system attached, solar lights generate their own electricity in the exact way that other solar power is made. To put it simply, when the sun shines on the panel, the electrons become, for want of a better word, excited. This process is what generates the power that keeps the light shining throughout the night. The system also includes a solar battery to store power. The panel is far smaller than the one you’d normally see on a solar PV system on top of a home’s roof. In this case, the panel is usually small enough to fit the top of the light.

The following morning, when the light energy has run out, the process will repeat itself all through the day and be recharged and ready to light up again the next night.

Why use solar lighting?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to light an area, and you don’t want to have to pay out or deal with having to have the wiring seen to and the devices installed, then solar lighting can be the better option.

Solar lighting is basically lighting for free as once the initial setup is done, you will never have to pay for the light that you get. Free lighting to massive areas is certainly worth it once you have decided to install these lights.

Here are a few other reasons why solar lights should be something you consider:

  • The energy is 100% free, clean and renewable.
  • You don’t have to worry about the lighting being damaged. These devices are made from durable materials.
  • If you are already looking for a way to make your entire lifestyle Green, then this is another step you can take.
  • Solar lights can be installed just about anywhere, so long as they receive sunlight.
  • The installation process is wonderfully simple and you will be able to do it yourself.
  • You will be saving on your monthly costs by not having to pay out anything extra each month to have this lighting.

Solar lights, along with solar geysers and solar systems, are the more cost-effective option to go with and in the long run, you are going to be happy that you made the decision to install these versatile lights. If you have any questions or want to install this lighting, you can contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We can give you great advice about which lights to choose as well as other ways to live a Greener lifestyle.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Systems tailored to your needs, that work from day one

Design Escapes

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions offers clients a variety of Green building services and products. 

© Green Leaf Alternative Solutions | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Cartmell