Tag: renewable energy resources

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What to expect from solar systems in 2017

The past few years have been hugely successful for solar power. Homes and businesses alike have benefited from having solar systems installed, and the environment has benefited from the use of this clean energy. The industry itself has seen a massive drop in the price of solar panels, even though the community has not been completely supportive.

But what many people don’t know, is that in 2016 solar panels became cheaper to use than fossil fuels.

As with any renewable technology, there were bound to be a few setbacks when solar power first became a reality, but even with the few setbacks, solar power has soared ahead to remain one of the most popular sources of Green energy.

In more than 30 countries, solar and wind power became cheaper than fossil fuels in 2016, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum in 2017. And as prices for solar power continue to plummet, it is estimated that in 2017 more than two-thirds of nations on the planet will have “grid-parity” which means there will be a drop in the completely relying on fossil fuels.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

But while the support for solar power will continue to grow in 2017, investment from the rest of the globe is still not what it should be. This means that there are not enough investments coming in to avoid the looming global energy crisis. Only 25% of the investment amount decided upon at the Paris Climate Change Accord has been paid and because many of the barriers preventing the payments from being made are politically motivated, overcoming this barrier will take time and policy changes. Other factors preventing the money from being paid over include economic setbacks such as contracts not being standardised and the lack of a steady track record, drawn up by financial institutions, which needs to in place to reassure the investors.

Although this may be seen as a setback in 2017, the lowering of prices for solar power will triumph in the end, especially as solar power looks set to outperform all forms of fossil fuel energy within the next decade.

There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017
There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017

 

Solar power developments in 2017

The development of solar panels and their accompanying systems are set to go into overdrive in 2017, as we see the development of solar panels embrace technology in ways that it has not previously been seen. Solar panels are also set to become more energy efficient.

At Cambridge University, experimental physicist Sam Stranks has been trying to develop ways to make solar power less expensive to harvest and more efficient once it has been collected. His idea is to place a mineral layer of perovskite onto the solar cell which will be used to boost the efficiency of the cell.

According to Stranks, “We could take a silicon solar panel with a lab record efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity of 25 percent, add a perovskite layer, and boost the power generation by a fifth,” says the 31-year-old. “For a solar cell, the maximum efficiency is around 30 per cent – but with one of these perovskite ‘tandem’ layers it could go up to around 50 per cent.”

This is a wonderfully positive development and if it becomes successful and enjoys widespread popularity, it could become one of the important developments in solar power in 2017.

In 2017, the solar industry also hopes to see more commercial businesses transitioning towards renewable energy. There are many businesses who are serious about only using renewable energy. Take for instance Google. Just last year Google announced that they would be relying 100% on Green Energy and Green Energy initiatives in 2017. They are not the only corporate giant who is making this commitment to the planet.

2017 will be filled with new opportunities to change the way that you access and harness electricity. At Green Leaf Alternative Solutions, we can supply Green systems such as solar systems, grey water systems and LED lighting which will help you to make your own commitment towards a Greener future.

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Make 2017 your Greenest year yet in 7 Simple steps

It just takes a few simple lifestyle changes to turn your world Green. While installing solar panels or energy efficient air conditioning in your home or business, you can make a remarkable difference in how much you spend each month, but there are also a few other things you can do.

7 Easy Ways to help the environment

  1. Walk or cycle

If you are lucky enough to live and/or work close to shops, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of driving you do and instead opt to walk or cycle. In South Africa, we are not exactly living in cities that are planned in such a way that walking or cycling is always a viable option but if you can use your feet instead of your tyres, this simple method to Go Green is not only going to help the environment but it is also going to benefit your health!

  1. Use your reusable bags

When South African shops stopped providing plastic bags for free when purchasing products, many of us invested in reusable bags. But how many of us still remember to take them when we shop. Normally, we end up buying plastic bags, something that we could completely avoid. Instead of paying for a plastic bag every time you shop, make a habit of actually using your reusable bags. Not buying plastic bags is the environmentally friendly option.

  1. Drink water wisely

Buying bottled water is a trend that has truly exploded these last few years and with it has come millions of plastic bottles. If you want to help the planet and reduce your own carbon footprint, you might want to rethink buying that bottle of water. By not buying bottled water you will be helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste that can be found in landfills throughout the world. If you are still concerned about the purity of the water you are consuming, you can always install a water filtration system in your home and store purified water in glass bottles or environmentally safe reusable plastic water bottles.

Water can be stored and collected wisely
Water can be stored and collected wisely
  1. Stainless steel straws

Do you or your family use straws on a daily basis? The amount of plastic that is thrown away in the form of used straws is quite phenomenal but when you choose to use stainless steel straws you can reduce your carbon footprint. These straws can be carried around with you and they can be used for all of your favourite drinks. Stainless steel straws are safe to use and easy to keep clean.

  1. Plant a garden

Adding some greenery to your home is one of the best ways to create a calming atmosphere while contributing to a healthier environment. Unfortunately, not all homes have the space to have the kind of garden you’d like, but even a few plants on a window sill can make a difference in your home. You can buy low maintenance pot plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen. You will definitely notice the difference in your home with a few pot plants.

  1. Cut back on your shower time

If you are already showering instead of running a bath, you are saving water. But the size of the difference you make depends greatly on the amount of time that you spend in your shower. The average shower can use as much as 10 litres of water for every minute that you shower. So it makes sense that if you want to live a Greener life, you should spend a minimal amount of time in the shower. 5 minutes is the perfect amount of time, and by playing a 5-minute long song, you can start or end your day on a high!

  1. Commit to recycling

Making the decision to recycle is easy, committing to doing it is something else. Many of us want to help the planet by recycling, but few of us are able to fully commit to recycling everything that can be put through the various recycling processes. This year you can add one or two extra bins in your home or business, label them glass or plastic (or whatever you’d like to recycle) and then place your rubbish in the relevant bins.

With our Green solutions, you can make a difference in 2017
With our Green solutions, you can make a difference in 2017

You can Go Green in 2017 by using these really simple ideas. If you are building in 2017 or renovating, and you want to make a serious, long-term commitment to the environment, then you can always work with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We supply the best quality solar systems, LED lighting, energy efficient air conditioning and grey water systems in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

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Google will be 100% Green in 2017

2017 looks to be a big year for Going Green. Recently the internet’s biggest search engine announced that it had plans to go 100% Green in 2017. Using only Green energy, such as solar power provided through various solar solutions and wind power through the use of wind farms, Google is setting an example that others can follow.

Google already has a fantastic reputation for being one of the few tech giants committed to being a fully Green company. They are ahead of all of the other tech companies when it comes to relying on Green energy.

“Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power — which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google’s data centres, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.” – Urs Hölzle Senior Vice President Technical Infrastructure

Google has become the biggest company to sign contracts with some of the world’s best known renewable energy companies, which will allow them to buy their renewable energy directly.  For years, Google has been relying on renewable energy to provide power to their operations; in fact, they are already the biggest corporation buying renewable energy.  In 2010, they signed a contract with a wind farming company in Iowa to buy all of the renewable energy produced. This was just the beginning of their Green goals.

Reaching new goals

The latest renewable energy goal set by Google is the final push towards Going Green in terms of their electricity. And Google, in turn, is supporting the companies that supply the energy by signing long-term contracts.

One of the motivators for Going Green has to do with the fact that in the past few years, the prices of renewable energy has dropped by up to 80% depending on the type of energy being bought.  Since Google uses immense amounts of electricity to keep their services going, finding a cheaper source is the best way to go. But Google also has an obligation to the environment; with so much energy used they know the importance of only using clean energy.

One of the slogans Google is known for is “Do no evil”, and they are truly living up to their motto.

Fully committed to the environment

Renewable energy is a global focus, and Google is leading the way forward by setting a great example for other companies to follow.
Renewable energy is a global focus, and Google is leading the way forward by setting a great example for other companies to follow.

While it is great news that Google is aiming for 100% Green Energy, Google is also running 20 renewable energy-focused projects all around the world. By purchasing energy from these renewable projects, they are helping renewable energy companies around the world to grow and to bring new innovations to life.

Google is all about new ideas, so it makes plenty of sense for them to also support companies that are similarly minded when it comes to being innovative.

Climate change is a very real threat to our planet.  Companies that can afford to set the example, and that can afford to support Green Energy initiatives are helping to reduce the prices associated with renewable energy.  Green Energy was once expensive, but thanks to more and more companies Going Green with their energy, the prices are dropping.

The efforts by Google will go a long way towards helping the progress of the Green revolution. South Africans can also choose to use renewable energy when they install solar solutions, energy efficient air conditioning and water management systems in their homes or businesses.

Are you inspired to Go Green? At Green Leaf Alternative Energy we can assist you to transform the way that you harness power while helping to reduce the effects that burning fossil fuels is having on the planet. Even the smallest efforts can go a long way in the fight against Global Warming. With energy efficient systems such as solar geysers, solar batteries, solar panels and other solar systems available, talk to us about the best way that you can use renewable energy.

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3 clever ideas every country can implement to combat climate change

This year has been a record one in terms of climate change. Many of the records broken have been a terrible example of how the climate is changing.  However, there have been many positive developments in the fight against climate change. In 2016, we have seen some of the highest investments made towards using clean energy.

Climate change is a very real and scary reality, and more and more people are being affected by it as the temperature changes across the globe.

We cannot escape climate change but we can change the way that we handle it and perhaps even reverse some of the damage already done and slow the process.

The shift to using clean, renewable energy has been phenomenal, even if it doesn’t make the headlines as often as it should.  In this year alone, over half a million solar panels have been installed every day, while China, one of the world’s biggest polluters, has focused on building wind farms as an alternative way to generate power.  Around the world, more countries have been building solar farms and wind farms to provide people with clean renewable energy.

Although the change has been slow, with previous years not showing as much progress as seen in 2016, the change is happening.  The world can and will truly benefit, by following the example of those who have come before them.  The effort has been put into creating a Greener, cleaner environment for every person.

We are not just changing the methods that we have depended on for the longest time to create and use electricity, we are attempting to change the very air itself.  Around the world, there have been a number of interesting initiatives to bring renewable energy to the people, at affordable prices. These are just a few of the ideas that have the ability to be replicated and used to benefit numerous communities.

Leading by example, these are the ideas that can be replicated

  1. Ban all fossil fuels

It might seem like an almost impossible task, but many European countries have been considering an outright ban on the use of fossil fuels. This is a harsh decision to make, seeing that there are numerous communities in countries throughout the world that rely heavily on the mining of fossil fuels as a source of income.

Coal was once an important and unavoidable necessity in the production of electricity and petrol. Coal was the force behind the industrial revolution. Today, however, there are numerous alternatives and these alternatives are designed to assist in correcting the damaged caused by climate change. Other countries have taken to reducing fossil fuels by changing the way that fuel is made. While this might be considered to be a small step towards banning all fossil fuels, it is a step that every country can make.

A complete ban of fossil fuels is one of the more drastic steps a country can make.
A complete ban of fossil fuels is one of the more drastic steps a country can make.

Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have all voted to ban the use of fossil fuels in petrol within the next ten years.

The UK, the Netherlands, Canada and places in the USA have taken the ban on fossil fuels much further by creating plans that will see the coal industry take a drastic knock.

  1. More focus on efficiency

Often we rely on fossil fuels instead of making sure that we have created and built efficient buildings.  Insulation is a big factor in the colder nations around the world.  When the harsh and icy winter months arrive, more energy is used to keep places warm.  However, with better insulation and more efficient technology to keep spaces warm, energy can be saved.  Reinforcing and retrofitting buildings and homes can make a dramatic impact on the amount of energy used.  In 2014, the EU introduced measures to reinforce insulation and managed to save enough power, equivalent to keeping the whole of Finland powered.

  1. Introducing a carbon tax

Carbon tax is one of the ways that climate change can be tackled, and every country can use this method.  Carbon tax is a tax that is levied on the amount of carbon found in fuels.  Many countries are looking to introduce this tax as a way to combat climate change while many have already introduced such taxes.

Carbon is found in every type of fuel including petrol and coal, and once burned it pollutes the environment and contributes to the ongoing climate change.

Carbon tax has social as well as economic benefits and works well when a government is trying to enforce a climate policy.  In South Africa, we already pay an additional tax whenever we buy a new car.

Each of these three ideas is easy to do in countries around the world and each has already shown to have a remarkable impact on the amount of carbon let into the atmosphere.

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is a Green energy company providing solar panels, solar geysers and other alternative energy options to those who are determined to Go Green. Based in Johannesburg, our solar systems, energy efficient air conditioning and water management systems can help in the struggle against climate change.

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These energy efficient communities are changing the world!

From the world’s biggest cities to the smallest villages, a wave of Green thinking is taking place. Not only is climate change real but it is also changing the way that we approach energy. By accessing your electricity through solar panels or by undertaking water harvesting, you will not only be helping the planet and your community, but you will also be helping yourself.

We often think that climate change is someone else’s battle, but the reality is that not one of us can escape climate change. It makes sense to be involved; to be a part of the efforts to turn around the effects of climate change while also ensuring that you are dependent on nothing other than your Green investments.

Small towns can set up their renewable energy systems far more efficiently than bigger cities, as there are fewer people to cater for. And smaller towns are taking advantage of their sizes to implement working energy strategies.

These are the ways that small towns have turned to renewable energy as the main way to generate energy.

  • The town that rebuilt itself (Greensburg, Kansas, United States)

The USA is known for some devastating weather patterns.  In central America, tornados are always a danger during the late summer months. In 2007, a tornado tore through Greensburg and leveled the buildings forcing residents to either give up their demolished homes and move to a new town or rebuild. True to the American spirit the town’s residents chose to rebuild their town.

And they did so by using 100% renewable electricity.

They became the second American town to go 100% Green with their electricity and they have been able to successfully start over. They have included LED street lights and wind technology as a means to keep energy costs low and renewable.

  • The solar powered oasis town in Egypt

Solar panels have a bad reputation in Egypt, not because there is any doubt about the efficiency of the technology, but rather because many people consider the solar panels to be a bit of an eyesore. That being said, an oasis on the outskirts of Cairo, where agriculture is prominent, has gone solar to power their seasonal farming.

Towns built around oasis', such as this one in Peru, rely on solar power which is abundant in Egypt.
Towns built around oasis’, such as this one in Peru, rely on solar power which is abundant in Egypt.

The buildings here have been constructed with solar panels and solar systems, so those living in the Tayebat Workers Village are Egypt’s first community relying fully on green energy.

Egypt is one of the ideal places to harvest sun energy, with an abundance of sun shining on the desert landscape each day.

  • Ashton Hayes, Great Britain

Solar power and the UK might not have the strongest relationship, but there are some towns in the United Kingdom that are actually light years ahead when it comes to going Green. Ashton Hayes is the perfect example of how people can change their whole lifestyle, becoming Greener even when they are not relying fully on solar power.

This community undertook the task of reducing the amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere. So they improved the insulation in their homes so that they relied less on heating, they took fewer flights and they reduced the amount of energy they used in their homes. Through a combination of their efforts, they managed to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 40%.

Their efforts have inspired up to 200 other towns around the world to replicate the simple ways in which they have managed to reduce their carbon.

  • The Island of Tristan da Cunha

Only 8 times a year can you undertake the week long sea crossing from Cape Town to get to this tiny, eco-efficient island. The island imports almost nothing, its residents depend on themselves to get things done and they are quickly working towards relying fully on the environment to provide them with the energy needed to live comfortably. Their goal is to have 30% – 40% of their energy supplied by nature within the next 5 years.

They plan to become more sustainable by relying on community farming projects, wind farming, and initiatives to turn waste into energy.

As more towns see the benefits of sustainable energy, we are sure to see more towns and cities becoming fully reliant on nature. Who knows what developments the future holds?

Looking to Go Green in your home or business? Contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions.  Here at Green Leaf, advice is always free.  Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have about your journey to sustainability!

 

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Can we create fuel using man-made photosynthesis?

Is the traditional way of producing petrol about to change forever? If new scientific research has its way, this is definitely a possibility.

The focus is again on climate change, well actually the focus has never really moved away. Climate change is happening rapidly around us, all the time. But while scientists and policy makers might differ on a number of fronts, the one thing that they can all agree upon is that carbon dioxide is the main culprit.  It’s this gas emission that has inspired the latest developments in Green technology.

At the University of Illinois in Chicago, scientists have come up with a way to mimic the process of photosynthesis in plants by converting Co2 into fuel. Basically, they have engineered photosynthesis outside of nature.

The technology that is being used is designed to mimic a plant by absorbing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere before turning it into glucose and oxygen by using water. This interesting development could be used in future to provide fuel for cars while it could also be used on a grander scale to help revert the damage done by climate change.

The loss of trees and climate change

Before the current energy saving technology was mainstream, technology such as solar panels and LED lighting, trees were our first defence against the harsh effects of climate change. Planting trees and preserving the planet’s forests were critical in reducing the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere. But as you already know, the forests are not as well preserved and what is left is no longer enough to combat the change.

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The process of photosynthesis is a regular part of nature. Scientists have found a way to mimic this method and use it to create renewable, environmentally friendly fuel.
The process of photosynthesis is a regular part of nature. Scientists have found a way to mimic this method and use it to create renewable, environmentally friendly fuel.

It is not just through the process of photosynthesis that carbon dioxide is removed from the air. Think of trees as a reservoir for storing carbon dioxide. So when forests are torn and burned down, this stored carbon dioxide is then released back into the atmosphere, to a devastating effect.

Imagine the change that could be achieved if man-made photosynthesis was able to remove large amounts of Co2 from our atmosphere in light of the deforestation? It might be a long shot, but it is definitely something worth trying.

New world technology for new fuel made from the photosynthesis

Man-made photosynthesis is one of the newer ways that scientists are attempting to rid the world of its overabundance of harmful carbon emissions and as the latest in Green technology it is bound to become a part of the machinery for combating climate change.

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Trees not only "breathe" in Co2 but they are also natural storage vessels for the gas.
Trees not only “breathe” in Co2 but they are also natural storage vessels for the gas.

The technology that scientists have created takes the form of an artificial leaf. And once it has absorbed the carbon dioxide it converts the gas into carbon monoxide, which is then used to create fuel.

 

This is the first time that the method has been used to create fuel. In fact, the by-products of this procedure could even be converted into diesel and who knows what else it could be used for in future.

And the newer processes are also expected to be more cost-effective, which means that it could result in an end to the traditional production of fuel.

The future is looking Greener and cleaner, but the process of introducing this technology to the mainstream world is bound to take time. But this doesn’t mean that you are without your options when you are looking for an alternative, sustainable energy production. Solar power, created by using solar panels and solar geysers, is one of the simplest ways that you can change the way that you use energy.

With Green Leaf Alternative Solutions’ high-quality solar panels, solar geysers and a number of other options for you to use when building or when you are looking to take the sustainable approach to your energy, you can help the environment.

Have a look at what we have available by visiting our website at www.greenleafalternativesolutions.co.za or by contacting us.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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The top 5 renewable energy options for the future

Alternative energy is the way of the future.  Alternative energy is the term for any energy that is not traditionally produced.  Solar power, hydropower and wind power are all forms of electricity production that are considered to be alternative.

A few years from now, the way that we produce electricity will have drastically changed.

Did you know that the fossil fuels we rely on for energy production will start running out 50 years from now?

Burning fuels as a means to produce energy has greatly contributed to the climate change and general pollution within the atmosphere. Using alternative energy means that there will be far less pollution, allowing the Earth time to restore itself to a healthier state.

Here are the 5 best alternative power solutions available to us:

Energy from beneath the surface

Safe alternative energy doesn’t only come from solar power.  While our minds tend to think of solar energy first, few people realise that energy can come from beneath the surface of the Earth as well. Geothermic energy is exceptionally sustainable and it won’t cause a negative impact on the environment in a way that other energy production methods are known to.  Far beneath the surface of the Earth, which is far hotter than the Sun, this heat will be used to produce electricity. The heat from within the Earth is a wonderful heating source that is able to provide heat to homes while it also heats water which moves turbines to generate power.

This form of electricity production is low cost for the consumer but is not necessarily considered to be completely renewable as it is unknown whether or not the heat can be used up.

Energy from above

Every renewable energy article will include solar power as a form of alternative energy.  Solar power takes the energy from the Sun and converts it into electricity that can be used in homes and businesses.  Energy from the sun is completely renewable and with advancements being made each year, the harnessing of this power is only going to become more and more efficient.

This form of electricity can be a bit pricey with the initial set up but thereafter a consumer is going to see massive savings.

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Solar power remains once of the most popular and sought after renewable energy options. This technology is likely to advance in the coming years.
Solar power remains once of the most popular and sought after renewable energy options. This technology is likely to advance in the coming years.

Energy from living things

Have you ever heard of biomass? All sources of biomass come from living things such as plants.  One form of this system of electricity production involves removing energy from plants and microorganisms that use this energy as their food.  Biomass energy has been used since man could make fire, as wood is a biofuel. The other form of biomass is related to landfills.  But the most common forms of biomass currently being manufactured include methane and biodiesel which can be derived from landfills.

The downside is that the fuel needs to be burned before it can be used, which means that there is a fair amount of pollution, however, this is still considered a sustainable source of power.

Energy from water

Hydroelectric power is another of the most renewable sources of energy on the planet and it works when kinetic energy from moving water is converted into electricity. The water moves through a turbine which in turn spins a generator and creates power. This process is common in areas with dams and moving rivers, and it can provide enough power to keep large areas going. It is said to be one of the most successful forms of renewable energy and continues to be popular around the world.

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Water has always been a life source. These days it is also a reliable source of electricity production.
Water has always been a life source. These days it is also a reliable source of electricity production.

Energy from the wind

The final source of renewable energy is also one of the fastest growing methods: energy from the wind. In areas where there is limited sunshine or very few big dams or fast flowing rivers, wind farms have become a suitable replacement. The wind spins the blades of the turbines which then spin a generator and electricity is created.

This form is affordable but can be a bit of an eyesore since the only way to produce a sufficient amount of power is by having a sort of wind farm. The upside is that this energy is 100% renewable.

The future of electricity lies with renewable energy and with these kinds of methods that will eventually be used on a large scale. But for now, there are ways that you can generate your own electricity. Think about investing in solar systems to keep your home or business running at minimum costs.  Green Leaf Alternative Solutions provides highly efficient solar technology, designed to harness the renewable power of the sun and other elements. You can contact us today or visit our website for more details.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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