Housewares

Eco Sprout Detergent 48 oz.

$13.95

Eco Sprout Detergent is an eco-friendly, all natural detergent that’s great for your entire family, and SAFE for cloth diapers... Read

Eco Sprout Detergent is an eco-friendly, all natural detergent that’s great for your entire family, and SAFE for cloth diapers & sensitive skin. It will clean and disinfect your diapers while rinsing clean.

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Solar

Help your CA neighbors Do a Bit Better

Are you up on your California state law? Trees that are tall enough to block solar panels can cost the... Read

Are you up on your California state law?

Trees that are tall enough to block solar panels can cost the tree owners up to $1,000 fines (daily!). State Law requires homeowners to keep their trees, or other plant-life, from shading neighbor’s solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is at it’s strongest.

Help your neighbors Do a Bit Better, it’s the law!

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Solar

Maryland comes out on top!

The Ecotech Institute recently released the very first “Clean Jobs Index” (there are over 3,000,000 jobs across the county!). Something... Read

The Ecotech Institute recently released the very first “Clean Jobs Index” (there are over 3,000,000 jobs across the county!). Something that we are really interested over here at Doing a Bit Better are LEED Projects. For those who need some catching up, LEED Projects stand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Projects. This could be anything from a building installing solar panels, to conserving water in the work place. And you all know how we feel about solar (it’s the future!). We would like to congratulate Maryland for coming out on top as the state who has the highest number of LEED projects per capita! Way to go, we hope the other 49 states follow your lead–no pun intended. To read about other states rankings, click here.

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Food

Huntington Beach Students Do A Bit Better

We want to give a great big “way to go” to the students of Greg Goran’s sustainability class at Huntington... Read

We want to give a great big “way to go” to the students of Greg Goran’s sustainability class at Huntington Beach High School in California. Over the past three years, these students have planted, nourished, and picked their own fruits and vegetables at their school. It has become such a successful garden that they now sell their produce to Slapfish, a local seafood restaurant. These students truly are, doing a bit better. If you want to read more about their efforts, click here.

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Environment

Monday Tip of the Week: Have a green Labor Day

Labor day is often the last big BBQ day of the season. As you enjoy your relaxing day off, don’t... Read

Labor day is often the last big BBQ day of the season. As you enjoy your relaxing day off, don’t forget to Do a Bit Better. It’s always best to use real dishes, but if you have to use paper plates, make sure they are made from recycled materials, and recycle them again! Same goes for utensils and cups. Here are some great options from Preserve, check them out!

 

Have a great holiday!

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Solar

Rainbows Could Double Solar Energy Output!

Increasing the amount of electricity a solar panel produces is one of the most effective ways to reduce the cost... Read

Increasing the amount of electricity a solar panel produces is one of the most effective ways to reduce the cost of solar power.

MIT’s Technology Review reports on a new $2.4 million project funded by the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy aims to greatly increase the amount of sunlight that becomes electricity.

Harry Atwater, a professor of applied physics and materials science at Caltech, is working on cells to sort sunlight into eight to 10 different colors (a rainbow!) and direct those to a second layer that contains an array of solar cells matched to each color. Light is absorbed more efficiently, and more energy is converted to electricity, rather than heat.

Most solar panels convert less than 20 percent of the energy of the sunlight that falls on them into electricity.  Atwater’s goal is a conversion efficiency of more than 50 percent, which would double the amount of power generated by solar panels of any size.

Rainbow solar power!  This technology will make solar more affordable for homeowners and industries, alike.

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Solar

Vermont’s PUP program is helping people Do A Bit Better!

Recently, the local clean energy advocacy group, Energize Vermont,  announced the “Power Up Program” which is an unique partnership with... Read

Recently, the local clean energy advocacy group, Energize Vermont,  announced the “Power Up Program” which is an unique partnership with American Clean Energy Supply, LLC. Together, they are bringing affordable, high quality solar installations to Vermonters all over the state!

Way to go Energize Vermont! Thanks to your PUP program, you truly are Doing A Bit Better.

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Doing A Bit Better

Setting the Bar – Eco-Friendly Beauty Spas

Here at DabB we love to uncover environmentally-friendly, green places of business and you’ll be happy to know that you... Read

Here at DabB we love to uncover environmentally-friendly, green places of business and you’ll be happy to know that you can even be papered in an organic and natural way!  In Morristown, New Jersey lives such a place called “Salon Botanique Eco-Chic.”   This salon is New Jersey’s premier Natural and Organic Salon and Spa.  “Botanique” is the French word for “botanical,” and inspires them to use the finest natural and organic products from all over the world.

Not only are the products used here 100% organic, but the entire building has been redesigned with a customized water purification system using low VOC paints and flooring made of bamboo with most of the furniture from reclaimed and recycled wood. Additionally, all the spa robes and sheets are 100% organic cotton.

Check them out. Getting pampered never felt so right and good for the environment!

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Solar

Retailers – The Quest to go Solar

“Many retailers today – large and small – are looking for ways to be sustainable, and also do things that... Read

“Many retailers today – large and small – are looking for ways to be sustainable, and also do things that make sense for the business.  Going Solar has been one of those things that make sense for both goals.  With growing frequency, companies from Apple to Walmart have been making this a reality.  Below are a few examples of companies who are utilizing renewable energy and paving the road to an energy-efficient world.

IKEA
IKEA, the largest home furnishing store in the world, is up to 30 solar installations in its stores across the US including Tampa, Florida (July 2012) with the one of the latest in Frisco, Texas (August 2012). The company has made a serious commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic technology.

IKEA owns and operates each of its solar power systems atop its buildings.  Drawing from its Swedish heritage, the company believes that Solar can be a good business while aiming for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment.

WALMART
Walmart has installed more than 150 solar projects across the US.  The company currently has 62 megawatts of solar panels installed, while operating fuel cells and wind turbines at other locations.  Walmart has plans to have 1,000 solar-powered locations by 2020.

APPLE INC.
By the end of 2012, Apple will meet the energy needs of their Maiden, North Carolina datacenter by generating onsite renewable energy.  They are building two solar array installations which use high-efficiency solar cells and an advanced solar tracking system.

Apple plans to buy solar panels from SunPower for the huge solar farm, and the projects should be completed by the end of the 2012.

MACY’S
In 2010, the Macy’s solar installation in Goodyear, AZ claimed the title for the largest single-rooftop system in the US.  Most of Macy’s efforts have been focused in California, installing solar panels on 26 stores.”

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Solar

Solar in the Tampa Community

Tampa Electric is showing the local community how they invest in renewable energy sources by supporting what they call the... Read

Tampa Electric is showing the local community how they invest in renewable energy sources by supporting what they call the Renewable Energy Program. Solar panels produce electricity from the sun’s rays, and installing solar panels is one example of how Tampa Electric is doing just that. They are working with various community-based businesses to provide a portion of the electricity used to support this program.  The following are a few of those highly visible, family-friendly locals.

The Florida Aquarium
In Tampa’s Channelside District, the Florida Aquarium’s Explore-A-Shore pavilion hosts a 10,000-watt solar array that helps support Tampa Electric’s Renewable Energy Program. In addition to the solar installation, Tampa Electric and the Florida Aquarium installed an interactive display to teach children about the benefits of solar energy.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa Electric joined with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the University of South Florida’s Power Center for Utility Explorations on a 15,000-watt solar panel system at the zoo. The solar panels are installed atop an elephant shade structure and an adjacent maintenance building. The project includes a Renewable Energy Learning Center that provides research opportunities for USF and Tampa Electric to study the technical, economic and environmental benefits of a renewable, grid-connected photovoltaic system for Smart Grid electric power production.

Museum of Science and Industry
Explore Tampa Electric’s first solar panel system at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Florida. This system is directly connected to the same electrical system that sends electricity to your home or business. The entire system consists of 60 solar panels, each containing 216 crystalline silicone cells, with a total rating of 18,000 watts of electricity.

Manatee Viewing Center
Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, Florida (near Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station) is home to the company’s largest solar panel system, rated at 23,800-watts. A 40-panel system is installed atop the Manatee Viewing Center’s education building and eight pole-mounted panels are located throughout the parking area.

Solar in Tampa is one way that the city of Tampa is taking care of its citizens and its environment.  To hear more about Tampa Electric and renewable energy, please visit www.tampaelectric.com/environmental

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Solar

Tampa, FL – Going Green with More than just Solar

The City of Tampa is dedicated to sustainable energy, an efficient future, and making Tampa one of the best cities... Read

The City of Tampa is dedicated to sustainable energy, an efficient future, and making Tampa one of the best cities for people to live and visit. It’s committed to investing in real, tangible solutions to protect the natural environment for future generations.

In doing so, the City of Tampa has created many green programs and services for residents and businesses.  There are several green operational programs that Tampa has put in place to meet these goals.  They include, but are not limited to the following:

 

Refuse-To- Energy Facility
The McKay Bay Refuse-To-Energy Facility provides a reliable, environmentally friendly method of managing the City of Tampa’s 360,000+ tons of municipal solid waste that citizens generate each year.  Energy created from burning this waste is converted into enough electrical power to supply electrical needs for up to 15,000 Tampa homes.

Household Recycling
Curbside and multi-family recycling, yard waste recycling, office paper and commercial recycling programs.

Yard Waste Recycling
Yard waste is collected once a week at curbside from residences.  All organic wastes collected are taken to a private facility where they are processed into mulch and sold for commercial use.

Solar-Powered Parking Pay Stations

The City of Tampa’s solar-powered pay stations offer parking patrons more payment options than the standard coin-only meters, making paying for parking more convenient than ever, and not to mention solar-powered!

Solar Powered Recycling Compactors
Tampa’s Solar powered compactors hold approximately five times as much waste and recyclables as a regular bin of the same size.  The compactors, which require fewer collection pickups, save money and help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The Parking Division has installed 10 electric vehicle charging stations throughout City of Tampa owned-and-operated parking facilities.

 

Encouraging residents and local businesses to install solar panels is also an important part of this initiative. There are many Tampa Solar Installers in the area, as well as incentives and rebates available to home owners and business.

Check out how you can become a responsible Tampa, Florida resident and contribute to a green future by using our solar calculator today!

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UpCycle

Upcycle Your Old Neck-tie Into a Curtain Tie

Recently, a team member here at DAbB remodeled their bedroom, painted it blue, and bought translucent white curtains.  The problem?... Read

Recently, a team member here at DAbB remodeled their bedroom, painted it blue, and bought translucent white curtains.  The problem?  What to use for curtain ties!  She tried jute rope, she tried denim, and she tried

 

 the scraps of the curtains themselves after being hemmed, but nothing was looking quite right.

 

Then the idea came – we’re all bound to have old neck-ties that we don’t wear anymore – so why not upcycle them into something actually usable?
The steps were pretty easy.
1. Measure out 2 equal lengths of the neck-tie, preferably parts of the same width (a skinny tie works really well)

 

2. Sew the ends of the lengths.  We got lazy and used white thread, which stands out – but it’s in the back of the curtain, so who cares?
3a. If you don’t have a snap setting kit, you can glue two pieces of velcro onto each end3. Add a snap using a hole-punch and a snap-setting kit
4. Take a picture and send it into DAbB!
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Housewares

Baja Recycled Wine Glass

$10.00

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring... Read

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring a simple, elegant style that’s perfect for every day or party time. These are made from thick, durable hand-blown glass that won’t break or tip over as easily as traditional glassware.

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UpCycle

GreenYour Pet (Part 2)

Green Your Pet We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?... Read

Green Your Pet

We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?  A green pet isn’t just for hippies anymore, but a way to help the earth and keep your pet healthy too!  Here are a few things you can do:

Buy Eco-Friendly toys.  There are plenty out there made from recycled and sustainable fibers.  Check out DAbB’s Things We Love: Pets section for our favorite picks!

Protect the Birds!  Keep your cat indoors.  They are natural hunters and a big threat to outdoor life.  Most vets recommend keeping them indoors due to fatal risks such as cars and disease.

Feed Them Natural and Organic Pet Foods.  Animals can also be affected by the chemicals in food.  Feeding them food that is sustainable and organic  leaves you with a happier, healthier animal.

Put Poop in its Place.  Use biodegradable bags for dogs that decompose and steer clear of clumping clay litters for cats.  The clay is strip-mined and is harmful to the environment.

Recycle a Pet and Adopt!  Save an animal and hundreds of dollars by shopping at a local animal shelter.  There are over 70,000 puppies and kittens a year that are abandoned and need a home.

Now go out and reduce that pawprint!

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UpCycle

Green Crafts – 4th of July Popsicle Stars

Praise this glorious country’s independence by upcycling something new out of something old! With school coming to an end and... Read

Praise this glorious country’s independence by upcycling something new out of something old!

With school coming to an end and the next big holiday approaching, here at DAbB we have been thinking about what kind of green crafts we can create for the 4th of July.  As the sun shines brighter and the temperatures rises, we know your kids will be consuming many, many summertime treats with a big one being popsicles.  After enjoying these delicious cool treats, why not collect the sticks and make a fun decoration with the kids?  We like the idea of a colorful star.

Supplies Needed:

-5 popsicle sticks
-Red, white and blue paint
-Glue
-String (optional)

Directions:

-Paint the sticks individual colors according to your design
-Glue the sticks together the shape of a star
-Once dry, add stars and stripes with more paint if desired
-If desired, glue on the string for hanging

Done!

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Environment

Harvesting Your Own Rainwater – Hip or Hype?

“There’s been quite a lot of talk recently about how eco-friendly harvesting rainwater is. But there’s two sides to every... Read

“There’s been quite a lot of talk recently about how eco-friendly harvesting rainwater is. But there’s two sides to every story, so we thought it might be a good idea to measure the pros and cons about harvesting your own rainwater.

 

Pro’s                                                                    Con’s
-During water shortages, rainwater is an excellent way to make sure your plants don’t die or get under-watered. -Many Rainwater Collection Bins are made from PVC or other plastics, which are made with a lot of oil and energy. Upcycled wine barrels would work better.
-Your water bill goes down when you don’t water your plants from the hose every evening. -Rainwater can contain bird droppings or other pollutants.
-Reduces chemical runoff. -It may mean cutting a bit of your gutter-pipe so that you can fit the container under your gutter, which can be difficult to replace.

The end result?  If done right, the benefits to collecting your own rainwater can far outweigh the cons.

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Environment

From Wood Scraps to DIY Door Mat

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of... Read

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of wood, and painted a plethora  of rainbow colors.  This got us to thinking about how we could make this project a little more eco-friendly, and we were pleasantly surprised with what we came up with!

 – Use reclaimed wood or wood scraps from your work bench, rather than buying wood.  Reclaimed wood will already have a nice vintage look that will still feel warm and welcoming.

– Instead of paint, use beeswax or mineral oil. Both of these will give your new doormat a nice almost butcher-block-esque look, and also protect the wood without the use of harmful lacquers.

– Don’t buy the threaded rod.  Instead, use natural hemp or jute string. This will help the mat stay flexible enough to roll up, and will give it that nice naturalistic look.

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Housewares

Recycled Glass Votive- Green

$5.00

Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders are ideal for wherever you want to add the sparkle... Read

Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders are ideal for wherever you want to add the sparkle of candle light, also they’re perfect to hold candies, dips, salad toppings or more.

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Doing A Bit Better

DAbB is officially on Tumblr!

“Today, we drank the eco-friendly kool-aid and joined the internet sensation of Tumblr.  Now we can honestly say that we’re... Read

“Today, we drank the eco-friendly kool-aid and joined the internet sensation of Tumblr.  Now we can honestly say that we’re on at least 4 social networks (who can keep track?).  Follow us on these awesome networks and show us some love (and maybe we’ll do the same for you!)

Twitter  Facebook 

Tumblr Pinterest 

Joooooin us…..”

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Environment

Eco-Friendly Destinations in Florida

“As summer arrives and you begin to think about what warm vacation destination to go to, you may want to... Read

“As summer arrives and you begin to think about what warm vacation destination to go to, you may want to drop Sunny Florida into the hat.  There are many eco-friendly destinations where you can enjoy the beach, Disney, golf and various outdoor recreational activities.   There are multiple properties that have been certified green through the Florida Green Lodging Program.  The program designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources.

Check out a few green certified resorts we have uncovered below:

Plantation on Crystal River – Located on the Nature’s Coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, this beautiful 50 year old eco-friendly and green lodging luxury resort is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay. This bay, in Crystal River, is one of the largest aquifers in the state and home to more than 400 West Indian Manateesthat migrate each year to the warmth of the springs.

Wildwood Resort – a nature-based hotel and gold retreat.  Located in beautiful Wakulla County, thirty minutes South of Tallahassee, Florida. This resort has some of the best wildlife viewing, fishing, canoeing, hiking and boating around.

Hilton Clearwater Beach, Florida – The hotel is committed to safeguarding the environment through consistent water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and clean air practices. Located along 10 acres of sparkling white-sand beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Hilton Clearwater Beach provides the perfect environment for business and leisure.

BuenaVista Palace – Located in one of the country’s most gorgeous natural settings, the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa in Lake Buena Vista Florida fully recognizes the importance of keeping the environment healthy.  Adjacent to the Downtown Disney® area, Buena Vista Palace is a luxurious haven offering unsurpassed comfort, hospitality, and design.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Napleslocated in Naples, Florida. Nestled on the banks of the Cocohatchee River, the all-suite hotel is the perfect destination for those seeking rest and relaxation in sunny Southwest Florida. The shimmering Gulf of Mexico coast is only two miles away. The hotel is focused on sustainability for the benefit of their hotel guests.

Find out more about the Florida Green Lodging Program!

Now go out and plan that Florida vacation and feel good about where you will be staying!”

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UpCycle

Monday Tip of the Week – Clip of the Day (literally)

You know those annoying little bread clips that come on most loaves of bread today? Like this one: Well stop... Read

You know those annoying little bread clips that come on most loaves of bread today? Like this one:

Well stop throwing those out!  Instead, we have a clever way to upcycle them which will take 30 seconds of your time, and make all of your friends say “why didn’t I think of that?!”. Write the name of one of your Audio/Video devices on it (such as DVR, Cable box, Wii, Apple TV, etc.).  That way, next time you’re trying to figure out which cord is which, all you have to do it read.

Easy, right? Check back here for more clever ideas on how to upcycle your household junk!

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Environment

Green Ideas – Great Green Summer Camps

Environmentally-friendly may not be the first thing to come to mind when planning your kid’s summer camp schedule, but why... Read

Environmentally-friendly may not be the first thing to come to mind when planning your kid’s summer camp schedule, but why not consider some green ideas?  Believe it or not, there are some great summer camps that combine environmental education with fun outdoor activities.  So once you get over the thought of letting them live in the wild for a few weeks, here are a few recommendations:

IslandWood School in the Woods, Bainbridge Island, Washington – The camp prides itself on being a model of evolving sustainable practices in addition to serving as an outdoor classroom

Hog Island, Maine’s Audubon Center Summer Camp – Hog Island hosts educational programs focused on ornithology, ecology and conservation

Tanglewood 4-H Camp, Maine – A nonprofit partnered with the University of Maine. The goal is “to leave no child or adult inside,” and offers a range of opportunities include learning about sea life, forest ecosystems, sustainable living and much more

Youth Empowered Action Camp, locations in OR, CA and NJ – YEA Camp is for kids who want to make a difference in the world

Plantation Farm Camp, Cazadero, CA – Campers learn what it’s like to live on a sustainable farm

Now send your kids out to summer camp knowing they are learning how to live green and appreciate our planet

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Environment

Green Ideas – Gardening in the Back of a Truck

“One of our favorite things to do is watch Kickstarter for Green ideas that also help our communities in some... Read

“One of our favorite things to do is watch Kickstarter for Green ideas that also help our communities in some way.  Even though DAbB is located in San Francisco, this particular Kickstarter just so happened to catch our attention.

Truck Farm Chicago is a Biodeisel pickup with a farm in the bed that drives around to schools to educate children on how to grow, cook and support your own food. The principles they teach include creativity, healthy choices and supporting local food.

For a modest donation of $25, you can receive an autographed children’s book highlighting “environmental mindfulness” written by one of Truck Farm Chicago’s farmers.

We’re always on the lookout for interesting projects going on.  If you’d like to see your project highlighted on Doing A bit Better, email us at LetsChat@DoingAbitBetter.com”

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Doing A Bit Better

Groupon Gives Back

We love finding good deals as much as the next person.  So when we found out that Groupon launched a... Read

We love finding good deals as much as the next person.  So when we found out that Groupon launched a group action fundraising program called Groupon Grassroots, you can only imagine our excitement.

 

According to Groupon, the new program (which just launched in April, 2012) is “a new way to discover local causes, rally together, and lend a helping hand”.

We did some digging and found out that Groupon Grassroots isn’t just a good idea on paper – it’s actually working.  On this year’s Earth Day, the donations through Grassroots resulted in some pretty impressive numbers!  Here are some of the highlights:

-$126,000 in cause-related donations were made
-4,400 trees planted across US and Haiti
-443 bike light sets and helmets sent to locals in Austin & Portland
-1,400 attendees to environmentally focused programs
-40 volunteers traveling to Zambia
-18 vacant lots in Cincinnati were filled with over 25 raised garden beds
-5 cities were treated to improve water quality through trash removal and training volunteers  to test water

And that was all in 1 day!

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Solar

PV Local History 101: California History of Solar

At times we like to fly our “Nerd Flag”.   Go Solar California has a great history of solar in the... Read

At times we like to fly our “Nerd Flag”.   Go Solar California has a great history of solar in the Golden State.  Here are just a few fun facts we enjoyed:

-The origins of the PV Cell are found in the work done by Chapin, Fuller and Pearson from Bell Laboratory in 1954

-In 1978, the US Congress passed the “Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act”.  This law established the right for independent power producers to interconnect with the local utility distribution systems.  So for people who today get a nice monthly check from their local energy company can thank the efforts made by Congress nearly 35 years ago.

-In early 1979 the world’s largest PV manufacturing facility in Camarillo, California started producing more than a megawatt of PV modules in one year.

-The Sacramento Municipal Utility District generated 1.0 MW of photovoltaic power in 1984.

Go to Go Solar California to read the entire history.

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