ESP Supports Loanpal-backed GivePower Fresh Water Initiative

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Energy Service Partners has agreed to contribute a fixed cash donation from each of the company’s installations through 2024 to GivePower, a non-profit organization that provides solar energy solutions to developing regions around the world.

The GivePower GivePartner Program was created to provide mission-driven businesses, such as ESP, with an impactful, turnkey, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. The program was co-founded with Loanpal, a leading solar and home improvement lender. The current initiative addresses global water scarcity.

ESP is ranked among the top 10% of Loanpal’s solar installers in quantity of loans generated for solar installations in California and Nevada. Philosophically aligned with GivePower, ESP considers Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and community engagement in environmental initiatives a top priority.

ESP has agreed to donate a fixed dollar amount from each of its energy installations – whether or not the jobs are funded by Loanpal.

844 million people across the globe lack access to clean drinking water and among them are more than 300,000 children who die every year due to waterborne diseases. 2 billion people currently live in water-scarce regions and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025.

GivePower’s Solar Water Farm, funded in part by ESP, leverages advanced filtration and solar-powered desalination technology to transform 75,000 liters of brackish and/or seawater into clean, drinkable water – enough for up to 35,000 people every day. This innovative technology produces clean drinking water sustainably and affordably.

“We are excited about the opportunity to participate in the GivePower Solar Water Farm initiative. First, it does good for those living with water scarcity. Secondly, it re-enforces a fundamental ESP value to operate as an actively engaged corporate citizen on global and local levels,” said ESP president, Dallen Gietz.

The first GivePower Solar Water Farm installation was recently completed in Kiunga, Kenya with two additional Solar Water Farms to be installed before the end of the year, with plans for many more installations in 2020.

“The global water crisis is real and growing at an alarming rate,” said Hayes Barnard, Founder and President of GivePower. “The incredible support we’ve received and valuable partnerships we’re establishing with mission-driven businesses will save countless lives in developing regions that struggle for access to clean water. By deploying our Solar Water Farm technology, together we have a timely opportunity to prevent waterborne diseases, create new jobs, improve educational opportunities and develop local economies.”

In addition to its commitment to GivePower, ESP pursues broader sustainability goals through responsibly sourced and developed products, recycling programs, and environmentally sound building processes.

Bipartisan Bills Aim for 5-year Solar Investment Tax Credit Extension

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Bipartisan legislators announced companion bills to extend Section 48 and Section 25D Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC). The Renewable Energy Extension Act will call for a 5-year extension of the tax credits, HR 3961 in the House and S 2289 in the Senate.

The bill first passed in 2005 by a Republican-led Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The ITC went on to create more than 200,000 jobs and stimulated $140 billion in private investment to grow solar deployment by more than 10,000%. To date, more than 2 million solar installations have been completed throughout the United States.

This week, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Paul Cook (R-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) authored the bills that would extend the tax credit at its full 30% value – legislation vital to the US solar industry. Without the passage of this legislation, as of January 1, 2020 the ITC will drop to 26% and continue decreasing thereafter.

There is a legal way way to “freeze” the 30% ITC into 2020 projects or beyond through a process called Safe Harbor. We have located a video and article by an expert in the subject.

Greentech Media writes that the legislation “faces a tough climb ahead of the 2020 presidential election,” and that “a prolongation of the ITC would fan the flames of investment in the solar market, forecast by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables to grow 25 percent this year to 13 gigawatts, driven by booming utility-scale installations.”

Barring the passage of HR3961 and S 2289, the ITC would begin ramp-down in 2019.

Bill proponents – supported by 1,000 companies across the US solar industry – claim that the ITC is the strongest policy on the books that supports clean energy development, job creation and will continue to meaningfully cut greenhouse gas emissions.

To date, the solar industry claims that direct environmental impact from growth in PV solar adoption throughout the United States has led to a reduction in solar emission equivalent to removing 16 million cars from the road.

How the ITC Works

Since 2005, the ITC, also known as the federal solar tax credit, allows homeowners to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system including necessary roof work or replacement from federal taxes. The current ITC program allows the credit for residential and commercial systems without a cap.

Prior to passage of the ITC, homeowners could not claim tax credits unless their system was in full operation. The current iteration of the law allows homeowners to claim tax credit after the installation and construction of system is finished – as long as the system is fully operational by December 31, 2023.

Unless and until the senate and house companion bills are passed into legislation, to qualify for a 30% credit level work must start by December 31, 2019 with 5% of the cost of the job to have been expended by that date or that a significant amount of work on the job will have been commenced by the end of the year.

The 30% ITC drops to 10% if the new legislation does not pass for construction projects that begin after December 31, 2021 or are in service by the end of 2023.

New Technology Could Improve Solar PV Efficiency to 80%

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Energy Service Partners is always on the lookout for new technologies to benefit homeowners. News from Rice University this week promises to disrupt the solar PV market if their technology delivers. The Rice scientists claim that they have developed a carbon nanotube technology that radically improves energy capture from solar PV panels to 80%.

This is NOT a new kind of PV solar panel, nor is it an enhancement to existing technology. It is a system to capture the heat – the thermal photons – that solar panels release.

Current solar panels have the capacity to convert around 20% of their collected energy and even with enhanced efficiencies scientists believe that current peak efficiency has the potential to hit 29%. Harnessing wasted thermal energy could render 80% efficiency – an unimaginable leap – by current scientific standards.

The Rice scientists claim that the wafer-scale films of closely packed carbon nanotubes absorb wasted heat and convert it into narrow-bandwidth photons and have tested at temperatures up to 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit. Once they’ve absorbed the heat waste photons, the nanotubes gain a level of control over them. Photons can enter the tube in any number of ways, but as soon as they’re inside, the tube directs them where to go.

Instead of going from heat directly to electricity, the Rice-developed technology goes from heat to light to electricity.

Although a proof-of-concept has not yet been delivered by the Rice University scientists are confident that they can deliver on their carbon nanotube technology. ESP will keep you posted on carbon nanotube technology developments.



Homeowners Promote Climate-benign Energy Systems

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Scientists claim that solar PV and wind energy will likely yield 96% of the planet’s electricity and roughly 88% of the total energy supply. As homes implement PV systems, enormous amounts of carbon waste are being offset. If we all do our part, we may be able to make the 2050 deadline to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius. .

A report published by a prominent Finnish university and the Energy Watch Group outlines a cost-effective international strategy that does not involve carbon-capture technology. The research team asserts that we could meet the Paris Agreement’s carbon mitigation goals by generating 69% of the world’s energy from solar panels, 18% from wind power, 3% from hydropower and 6% from bioenergy. This could be funded by “simply giving up on fossil fuels entirely,” according to the scientists.

This report was dedicated to teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition for her youth-led Fridays for Future environmental protests.

By installing a residential PV solar system householders combat greenhouse gas emissions. Every ounce of oil, every lump of coal and every cubic foot of natural gas could be left in the ground if we were able to capture one hour’s worth of solar energy each year. Although we can’t do that just yet, scientists are working toward this goal. For now, conscious global citizens can make a difference one home at a time through abundantly available solar power.

To illustrate the power of solar energy, the amount of sunlight hitting the United States on a daily basis is more than 2,500 times the entire country’s daily energy usage. From an energy security and sustainability perspective, it makes sense to make the most of solar power technologies.

In addition to simplifying access to solar power for homeowners, ESP is committed to achieve sustainability goals through responsibly sourced and developed products, recycling programs and environmentally sound building processes. We recognize that sustainability is not limited to green buildings. It includes the impact we make on organizations and neighborhoods within our communities, on employees and on the well-being of the environments in which we operate.

Teach Your Kids About Sustainability

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Your kids are home for the summer making memories that will last a lifetime. Somewhere between pool parties, play dates, road trips and interminable hours of video games, there is time to squeeze in some quality family time to teach our kids to value of ecological sustainability. After all, it will be up to them to continue cleaning up a planet that we have littered over centuries.

So how do we go about switching gears from technology to the environment?

If you have solar panels installed, you can start there. You might want to explain how the panels attached to your roof absorb free energy from the sun so that they can watch TV, play video games, swim in a nicely heated pool and otherwise consume electricity without harming the environment. It is also an opportunity to teach them about fiscal sustainability and legacy.

Most childhood educators will agree that it is more effective to show young children rather than tell them something. When sharing concepts of ecology, climate change, recycling, renewable resources and all else, there’s nothing like putting things in perspective.

Many kids living in cities don’t have much opportunity to commune with nature. To explain nature, it makes sense to take your kids into nature to explain how the ecosystem on our planet works and how they can gain stewardship and then do their part in keeping our planet healthy.

ESP shares some ideas of how or team members address our environment, renewable energy and overall sustainability:

Immerse in Nature: In ESP’s primary service area – California, Nevada and Arizona – there is a wide range of observable nature within a short driving distance for our kids to see nature in action. When visiting the diverse topography that spans our Western region, we make a point of participating e in conservation events, nature walks, talks by park rangers and others who stress the importance of preserving open spaces for future generations.

Show Them How Things Work: There are many resources online to help explain how things work, where they come from and how they impact daily living. Most kids see their food come from shelves in a supermarket. Others may help parents shop at local farmers markets, but few kids have visited farms when fruits and vegetables are harvested, or cows milked. Nor do they know what happens to garbage after the trash collector picks it up. When possible, show them their food and water sources and explain why it is important to take care of our ecosystem.

Teach Kids How to Recycle: Kids naturally like to sort things. You can start as early as toddlerhood to teach recycling to your kids. Make it a game to collect paper, bottles and cans and sort into appropriate boxes or bins. As they grow out of their toys and clothes, let them decide what to give away and show them how their things will continue to serve other kids after they’re done with them.

Get Your Hands Dirty Together: Most communities have trash pick-up, tree planting, wildlife rescue and other events. It feels good to be of service to your local community with your children by your side learning from meaningful engagement. It teaches them conscious community citizenship and purpose. Since we’re in the solar industry, our kids are always welcome to watch solar installations under supervision and with homeowner approval. We also encourage participation in pet adoptions, food drives and other community events.

Share this Learning Mole video with your kids: Why Recycling is Important

As we prepare our children for a future as stewards of this planet, they will naturally do a better job when they learn to appreciate the planet from within their communities and beyond. Children naturally learn by emulating us. When we show them how loving, responsible behavior to the Earth sustains them and us, they will take ownership of their actions that will follow them into adulthood.




Let Energy Freedom Ring

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The 4th of July is associated with the concept of freedom as much as it is a start-of-summer marker. Despite the political definition of freedom – the power to act, speak or think without hindrance – personal freedom comes in many forms, including the right to personal and financial freedom. Thing is, despite record high employment in the United States, families are still looking at every possible way to save or make a dime because they need to stretch it more than ever before.

Irregular global weather patterns are a constant reminder of a precarious environmental balance that not only threatens our well-being, but our finances. To address both fiscal and environmental freedoms, families are looking to alternative energy to save money and contribute to a healthier environment.

If you are visiting the ESP website, it is because you have made– or are considering — securing your family’s financial future and the environment for generations to come by installing solar panels. You know that powering your home with renewable energy can reduce or eliminate your utility bills and that you can take advantage of tax incentives for further benefit.

According to an article in Popular Mechanics, rooftop Solar Panels still remain the “most common and obvious method” to access renewable power, citing that most homes can generate 10 or more watts per square foot.

Expected to rise in popularity in the future are Solar Shingles, as more sources become available. The article also suggests that Wind Turbines, often found floating offshore, are another alternative source of energy if a homeowner has enough acreage to install a small wind turbine on their property. The downside is that they’re not attractive and they might be a no-no with local zoning. Then, if your property contains a source of flowing water, you may be a prospect for Hydro Power. You can divert some of the stream or river to flow through a turbine and power your home. If slope, source and your engineering capacities all align, this alternative could work for you.

Another application of harnessing the sun’s energy is Solar Water Heating that capture heat that can then be distributed to your faucets, showerheads and radiators that makes it more cost-effective to heat your water. In the same vein, Solar Air Conditioning harnesses energy to power your home’s air conditioning and any excess can be used to heat your home’s water.

Although not widely in use just yet because of its cost, large renewable batteries can work with any home renewable sources such as solar or wind, to store electricity. It can be programmed to charge itself from grid at low-cost times discharge when prices are higher.

At ESP, as best-in-class solar system experts, we are always investigating market innovations with an eye to offer the most comprehensive solar energy resources to our customers — on rooftops or elsewhere.

For a quick primer on renewable energy, please watch this National Geographic explainer video:

We recognize that rooftop solar systems are more robust, yet, we are exploring applications of new solar technologies such as Solar Panel Windows and a myriad of other platforms. When Solar Panel Window technology has been thoroughly vetted and becomes available for commercial production, rest assured that we’ll let you know.

According to one of our favorite publications,, solar window technology falls into the category of Embeddable Solar Power that is currently being developed by Michigan State researchers. In theory, transparent solar windows use a building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) to capture and generate electricity. Although similar to roof panels, the technological challenge is that the window panels need to let light through as well as capture it while still harnessing enough light to use for energy production.

Other alternative energy technologies being explored include Flying Wind Power from turbines hovering 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground where winds are steadier; Fusion Power, that works on the same concept as the sun by fusing two hydrogen isotopes; Algae Power that genetically modifies this plant-based substance to produce bio fuel; Space-based Solar Power that harnesses the 50-60% of incoming solar rays that are not harnessed by other solar sources;  and expanded Wave Energy harvesting that could potentially provide 252 billion KWh per year. Five countries are already area operating floating wave farms.

The article also cites Hydrogen Power as a high-yield energy source with H-cells already in use in vehicles, aircraft, homes and buildings; tapping the Earth’s Magma Power to produce heated steam to run turbines and generate electricity; and, putting the Earth’s 77,000 tons of nuclear waste to use by generating power through “fast reactors” that can harness 95% of this energy.

Let alternative energy freedom ring!

Check Your Home for Energy Vampires

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We’re sharing some not-so-good news from the U.S. Department of Energy. About 10% of your electrical bill comes from appliances you are not using. Turns out that when they’re turned off, they’re still drawing power. It is mind-boggling to think that 75% of appliance energy usage comes from appliances that are not in use. They are emitting carbon, too.

Most of us will think planet and pocketbook simultaneously which could lead us to take proactive measures to end electricity leaking.

(Video provided courtesy of Cleco Energy)

This phenomenon has a bunch of names – phantom load, vampire load, vampire power, stand-by power and dozens more that describe the exact same thing, namely, electricity that is wasted when you are not using a plugged-in appliance.

Generally, anything that requires a remote control is always leaking energy. These electronic conveniences keep your electronics in a state of constant alert for quick activation at the click of a power switch. The amount of energy used when an appliance is set to off is not far off from the amount of energy used when it is turned on.

You can put this into perspective when you consider that when switch on an LCD computer monitor uses 55W of energy and a notebook uses 73W. Turned off, TVs use 48.5W, DVD/Blu-Ray players 10.58W, satellite TV box 43.61W, video game console 63.74W and cable box 30.6W.

Then, there are non-remote energy vampires in your house that waste electricity but there’s not much you can do about that. For example, your cable modem uses nearly 9W, computer LCD monitor 3.5W, wireless phone almost 5W, plugged-in laptop 50W and the list goes on!

Play a little game, walk around your house and guess how much energy is leaking from your printer, coffee maker, musical instruments and everything else. No matter what the final wattage is dissipating on an on-going basis, awareness is the first step to making any change.

Once you identify your energy vampires, the easiest proactive thing to do is unplug the offending electrical devices when you are not using them. There are also a number of energy monitors in commerce that tell you now much energy each of your electrical devices is using. They generally work on the same principal. You plug the reader into the wall and then plug in your device to get an energy value. Some devices will tell you how much this energy drain costs and how much CO2 is being emitted.

Here’s your cheat sheet to energy savings and to friendlier treatment of our environment:

1. Survey Your Home Office: Computer, modem, printer, scanner, router, monitor, speakers, electronic charging devices, mini frig, TV monitor. If you work in video production, host your own web series, record music or anything that requires uses of multiple devices, you are likely leaking the most energy.

2. Your Living Room, Entertainment Center, Den, Man/Girl Cave: Especially when you have a gamer in the house, consider unplugging the video game console, VR sensors, TV, stereo, DVR, DVD/Blu-Ray, cable box, gaming computers and other devices.

3. Your Kitchen: Are you using your range, coffee maker, microwave, ice-maker, wine cooler, toaster oven, food processor or anything else? Consider unplugging when not it use. Even your most-loved super mixer is pulling watts.

For interconnected devices, such as those in your living room or home office, consider plugging them into energy-saving power strips that tell the device to shut down the television peripherals when the TV is turned off. This also works with computers and other high-pull electrical devices.

Or, you can always go Old School and unplug your devices until you need them.


Helpful Summer Energy Saving Tips

By | Blog

Face it, we’re done with the June Gloom. The cooler temperatures have been nice but with kids out of school and the beach, local lakes or rivers calling, it is time for the weather to cooperate. Soon enough, it will. When it does, energy costs peak, too.

When summer heat hits, more householders will likely spend at least part of the day indoors. Kids we be tethered to their electronics, air conditioning units will be buzzing 24/7, home electronics, refrigerators, washers, dryers and all-things-electric on the continuous “on” position — creating a demand for more energy.

For those on the grid, summer is the time to bump up the side hustle and jot down these money-saving tips. For those of us who generate our own energy, unless we supersized our system, we will experience the highest draws on our local utility grids but the good news is that there are ways to make sure you draw the least amount of energy possible.

Here are some helpful summer energy-saving suggestions:

Set Your Thermostat at 78-degrees

Yeah, we know, it feels great to walk into a crisp, cool home after a few hours in the sweltering California, Arizona or Nevada sun. Gone are the days of set the thermostat to 68-degrees and go. Today’s utility rates soar with each degree below 72-degrees, the common default temperature. And, the general rule of thumb is that for every degree above 72 that you can tolerate, you save up to 3% per degree. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you might consider investing in one for longer-term savings.

Think Deep South and Install Ceiling Fans

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, some attractive and inexpensive models are available at your local DIY big box stores. Or, if you don’t want to bother with a permanent installation, portable fans are an easy alternative. Both will propel cool air provided by your air conditioning system, providing a bigger bang for your buck. Fans will allow you to run your air conditioning a bit warmer, saving on energy costs and maximize on the cool air already in your home by circulating it more effectively.

Energy experts advise that saving energy with ceiling fans relies on three practices:

  • Turning off the air conditioner when ceiling fans alone will do the trick
  • Setting the thermostat to a higher temperature by using ceiling fans to keep cool
  • Turning off ceiling fans in unoccupied rooms

If you do all those things, the most optimistic projections show that you might cut your air conditioning bill by 15% but actual cost savings will vary on several other factors.

Break out the Cold-Water Laundry Detergent

If you don’t do this already, consider washing with cold water. There are a great number of cold-water detergents that not only help you save energy when doing your laundry but contribute to the longevity of your clothes and bedding. Almost all the energy draw by your washer is used in heating water to run a load. If you don’t want to use cold water, you can always use the warm setting.  For further savings, think grandma and old school line drying. Not only do your clothes dry naturally using no energy, line-dried clothes have a delightfully fresh smell that is natural and nice than what you get from sheets of packaged fabric softener.

In fact, this is a practice we might consider adopting year-round. According to Treehugger, each load of laundry washed in warm or hot water is the equivalent of driving over 3,500 miles. When we wash at warmer temperatures, we emit roughly 2,400 pounds of CO2, slightly over a metric ton that is the equivalent of one cross-country round-trip flight.

Draw the Shades When You’re Not Home

This is common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people forget that blinds are not just a decorating item. The same goes for curtains and shutters. If you know that you’re going to be away from your home for an extended number of hours and the sun blaring down on your living room, an easy way to bring down the temperature while you’re away is to simply draw the shades. Even if you’re home and not using a south-facing room, simply cause shade to drop the temperature. When the temperature drops in the evening, open the windows and let some fresh air in. Make it a morning ritual to close windows as the temperature starts to heat up.

Add Shrubs and Strategically Placed Trees to Create Shade

You can always augment your existing landscaping with strategically placed new shrubs and trees to cause more natural shade by blocking sunlight savings hundreds of dollars in cooling costs per year, when done right.

Use Cold Water and Let Your Dishes Air Dry

Unless your dishes are filthy from trying a new recipe, you didn’t get quite right, most dishes can be safely washed by hand with cold water, rinsed and let to air dry. Or, if you don’t have the discretionary time to hand wash, you can always set your dishwasher to cold wash and air dry rather than consume precious energy to heat water and heat dry.

Put Some Shrimp on the BBQ

It doesn’t have to be shrimp but consider cooking outside during the summer whenever possible. Nothing is more stifling that cooking in a hot kitchen when it is 90-degrees outside. Depending on how many burners you have going on at the same time. Most of us don’t bake often during the summer – and rightfully so – as temperatures rise considerably with each heat source put in use. Cooking outside allows heat to dissipate and is a lot of fun. Forget the crockpot, it uses double the energy.

Be Mindful of Your Thermostat

When you place computers, stereos, flat screens, lamps or other heat-producing devices near your air conditioning thermostat reads the heat coming for each source. The thermostat “thinks” your room is warmer than it really is and in response it pumps more energy into the system to cool your home. To save energy, remember to relocate your electronic devices away from thermostats and to keep them on the off position when not in use.

Do You Have Helpful Energy Saving Tips?

We’ll publish other helpful energy saving tips from time to time.  If you have suggestions to share that work for you, please share your ideas here. Here are some more energy saving tips from Southern California Edison.


Demystifying Solar Installation

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Homeowners look to Energy Service Partners to design to build solar systems that will not only contribute to the health of the environment but immediately increase the value and desirability of their property. Yet, they may find the technology or process a bit daunting at first glance.

We’re demystifying the solar installation process into bitesize information bits:

Site Survey (1-3 days)

Based site inspection information we begin the design and engineering process. This information typically includes obtaining specific measurements, shade studies, photo documentation, quality control evaluations and other criteria.

Engineering (1-3 days)

This technical data is then uploaded to our Engineering Department. They analyze the information to individually customize systems to achieve maximum production levels consistent with a defined scope of work. Our engineers create detailed layouts and drawings. These final engineering documents are submitted to municipalities for review and approval.

Permit and Utility Approval (2-21 days)

Final drawings are submitted to the appropriate municipality building and construction safety department. In California, many cities review and approve plans in just a few days, while some cities can take weeks. In Nevada, while most cities approve plans within a week, the utility company may require several weeks to approve net metering before ESP can proceed. Submittal and approval processes vary.

Schedule System Delivery and Set-up (1-2 days)

An ESP Project Manager will call homeowners once utility company approval is received. The Project Manager will schedule delivery and set-up. This should take about one or two days depending on the size of the system and other factors. On the morning of delivery, the ESP Project Manager will address homeowner concerns and the day’s work plan. He or she will stay on-site to protect the integrity of the home and ensure the highest quality set-up, staying with the project from start to finish. During each step, the ESP Project Manager will remain in continual contact with homeowners and will supervise the ESP team of licensed and bonded, full-trained and experienced technicians.

Permit Inspection Approval (1-7 days)

After set-up, ESP will begin the process of securing a final city approval. The Project Manager will arrange to have an inspector from the appropriate local municipality come out to review the solar electric project. ESP takes the responsibility to adjust to any specific requirements in order to secure the final city approval. This may, in some instances, take more than one inspection depending on the inspector.

Utility Approval and System Activation (4-30 days)

The final step is obtaining interconnection approval from the local utility company. Upon permit approval, ESP will submit documentation to utility company for the final approval. Depending on the utility provider this step may take a few days to a few weeks. Once approved, the ESP Project Manager will call the homeowner schedule system activation and plan a time to demonstrate operation of the system to homeowners.

We are also sharing an article on solar energy from a popular men’s lifestyle blog.

At ESP, we are at the cutting edge of the solar industry putting best practices, materials and highly-skilled and impeccably trained Project Managers and teams at your disposal to guide you through selection of your solar system, installation, powering-up and getting the most from your system backed by one of the best guarantees in the industry. Solar system quotes are always at no charge to the customer.


Coffee May Boost Solar Cell Energy Output

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You know how that first cup of coffee gets your motor revved first thing in the morning?

If we’re understanding science correctly, it appears that coffee has a similar effect on solar cells. At first blush, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. According to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and a Chinese firm, it appears that perovskite solar cells jumped from 17% to over 20% greater efficiency through application of caffeine molecules.

This discovery could help this lower-cost pliable alternative technology compete with existing solar technology, reports technical journal Joule.

The publication reports that caffeine molecules were randomly picked in the process of trying many other kinds of molecules and turned out to work on the hunch that lone electron pairs in the oxygen atom might predispose caffeine as an energy enhancer. Read more.