Monthly Archives: January 2014

Employment in the Solar Industry Up 20% in 2013

The President’s State of the Union speech is tonight. In spite of the easing of the dire economic conditions we’ve experienced in the last few years, the rate of unemployment continues to be the thorn that just won’t stop causing pain across the country. Areas of growth are emerging that is beginning to make a dent in the backlog of un- and under-employed.

Prices for solar energy systems continue to drop, making it more affordable for more people. As a result, there were 143,000 solar industry jobs in the US as of November 2013, which is a %19.9 percent increase over the number of solar jobs at the same time the year before.


Cold Weather Brings Stark Realization

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. is consuming fuel to heat homes and buildings at a furious pace this winter. In some mid western states governors have declared states of emergency due to the shortages of heating oil and propane. While some of the shortages are due more to logistics than consumption, terrible driving conditions due to weather slows down trucks delivering propane, demand is the elephant in the room.

Other reports attribute the tightened fuel supply to the extreme cold impacting operations. reports,

“This arctic chill has forced natural gas and gasoline pipeline operators to reduce flow and refineries to scale back production, after some systems have started to fail under the extreme conditions. The instruments that control flow have failed, and some product has thickened or turned to jelly in some of the lines. Due to the reduced production and delivery, oil prices have risen for the second straight day, and natural gas prices are at a 17 month high.”

Back to the elephant in the room (demand). Reuters reported on January 21, 2014 that propane stocks in the U.S. are half what they were a year ago. Combine this information with the report from that power utility companies are grabbing up natural gas to keep their electricity production going (driving up prices for natural gas and consuming a good portion of the available fuel) and you must ask yourself two questions.

  1. Am I doing everything I can to reduce my demand for fuel to heat my living space?
  2. Do I have a plan for how to pay for fuel* I use to stay warm?

* Do you have a plan for an alternative fuel if you experience delays or difficulty getting the fuel you normally use?

Cold Weather Brings Concerns Over Energy Consumption and Outcries From Climate Change Deniers

Power companies and electrical grid managers in various parts of the country appeal to the public to reduce energy consumption during record breaking stretch of energy use. Meanwhile, others claim that the frigid temperatures are proof that global warming is a hoax and that the term “polar vortex” is a fabrication to scare people.

 Actually, it doesn’t really matter what you believe about these things. There is more than one reason to move away from fossil use and embrace better products and practices. As we have been saying for many years now, making an energy shift is important if you:

1. Want to save money;

2. Are concerned about the health effects from the extraction of coal, oil and gas and the  

    by-products of their combustion;

3. Are concerned about national security; or

4. Are concerned about the well being of the planet.