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Energy Learning Center

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  • The Business and Politics of Carbon  ( 1 items )
  • Renewable Energy Grants  ( 1 items )
    U.S. Department of Treasury - Renewable Energy Grants
    Incentive Type: Federal Grant Program
    Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Municipal Solid Waste, CHP/Cogeneration, Solar Hybrid Lighting, Hydrokinetic, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Microturbines
    Applicable Sectors:Commercial, Industrial, Agricultural
    Amount:30% of property that is part of a qualified facility, qualified fuel cell property, solar property, or qualified small wind property
    10% of all other property
    Max. Limit:$1,500 per 0.5 kW for qualified fuel cell property
    $200 per kW for qualified microturbine property
    50 MW for CHP property, with limitations for large systems
    Terms:Grant applications must be submitted by 10/1/2011. Payment of grant will be made within 60 days of the grant application date or the date property is placed in service, whichever is later.
    Authority 1: H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1104 & 1603 (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009)
    Date Enacted:2/17/2009
    Effective Date:1/1/2009

     Note: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) allows taxpayers eligible for the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC) to take this credit or to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the business ITC for new installations. The new law also allows taxpayers eligible for the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the PTC for new installations. (It does not allow taxpayers eligible for the residential renewable energy tax credit to receive a grant instead of taking this credit.) Taxpayers may not use more than one of these incentives. If an entity receives a grant and has previously received the business ITC or the PTC, the credit will be recaptured through an increase in taxes during the year in which the grant is awarded by the amount of the credit taken in previous years. Receiving a credit in the past does not reduce the amount of the grant. The grant is not included in the gross income of the taxpayer.  
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), enacted in February 2009, created a renewable energy grant program that will be administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. This cash grant may be taken in lieu of the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC).  
    Grants are available to eligible property* placed in service in 2009 or 2010, or placed in service by the specified credit termination date,** if construction began in 2009 or 2010:
    • Solar. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for solar energy. Eligible solar-energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Passive solar systems and solar pool-heating systems are not eligible. Hybrid solar-lighting systems, which use solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight, are eligible.  
    • Fuel Cells. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for fuel cells. The grant for fuel cells is capped at $1,500 per 0.5 kilowatt (kW) in capacity. Eligible property includes fuel cells with a minimum capacity of 0.5 kW that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 30% or higher.  
    • Small Wind Turbines. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for small wind turbines. Eligible small wind property includes wind turbines up to 100 kW in capacity.  
    • Qualified Facilities. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for qualified facilities. Qualified facilities include wind energy facilities, closed-loop biomass facilities, open-loop biomass facilities, geothermal energy facilities, landfill gas facilities, trash facilities, qualified hydropower facilities, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities.  
    • Geothermal Heat Pumps. The grant is equal to 10% of the basis of the property for geothermal heat pumps.  
    • Microturbines. The grant is equal to 10% of the basis of the property for microturbines. The grant for microturbines is capped at $200 per kW of capacity. Eligible property includes microturbines up to two megawatts (MW) in capacity that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 26% or higher.  
    • Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The grant is equal to 10% of the basis of the property for CHP. Eligible CHP property generally includes systems up to 50 MW in capacity that exceed 60% energy efficiency, subject to certain limitations and reductions for large systems. The efficiency requirement does not apply to CHP systems that use biomass for at least 90% of the system's energy source, but the grant may be reduced for less-efficient systems.
    It is important to note that only tax-paying entities are eligible for this grant. Federal, state and local government bodies, non-profits, qualified energy tax credit bond lenders, and cooperative electric companies are not eligible to receive this grant. Partners or pass-thru entities for the organizations described above are also not eligible to receive this grant. Grant applications must be submitted by October 1, 2011. The U.S. Treasury Department will make payment of the grant within 60 days of the grant application date or the date the property is placed in service, whichever is later.  
    *Definitions of eligible property types and renewable technologies can be found in the U.S. Code, Title 26, 45 and 48.  
    **Credit termination date of January 1, 2013 for wind; January 1, 2014 for closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, marine and hydrokinetic; January 1, 2017 for fuel cells, small wind, solar, geothermal, microturbines, CHP and geothermal heat pumps.
  • Energy Learning  ( 10 items )
  • Renewable Energy Payments (REPS)  ( 1 items )
  • Lighting Maintenance  ( 1 items )
  • Air Conditioning Terminolgy  ( 1 items )

    Know Your HVAC Terminology

    In order to converse with air conditioning experts, it is essential to be familiar with basic terms used in the description of the various types of cooling equipment. The following questions illustrate some of the key terms that are more commonly used and confused.

    1. What is a BTU?
    2. What is the difference between the terms EER and SEER?
    3. What is a "ton" and how is it used to define air conditioning capacity?
    4. What is COP?
    5. What is relative humidity?

    1. What is a BTU?
    A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. It is approximately the amount of heat that a lit match will generate.

    2. What is the Difference Between EER and SEER?
    EER (energy efficiency ratio) is a measure of how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (usually 95 F). A higher EER means the system is more efficient. You can figure out kW if you know EER and tons.

    EER = BTUs of Cooling @ 95 F / Watts used @ 95 F

    In the case of a 10 EER, 2 ton air conditioner:

            10 EER = 24,000 BTUs Out / 2,400 Watts In

    For the same size unit, but rated at 12 EER:

             12 EER = 24,000 BTUs Out / 2,000 Watts In or 20% more efficient.

    If you want to calculate kWh, just multiply the "Watts In" by the number of hours that the air conditioning is running. If  you'd like to convert watts to kWh, simply divide by 1000. 

    SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is a measure of efficiency over an entire cooling season, as opposed to a single outdoor temperature. Residential units are almost always rated in SEER. SEER came into use as a more practical measure, since the temperature outside is not always 95 F. Also, the denominator is in watt-hours, not in watts as is the case for EER. The same relationship holds ... a higher SEER means the system is more efficient. SEER is the total amount of cooling the air conditioner will provide over the entire cooling season divided by the total number of watt-hours it will consume or:

    SEER = Seasonal BTUs of cooling / Seasonal watt-hours used

    3. What is a "Ton" and How is it Used to Define Air Conditioning Capacity?
    A "ton" has come to be defined as the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. One ton is equal to the BTU's required to melt one ton of ice in a 24 hour period. A one ton air conditioner is rated at 12,000 BTU's, a 2 ton unit at 24,000 BTU's, a 3 ton unit at 36,000 BTU's and so on. It takes 144 BTU's of heat to melt 1 pound of ice in 24 hours, or 288,000 BTU to melt a ton (2,000 pounds) in 24 hours.

    Typically residential central heating systems provide from 2 to 5 tons of cooling. Commercial rooftop units are typically 3 to 20 tons each. Chillers can range from 15 tons up to 1,500 tons.

    4. What is COP?
    COP (coefficient of performance) ratings are more typically found in chiller ratings and on gas cooling equipment, as well as in heat pumps. It is a measure of how efficiently a heating or cooling system will operate at a single outdoor temperature condition. As an example the commonly used outdoor temperature condition for a heat pump calculation in the heating mode is 47 F. As is also the case for EER and SEER, higher COP's mean higher efficiency.

    For a heat pump:

    COP = BTU of heat produced at 47 F divided by the BTU equivalent of electricity to produce that same amount of heat. The COP rating for a heat pump typically ranges from 3.0 to 5.0.

    Where 1 kW = 3,413 BTU/hr

    For a chiller:

    COP = 3.516 divided by the kW/ton rating of the chiller

    Where the kW/ton rating of a chiller is typically in the 0.6 to 1.0kW/ton range. Therefore, the COP rating for an electric chiller will generally fall between 3.0 and 5.0. Gas absorption chillers have COPs from 1.5 to 2.0.

    5. What is Relative Humidity?
    Relative humidity is a measure of the amount of water in the air compared with the amount of water the air can hold at a particular temperature. Warmer air has more capacity to "hold" water vapor than colder air. Dew point is a measure of how much water vapor is actually in the air.

    Take the Next Step
    In just minutes, FPLs Online Business Energy Evaluation can provide you with personalized cost-saving recommendations specific to your business.

    Air conditioning is usually the largest part of a business' energy bill. And, if you have old or inefficient cooling equipment, your energy costs can be even higher. FPL has many Energy-Efficient Cooling & Heating Incentives. Go to to learn more.

  • Feed In Tarriffs Explained - Germany Example  ( 1 items )
  • Florida's Environment 50 Years From Now  ( 2 items )

  • Salt Water Burns - John Kanzius  ( 1 items )
  • Winning the Oil Endgame  ( 1 items )

  • Recycling  ( 4 items )
  • Interesting Tree Facts  ( 1 items )

    Tree Facts

    Trees give us oxygen, and what is absolutely amazing is that while giving off oxygen, trees are absorbing carbon dioxide produced from the combustion of various fuels. Trees remove or trap lung-damaging dust, ash, pollen and smoke from the air, in addition to providing shade for people and conserving energy.

    One tree that shades your home in the city will also save fossil fuel, cutting CO2 buildup as much as 15 forest trees.
     -National Arbor Day Foundation pamphlet #90980005

    Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.
    -Prow, Tina., The Power of Trees, Human Environmental Research Laboratory at University of Illinois.

    A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings.
    -McAliney, Mike. Arguments for Land Conservation:Documentation and Information Sources for Land Resources Protection, Trust for Public Land, Sacramento, CA, December, 1993

    Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
    -USDA Forest Service Pamphlet #R1-92-100

    If every American family planted just one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion lbs annually. This is almost 5% of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year.
    -American Forestry Association Tree Facts: Growing Greener Cities, 1992

  • Solar Hot Water  ( 1 items )
    Great detailed explanation of the benefits of heating your water with clean free solar energy! Go Solar NOW! it pays.
  • Great Video Explains Everything About Solar  ( 1 items )

    Click on the link and get linked to a video that is a wonderful tutorial on a lot of the stuff you need to know about solar systems! (requires Macromedia Flash Player)

  • Solar Electric Systems Simplified  ( 2 items )

    Whether you are the rookie who wants to understand how solar-electric systems work, or you are looking for fundamental information that better describes solar to your spouse, friend, or prospective customer, this article explains the guts and bolts of the three most common options in solarelectric systems: grid-intertied, grid-intertied with battery backup, and off-grid (stand-alone).

    Understanding the basic components of an RE system and how they function is not an overwhelming task. Here are some brief descriptions of the common equipment used in grid-intertied and off-grid solar-electric systems. Systems varynot all equipment is necessary for every system type. In the diagrams, the numbers in red correspond to the components needed.

  • Batteries for Deep Discharge Systems  ( 1 items )

    This is a quite long and involved explanation of batteries, but contains a lot of good and usable information.

  • Energy Estimating Tools  ( 1 items )

    All kinds of tools for all kinds of energy estimating requirements.

  • Solar Rights Law  ( 1 items )

    Renewable Energy Products are protected in Florida by Statute 163.4

  • Financing Renewable Energy  ( 1 items )

    Thoughts on how to pay for it.

  • Energy Efficient Lighting  ( 3 items )
    The first thing everyone should do is replace their incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights. It makes a world of difference in your lighting bill.
  • Tapping The Sun - Basic chemistry drives development of new low-cost solar cells  ( 1 items )

    Here's one for the nerdiest of you solar nerds. If you understand and appreciate this you "r" one!