Solar Power For Homes And How To Use Solar Panels

If you want to use solar power for your home, there are a number of steps that you should follow first. It is generally best to ask for professional assistance from the start, although there are also numerous things that you can do yourself. Also, none of these steps are overly complicated so they shouldn’t stand in the way of you going green.

STEP 1 – What Is Your Home’s Current Energy Efficiency?

First of all, you need to make sure that you know what is your energy efficiency, and whether there are any upgrades you could make to your existing setup. An online home energy audit is a good starting point.

“A home energy checkup helps owners determine where their house is losing energy and money – and how such problems can be corrected to make the home more energy efficient.”

STEP 2 – Assess Your Potential for Solar Power

Next, you need to make find out how much energy you can produce in your area. You must work out how much of the sun’s energy can reach your solar panels, which in turn depends on the size of your solar panel array. Luckily, there are good online mapping services that can help you determine whether your area is suitable for solar power. They may also give you alternatives should you find that solar power is not right for you. Some things that could make you unsuitable for solar power include:

– Nearby shade trees

– An old roof that will require replacement soon

– HOA/NA (homeowner association/neighborhood association) restrictions

STEP 3 – Determine Your Solar Options

Once upon a time, if you wanted to go solar, you would have to purchase the whole system yourself and hold responsibility for its upkeep. You can still do this today, but you have other options as well, including:

– Shared or community solar

– Power purchase agreements (PPA)

– Solar leases

– Solarize programs

STEP 4 – Determine Your Needs for Solar Electricity

This is where you start to think about the type and size of system you will need. To do this, you need to understand your energy usage. Hence:

– Look at your energy bills for each month to see how much you spend.
– Consider whether you are planning changes (buying an electric vehicle, having a more energy efficient boiler).

STEP 5 – Get Quotes and Site Assessments

The exciting stuff start at this point, as you will have to get quotes from providers. You must make sure that they are all certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

“NABCEP offers credentials for skilled professionals, specialists and those new to working in the areas of photovoltaics, solar heating and small wind technologies.”

Various online tools also exist to allow you to compare the market. Make sure that you receive at least three quotations from different providers. Some questions to ask include:

– Whether they know the local interconnection and permitting processes

– Whether they have references from local clients

– Whether they are properly certified and licensed

– What kind of warranty they offer on their system

– Whether they have active or pending liens or judgments against them

Once you receive your quotation, it should clearly state:

– The maximum capacity of the system in Watts (W) or kilowatts (kW)

– An estimate of how much energy will be produced (monthly or yearly)

– The total cost of installation, including warranty, sales tax, permitting, grid connection, installation, and hardware

– A cost/W and an approximate cost/kWh for the system

STEP 6 – Look into Finance and Incentives

There are lots of benefits, tax credits, and other incentives to have solar panels installed. Check which ones apply to you through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

“DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Permanently Installed Power Generation Systems For Homes

Having permanently installed power generation systems for homes gives you convenience, security, comfort, and backup power. Your home is automatically protected from a power outage, sitting outside like air conditioning units. They generally run on either natural gas or liquid propane (LP).

“Now more than ever home owners have a wide range of fuel options for heating their home. But, how do you know which is the best for your specific needs and budget? There really is no right or wrong answer as each home is unique. A fuel that may be right for you and your family may not be the best choice for another family.”

How Do Permanently Installed Power Generation Systems Work?

With advances in modern technology, there is no longer any need for you to manually start and stop your generator. That is now fully automatic. One of the greatest benefits from this system is that, should the power go out when you are away, your generator will automatically kick in. Additionally, because the generator runs on LP or natural gas, you can hook it up to your existing gas supply, if one is available. This, in turn, means that you never have to refuel them.

Power is directed directly to your property. This means you don’t have to worry about the extension cords that have to go through your doors or window. Rather, it connects directly to your electrical panel in a breaker space.

“Generally you will need to move a breaker or two down. Most boxes will have enough spare wire to move things around a bit. If you do not have enough room and your breaker is 30 amps or less you can use a short piece of insulated wire and a wire nut.”

Choosing a Generator

Perhaps the greatest difficulty you will have is choosing the make and model of the generator that is right for you. It all depends on your personal needs, what kind of utilities are near you, how often you have power outages, and so on. The recommendation is to only purchase a generator from a known and trusted brand that offers excellent customer support. Of particular importance is that this customer support should available 24/7. That is because a power outage does not happen only during regular business hours.

Key Things to Know

A couple of things to be aware of before you choose permanently installed power generation systems for homes:

1. These generators require a considerable investment. Choose wisely.

2. Understand your own particular needs, but mainly how much wattage you need in order to power your home in an outage. Good manufacturers can come out to assess your home. Online calculators are also available.
3. You need to make sure that you have everything ready for the installation of your generator, particularly if you choose a model that is too big for a DIY job. Your installer will have told you about the preparations that are needed and will also train you on how to use the device.

4. Don’t be blinded by cost alone. While we live in a society where everybody wants to get everything as cheaply as possible, you need to put quality over price when it comes to a generator. After all, you don’t want to spend money, only to then find that the generator doesn’t work. Expect to pay around $2,000 for your generator, without installation costs.

5. Check your local building codes to make sure you are allowed to install such a system.

The above are a few things to consider before you proceed with the installation, as you can see.

Is Technology Creating New Conflicts All Over The World?

Marshall McLuhan, a philosopher, once suggested that the medium is the message. This means that the technology used to send a message is more important than the message itself, at least from a cultural perspective.

The Dangers of Television According to McLuhan

For instance, McLuhan was very much against the medium of television.

“Marshall McLuhan explaining how the “one-liner” is symptomatic of the shortened attention-span of children. It’s all to do with television, which McLuhan claims, has a negative effect on the nervous system.”

According to McLuhan, the fact that television delivers pixelated images would lead to people unconsciously joining themselves onto the television itself, developing an addiction and becoming homogenized by it. In simpler terms, the many movies such as Tron, where people “enter” the televised world, is precisely what McLuhan was afraid of. But more specifically, he felt that humans would start to naturally resist this, and to do so by becoming more tribal. This, in turn, would lead to greater geopolitical conflicts as people suddenly want to assert their nationalistic identities again. He felt a perfect example of this was the Cold War, which some people believe was made so bad because television told people how dangerous it was.

How McLuhan’s Concept May Apply to New Technology

Interestingly, McLuhan died long before the emergence of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. He died before he could see just how threatening new technology can be. Just as McLuhan had feared, improvements in technology do not encourage self-expression and individuality, but rather obliterate and ruin them.

It is said that, today, the most valuable currency is insight into behaviors. This is seen by the amount of attention that companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are pouring into gaining a greater understanding of their users. Facebook, for instance, is developing technology to literally read your mind.

“Dugan says Facebook’s goal is to develop something it calls a “brain click – a way to complete tasks in augmented reality using your mind. You could brain click to dismiss a notification that popped up on your AR glasses, for example. Researchers at Building 8, who have teamed up with medical institutions around the country, want to turn the brain into an input device, starting with letting people type with their thoughts.”

If that isn’t frightening enough, a lot of research has also been conducted on other, more personal impacts experienced as a result of the increase in availability of advanced technology. People are literally addicted to their smartphones and spend every waking moment on social media. Images of people no longer looking at each other, but looking at a screen instead, are seen everywhere. It is an addiction and one that is socially acceptable. Then, there is the fact that people measure their worth through social media. They constantly share everything that they do with the world, hoping for “likes” and “retweets” to demonstrate that they are worthy. It is now known that there is a link between social media usage and mental illness, in fact.

“Research has shown that young adults with a strong Facebook presence were more likely to exhibit narcissistic antisocial behavior; while excessive use of social media was found to be strongly linked to underachievement at school.”

There is a biological process within human beings that stops them from fully integrating into an outside force, including technology. People must, for whatever reason, retain their free will. Once this starts to be chipped away at, they respond. And it seems that McLuhan’s observations were right in suggesting that this response is usually an increase in tribal conflict. A quick look around the world – Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the Catalonian protests – and it seems that there is indeed an increasing incidence of worldwide conflicts.

Can We End DDoS Attacks With Blockchain Technology?

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is a type of cyber attack in which websites are rendered unusable because it is flooded with requests from many different devices at the same time. This can do catastrophic damages to business.

What Cyber Criminals Can Get

Cyber criminals, meanwhile, love the opportunities that DDoS attacks give them. In fact, a DDoS attacks can generate multiple sources of income for hackers.

“DDoS attacks are often used as leverage for blackmail. Once a hacking group has a reputation for being able to field a large and dangerous botnet to knock servers offline, they can demand huge ‘protection’ payments from businesses afraid of facing their wrath. In fact, they don’t even have to do the hacking in the first place.”

Technology to Protect Against DdoS Attacks

Unsurprisingly, a lot of technologies are being developed to help businesses avoid DDoS attacks. However, in this cat and mouse game that is played on the internet, any new protection that is put in place will soon get destroyed by hackers. Meanwhile, it is important to note that a DDoS attack has an Achilles heel, which is that it requires a lot of processing power and bandwidth to be able to provide the huge traffic required to bring down a website. A DDoS attack is usually launched from a machine that is controlled through malware, making it nearly impossible to trace. DDoS protection companies open point to this difficulty as a reason for not being able to deliver the protection they promised, just like when Akamai failed to protect the website of Brian Krebs.

“Akamai said so-called “booter” or “stresser” DDoS-for-hire services that sell attacks capable of knocking Web sites offline continue to account for a large portion of the attack traffic in mega attacks. According to Akamai, most of the traffic from those mega attacks in Q3 2016 were thanks to Mirai – the now open-source malware family that was used to coordinate the attack on this site in September and a separate assault against infrastructure provider Dyn in October.”

Emergence of Blockchain Technology

Fortunately, it now seems that there might be a solution to these problems, and that this solution lies in blockchain technology. Blockchain is perhaps best known for running cryptocurrencies and also for creating systems like Ethereum. All of these are said to be almost incorruptible. One company that believes that this type of technology could be used to prevent DDoS attacks is Gladius, which is based in Maryland.

“DDoS attacks are becoming an increasing reality of operating a business with an online presence. These attacks can cost an incredible amount of money, not just in lost uptime, but also a loss in consumer trust and crisis PR. Gladius is the decentralized solution to protecting against DDoS attacks by allowing you to connect to protection pools near you to provide better protection and accelerate your content. With an easy to use interface as well as powerful insight tools, Gladius enables anyone to protect and accelerate their website.”

Gladius, however, is only a startup company, and this means that they will have some significant challenges to overcome. Obviously, it is too early to tell whether their system will ultimately be successful. One of the greatest challenges they will have to overcome, ironically, is making sure that DDoS hackers do not get hold of the machines used to protect against DDoS and use it to stage an attack instead.

As technology advances, both attackers and defenders have to change the way they operate. It is likely that this particular cat and mouse game will be an endless one. For as long as humans have been around, crime has been around as well and this is unlikely to ever change. All that we can try to do is stay ahead of the game.